Things to Do in Asheville for Labor Day Weekend 2017
By Jason Tarr
Labor Day weekend is your opportunity to end summer on a high note! Asheville is the perfect place to do just that. In town, and in our neighboring communities, find big celebrations, live music performances and endless outdoor adventure for a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!
Friday through Monday (Sept. 1-4)
Main Street, Hendersonville
Nothing signals the transition from summer to fall like the opening of all the local apple orchards. The nearby community of Hendersonville throws a big celebration to mark the occasion! This four-day event is one of the best-known street fairs in the Carolinas, with freshly-picked apples, arts & crafts and free live entertainment at the historic courthouse! As you celebrate, check out some of the pick-your-own produce farms throughout the area!
Speaking of fresh produce, there are 20 tailgate markets in the greater Asheville area offering farm-fresh goods. Don’t be surprised to see some of Asheville’s top chefs at these farmers markets, shopping for ingredients to incorporate into their menus. On nearly any day of the week, you’ll find a tailgate market open in some part of town. Check our list of markets for dates and times of operation.
Saturday (Sept. 2), 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa
What's the difference between a mushroom and a toadstool? How many different varieties are there, and how can I tell which ones are edible? Get answers to all the questions you’ve ever had about mushrooms. The Asheville Mushroom Club hosts an all-day celebration of fungi (wild and cultivated). See a huge display of wild mushrooms, go for guided mushroom walks, and take classes on growing, cooking and medicinal uses. And, you can even bring in mushrooms for identification!
Sunday (Sept. 3), 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville
The Asheville Vegan Society celebrates compassionate eating and sustainable living at this festival where vegetarians, vegans, and those curious about a plant-based lifestyle can come together. Taste what's fresh and new (there will be samples!) and hear great live music, sit in on speaker sessions, and put a smile on your child's face in the kid's activity area. The festival marks the culmination of Vegan Awareness Week.
As we near the end of summer, take advantage of this long-weekend to get in some time outside! Cool off at one of the many area waterfalls – some of which don’t require any hike at all! If you are in fact looking for a hike, there are plenty of gorgeous trails in the Asheville area just begging to be explored. We have a list broken down into easy, moderate, and difficult hikes to help you find the trail that’s best for you! For a truly relaxing adventure, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop as much or as little as you like, just remember to bring your camera!
Sunday (Sept. 3), 12-9 p.m.
Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville
Head to downtown Asheville for a free music and arts festival back for a 15th year. The festival (formerly known as the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival) brings together music, dance, theater, art, and food. It’s a celebration embracing all of Asheville’s artistic culture: past, present and future! Find the festival on Lexington Avenue from College Street to the intersection at I-240, Walnut Street (between Broadway and Rankin) and Hiawassee Street (from Broadway to Rankin).
Cap a full day of adventure in the mountains with top-notch live entertainment.
An Asheville staple, The Midnight Plowboys, will perform traditional music of the southern Appalachian Mountains in an intimate setting at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall on Saturday (Sept. 2) at 7 p.m. Enjoy great food and drinks while listening to the sounds of fiddle, bluegrass, Americana, old-time, folk and classic country music. Learn how to reserve your table.
Saturday night marks the final Shindig on the Green of the 2017 season. Shindig is a free outdoor mountain music concert that begins “along about sundown” (about 7 p.m.) in downtown Asheville's Pack Square Park.
Also Saturday night, in celebration of musical talent in Western North Carolina, the Music Foundation of WNC presents its Annual World Masterwork Series Benefit Concert at the Diana Wortham Theater in downtown Asheville at 7 p.m. The concert will benefit the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. This extraordinary "3Bs" concert will feature rarely heard Johann Sebastian Bach concertos written for three pianos. Even on the world-stage, three-piano concerts of this nature are rare, technically challenging and beautiful beyond compare. As of Wednesday morning, less than 20 tickets were remaining!
In nearby Black Mountain, Marcel Anton, Artimus Pyle and Rhoda Weaver come together at The White Horse on Saturday (Sept. 2) at 8 p.m. for a tribute to R&B musical legends. Hear the songs of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Ray Vaughan, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin.
The international tribute show to the Rolling Stones, Satisfaction, rolls into the Orange Peel on Friday at 9 p.m. With more than 2500 performances to its credit, this highly-acclaimed production showcases the most authentic cast and costuming of its kind.
On the stage, Asheville Community Theater presents The Producers. The plot is simple: a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history thereby bilking their backers out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit! Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. Can’t make it this weekend? The show runs through September 10.
Sunday and Monday (Sept. 3-4)
Sorrells Street Park, Canton
The city of Canton, just 20 miles west of Asheville, is the host of the oldest Labor Day Festival in the south. The 111th Canton Labor Day Festival is two days of free music, featuring 15 bands from across the region. Food trucks, a farmers market, car show, gospel show, parade, and handmade craft expo, are also part of the celebration.
The mild temperatures of late summer make for great weather to dine outdoors! Asheville has earned the nickname, “Paris of the South,” in large part because of the many beautiful outdoor dining patios. We asked our Facebook fans for their favorite places to dine al fresco. Check out their recommendations before you head out for a meal this weekend.