Vacations to the Asheville area are not limited to perks such as views of sweeping mountain vistas from the deck of a private mountain cabin...but they also offer direct access to a wide variety of activities ranging from outdoor excursions, art, food and beer outings and live music events. In the same vein, Asheville has an amazing assortment of festivals that encompass many of these great Asheville activities that take place throughout the year. Check out some of our favorite festivals in Asheville!
Food & Drink Festivals
Given that Asheville is a four-time winner of the annual Beer City USA title and boasts more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city, it may not be surprising to learn that our great city has numerous beer-centric festivals that take place throughout the year. Asheville also has an abundant number of award-winning restaurants and James Beard nominated chefs that have put Asheville's food scene on the map. A few of these popular festivals that celebrate our food and drink include:
Takes place during Asheville Beer Week during late May and early June.
This September festival combines two of our favorite things - beer and bluegrass!
This two-day August event celebrates culinary excellence in the form of wine and food.
Hosted at popular Highland Brewing in Asheville, The Mountain Cheese Fest highlights local cheesemakers and cheese with close access to Highland brews.
Arts and Music Festivals
Asheville's art and music scene has an eclectic flavor as well as a powerful heritage that is rooted Appalachian culture. Events like Shindig on the Green that take place during the summer months, include old-time Bluegrass, folk and mountain music and dance and pay homage to Asheville's rich history. We like to think that we are a city with a strong focus on our heritage as well as a profound openness to the future which manifests through a variety of live music events, theater, and artful expressions. Asheville's River Arts District is a prime example of this openness as a whole one-mile stretch of town on the west side of Asheville beside the French Broad River serves as artist studios in 22 former industrial and historical buildings. There is also the always popular "Drum Circle" that takes place on Friday nights for half of the year and includes locals and visitors alike joining together at Pritchard Park to create thundering sounds of drum beats and dancing.
Hosted in Montford's beautiful historic district, this event is Asheville's largest, longest running single day neighborhood festival with a focus on music, local food, and quality crafts and juried art.
This annual festival could easily be classified as a 'food festival' with its exotic food options. The festival's purpose is to celebrate the richness and diversity of the African Diaspora and Asheville's African-American and Caribbean community. The meaning of the festival's West African name is "rhythm or drum" and includes an entire weekend of Spoken Word Artists, Dance Groups, Free Throw Competition, Zulu Connection Stilt Walkers and more.
An entire weekend of fiddles, banjos, dulcimers, dancers converge in Asheville during the first weekend of August for this longstanding festival (over 90 years!).
The Lake Eden Arts Festival is a bi-annual festival that takes place in May and October and incorporates musical performances as well as explorations into the arts, dancing and outdoor adventures.
General Asheville Festivals
With over 200 vendors present, the annual Sourwood Festival takes place in Black Mountain and is a celebration of local art and includes music, dancing, arts and crafts as well as local food.
This 3-day festival boasts over 8,000 visitors and competitors during its races and competitions for the Mountain Disc Golf Challenge, French Broad Challenge Triathlon, dodgeball, beach volleyball, inline hockey, climbing and more.