Down Home Festivals 


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Fairs, Festivals, Events Good Times

A great time can be had at any of these events!

Bike Trails

Enjoy our bike trails. Catawba Falls Campground is a great home base.

Special Events

3.2% of visitors came for Special events and festivals

Visit NC

Visiting relatives and Family Reunion accounted for 25.5% of visitors.



Mountain Festivals

Battle of Swannanoa Gap March

After extensive looting, burning, and marauding throughout western North Carolina and southwestern Virginia, Union Gen. Alvin C. Gillem led two brigades of Stoneman's raiders through Old Fort on April 19 en route to Asheville. The next day at Swannanoa Gap, the raiders were denied passage through the mountains by approximately 500 confederates and 4 pieces of artillery under the command of Gen. James G. Martin. Gen. Gillem, who reported Swannanoa Gap "effectually blocked and defended," withdrew with one brigade to Howard's Gap, via Rutherfordton 40 miles to the south, leaving Col. John K. Miller's brigade to hold the confederates in place with feints. Battles at 2pm daily, small admission charge.

Pioneer Day Third Sat in April

Come visit Pioneer Day in Old Fort, the last Saturday in April. The fun filled free event will include Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactors and firing of volleys on period weapons. Demonstrations of blacksmithing and gun making will be shown. Pony rides for the kids, wagon rides for the family, and games for all will add to the fun. Domestic skills of making apple butter, spinning and weaving, and woodcarving also will be on display. Food and craft vendors will sell traditional edibles and merchandise.

Gold Festival is first weekend in June

This will be a festival designed to educate, promote, and highlight the gold and gem heritage of the region through entertainment, tours, and events during the spring. The festival will serve as a promotional tool. The Festival will also help foster partnerships with local businesses, surrounding county businesses, and regional groups interested in promoting the captivating history of the area using the gold prospecting heritage as a catalyst.

Revolutionary War Days June

 Features demonstrations and colonial vendors in authentic dress in a colonial style fort.  Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids 6-10 and under 6 free.

Come out to Davidson’s Fort to witness a snapshot of the American Revolution! Talk to craftspeople as they ply their trade, watch the soldiers drill, and discuss with the civilians and camp followers what it was like to live in the 1700s! Throughout the weekend there will be military camps and weapons demonstrations, with a battle demonstration Saturday at 1:00 pm! Also come out Saturday and cheer for your favorite competitor at our Backcountry Competitions before the battle!

Pisgah Enduro June

The fastest growing form of mountain bike racing is coming to the Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah Productions is excited to announce the Pisgah Enduro. Individuals will test their downhill skills on three different timed courses. The rides in between the downhill sections will not be timed. Parking will be at Catawba Falls Campground. Racers will board buses and will be shuttled to (near) the top of the hill at Ridgecrest. The first timed section will be Rattlesnake from the helipad to the ball fields at Ridgecrest. Racers will then ride at a casual pace to the Kitsuma trail. The second timed section will start at the Young’s Ridge trail sign and will end at the Old Fort picnic area. Racers will then ride at a casual pace to Star Gap. The third timed section will be Star Gap trail to Jarred Creek. There will be three rest areas along the way fully stocked with food and water. We will have a professional timing system and timing personnel.

Jerdon Mountain Challenge Saturday before ORAMM in July

Warm-up to the ORAMM or just come out and ride a 30 mile course that doesn't have you riding in circles! This is backcountry racing at its finest with a shorter course and still all the amenities of a long distance endurance race. This race will run the same course as the ever popular Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell but will end before the famed climb up Curtis Creek Road to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The race will still tackle 4,000' of climbing over 30 miles as you hit some ORAMM highlights like Old Highway 70, Kitsuma, Star Gap and Jarrett Creek. Celebrate with a huge after party on the picturesque Gateway Museum grounds.

New for 2014 - Timed Enduro Section!!! We'll be timing your descent on Heartbreak Ridge! This will allow for a safety accountability of riders mid-course and showcase the true descenders in the endurance world.  The timer at the start at the top of Jarrett Creek Road will have a hand held chip reading device and the bottom timer about 1/4 mile before the parking area will have a small structure in place with a chip reading device attached to a laptop computer.  Riders will not need to slow as they enter or exit either timing area but can continue to ride normally along the route.  The "enduro" section will be included with registration fees and applicable for all participants in the event. We'll be handing out Enduro awards too!  This race is limited to 300 participants.

 Annual off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell July

The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 60 mile mostly off road Bicycle route with 10,500 feet of climbing. From Old Fort you climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and just below Mt. Mitchell on beautiful Forest Service roads and unbelievable North Carolina single track. There are fully stocked rest stops approximately every 10 miles and you can send anything you want to the rest areas with our staff. Mt. Mitchell peaks at 6684 ft. and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi river. The start/finish in the town of Old Fort sits at around 1400 feet. Most of the climbing is on Forest Service roads while most of the single track points downhill!

New for 2014 - Timed Enduro Section!!! We'll be timing your descent on Heartbreak Ridge! This will allow for a safety accountability of riders mid-course and showcase the true descenders in the endurance world.  The timer at the start at the top of Heartbreak Ridge will have a hand held chip reading device and the bottom timer at the camp fire ring about 1/4 mile before the railroad tracks will have a small structure in place with a chip reading device attached to a laptop computer.  Riders will not need to slow as they enter or exit either timing area but can continue to ride normally along the route.  The "enduro" section will be included with registration fees and applicable for all participants in the event. We'll be handing out Enduro awards too! 

Sourwood Festival August.

