Thoughts of summer conjure images of barbecues, family-friendly events, and outdoor adventures galore. And while we’re still a few weeks away from the sun’s highest excursion above the equator, for many, seasonal celebrations cannot wait.
Memorial Day holds an important spot on our calendar as the unofficial start of summer. More significantly, it’s an opportunity to recognize and honor the servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, while carrying on the spirit of their legacy.
There are many ways you can safely celebrate the holiday weekend this year. Communities across WNC are holding plant sales, arts festivals, and of course, memorial ceremonies. Whatever your interests, there is an event for you. Stay close to home or venture further afield to enjoy these 2022 Memorial Day events in Asheville and across WNC.
Know of other local Memorial Day events? Send them our way and we’ll keep this list up to date!
NC Arboretum Plant Sale and Vendor Market
May 27–28, 2022 @ 10:00AM–3:00PM | NC Arboretum, Asheville
Calling all garden lovers! The North Carolina Arboretum’s annual outdoor plant sale is back, and this year, it’s bigger and better than ever. Choose from an assortment of plants grown in the Arboretum’s Production Greenhouse, as well as plants and products from 20 participating vendors. The sale will take place outdoors in the second bay of the Arboretum’s main parking lot. No dogs permitted. Cash and check preferred. The Arboretum’s standard $16 parking fee applies for all non-members.
Learn more: ncarboretum.org
May 27–30, 2022 | River Arts District, Asheville
GRINDfest is a free, four-day festival that celebrates Black business and entrepreneurship in Asheville. This block-party-style event includes a weekend full of music, games, live performances, food, and local vendors. There will also be plenty of learning, employment, and partnership opportunities. The goal of the festival is to highlight the progress made by people of color while also connecting folks in the community.
Learn more: grindfestavl.com
Memorial Day Weekend at Rumbling Bald
May 27–30, 2022 | Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure
Kick-off your family’s summer vacation at the annual Memorial Day weekend events at Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure. Events will include live music on the bandstand, beach cookouts, a family pool party, s’mores night, and more. Celebrations conclude on Monday with the iconic Red, White, and Blue Golf Tournament at Apple Valley Golf Course. Events are for members and guests staying at Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure.
Learn more: rumblingbald.com
Asheville Beer Week
May 27–June 5, 2022 | Downtown Asheville and beyond
AVL Beer Week 2022 is doing double duty this year. In addition to their formative focus on those visiting Asheville, the event is organized with an eye to locals and WNC’s post-COVID road to resilience. Expect old favorites like tastings, dinners, and discussions, along with a new and creative outlook in a conscientious and still rebounding pandemic era. Lean into the WNC lifestyle of the outdoors, good beer, good food, and good people for AVL Beer Week’s triumphant return.
Learn more: avlbeerweek.com
13th Annual Concerts on the Creek
May 27, 2022 @ 7:00–9:00PM | Sylva
Some of the world’s finest musicians have come from WNC, and that rich tradition carries on today. The Town of Sylva, Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce team up to produce the 15-week Concerts on the Creek series every Friday from Memorial Day–Labor Day at the Bridge Park gazebo in Sylva. The kickoff event on Memorial Day weekend will feature the classic rock stylings of Terri Lynn Queen, Tim Queen, and Scott Baker. These events are free with donations encouraged. Dogs must be on a leash. No coolers, no smoking, and no alcohol. If you’ve been vaccinated, you are welcome to attend without a mask.
Learn more: mountainlovers.com/concerts-on-the-creek
May 28–29, 2022 @ 9:00AM–5:00PM | Main Street, Hendersonville
More than 200 plant and craft vendors will line Main Street during Garden Jubilee, one of the largest gardening shows in WNC, transforming the historic downtown area into a seven-block garden wonderland. The two-day garden and plant extravaganza features local and regional nurseries selling thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and hard-to-find plants. Crafters will offer distinctive garden art, and there will be handmade lawn furniture, jewelry, garden tools, planters, wind chimes, birdhouses, soaps, and pottery. Visitors can also learn the latest techniques and tips from gardening experts during the Garden Talks clinics.
