15 Best Events in North Carolina's Mountains in 2022

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15 Best Events in North Carolina's Mountains in 2022

North Carolina residents have so many things to do. There's the beach, museums, state parks, fairs, music events, amusement parks, and much more. If you want to experience a bit of adventure and enjoy the rolling mountains in western North Carolina, browse our top 15 North Carolina mountain events in 2022 to find the right festival for you.

#1- Van Gogh Alive

Billed as the most visited multi-sensory experience in the world, Van Gogh Alive is an incredible way to start 2020. Let the exhibit captivate your senses with vibrant lights, colors, sounds, and fragrances. This is not your typical visit to an art museum! You'll feel like you're part of each piece of artwork. You may even get the sense that Van Gogh himself will walk through the door at any minute. 

Experience Van Gogh Alive at the Biltmore House from November 5, 2021, through March 5, 2022. Ticket prices start at $131 when you visit through January 9, 2022. For tickets purchased after January 9, prices start at $91. Biltmore is open daily. You'll find Biltmore at 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC, 28803. 

#2- Monet and Friends at Biltmore

One of the most famous names in art history is Claude Monet. The founder of impressionism filled his artwork with light and color. You've likely enjoyed his paintings of lilies on ponds or boats traveling along riversides.

Now, you won't have to visit London's Tate Gallery or The Met in New York City to see an original Monet. From March 9 - July 10, 2022, experience Monet and Friends at Biltmore. In addition to Monet, the exhibit features work by other leading Impressionists, including Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, and Edgar Degas.

Ticket prices start at $91 and include the audio-guided tour of Biltmore House. The address for Biltmore is 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803.

#3- BANFF Film Festival

Each year, the BANFF Center Mountain Film World Tour team selects roughly 35 films featuring a range of topics, styles, and themes. Films in 2021 included climbing, skiing, kayaking, biking, and adventure. Environmental and cultural films also made the cut.

Most screenings include about 6-10 films. In North Carolina, where multiple locations host the BANFF Film Festival World Tour and offer multiple screenings, the local host determines whether they run the same program each night or feature different films. You can view the films for 2021-2022 here.

The locations, dates, and contact information for the BANFF World Tour events in North Carolina for 2022:

Boone, NC

March 31, April 1-2, 2022

Appalachian State University


Brevard, NC

March 18-20, 2022

Brevard College

Charlotte, NC

April 13, 2022

Blumenthal Performing Arts

130 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC

Ticket prices vary depending on the location.

#4- White Squirrel Festival

Join visitors from all over the country on Memorial Day Weekend to celebrate at the White Squirrel Festival in Brevard, NC. The white squirrel has quite a story, some of it legend, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you may catch a glimpse of one of these whimsical critters. Even if the squirrels don't make an appearance at the festival, you'll enjoy soaking up the natural beauty of one of the top 10 coolest small towns in the US.

Renown as one of the top festivals for 2022 in the Smoky Mountains, it's a family-fun street festival showcasing local and international music performers and craft art vendors. The event also features plenty of food. Admission is free.

#5- Bryson City Freedom Fest

In the summer, don't miss Freedom Fest in Bryson City. Whether you love food trucks or restaurant dining, you'll find a mouth-watering banquet of festival food. It's not a celebration without plenty of BBQ, funnel cakes, hot dogs, and kettle corn.

In 2021, festival-goers experienced concerts at Railroad Square, a kid's activity area in Riverside Park, arts and crafts vendors, and one of the best fireworks shows in the Smokies for the grand finale. The celebration begins July 4, 2022, at 10 am. The city closes Everett Street for the event. Fireworks start at 10 pm. Check back closer to the event for the 2022 schedule.

Admission is free. The 2021 price for the kid's activity area was $5.

#6- Summit Crawl, Sugar Mountain

Are you a competitive trail runner, or do you prefer hiking at a more leisurely pace? Either way, you'll finish with a memorable experience at the Sugar Mountain Resort Summit Crawl during the Fourth of July Weekend. Regardless of how fast (or slow) you want to get to the top, the trek to Sugar Mountain's 5,300 ft summit will make an impression on how you celebrate the holiday. 

The Summit Crawl begins at Sugar Mountain Resort, located at 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Village of Sugar Mount. The registration fees for 2021 were: 

Adults (ages 13 and older): $45

Children (ages 12 and under): $35

#7- Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Save the date for what's sure to be one of the most popular North Carolina Mountain Events in 2022. Visit one of the state's most spectacular peaks for the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games, scheduled for July 7-10, 2022. 

There's fun for every age at the games, including Highland dance competitions, the chance to learn a few words of Gaelic, or how to create a piece of Celtic handiwork. All activities are set soundtracked with the haunting sound of bagpipes. The Scottish Highland Games feature athletic competitions you'll see nowhere else, including the Hammer Throw, Sheaf Toss, and the premier event—the Caber Toss.

The 2022 games begin on July 7 at 4 pm. Closing ceremonies take place July 10 at 4 pm. Admission (for 2021): $15 -$30 (ages 13 and older) Children (ages 5-12) $5.

#8- Brevard Summer Music Festival

Every summer, the Brevard Music Center presents well-known music performed by many of the Center's students alongside their instructors. Performances include world-class symphony, opera, folk, bluegrass, country, and jazz. Once again, the Brevard Summer Music Festival promises to be one of Asheville's top events in 2022. 

