We’re still a few weeks away from the sun’s highest excursion above the equator as Earth makes its slow wobble around our star. But for many, the summer celebrations (and the ice cream cones!) cannot wait for the solstice. Grilling, family-friendly events, outdoor adventures—we want it all! And Memorial Day is the kickoff.
To celebrate the season, communities across Western North Carolina are holding art tours, beer festivals, concerts, and citywide celebrations. Whatever your interests, there is an event for you. Stay close to home or venture further afield to enjoy at least one of these 2019 Memorial Day events across WNC.
Concerts on the Creek
May 24, 2019 @ 7:00–9:00PM | Sylva
Bring a picnic blanket and chair to enjoy Concerts on the Creek at Sylva’s Bridge Park gazebo! The Concerts on the Creek series runs every Friday night from Memorial Day–Labor Day. The 2019 season kicks off on May 24. Occasionally, these events feature food trucks and craft beer vendors.
Learn more: discoverjacksonnc.com
May 24–26, 2019 | Downtown Asheville
The 13th annual Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival (ABSFest) celebrates vaudeville revival through workshops and events in Downtown Asheville’s most exciting venues. Nominated for Best Show in the Mountain Xpress Readers Choice Awards, ABSFest attracts renowned circus and burlesque artists from across the USA and around the world. The festival offers fashion, contortion, trapeze, and tease in the true spirit of vaudeville and an environment that nurtures creativity and empowerment. ABSFest often pairs with social justice groups such as Our VOICE, the Western North Carolina AIDS Project, and the ACLU.
Learn more: absfest.com
Memorial Day Weekend at Wheels Through Time Museum
May 24–26 @ 9:00AM–5:00PM | Maggie Valley
Bring your friends and family to this year’s Memorial Day remembrance at the Wheels Through Time Museum, and show your support for our courageous and admirable veterans. The museum will be open all weekend and will be offering free admission to all veterans on Memorial Day, May 27. Military motorcycles and machines will be featured and displayed around the Wheels Through Time property. The annual flag raising ceremony will be held May 25 at 12:00PM.
Learn more: facebook.com/events
Mountain Acoustics Luthier Festival
May 24–26, 2019 | Burnsville
Don’t miss the inaugural Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational, showcasing the art of hand building fine, stringed instruments and the skill and art of lutherie. This three-day event gathers some of the most talented luthiers in the Southeast for a concert, exhibits, workshops, and more. $10 at the door, $15 for both days.
Learn more: mountainacoustics.com
White Squirrel Festival
May 24–26, 2019 | Downtown Brevard
Brevard loves its white squirrel population! The annual White Squirrel Festival includes lots of live music, featuring Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds; a street festival with kids activities, arts and crafts booths, and great food; the White Squirrel 5K and Fun Run; a veteran’s memorial parade and wreath ceremony; and special events and sales in many of downtown’s shops. If that’s not enough for you, festival goers can learn more about the town’s white squirrel population and participate in the White Squirrel Photo Contest.
Learn more: whitesquirrelfestival.com
Asheville Beer Week
May 24–June 1, 2019 | Downtown Asheville and beyond
Wondering what Asheville Beer Week is all about? Asheville’s annual celebration of craft beer officially kicks off on Friday, May 24 and events continue through the following week at bars, tasting rooms, and breweries across the city, including Bhramari Brewhouse, Burial Beer Co., Zebulon Artisan Ales, the Casual Pint, Asheville Brewing Company, and many more. Join fellow beer lovers Saturday, June 1 from 12:00–5:00pm on Roger McGuire Green on Pack Square for the 10th annual Beer City Festival.
Learn more: avlbeerweek.com
Champion Credit Union Aquatics Center Season Opening
May 25, 2019 | 77 Penland Street, Canton
The Town of Canton invites everyone to come to the opening day of Champion Credit Union Aquatics Center’s summer season. The pool will open from 11:00AM–5:00PM for free swimming all day. Enjoy food trucks, music, and swimming pool fun with the whole family!
Learn more: cantonnc.com
11th Annual Square Dance for The Lord’s Acre
May 25, 2019 @ 5:00–10:00PM | Fairview
On Memorial Day weekend 2019, people of all ages and backgrounds will gather at the 11th Annual Square Dance and Potluck, hosted by The Lord’s Acre. The nonprofit was established just over a decade ago to address issues of hunger in the immediate community, as well as issues of poverty in the region at large. Since its inception, the organization has raised over 159,000 pounds of fresh organic produce equaling more than 555,000 servings of food. Advance tickets are $10/ individual and $25/family.