Learn more: visithendersonvillenc.com/garden-jubilee
2nd Annual Downtown Asheville Memorial Day Weekend Festival of the Arts
May 28–29, 2022 @ 10:00AM–5:00PM | Downtown Asheville
Come see some of the finest locally made art alongside national artists’ works during this free outdoor event. Enjoy a scenic stroll amongst sparkling jewels, one-of-a-kind paintings, exquisitely crafted glasswork, stunning sculpture, and every medium of handmade art, all in the artist’s hub that is Downtown Asheville. The show is set up on the streets of North Pack Square and South Pack Square around the Vance Memorial, as well as Reuter Terrace.
Learn more: artfestival.com
Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival
May 28–30, 2022 @ 10:00AM | Lake Lure Town Center, Lake Lure
The Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival features continuous entertainment in a gorgeous mountain setting. Enjoy shopping for wonderful art and handmade crafts from the festival’s 90+ artisan vendors, as well as great music, dancing, and treats from 10+ food and refreshment vendors. Held twice annually, the festival has been a Lake Lure tradition since the 1980s. Come early on Monday, May 30, for the Lake Lure Memorial Day Program at 9:00AM at the Veterans Memorial, followed by a complimentary continental breakfast.
Learn more: townoflakelure.com
Saturday Night Lights
May 28, 2022 @ 5:00–10:00PM | TIEC, Tryon
From carousels to competition, Tryon Resort is for all who love horses! Visit Tryon Resort on select Saturday nights May–October to enjoy the signature “Saturday Night Lights” event series. These action-packed nights feature free family entertainment, including pony rides, carousel rides, live music and performers, bucking horse rides, face painting, and more. Plus, you can enjoy carnival-style concessions like cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones in addition to restaurant dining available. The evening culminates with world-class show jumping competition under the lights in Tryon Stadium. Leashed pets are welcome to join you!
Learn more: tryon.coth.com
Asheville Community Band Memorial Day Concert
May 29, 2022 @ 3:00PM | Biltmore Town Square, Asheville
This fun-filled, family friendly, all-American free concert features military music, marches, and wind band favorites. Bring a chair and enjoy seating on the Hickory Tavern Green in Biltmore Park’s Town Square. Free admission.
Learn more: facebook.com/AshevilleCommunityBand
Rockin’ Block Party
May 29, 2022 @ 7:00–10:00PM | Main Street, Waynesville
The highly popular “Rockin’ Block Party” event will return this year to Main Street in Downtown Waynesville. The event is free and open to the public. No animals are allowed at downtown events.
Learn more: downtownwaynesville.com/calendar
Lake Lure Memorial Day Program
May 30, 2022 @ 9:00AM | Lake Lure Veterans Memorial, Lake Lure
Join the Lake Lure community to honor and commemorate the sacrifices of those military men and women who laid down their lives in service to our nation. The service will be followed by a complimentary breakfast, and the Lake Lure Arts and Crafts Festival will begin at 10:00AM. The Lake Lure Veterans Memorial is located across from the Lake Lure Beach and Waterpark.
Learn more: townoflakelure.com
Memorial Day Flower Tribute
May 30, 2022 @ 9:00AM–12:00PM | NC Veterans Cemetery, Black Mountain
Bring friends and family to share the true meaning of this holiday and honor local veterans. Attendees place flowers on the gravestones of soldiers on Memorial Day each year, honoring their sacrifice and life. Victory For Veterans, in cooperation with Memorial Day Flowers Foundation, places flowers in five states across the nation. Last year, the group placed more than 20,000 flowers, and they hope to double that number this year, with your help.
Learn more: facebook.com/events
Carl Sandburg Music Festival
May 30, 2022 @ 11:00AM | Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, Flat Rock
This music festival celebrates American music as Carl Sandburg recorded it in his book, The American Songbag. Compiling and publishing the book was one of the most difficult projects Sandburg took on during his life. It is a collection of 280 songs—songs of the country, the prairie, war, jail, cities, love, death, and a little nonsense. Today, the Carl Sandburg Music Festival celebrates his work and the work of modern singers and songwriters, including Peter Dimery Trio; Mark Webb, Jr.; and Patrick Ballard.
Learn more: nps.gov/carl
Does this list still not satisfy your need for year-round community engagement? There’s always something to do in Western North Carolina, and that’s never more true than during summer festival season. Our region hosts special events throughout the summer months that draw crowds of locals and visitors alike for family fun.
Check out this list of 25+ WNC Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer.