Fun Fall Festivals in the N.C. Mountains


The N.C. mountains offer something special any time of year, but when fall approaches they really shine. What better way to enjoy the region’s beauty and fun than by enjoying a family-friendly festival or event? Here are a handful of top picks for October.

Maggie Valley Oktoberfest
Maggie Valley Festival Grounds
3374 Soco Rd., Maggie Valley
Friday, Oct. 4, 4-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5, noon-11 p.m.
Honoring the many German traditions associated with Oktoberfest, this inaugural Maggie Valley event will feature customary German foods, such as bratwursts, Bavarian soft pretzels and, of course, beer. There will also be live music, arts and craft vendors, games, dancing, and a children’s stage and play area.

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival
Main and 9th streets, North Wilkesboro
Saturday, Oct. 5, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Apple Festival highlights Appalachian heritage through arts, crafts and entertainment. Festival organizers are expecting 425 arts and crafts vendors, 100 food concessions, and four stages featuring bluegrass, country, folk and gospel music. Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers and square dancers provide additional entertainment.

Mars Hill Heritage Festival
Main Street, Mars Hill
Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Explore 75 local arts and crafts vendors, including locally made jams, jellies and other tasty treats. Families can enjoy craft demonstrations and traditional mountain music. Now in its 18th year, the Heritage Festival is held in downtown Mars Hill and nearby at Mars Hill College.

Farm City Day
Jackson Park, Hendersonville
Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Step back in time and learn how people once worked North Carolina’s land. Farm City Day features antique farm equipment (alongside modern tools), as well as free family-focused activities. Enjoy live music, clogging or square dancing, arts and crafts, kids’ games and diverse food offerings.

Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight
2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville
Saturday, Oct. 5, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
$18 adults; $12 ages 8-12; space is limited
Make your reservation now to experience the mountains after dark and get in the Halloween spirit. Families with children age 8 and older can enjoy stories told by firelight and rare after-dark tours of Grandfather Mountain, including a visit to a bear habitat and an owl prowl. Learn historical facts about the area as you meet the mountain’s nocturnal residents.

Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express
226 Everett St., Bryson City
Oct. 5-6, Oct. 11-13, Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27
Departures at 3 p.m. Fridays; 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
$55 adults; $31 ages 2-12
Prepare for the “Great Pumpkin’s” visit by buying a ticket to this kid-focused Great Smoky Mountains Railroad event. Listen to a narration of Charles Schultz’s classic story “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” while riding a train around the pumpkin patch. Kids can wear Halloween costumes and have their photo made with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy, as well as enjoy campfire marshmallows, a coloring station, temporary tattoos, trick-or-treating, a bounce house, hayrides and live music.

Cashiers Leaf Festival
Frank Allen Road, Cashiers
Friday, Oct.11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday Oct. 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This three-day event celebrates autumn mountain beauty. The centerpiece of the leaf season, the Cashiers Leaf Festival highlights arts and crafts from local and regional artisans, food from area restaurants, music from a variety of bands on two stages and activities for all ages at various locations throughout Cashiers Valley.

Boone Heritage Festival
Daniel Boone Park, 591 Horn in the West Drive
Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Enjoy 18th-century re-enactors, historical demonstrations, craft vendors, kids’ activities, music, a flatfoot dance workshop and showcase, storytelling and more.

1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Break out the beer stein and put on your dirndl for the 23rd Annual Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain Resort. Kids can enjoy hayrides, inflatables, an 18-hole mini-golf course and a climbing wall, and meet Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear. Mom and Dad can peruse the work of local artisans and craftsmen and enjoy Bavarian (and American) cuisine.

36th Annual Woolly Worm Festival
N.C. 184/N.C. 105, Banner Elk
Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
$5 adults; $2 ages 5-12
Help celebrate the coming winter season at the Woolly Worm Festival. Where else can your woolly worm participate in a race up a string for the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter? In addition to the races, there will be crafts, food vendors and live entertainment. A portion of the proceeds from the event goes to support children’s charities throughout the county.

Ginny Gaylor is a freelance writer and editor based in Greensboro and mom of one. Visit her website at

Visit our Things to Do, Family Fun, Seasonal and Fall Fun guides for more family-friendly events.

Categories: Fall, Family Fun, Food + Fun, Seasonal, Seasonal Fun, Things To Do, Travel