Top Spring Events in Asheville 2019
By Jason Tarr
Updated February 26, 2019
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, April 1-May 23: Nothing says spring quite like the tens of thousands of blooms bursting on the grounds of Biltmore, America’s largest home. The two-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, April 6-7: 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 21st year.
- Asheville Herb Festival, May 3-5: The largest herb festival in the United States and Canada is now in its 30th year. Learn from herb growers, herbalists and related businesses while also seeing demonstrations from experts on natural gardening and landscaping.
Music in the Mountains
Get into a rhythm this season with these toe-tapping music celebrations.
- Asheville Amadeus Festival, March 15-24: From music to dance, from theater to beer, Asheville takes center stage during the Asheville Amadeus Festival. The Asheville Symphony hosts the 10-day festival. While the festival is inspired by the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the music you’ll hear represents many genres, so the festival is fit for all musical tastes and ages. This year's festival features GRAMMY Award-winning rock guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes.
- French Broad River Festival, May 3-5: 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 9-12: 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.
- Montford Music & Arts Festival, May 18: 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 16th 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 “A Vanderbilt House Party: The Gilded Age,” February 9-May 27: The exhibition will highlight the festive celebrations when the Vanderbilts entertained guests at Biltmore during the Gilded Age. The exhibit will feature Gilded Age-era clothing on display and a new audio-guided tour that utilizes innovative 360-degree sound techniques. To make the exhibit all the more fascinating and immersive, each piece of clothing will be displayed in locations of Biltmore House where it was originally worn, paired with the photograph from the Vanderbilt archives that inspired it.
- 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.
- Connect Beyond Festival, April 5-7: This festival utilizes music, film and storytelling to create connections. Among the experiences are cutting-edge music conversations and performances, inspiring speakers, captivating films and more.
- Weaverville Art Safari, April 27-28: 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.
- Black Mountain Art By the Tracks, June 1: 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 22nd annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
- XPand Fest, June 8: 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.
- Asheville Bread Festival, April 13-14: Experience the 15th annual 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.
- Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest, April 28: 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 Beer Week, May 24-June 1: 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 8-9: 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.
Watch Major Sporting Events
Asheville will have everything this year from Team USA tennis action to world-class cycling to top-level college basketball.
- Team USA vs. Australia in The Fed Cup, February 9-10: The Fed Cup, considered the world cup of women’s professional tennis, will return to Asheville for the second consecutive year! Asheville becomes the first U.S. city in more than a decade to host consecutive Fed Cup "ties." In 2018, Team USA faced The Netherlands at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. The star-studded event featured Serena Williams, Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis. In 2019 in Asheville, Team USA will face off against Australia. The players for 2019 have yet to be announced.
- SoCon Basketball Championships, March 7-11: March Madness begins in Asheville! Don't miss the chance to see some of the nation's best conference tournament action as the men's and women's teams of the Southern Conference (Division I) battle for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2019 Championships feature a full lineup of events for fans. Your kids will love dribbling through Asheville for the Downtown Dribble and KidsFest. Hear great music at the Ingles JamFest. And, show your community support during the SoCon Teddy Bear Toss and Hometown Heroes Night.
- Haute Route Asheville, May 17-19: Experience the Blue Ridge Mountains with some of the world's top cyclists during Haute Route Asheville, a prestigious European-based cycling event. During the three-day event, each stage will begin and end in Asheville's vibrant downtown. The first two stages will take riders to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Cheer on the riders at the start line and then spend the day exploring all that Asheville has to offer!
Updated February 26, 2019