Typically winter is a relatively quiet time when we enjoy time with friends, family, and food, often around the fire. However, the year kicks off on the morning of January 1st with a breakfast at the Dreams Die Hard Diner (at the Arthur Morgan School Cafeteria, part of the Celo Community).
Along with breakfast you can pick up a calendar for …
Cabin Fever University. (January-March). Events are held during the winter months at multiple locations; most are centered around Celo, although High Cove has hosted its share. Together we share in the wealth of knowledge, skills, history and experience of our rural mountain region … and have fun in the process. The array of possibilities is quite eclectic: from drinking dark beer to Earl Grey tea, from toasting Walt Whitman to learning how to knit, fix bikes, or make Viking jewelry, from studying botany, honey, politics, or blue whales to hearing about travels from Tasmania to Patagonia. CFU events are inexpensive or free. And although knowledge is forever, Cabin Fever is ephemeral. As soon as the longer, warmer days of spring arrive folks will be out in their gardens, on the trails, or just enjoying some porch-sitting with friends and fireflies.
Robert Burns Day. Celebrate the Patron Poet of Scotland with poetry, song, and Scotch whisky at the Dispensary in Spruce Pine. https://www.facebook.com/dispensarybar
Penland Community Open House – A taste of what it’s like to work with materials like glass, metal, clay and letterpress at one of the most inspiring craft education centers in the world. (Penland) http://penland.org/events/events.html
Organic Growers School Conference – 70+ exhibitors offering down-to-earth, practical advice on organic growing and sustainable living. (Asheville) https://organicgrowersschool.org/conferences/spring/
Mother Earth News Fair – Info and products for renewable energy, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, green home building and more. In Asheville. https://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/
MerleFest – One of the largest music festivals in the country, offering a mix of traditional and contemporary roots music across four days and 14 stages. Most of the giants, and many of the rising stars, of bluegrass, folk, country, singer/songwriter, Americana, and various other roots genres play or have played there; and the interaction among them makes it a uniquely entertaining venue to experience, in Doc Watson’s words, “traditional plus” music. (Wilkesboro) http://www.merlefest.org/
Blacksmith Festival – Watch master blacksmiths at work and try your own hand with a hammer at Fire on the Mountain. (Spruce Pine) http://downtownsprucepine.com/Festivals.html
Burnsville Metric – A relaxed and scenic metric (62 mi) bike ride, traditionally the start of the local cycling season. (Burnsville) http://burnsvillemetric.com/
Ramp Dinners – These wild leeks are traditionally the first Spring greens available in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Enjoy this cultural and culinary experience at ramp festivals and volunteer fire department fundraisers throughout our area.
4th Fridays @ High Cove – Eat, play, learn, hang out with old friends (and make new ones) at this informal gathering. Every 4th Friday from April through October.
LEAF Festival – The Lake Eden Arts Festival celebrates music, arts & community in a gorgeous setting on the site of the former Black Mountain College. The Fall festival is best known, but May’s has a lot of stuff for kids as well as adults. (Black Mountain) https://www.theleaf.org/the-festival/
Beer City Festival / Beer Week – Explore brews from 32 local and regional craft breweries at the Festival (Asheville) http://beercityfestival.com/
Mountain Acoustics hosted the inaugural Luthier Festival in May 2019. Its big success means it will be an annual event, usually the last weekend in May. (Burnsville) https://www.mountainacoustics.com/
Studio Tour – Toe River Arts (TRA) presents a premiere studio tour in Western North Carolina, featuring over 100 craftspeople and artists in nearly every medium—many of whom are tops in their field. (Mitchell and Yancey Counties) http://www.toeriverarts.org/about-the-tour/
Troutacular. A day for kids to enjoy being on the river and fishing. Spruce Pine https://craftyouradventure.com/page/on-the-water/fishing/ and Bakersville http://www.bakersville.com/troutacular.html
