50 Fall Fests : After so many months of cancelled and postponed events, the urge to get together and celebrate is palpable. Here to satisfy is a season of great gatherings bursting with local culture: From woolly worms, elk, and Bigfoot to mountain arts, food, music, and more, these festivals truly have something for everyone.

 50 Fall Fests : After so many months of cancelled and postponed events, the urge to get together and celebrate is palpable. Here to satisfy is a season of great gatherings bursting with local culture: From woolly worms, elk, and Bigfoot to mountain arts, food, music, and more, these festivals truly have something for everyone.

PLAN AHEAD! A word to the wise festival-goer: given the still-shifting sands of the pandemic, some festivals may adjust their safety protocols or even cancel or reschedule as their dates grow closer. Be sure to check event websites for the latest. Also, note that some beloved WNC events fill up well in advance. At press time, two standout fall festivals were already sold out of tickets: the September 10-11 Mountain Song Festival, in Brevard, and the November 11-14 Highlands Food & Wine Festival.

(Clockwise from top left) Mountain State Fair; Sporty’s Brass Band at LEAF; & Land of Oz’s Autumn at Oz Festival

CULTURE

Mountain State Fair
September 10-19 – Fletcher
The appearance of the gondola line, Ferris wheel, colorful tents, and stages at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center is a welcome sight: it’s a sure sign that fall has arrived and that the Mountain State Fair, now in its 27th year, is back in all its glory. This mega event, which includes the food, rides, and exhibits iconic to any fair, is also a celebration of the regional traditions. Heritage music and dancing, art exhibits, and livestock and agriculture competitions draw crowds of all ages. Ready to really go for it? On Friday, September 10, and Friday, September 17, unlimited rides all day will be available for $28 (plus gate admission). wncagcenter.org

Mountain Heritage Day
September 25 – Cullowhee
Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day is meant to highlight the best parts of…

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