Summer weather is still stubbornly holding out for at least a few more weeks. But for many, the activities of summer come to an end this weekend.
Labor Day marks the unofficial end to the season: Vacations have been had. Children are back in school. There is a slight lull in tourism across Western North Carolina as many wait impatiently for the leaves to turn.
So why not end the season with a celebration? Whether you want to stay close to home or venture farther afield while the weather is nice, there are many entertainment and festival options throughout our mountain towns. Here is a list of Labor Day weekend events in Asheville and WNC.
72nd Annual North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville
WHEN: Friday, August 31–Monday, September 3, all day
The North Carolina Apple Festival has been Western North Carolina’s premier family-friendly festival for more than 70 years. Enjoy four days of free fun, from the Opening Ceremony with the Apple Ambassador to the King Apple Parade on Labor Day afternoon. The festival also includes one of the best known street fairs in the Carolinas. There will be freshly picked apples, arts and crafts, festival food, and free entertainment at the Historic Courthouse on Hendersonville’s beautiful Main Street.
Learn more: ncapplefestival.org
48th Annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival in Lake Junaluska
WHEN: Friday, August 31–Saturday, September 1, 5:00pm each day
Enjoy two nights of the finest Southern Appalachian traditional music and dance at the Smoky Mountain Folk Festival. The main stage shows begin at 6:30pm each evening on the grand stage of Stuart Auditorium at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Both nights include a rich variety of the region’s finest ballad singers, banjo players, buck dancers, fiddlers, string bands, and square dance teams, as well as the marvelous sounds of bagpipes, dulcimer, harmonica, jew’s harp, saws, spoons, and folk ensembles.
$12/night in advance, $14/night at the door, 12 and under free.
Learn more: lakejunaluska.com
Asheville Tourists vs. Rome Braves
WHEN: Friday, August 31–Monday, September 3, game times vary
The Asheville Tourists will be playing at home all Labor Day weekend! See them battle the Rome Braves, with special promotions each night. Friday is Dollar Dog Night, with $1 hot dogs all night and post-game fireworks. Saturday’s game features a lunchbox giveaway. On Sunday, the first 1,500 fans in the ballpark receive a Panthers t-shirt in celebration of the beginning of football season. Watch the post-game fireworks from your seat or bring a blanket and watch from the field on Sunday night, as well. On Labor Day, kids 12 and under eat free during the afternoon game (1:05pm).
Ticket prices vary.
Learn more: milb.com/schedule
Labor Day Weekend Family Fun at Chimney Rock
WHEN: Saturday, September 1–Monday, September 3, 8:30am–5:30pm each day
Enjoy the last holiday weekend of summer by experiencing what makes Chimney Rock the ideal place to live and play. Hike on one of the Park’s many trails, including the Great Woodland Adventure trail with 12 interactive education stations. Or join Fox Mountain Guides for a real rock climbing experience.
Cost included with park admission.
Learn more: chimneyrockpark.com
Maggie Valley Arts & Crafts Show
WHEN: Saturday, September 1–Sunday, September 2, 9:00am–4:00pm each day
Artisans from all over the Southeast will be in attendance at Maggie Valley’s largest and longest running seasonal arts and crafts show. Seasonal items, furniture, goat milk soaps, jewelry, paintings, photography, pottery, wooden bowls, yard art, and more will be featured at the event. Shop a variety of handmade treasures, enjoy chainsaw art demonstrations, and partake of lots of festival food!
Learn more: maggievalley.org
Emerald Village Rock Fest in Little Switzerland
WHEN: Saturday, September 1–Sunday, September 2, 9:00am–6:00pm each day
Head out to Little Switzerland for a rocking good time. Activities include gem mining, gold panning, and live music. Kids can enjoy feeding the trout and a free treasure hunt each day. Everyone can enjoy special guided hikes to a hidden mine, and a Black-Light Mine Tour on Saturday night.
Most events free. Black-Light Mine Tour $15 for adults, $10 for students.
Learn more: emeraldvillage.com
Biannual Cashiers Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair
WHEN: Saturday, September 1–Sunday, September 2, 10:00am–5:00pm each day
The Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley presents ART FOR A CAUSE: a biannual arts and crafts fair. Enjoy some of the finest craftsmen and artisans from the Southeast. Artwork, clothing, furniture, jewelry, pottery, quilts, homemade jams and relishes, and more are available for purchase. Delightful bites and tasty treats will keep you fueled up as you hunt for the perfect piece to add to your collection. 100% of proceeds from the suggested entrance donation of $3–5 benefits the Cashiers Rotary Club Charities fund. To date, the club has distributed more than $1 million to area charities, schools, and nonprofits.
Learn more: cashiersrotary.org
10th Annual Founders’ Day Fair in Brevard
WHEN: Saturday, September 1, 12:30–5:00pm
Come out for the 10th Annual Founders’ Day Fair, sponsored by the Transylvania Heritage Museum! A special “Brevard’s Got Talent” show, emceed by Mayor Jimmy Harris, will honor Brevard’s sesquicentennial, followed by live music from the Road Apple Ramblers.
Other activities include Founding Families exhibits, an antique fire truck, moonshine still display, vendor booths and bake sales, craft demonstrations, children’s activities, and a whole lot more. Founding Fathers Guided Walking Tours will depart from the street at 1:30 and 3:30pm.
$5 per person for walking tour.
Learn more: transylvaniaheritage.org
52nd Annual Shindig on the Green in Downtown Asheville
WHEN: Saturday, September 1, 7:00–10:00pm
Bring your instruments, families, friends, lawn chairs, and blankets to the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Stage in Pack Square Park. Locals and visitors alike come together “along about sundown” for a stage show and informal jam sessions around the park. Experience the beautiful music and dance traditions of Southern Appalachia on a summer evening in the mountains. Labor Day weekend closes out Shindig on the Green’s 52nd season.
Free to participate. Concessions available.
Learn more: folkheritage.org
15th Annual LAAF: Living Asheville Arts Festival
WHEN: Sunday, September 2, 12:00–9:00pm
This free, family-friendly festival is for locals, by locals! Celebrate Asheville and all of the city’s unique qualities with local art vendors, local food, fun activities, a kid’s space, and live, local music. This year, the festival expands from a general focus on the arts to honor the ways Asheville utilizes creative expression to enhance the natural environment, provide social equity, and support healthy lifestyles. LAAF is held on Lexington Avenue from the corner of College Street to the intersection at I-240.
Learn more: facebook.com/events
112th Canton Labor Day Festival
WHEN: Sunday, September 2, 12:00–9:30pm, and Monday, September 4, 10:00am–9:00pm
Since 1906, the Canton Labor Day Festival has served up food, fun, and entertainment in Sorrells Park in downtown Canton. Billed as the oldest festival of its kind in the South, the festival draws up to 15,000 music lovers over the weekend. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Balsam Range, Joe Lasher, Mountain Faith, and more will provide live music. There is also a handmade craft expo, mountain gospel experience, the Papertown Kid’s Village, a vintage car show, and the Labor Day parade at 10:00am on Monday.
Learn more: cantonlaborday.com
BBQ at Milton’s in Black Mountain
WHEN: Sunday, September 2, 4:00–8:00pm
Enjoy Labor Day with the family at the Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain. They’ll have lawn games, $4 Pisgah Brewing beers, and live music from the Big Deal Band. Your ticket includes all you can eat barbecue and sides, as well as one Sweet! on Cherry Street ice cream scoop!
$25 for adults, $12 for kids in advance.
Purchase tickets: exploreblackmountain.com
Know of additional Labor Day events around Asheville and WNC? Share them with us in the comments.