Top Spring Events in Asheville 2018
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by Jason Tarr
As the warmer temperatures bring beautiful blooms to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s calendar of festivals and celebrations also blossoms. Experience these colorful events that are sure to help you leave winter behind and put that spring back in your step.
Spring Flowers and the Outdoors Reign
These Asheville happenings embody the bright spirit of spring.
- Biltmore Blooms, March 20-May 24: Nothing says spring quite like the tens of thousands of blooms bursting on the grounds of Biltmore, America’s largest home. The three-month spring flower celebration kicks off with orchids in the conservatory and 50,000 tulips of all shades and hues. April brings irises, roses and azaleas. Pink and white Mountain Laurel and rhododendrons close the show.
- Asheville Orchid Festival, March 24-25 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.): World-class orchid growers and regional orchid societies exhibit brilliant displays of these beloved blooms at the North Carolina Arboretum. Orchids will be for sale by vendors from around the world during the festival, which is now in its 20th year.
- Asheville Herb Festival, May 4-6 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fri./Sat.; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun.): The largest herb festival in the United States and Canada is now in its 29th year. Learn from herb growers, herbalists and related businesses while also seeing demonstrations from experts on natural gardening and landscaping.
- Mountain Sports Festival, May 25-27: Celebrate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with other outdoor sports enthusiasts, gear makers, and adventure companies. In addition to adventurous competitions, this free event also features live music and great food!
Music in the Mountains
Get into a rhythm this season with these toe-tapping music celebrations.
- French Broad River Festival, May 4-6: Spend the weekend along the banks of the French Broad River in beautiful Hot Springs at the Hot Springs Campground and Spa, just 35 miles north of Asheville. Listen to regional and national recording artists or try your hand at the river raft race or mountain bike race.
- LEAF Festival (Black Mountain), May 10-13: Join together with thousands of music lovers gathered at beautiful Lake Eden in the nearby town of Black Mountain to experience powerful music, art and culture. This 20-year tradition takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. The event is headlined by Ani DiFranco, Snarky Puppy and Rising Appalachia.
- Montford Music & Arts Festival, May 19 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.): With tree-lined streets and historic homes, Montford Avenue provides the perfect stage for some of the best music, arts and crafts and food trucks together in one place for a one-day event. In this 15th year of the neighborhood festival, more than 20 musical acts will perform continuously throughout the day.
Art on Display
Asheville is known for its creative spirit. See hundreds of artists in action as you experience their creativity first-hand.
- Biltmore Exhibit “Glamour on Board: Fashion From Titanic the Movie,” February 9-May 13: The first-of-its-kind exhibition showcasing fashion from the movie Titanic will include iconic costumes worn by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This is the first large-scale exhibition of the costumes from the Oscar-winning film. You will have the chance to see more than 50 costumes placed throughout the house. And, you will learn about the real-life connection Biltmore’s George and Edith Vanderbilt had to the Titanic.
- Downtown Art Walks, First Fridays April-December (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.): Discover Asheville’s vibrant downtown as you venture to 20 galleries within a half-mile radius of the city center. Along the way, experience everything from fine studio crafts to glass, photography to folk art, and contemporary painting to metalwork.
- Weaverville Art Safari, April 28-29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.): Make your way from one studio to another in the nearby community of Weaverville. The self-guided tour allows you to go behind-the-scenes with the artists at your own pace. Get a sneak peek at the art during the preview party on Friday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m.
- Biltmore Exhibit “Chihuly at Biltmore,” May 17-October 7: For the first time in North Carolina, the monumental glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly will be on large-scale exhibition. The glass sculptures will be set throughout areas of Biltmore House, gardens and grounds. As part of the exhibition, Biltmore will host a first-ever evening experience, Chihuly Nights, in the gardens that will offer views of the sculptures after dark.
- Summer of Glass, May-October: Dozens of local glass artists, studios and galleries are creating events and exhibits across the Asheville area in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition at Biltmore. Among other activities, you'll have the chance to watch demonstrations of glass blowing, glass jewelry making, stained glass, enameling and working with glass beads.
- Black Mountain Art By the Tracks, June 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.): More than 50 fine artists and master crafters join together on Sutton Avenue near the Old Train Depot in historic downtown Black Mountain for this 21st annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
- XPand Fest, June 9 (12-9 p.m.): Expand your vision of all art disciplines during this free outdoor street festival in Asheville’s South Slope Brewery District. The festival is put on by XPand Your Vision, an Asheville-based non-profit organization dedicated to the arts.
Eat and Drink Well
With nicknames of “Beer City USA” and “Foodtopia,” Asheville has plenty to celebrate when it comes to its food and beer scenes.
- Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest, April 29 (12 a.m. to 5 p.m.): Calling all “curd nerds!” Cheese fans will delight at this day-long celebration at Highland Brewing. Taste delicious cheeses, meet cheese makers and local livestock, and enjoy some friendly competition.
- Asheville Bread Festival, May 5-6 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.): Experience the newly-revamped Asheville Bread Festival, which offers you the opportunity to work with professional bakers, improve your baking skills and, of course, enjoy delicious breads! This year’s event has a theme of “A Celebration of Rye.” New Belgium Brewery hosts the bread fair event on Saturday with additional workshops and lectures happening around town. Sunday features a Master Class for professional bakers. A pre-festival tour of the Bread Wheat Trial plots will take place Friday, May 4.
- Asheville Beer Week, May 25-June 2: Cheers to this festival, which dedicates nine full days to celebrating all things beer. Taste great local craft brews, pair beers with a smorgasbord of delicious food, and learn about brewing at events around town. More than 40 breweries are on tap to participate. Beer Week closes with the popular Beer City Festival in Pack Square Park (June 2), which celebrates the local brewing industry with taps from dozens of breweries and plenty of live music.
- VeganFest, June 8-10: Celebrate the joy of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods. On Saturday, hear from nationally-recognized experts talking about the latest vegan trends. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy an outdoor festival with more than 75 vendors showcasing vegan food, beer and lifestyle products.