Rhododendron Festival – A sweet small-town event that includes a beauty pageant, car show, and square dancing in the street. Bakersville is the gateway to Roan Mountain, whose pink Catawba rhododendrons flower exuberantly in June. (Bakersville) http://www.ncrhododendronfestival.org/ and http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recreation/scenicdrivinginfo/recarea/?recid=48626&actid=64
Farm Tour – Meet local farmers and get a behind-the-scenes peek into the working farms of Western North Carolina. (Burnsville, Celo, Spruce Pine) http://asapconnections.org/events/asaps-farm-tour/
RiddleFest – Celebrates the legacy of Burnsville native Lesley Riddle who helped shape country music through his work with the Carter family. (Burnsville) https://www.yanceychamber.com/lesley-riddle-riddlefest
Fourth of July – Each of the nearby towns marks Independence Day with fireworks and festivities. At Penland School, each studio struts its stuff in a parade—an almost literal competition of rock, paper, scissors. (Burnsville, Spruce Pine, Penland, on or around 7/4)
Highland Games – Celebrating the Scots-Irish heritage of the mountains with bagpipes, tartan kilts, competitions of strength, skill, and sheep-herding, all in a spectacular setting on Grandfather Mountain. http://www.gmhg.org/homepage.shtml
BBQ & Bluegrass – A summer street fair featuring barbeque competitions and bluegrass music. (Spruce Pine) http://www.sprucepinebbqbluegrass.org/
Guild Craft Fair – In a region known for exceptional craft, this event has been a stand-out since 1948. (Asheville) http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/shops-and-fairs/craft-fair-of-the-southern-highlands/
LEAF Downtown – Brings the LEAF music/performance/art/food magic to downtown Asheville. And it’s free. (Asheville) https://www.theleaf.org/the-festival/
·Southeastern Permaculture Gathering – Learn new skills, serve the earth, create community & celebrate life–the 23rd annual gathering. (Celo) http://www.southeasternpermaculture.org/
Mineral & Gem Festival – See and touch gems, minerals, fossils and jewelry from local and far-flung locales. (Spruce Pine) http://www.ncgemfest.com/
Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair – A street fair with music, food, and a wide variety of booths. (Burnsville) https://www.yanceychamber.com/mt-mitchell-crafts-fair/
·Carolina Mountains Literary Festival – Not stuffy or academic, this festival brings together authors, readers of all ages, writers, listeners and learners in intimate settings throughout historic Burnsville. Most events are free. (Burnsville) http://www.cmlitfest.org/
Autumn Leaves & Apples – Fall here is a sensory explosion: turning leaves, fresh apples, pumpkins, all the richness of harvest. Catch one of many festivals or take a leisurely drive on a country road, enjoy some fresh cider, maybe a starry night around a bonfire. Altapass Orchard is one place to start, offering heirloom apples, hayrides, fudge, local honey and more. (Sep – Oct) http://altapassorchard.com/
Old Timey Fall Festival – Demos of old/new skills like making baskets, candles, and honey, along with a parade of antique tractors make this a fun day on the town square in Burnsville. http://oldtimeyfallfestival.com/
No Place Like Homeplace Beer Festival – Burnsville’s own brewery hosts regional brewers for an evening of great brews, food, and music. Tickets sell out fast, though! (Burnsville) https://homeplacebeer.com/
·LEAF Festival – The Fall edition of one of the area’s happiest festivals brings the best of local and global music and arts. (Black Mountain) https://www.theleaf.org/the-festival/
Spruce Pine Potters Market – A weekend gathering of some of the region’s best potters and clay artists—which in this region is saying something! (Spruce Pine) http://www.sprucepinepottersmarket.com/
Guild Craft Fair – The Fall edition of the outstanding Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild show. (Asheville 10/20 – 23) http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/shops-and-fairs/craft-fair-of-the-southern-highlands/
Skiing and snowboarding start in late November at several spots near Boone. http://www.appskimtn.com/ and http://www.beechmountainresort.com/
·Studio Tour – The holiday edition of the Toe River Arts tour. http://www.toeriverarts.org/about-the-tour/
Christmas Parades – No malls, but parades that feature the high school football team (and the JV), Humane Society dogs decked out in antlers, local politicians, and Santa’s elves driving tractors — that’s what we call Christmas around here.