Tickets to Brevard Music Center's Summer Festival usually go on sale in early June. Generally, the festival begins during the second week in July and lasts for ten weeks. 2021 prices started at $20 for lawn tickets. You can also choose reserved covered seating —prices vary depending on the concert. Lawn seating is free for children under 17 (with a paying adult) and students 18 and older with a valid ID. 

#9- Sourwood Festival 

If you're looking for a wholesome, family-fun festival, visit Black Mountain, North Carolina, in August for the Sourwood Festival. The focus for the festival is on Sourwood honey, a Carolina mountain tradition. Downtown Black Mountain is filled with arts and crafts vendors and demonstrations, fantastic food, and traditional mountain music. For families, visit the petting zoo and pony rides as well as traditional amusement rides. 

The festival is hosted on 100 Sutton Avenue, Black Mountain, NC. Dates and times for this year's event are August 13, 2022, 9 am-8 pm, and August 14, 2022, 9 am-5 pm. Admission is free.

#10- Mayberry Days

The spirit of Andy Griffith lives on during Mayberry Days in Mt. Airy. Hosted by the Surry Arts Council, this year's festival takes place September 19-25. This is a family-friendly festival with activities for all ages.

Participate in "The Emmett" golf tournament, enjoy concerts by local bands, play checkers, and watch a parade. All Mayberry Days events are within walking distance of each other. Locations include the Andy Griffith Playhouse, Historic Earle Theatre, the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, the Blackmon Amphitheatre. 

Don't forget your walking shoes. Consider packing an umbrella as the festival goes on regardless of the weather. Come early to take advantage of the limited free parking downtown. Tickets for some events are on sale now, with prices starting at $25.

#11- French Broad River Festival

The French Broad River Festival takes place on the beautiful Hot Springs Resort & Spa campgrounds only 35 minutes north of Asheville. The festival includes live music performed by regional and national recording artists, arts and crafts vendors, lots of kid-friendly activities, and the Southeast's biggest mass-start, whitewater raft race.

The festival will take place during the spring, with dates and ticket prices to be determined. A portion of festival proceeds goes to a range of local charities. While you don't have to camp, there are RV sites available for the three-day event.

#12- Woolly Worm Festival

If you've never attended the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, you've missed out on making a fun memory! First, meet the stars of the festival — woolly worms. Participants coach their favorite worm in a series of race heats, hoping to win a cash prize. 

It wouldn't be a festival without rides, musicians, dance teams, handicraft vendors, and food. Some vendors even specialize in making woolly worm houses. 

Located at the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School, 185 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, the Woolly Worm Festival races begin each day around 10 am. The final races take place around 4 pm. The winning worm of the Saturday race wins $1,000 and the prestige of predicting the next winter's weather. Sunday's winner receives $500.


Adults $6.00 Cash/$7.00 Credit 

Children 6-12 $4.00 Cash/$5.00 Credit 

Children 5 and under are free!

Save the date for the weekend of October 15-16, 2022.

#13- The Great Bacon Chase

If you're looking for something hilariously fun, make sure you attend the Great Bacon Chase in Bryson City. The .05K (less than a block) fun run starts at the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium and finishes on Island Street near Mountain Layers Brewery. 

Who doesn't enjoy a good chase? You can be the bacon or chase the bacon with your dog. A bacon costume is included in your race registration.

The fun run usually takes place around October 9. Race coordinators will update plans for the 2022 event in the spring, including the registration fees.

#14- Polar Express

Fun for kids and kids-at-heart, the Polar Express Adventure is the perfect way to enjoy the holidays in the North Carolina mountains. Board this special holiday season train, operated by The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City. 

Wear pajamas just like the characters in the beloved children's book and movie. Listen to a reading of the Polar Express while sipping hot cocoa and snacking on freshly baked holiday cookies. The train stops at the decorated North Pole. Wait for Santa to jump on board the train and hand each child a special bell to keep.

The Polar Express runs from November 13 through December 31. Ticket prices range from $43-$93.

#15- Balsam Range Art of Music Festival 

If you're looking for one of the most popular must-attend events in North Carolina's mountains and you enjoy bluegrass music, make sure to save space on your calendar for the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival at Stuart Auditorium in Lake Junaluska.

Many of the top bluegrass and acoustic musicians from all over the country give concerts at this special end-of-the-year event. In addition to fantastic music performances, if you'd like to learn how to play or perfect your skill on the bass, banjo, mandolin, or guitar, plan to attend one of the Saturday afternoon workshops. There's also a songwriting workshop.

Generally, the festival opens at 5:30 pm. All concerts start at seven and last until around 9:30 pm. You won't leave hungry! Food trucks will be available Saturday afternoon and evening. 

In 2021, general admission tickets cost $40. The price included a meal before the show at the York Dining Hall and a seat in the lower area of Shackford Hall. VIP tickets ran for $80 and included a dinner with drinks, meet and greet opportunities, and seating in the upper area of Shackford Hall. Stay tuned for the 2022 schedule and prices.

Enjoy Exploring Our North Carolina Mountain Events in 2022

The North Carolina mountains offer a change of scenery and an opportunity to experience some great events any time of year. From winter train rides and art events to mountain hikes or golf outings on warmer days, there is always something fun going on up here! We hope we've inspired your next adventure exploring our beautiful state. 

For more information on the best North Carolina events in 2022, visit EZ Home Search.

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