Are you ready for fall? We certainly are. It’s been a fun-filled summer, but we’re a little tired of the heat and are ready to welcome autumn. We have an inkling you’re ready to plan an autumn getaway too. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of the top 10 fall festivals in western NC to help you plan that perfect leaf-peeping getaway. From cheese and cider to pumpkin patches and mustache contests, we’re sure you’ll find a festival that’s just right for you. 

September Fests Kick off the Season 

While the first day of fall is not till Sept. 23, Asheville and the surrounding area is so excited for this change of season, that it’s planning fall festivals a little ahead of time. September has numerous choices including:  

CHOW CHOW: Sept. 7-10: This festival showcases Asheville’s creativity and community-mindedness through food, art, storytelling and more. This year’s festival themes focus on collaboration, innovation, preservation and cultivation.  

ASAP Farm Tours: Sept. 23-24. Are you ready for a farm-fantastic adventure? Hop in your car and plan your farm-friendly route with tips from the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). All farms are located within one hour from Asheville and are arranged in convenient clusters making for an easy-to-plan itinerary. There are more than 20 participating farms offering demos, guided tours, tastings and education.  

ClawtoberFest: Sept. 16: Asheville’s original brewery – Highland Brewing Company – is excited to host ClawtoberFest. Its Oktoberfest-style party will take place in The Meadow filled with German-inspired beers, food, music and games. Try your beer balancing skills during the stein race or enter the moustache contest and show off that dazzling upper lip fuzz.  

Flock to the Rock Fest: Sept. 30: If birdwatching gets your heart all a flutter, this is the fall festival for you! In its 15th year, this event takes place at Chimney Rock State Park during the fall migration of birds and monarch butterflies. There are opportunities to meet raptors and take naturalist-led tours too. 

Go “Flock to the Rock” — Chimney Rock’s Annual Fall Festival. Photo credit: Chimney Rock State Park

Immerse Yourself in October Fall Festivals

Now that autumn is in full swing, take your pick of some of the top fall festival travel destinations this year: 

Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival: Oct. 8: This fall festival is a cheese lover’s dream. It’s hosted in the charming mountain town of Black Mountain at the Oak and Grist Distilling Company. You’ll have an opportunity to sample and purchase an incredible variety of local cheeses and other tasty treats such as pretzels, pickles, coffee and vegan cheese too.  

Art in the Park: Oct. 7, 14 and 21: Now in its second decade, Art in the Park takes places in the center of Asheville, Pack Square, where nationally-known artists exhibit – and they’re all local. Everything from glass and metal to ceramic and wood can be found while strolling the vendors in this impressive outdoor art experience.  

Asheville Vegan Fest: Oct. 8: Held in Asheville’s Pack Square, this year’s event is sponsored by Friendly Fields Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rescue and sanctuary. Activities will include educational speakers, live music, delicious vegan food, a kids’ fun zone and more. So, if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet, this is the place to be. This fall festival is free to all, but donations are accepted. 

Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands: Oct. 19-22: Seventy-six years and going strong! This fall festival is truly an autumn travel destination. Hosted in downtown Asheville at Harrah’s Cherokee Center, more than 200 artisans will showcase a variety of crafts ranging from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry. There will be live music and craft demos too. 

Carolina CiderFest: Oct. 21: There’s nothing like a crisp cider to celebrate that newly-found nip in the air. Sample everything from hard cider and mead to apple wine and seltzers while taking in the historic McCormick Field, the event’s venue, and home to Asheville’s minor league baseball team – the Asheville Tourists. 

Black Mountain Fall Festival: Oct. 14: Black Mountain Home is a supportive home for youth of all ages. This is its signature event. There’s a car show, pumpkin patch, wagon rides and a basket auction that’s developed some notoriety over the years. Come find out how this place has been caring for children, youth, and families since 1904. 

So, once you’ve made up your mind to plan your Autumn getaway, you’ll need a place to stay. Maddie’s Mountain Getaway is an ideal choice. Located in Black Mountain, it’s centrally located for all these fun fall festivals. You can search for more here

Happy fall y’all!