Top Events and Festivals in Asheville, NC
By Jason Tarr
Asheville Festivals, Events & Exhibits at a Glance
Which fest is the best? Here are top choices for Asheville festivals, events and exhibits happening throughout the year in Asheville.
Truly one of the great things about Asheville is that no matter what time of year you visit, there’s a good chance you’ll find a festival or event taking place either in the streets of downtown, by the banks of the French Broad River or tucked away in a remote mountain meadow. Ashevillians love a good party and with so many celebrations planned throughout the year, it’s no wonder why this place was dubbed "the happiest city in America."
The following list is a mere sampling of some of the best mountain music jamborees, foodie-fueled fiestas and artsy adventures you’ll find throughout the year in the Asheville area. Choosing which one to attend may seem a challenge at first, but with such a diverse mix of festivals, events and special exhibits you’re sure to find one to suit your style.
April 1 - May 26, 2022
Welcome spring in high style with more than 130,000 flowers, blooming in gardens fit for a Vanderbilt. At Biltmore Blooms, the estate's annual festival of flowers, the color and fragrance of orchids and thousands of spring bulbs steal the show.
May 27 - 30, 2022
GRINDFest is a free, four-day festival that celebrates Black freedom, as well as the success of Black entrepreneurs + business owners in Asheville. Held in the River Arts District, the celebration includes a weekend full of music, live performances, food, local vendors + learning opportunities.
Asheville Beer Week
May 27 - June 5, 2022
Asheville has become a craft beer boomtown in the Southeast. Every year ushers in new breweries, each adding new and distinctive flavors to the Beer City USA palette. With so many options, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze all the hoppy goodness Asheville offers into one weekend. Our solution? Take an entire week to celebrate! Go ahead and clear your schedule now because you won’t want to miss any of the citywide happenings, including brewery tours, tastings and dinner pairing events.
Other Asheville spring festivals: HardLox Jewish Festival, LEAF Retreat and Weaverville Art Safari.
June 11, 2022
Downtown Asheville comes alive with the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes and extraordinary talent of Latin America. Don't miss the delicious food vendors and shopping.
Asheville Ideas Fest
June 15 - 18, 2022
New for 2022, the Asheville Ideas Fest will engage distinguished global thought leaders in the ideas of our time. Make plans to experience this inaugural event that will open with a compelling talk from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham.
American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection
June 18 - September 5, 2022
Held at the Asheville Art Museum, this traveling exhibit showcases over 80 stellar works of folk and self-taught art. Originally displayed at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, American Perspectives includes assemblages, needlework, paintings, pottery, quilts and sculpture that demonstrates meaning in the makers’ worlds filtered through their own perceptions.
Mountain Dance and Folk Festival
August 4 - 6, 2022
Hailed as the nation’s longest running folk festival, this is the preeminent event for old-time and bluegrass music. Here, ballad singers, banjo players and cloggers converge to tell stories of a by-gone era through their music and dance, and by doing so they continue to preserve our classic Southern Appalachian culture. If you can’t make it for this annual August event, you may be able to catch a summer showing of Shindig on the Green, a smaller, yet just as lively, concert series held for free on select Saturdays in downtown Asheville.
Other Asheville summer festivals: Sourwood Festival, Asheville Comedy Festival and Downtown After 5.
Blue Ride Pride Festival
September 24, 2022
Y'all means all in Asheville! The Blue Ridge Pride Festival comes together to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through inclusion, entertainment, education, art and more. Held in downtown Asheville, the annual event features a Welcome Parade, musical acts, food and dozens of vendors.
Asheville Art in the Park
October 1, 8, & 15, 2022
Explore and purchase artwork by some of the finest artists in the region. Asheville Art in the Park takes place on three consecutive Saturdays in downtown Asheville in October. Some of the local artists who exhibit at these events are nationally-known. Not only can you take home a one-of-a-kind piece, when you make a purchase you'll also be helping to support a local art non-profit organization.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
October 13 - 16, 2022
Showcasing the finest artwork of nearly 200 craftspeople from around the region, this four-day festival offers a unique opportunity to watch artists practice their craft in live demonstrations. Live music also helps set the stage for this event, which features work across every medium, including clay, glass, fiber, paper, wood, jewelry, leather, and metal.
Other Asheville fall festivals: Goombay Festival, Asheville Oktoberfest and WNC Garlic Fest.
Christmas at Biltmore
November 4, 2022 - January 8, 2023
See stunning decorations at America's largest home. Nearly 100 hand-decorated Christmas trees, include a 35-foot fraser fir in the Banquet Hall, transform the home for the holidays. In the evenings, Biltmore glows with candlelight and firelight for Candlelight Christmas Evenings (separate admission). Step back in time and experience Biltmore much like the Vanderbilt's did during their first Christmas Eve in 1895! See our Christmas at Biltmore guide for more information.
Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
November 18, 2022 - January 8, 2023
Nearly one million lights illuminate the nationally-known gardens creating a whimsical winter wonderland. Along the self-guided walking tour, see magical glowing natural landscapes including the popular Quilt Garden and 50-foot animated tree! Tickets must be purchased in advance. Check out our guide to Winter Lights for tips on visiting.
Dickens in the Village
December 2 - 4, 2022
The beautiful, historic district of Biltmore Village transports you back in time to the days of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol! The Old World Dickens in the Village Festival is an immersive holiday experience featuring performances by strolling carolers, actors and musicians dressed in costume.
Other Asheville winter festivals: Lake Julian Festival of Lights, Asheville Restaurant Week and Asheville Celtic Fest.