The Sourwood Festival fills downtown Black Mountain with wholesome entertainment for both adults and children in August each year. Over 30,000 people from all over America will be in attendance at the festival which grows in popularity each year. Music, dancing, arts & crafts, super food, kid's rides and games, face painting and more in a no alcohol environment make it the perfect event for you and your entire family. With about 200 vendors you will discover lots of local and unique arts and crafts and there will be something to please every palate with BBQ and vegetarian faire, custom-crafted ice cream and funnel cakes and jellies.  Summertime favorites include the sausages and corn on the cob. Black Mountain.

Rail Road Day 3rd Sat in September

The Old Fort Mountain Heritage Alliance holds Railroad Day each year. It’s set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Main Street and Catawba Avenue. The event celebrates Old Fort’s rail-related history with arts and crafts vendors, food, music and model railroad displays.

Fall Festival "Octoberfest" First weekend in October

The Old Fort Ruritan Club is pleased to announce the new and improved “Octoberfest”. We have reduced the event to two days, Saturday & Sunday 9 to 6, with a band playing once each day ending with our Mill Creek Duck Race at 5pm Sunday. Music can be played at the festival by local groups until 10pm Friday and Saturday, please call to reserve a time. New vendor rules welcome the addition of more types of vendors and some restrictions on food vendors. Antique and collectable vendors are a welcome addition as well as home based businesses. Our long time local craft vendors are still an important part of this event, as are our local farms and businesses. No flea market or yard sale items.

 Fall Festival "Mountain Glory" Second weekend in October

The festival covers the court house lawn and 3 blocks of downtown. Browsers and shoppers looking for original handicrafts or handspun enjoyment will find plenty of choice among more than 125 artists, crafters and food booths and a variety of entertainment, from local bluegrass bands playing traditional mountain music to haunting melodies of Native American music. Beside mainstays of music and craft, the festival offers glimpses into local and regional pastimes, such as the Mountain Glory Craft Show, foot races and 3 stages of area talent. Addie's Chapel Gospel Choir is an annual favorite. One of the most popular areas of the festival every year is the "Children's Arena" that provides hands on activities, a best dressed pet show and special entertainment for kids. Marion.

Old Fort Christmas Parade

The first Saturday of December marks the annual Christmas Parade in Old Fort.

An Old Fort Christmas

An Old Fort Christmas, bringing the true meaning of Christmas to Old Fort, Live! Members portraying the Birth of Christ as told in the book of Luke Starting with Luke 2:2-3 and ending with His resurrection.  Live Nativity at the Mountain Gateway Museum.


Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park, January in Clemmons

Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights continues to be one of the largest and most spectacular light shows in the southeast. From storybook scenes to Holiday themes, over one hundred displays and over a million lights fill Tanglewood Park with the splendor and joy of the holiday season.

BBQ Capital Cook-Off Apr. 24 Lexington

KCBS Sanctioned barbecue competition featuring teams from across the world. Talk to the competitors, ask them questions and check out the different smokers. Sample North Carolina mouthwatering barbecue from vendors who are also competing! Sample wine at the Southern Gateway Wine Festival featuring Davidson County wineries. Other activities include: beer tasting, beer vendors and regional & national bands, plus activities for kids.

Annual Foothills Merry Go Round Festival, Sat., Apr. 26 Shelby .

Sat. 10am-9pm, Sun. 1-6pm $6 per day arm bands Enjoy this two days of fun, carnival rides, games, and food for the entire family, live entertainers, finishing up the evening with fireworks on Saturday night. Shelby City Park, Admission: $6

Annual Smithfield Ham & Yam Festival May.

Fun for the entire family, the Ham & Yam Festival honors Smithfield’s agricultural history.  Saturday promises entertainment and fun activities for the entire family from 9am-5pm. With a barbecue cook-off, “What’s That Yam Thing?” contest, and food vendors, both ham and yams abound. Visitors wander through the festival area filled with hundreds of booths occupied by face painters and vendors selling items including garden flags, handbags, kitchen tools, handmade jewelry and many other arts and crafts. The family event keeps crowds entertained with performances on three stages, children’s games, carnival rides, pig races, and a petting zoo. Saturday night at 8:30, free concert.

Annual Carthage Buggy Festival May

Saturday at Courthouse Square in downtown Carthage. Arts, Crafts, music, entertainment, car show, buggy display, food.

Annual Hillsborough Hogg Day in Hillsborough

More than 15,000 attend this annual festival with music, arts and crafts, car show, Food trucks, children’s pony rides, games and inflatables, and BBQ by Hog Heaven Restaurant and more. Event also highlights Hillsborough’s history and Revolutionary Patriot James Hogg who lived in the town.

14th Annual North Carolina Wine Festival May in Clemmons

With more than 30 wineries and vineyards, it is one of the largest wine festivals in North Carolina celebrating the vast growing wine industry of NC. Gates open and tastings begin at noon and last until 6:30pm. Enjoy tastings from over 20 North Carolina Wineries. Once your glass is filled groove to the music from live bands, grab a bite from our food vendors and enjoy browsing the exhibitor’s tents for treasures.






Carolina Cup Paddle Race, Wrightsville Beach
Consistently ranked as one of the country's top paddleboard races, the Carolina Cup Paddle Race is the official start of SUP season, with six races charted through the waters surrounding beautiful Wrightsville Beach!
Days at the Docks Festival, Holden Beach
Days at the Dock is the Holden Beach way to kick off the spring and start the vacation season. Enjoy many arts and crafts vendors and food vendors, live music and entertainment, a cardboard box paddle race, hermit crab races, and the world famous "Bopple Race."


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