October is a special month to live or visit the mountains. I’ve already pulled out my leaf-blower to clean off the driveway once. That will be a weekly occurrence now through November. What might sound like a chore, isn’t. I love doing it. The falling leaves blanket the drive into Sleepy Hollow and up to my home and driveway. On wet mornings it creates a patchwork-autumn pavement that is “Kodak-moment” worthy.
Autumn at Oz, which is held up on Beech Mountain has already come and gone. (I liked it better when it was later on the calendar.) Speaking of the calendar, we only have two days left in September and that means we are only two-three weeks away from peak fall color.
All of the West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee mountains all transition to Autumn mode as hundreds of thousands of visitors invade the high elevations to witness the annual (and awe-inspiring) paint job that lasts from now through mid November-ish.
We will be sharing events that are provided to us over these next weeks…and here are some of our favorite notables.
BRUSHY MOUNTAIN APPLE FESTIVAL- WILKESBORO
OCTOBER 6, 2018
The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is a free one-day arts and crafts festival in downtown Wilkesboro. Four music stages join hundreds of arts and crafts vendors and more food items than you can eat. Some craft vendors celebrate Appalachian Heritage with old-time processes such as woodcarving, soap making, and pottery throwing. It wouldn’t be an apple festival without plenty of apples, and they’ve got plenty! Enjoy apples from local growers, apple cider, apple butter, dried apples, candied apples and more. On the Friday night before the festival, Oct. 5, gather at the corner of 10th and Main Streets in downtown North Wilkesboro for Apple Jam, a live music event starting at 6 p.m. The proceeds go to the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club, a group that supports nonprofit organizations and families in need within the community. For more information, call (336) 921-3499 or visit www.applefestival.net.
SUGAR MOUNTAIN OKTOBERFEST- BANNER ELK
OCTOBER 13 AND 14, 2018
Sugar Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest invites you to bring your lederhosen or dirndl and have fun! Parking, shuttle service, and admission are free for this two-day event. The the Harbour Town Fest Band and the Valle Crucis Middle School Band will provide entertainment, and a wide variety of festival food and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as traditional Spaten beer. Attendees may also purchase a ride on the ski lift to view fall color from the top of the Oma’s Meadow Slope. Oktoberfest lasts from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. both days of the weekend. The festival takes place rain, shine or snow. For additional information, call (828) 898-4521 or visit oktoberfest.skisugar.com/
TODD NEW RIVER FESTIVAL- TODD
OCTOBER 13, 2014
Crafts, food, and fun all day with face painting and special children’s activities are offered at the Todd New River Festival. This small-town festival is held right on the banks of the New, and is a long-running tradition in Todd. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Walter and Annie Cook Park in Todd and is sponsored by the Todd Ruritan Club. Bring a lawn chair to enjoy music and storytelling. For more information, call (828) 964-1362 or visit www.toddruritan.org.
VALLE COUNTRY FAIR- VALLE CRUCIS
OCTOBER 20, 2018
The annual Valle Country Fair is a sure favorite among locals and visitors. Overflowing with food, crafts, music, and family fun, the Fair offers an all-day immersion into all things “fall.” Watch fresh cider being pressed from local apples. Carve a pumpkin, try some brunswick stew, and browse the artisan tents. Tap your toes to some great music, watch traditional dancing, and hear classic tales spun by a master storyteller. Perhaps the best part: the festival usually coincides with peak color for the Valle Crucis area. Vendors donate at least 10 percent of their profits from the day to charity, and the festival is a force for good in the High Country. Be sure to carpool! Admission is free, and parking costs $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van and $50 for a motorcoach. Hours are 9am-4pm, and early arrival is highly recommended due to traffic congestion. For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at (828) 963-4609 or visit www.vallecountryfair.org.
WOOLLY WORM FESTIVAL- BANNER ELK
OCTOBER 20 AND 21, 2018
The quirky and light-hearted Woolly Worm Festival is an event that you won’t see anywhere else! Enjoy traditional festival fare like crafts, plenty of food vendors, and live music, plus the Woolly Worm Wace. Participants (you can be one, too!) bring a woolly worm caterpillar to race up a three-foot long string for a chance to win $1,000. The winning worm is used to predict the length of winter, depending on the variation of brown and black stripes. Hours are 9am to 4pm both days. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children aged 6 to 12 and free for children five years of age and younger. It costs $5 to race a worm. Proceeds from the festival go to support children’s charities, small business, and tourism. For more information, call 828-898-5605 or visit www.woollyworm.com