Fall events make the season extra festive! If you have missed a fall festival, note the timing of individual events to plan ahead for the following year. Dates change, but in general, each festival is held the same weekend in each year (ex: Woolly Worm Festival is the third weekend in October).
Bear in mind that the routes can get heavy with traffic in fall, so it’s best to go very early in the day to have the easiest ride and to get the best parking.
Autumn at Oz- Beech Mountain
September 8-10, 15-17, and 22-24
Autumn at Oz has changed its date to now be in September! This popular festival is typically a sold out event, usually months in advance. What was once a theme park is now open for special events like this one. Guests are guided down the Yellow Brick Road, meeting Dorothy and her friends. The park also offers live music, dancers, a petting zoo, face painting and concessions. For information about tickets, visit www.landofOzNC.com
Autumn Art in the Park- Blowing Rock
October 7, 2023
The final Art in the Park of the season celebrates the incredible variety of fine arts and crafts created by regional artists. This event takes place on Park Avenue in downtown Blowing Rock, putting it close to dining and more shopping. Using the parking shuttle is highly recommended in October! Catch a ride on the red trolley at Tanger Outlets, where plenty of parking is available and the shuttle arrives about every 20 minutes. Enjoy more arts & crafts at Tanger’s Artisan Market while you wait for the next ride! The trolley drops passengers at the entrance to Art in the Park. As always, Art in the Park is free to attend, and hours are 10am to 5pm. More details available at blowingrock.com/artinthepark
Brushy Mountain Apple Festival- Wilkesboro
October 7, 2023
The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is a free one-day arts and crafts festival in downtown Wilkesboro. Four music stages join hundreds of arts and crafts vendors and more food items than you can eat. Some craft vendors celebrate Appalachian Heritage with old-time processes such as woodcarving, soap making, and pottery throwing. It wouldn’t be an apple festival without plenty of apples, and they’ve got plenty! Enjoy apples from local growers, apple cider, apple butter, dried apples, candied apples and more. On the Friday night before the festival, Sept. 30, gather at the corner of 10th and Main Streets in downtown North Wilkesboro for Apple Jam, a live music event starting at 6 p.m. The proceeds go to the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club, a group that supports nonprofit organizations and families in need within the community. For more information, call (336) 921-3499 or visit www.applefestival.net.
Sugar Mountain Oktoberfest- Banner Elk
October 7 & 8, 2023
Sugar Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest invites you to bring your lederhosen or dirndl and have fun! Parking and admission are free for this two-day event. The the Harbour Town Fest Band and the Valle Crucis Middle School Band will provide entertainment, and a wide variety of festival food and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as traditional Spaten beer. Attendees may also purchase a ride on the ski lift to view fall color from the top of the Oma’s Meadow Slope. Oktoberfest lasts from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. both days of the weekend. The festival takes place rain, shine or snow. For additional information, call (828) 898-4521 or visit oktoberfest.skisugar.com/
Valle Country Fair- Valle Crucis
October 21, 2023
The annual Valle Country Fair is a sure favorite among locals and visitors. Local food and crafts fill the space, while musicians and demonstrators entertain all day. Admission is free, but bring cash for parking: $10 per car/personal vehicle, $25 per small bus or van, $50 per large bus or motor coach. The Fair is located along Highway 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. It’s a good idea to arrive early so that you don’t get stuck in a very long line to the entrance! Fair hours are 9am to 4pm. For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at (828) 963-4609 or visit www.vallecountryfair.org.
Woolly Worm Festival- Banner Elk
October 21-22, 2023
The quirky and light-hearted Woolly Worm Festival is an event that you won’t see anywhere else! Enjoy traditional festival fare like crafts, plenty of food vendors, and live music, plus the Woolly Worm Wace. Participants (you can be one, too!) bring a woolly worm caterpillar to race up a three-foot long string for a chance to win $1,000. The winning worm is used to predict the length of winter, depending on the variation of brown and black stripes. Hours are 9am to 4pm both days. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children aged 6 to 12 and free for children five years of age and younger. It costs $5 to race a worm. Proceeds from the festival go to support children’s charities, small business, and tourism. Parking is available around downtown at varying rates, with most fees benefitting local non-profits. For more information, call 828-898-5605 or visit www.woollyworm.com