Learn more: thelordsacre.org
Saturday Night Lights
May 25, 2019 @ 6:00–10:00PM | TIEC, Tryon
Whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly event, a group outing, or the perfect date night, this is the weekly summer event for you. Enjoy live music, entertainers and magicians, face-painting, pony rides, carousel rides, and more. At 8:00PM, take a seat for the world-class Grand Prix show jumping competition. Fair-style concessions and all onsite restaurants are available. Browse the Promenade and discover boutiques, services, apparel, and more. Stay for the after-party and karaoke at the Silo Bar. Free parking and admission.
Learn more: tryon.coth.com
May 25–26, 2019 @ 9:00AM–5:00PM | Main Street, Hendersonville
For more than 25 years, the annual Garden Jubilee Festival has been one of the largest gardening shows in the Western North Carolina. The two-day, family-friendly festival features more than 260 vendors along Main Street, selling thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and hard-to-find plants. Learn tips and tricks, and shop for locally crafted garden art, wind chimes, lawn furniture, garden tools, birdhouses, soaps, pottery, and more.
Learn more: visithendersonvillenc.com/garden-jubilee
The Downtown Asheville Memorial Day Weekend Festival of the Arts
May 25–26, 2019 @ 10:00AM–5:00PM | Downtown Asheville
The Memorial Day Weekend Art Festival will feature a collection of local and national artists specializing in hand-made works of art. There will be painters, potters, jewelers, glass blowers, and much more. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover handmade-in-the-USA original works of art across every medium. The show is set up on the streets of North Pack Square and South Pack Square around the Vance Monument.
Learn more: artfestival.com
Kenilworth Artists Studio Tour
May 25–26, 2019 @ 10:00AM–5:00PM | Kenilworth, Asheville
Did you know that the five-square-mile historic Kenilworth neighborhood, just south of Downtown Asheville, is home to more than 40 aspiring and professional artists? Each year on Memorial Day weekend, some of these artists open their home studios to art lovers and shoppers alike. This year, the self-guided tour features 26 artists in 13 locations across the neighborhood. 5% of Studio Tour sales will benefit Loving Food Resources, which provides food, health, and personal care items to local people in home hospice and/or living with HIV/AIDS.
Learn more: kenilworthartists.org
Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival
May 25–27, 2019 | Lake Lure
The 2019 Lake Lure Spring Arts & 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 eight food and refreshment vendors. Held twice annually, the festival has been a Lake Lure tradition since the 1980s.
Learn more: lakelureartsandcraftsfestivals.com
Memorial Day Weekend Family Fun at Chimney Rock
May 25–27, 2019 | Chimney Rock
Memorial Day is often thought of as the kickoff to summer fun, and Chimney Rock has all the activities to make that happen. Your family can enjoy exploring the Park’s trails and visiting with animal educators in the Animal Discovery Den. Free with Chimney Rock Park admission.
Learn more: chimneyrockpark.com
Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society Exhibition
May 26, 2019 @ 9:00AM–4:00PM | NC Arboretum, Asheville
Need one more reason to visit the North Carolina Arboretum? The annual Rose Society exhibition features award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care, and history of roses. Educational programs will also be offered throughout the weekend.
Learn more: ncarboretum.org
Asheville Community Band Memorial Day Concert
May 26, 2019 @ 3:30–4:30PM | Southern Highland Folk Art Center, Asheville
This fun-filled, family friendly, all-American free concert features military music, marches, and wind band favorites. Seating is available inside the Folk Art Center auditorium. Guests are also welcome to bring lawn chairs and picnic outside on the lawn. Free admission. Donations graciously accepted.
Learn more: facebook.com/AshevilleCommunityBand
Carl Sandburg Folk Music Festival
May 27, 2019 @ 11:00AM | Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock
Join musicians from around the region for the 33rd annual Folk Music Festival as they perform songs inspired by Carl Sandburg’s collection, The American Songbag. The festival’s performers each skillfully demonstrate the tradition of performing live music to tell stories while capturing the heritage of America through song. Performers include Lillian Chase and Friends, Drayton and the Dreamboats, Leeda ‘Lyric’ Jones, and more.
Learn more: nps.gov/carl