top of page
  • Writer's pictureTalia Hoggan

Summer Fun: 4 Unforgettable Festivals in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains

Handing a sample cup to a guest at a beer festival.

Whether you have restless kids on your hands this summer, you want to rally your friends and family to make some memories, or you’re looking for a solo adventure, Western North Carolina is the country’s hidden gem when it comes to summer festivals. Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you enjoy these vibrant festivals celebrating everything from craft beer and Christmas cheer to traditional music and deep-rooted community spirit. Get ready to explore the unique charm of our quaint little corner of NC and create some lasting memories. Let’s dive into some of the must-attend festivals this summer in Western North Carolina!

April 25th- April 28th 2024

Kicking off the summer season a little early, Merlefest is a must-visit for music lovers. This legendary festival, held on the Wilkes Community College campus in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is one of the largest in the country, drawing in crowds with its unique blend of traditional and contemporary music. Founded in 1988 by hometown hero Doc Watson, a renowned “Traditional Plus” musician (think bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel), MerleFest is an annual homecoming event honoring his son, Merle. With proceeds benefiting the Doc Watson Student Emergency Fund, this festival feels good and sounds even better. This year’s lineup boasts headliners like Old Crow Medicine Show, Turnpike Troubadours, The Teskey Brothers, and Nickel Creek, promising a toe-tapping good time for the whole family 

July 5th- July 6th 2024

Get ready for some summer cheer at the free-to-enter Christmas in July Festival, celebrating its 35th year in the heart of West Jefferson, North Carolina. This charming hometown festival transforms downtown into a hub of festive fun, showcasing the region’s rich mountain heritage and its claim to fame: Christmas trees!

Ashe County earned the title of #1 Christmas tree producer in the US in 2015, and this festival joyously celebrates that legacy. Stroll through aisles brimming with handcrafted arts and crafts, perfect for finding unique souvenirs or gifts that tell a story. Live traditional mountain music fills the air, adding to the merry atmosphere. Family fun is a top priority at this event; children’s activities keep the little ones entertained, while roving performers add an element of surprise and delight. Don’t miss the exciting competitions, booths from local nonprofits, and the chance to stock up on fresh produce at the Farmers’ Market. Christmas in July has even been recognized as the “Finest Festival” by Carolina Country magazine- so come see why this beloved tradition is a must-do for summer in Western North Carolina! 

August 24th 2024

Calling all craft beer enthusiasts! Mark your calendars for the High Country Beer Fest on August 24th, 2024. Held at the High Country Fairgrounds in Boone, NC, this beloved festival is a celebration of all things beer, with samplings from 40-45 regional and national breweries. Enjoy live music while indulging in delicious food (vendors to be announced soon). But the fun doesn’t stop there! High Country Beer Fest is more than just a chance to quench your thirst for great brews. It’s also a fundraiser for a worthy cause: Appalachian State University's Fermentation Sciences program. Founded by passionate homebrewers and university chemistry professors, the festival raises money for scholarships, research, equipment, and more. So raise a glass to good beer, good music, and supporting a program that’s shaping the future of fermentation! 

Performer singing and playing a guitar at a summer festival.

September 13th-14th 2024

Hey, craft beverage enthusiasts! Now that you’ve recovered from the High Country Beer Fest, gear up for the Stomp & Brew Festival on September 14th, 2024 (with a VIP event on September 13th) in downtown West Jefferson, NC. Rain or shine, this lively festival offers a chance to sample delicious offerings from 20+ beer, wine, cider & mead vendors. Whether you’re a hop head, wine connoisseur, cider enthusiast or mead lover, there’s something to tantalize your taste buds. Live music (artists to be announced) sets the tone for a fun-filled afternoon, while a variety of food vendors keep your energy levels up. But the good vibes go beyond the delicious food and drinks. Stomp & Brew proudly supports Shoes for Kids, a local charity dedicated to ensuring underprivileged Ashe County youth have proper footwear. So raise a glass, enjoy the music, and feel good knowing your participation is helping a worthy cause. 

These festivals will leave you with a warm glow and a heart full of happy memories. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor soaking up the mountain magic, there’s a festival waiting to capture your spirit. So grab your dancing shoes, gather your loved ones, and get ready to experience the unforgettable energy of summer celebrations in Western North Carolina!


bottom of page