15 Must-Do Summer Events in AVL 📅

LEAF Downtown. Photo: @leaf_community_arts

LEAF Downtown. Photo: @leaf_community_arts

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Ahhhh, summer in Asheville. Is there anything like it? Where Tubing, climbing and swimming is king, and we’ve written about all three (click on the links to see our guides).

As you piece together your weekend plans for the summer, make sure you stay in town for these 15 must-do events in Asheville.


1️⃣ All Go West Music Festival | June 16-17 | West Asheville | Free | Asheville’s favorite five-stage summer festival, All Go West, returns for another year of music, arts + beer. Featured music includes AVL faves Made of Oak (one half of Sylvan Esso), Shaken Nature, Kitty Tsunami, Nest Egg, AXXA/ABRAXAS, Indigo DeSouza + more. See the full lineup here. Note: All Go West is cash only and dogs will not be allowed.

2️⃣ Weirdo Con 2018 | June 19 | 9 p.m.–2 a.m. | Sly Grog Lounge | 271 Haywood St. | $10 at door | Have one of those “keep Asheville weird” bumper stickers on your car? Put your money where your mouth is with this aptly named event. Featuring drag, sideshows, puppetry, clowning, performance art + more. The Brain Washing Machin3 from New Orleans will join as a special installation/performance artist guest. We watched their promotional videos and still can’t figure out what’s going on, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

3️⃣ Puppet Paradise: Puppeteers of America Southeast Regional Festival | June 28–July 1 | $5/$10+ | Warren Wilson College campus | 701 Warren Wilson Rd. | Puppet shows of all kinds, puppet-making workshops and the Wham, Bam! Puppet Slam descend on Warren Wilson as performers from all over the country bring their talents to the 828. Every ticketed event is open to the public.


1️⃣ 4th of July in Downtown Asheville | July 4 | 2–10 p.m. | Pack Square Park | Free | A fireworks extravaganza will cap off the evening at 9:30 p.m. See live music from the Larry Keel Experience and other performances and cool off in the Splashville Fountain. Protip: Catch the Ultimate Air Dogs (and enter your own dog), who will be competing in jumping + swimming for prizes. Competitions are at 2, 4 + 6 p.m. with the finalist round at 7:30 p.m.

2️⃣ The Big Crafty Birthday Party Edition | July 15 | 11 a.m.–7 p.m. | Pack Square Park | Free | The Big Crafty turns 10! Celebrate a decade of handmade arts, crafts + more creative work.

3️⃣ Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands | July 20–22 | 10 a.m. –5 p.m. | U.S. Cellular Center | $8, children 12 and under free | Now in its 71st year, the fair features two floors of handcrafted objects from the region in all different mediums, along with demonstrations so you can see the artists in action.

4️⃣ Asheville Yoga Festival | July 26–29 | Downtown Asheville | $130+ | The Yoga Festival returns for a weekend of classes, workshops, panels + music featuring national and international stars of the yoga world, including MC Yogi + Amanda Giacomini, Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Jean Jacques Gabriel + DJ Sol Rising.

5️⃣ Folkmoot Festival | July 27 | 2 p.m. + 7 p.m. | Diana Wortham Auditorium | $31 for adults, $15 for students, children 12 and under free | Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and traditional music. Catch more performances from Folkmoot between July 19–29 across the region; see the full schedule here.

6️⃣ Battle of the Burger at Salvage Station | July 29 | 2–6 p.m. | The Salvage Station | $55 | Up to 15 of Western North Carolina’s greatest chefs fire up their grills on the banks of the beautiful French Broad River in hopes of winning the title of WNC’s Best Burger.


1️⃣ LEAF Downtown Asheville | August 3–4 | Pack Square Park | Free | “Get Down” (their summer fest theme) with the LEAF Festival + LEAF Community Arts over two days of music, arts + culture featuring headliners Maceo Parker + Grandmaster Flash, plus tons of other special guests. See the full lineup here.

2️⃣ Asheville Comedy Festival presented by Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival | August 9–11 | Various locations | See comedy showcases from local + national acts, including Ken Miller, Gabe Pacheco + Chloe Stillwell, at Diana Wortham Theatre, Highland Brewing Co. + late-night venues around town. Ticket information coming soon.

3️⃣ Lake Lure Olympiad Opening Celebration | August 10 | The Beach at Rumbling Bald Resort | 112 Mountain Blvd. | Prices vary according to event | Lake Lure, N.C. | Register now for foot + bicycle races, triathlons, pickleball + more to get you sweating for a good cause at this celebration, where all proceeds go to area charities and service organizations.

4️⃣ Sourwood Festival | August 11–12 | 9 a.m.–5 p.m. | Downtown Black Mountain | Free | “Bee” sure to put this fun small-town festival on your list. The Sourwood Festival in downtown Black Mountain celebrates our bees and local sourwood honey. Stroll down several streets with 200 vendors, eat festival food and listen to big variety of live music.

5️⃣ Riverfest + Anything That Floats Parade | noon–8 p.m. | August 18 | New Belgium Brewing | 21 Craven St. | RiverFest, a music festival and fundraiser for RiverLink, runs June–September, but the August installment, which will feature LYRIC, Northside Gentleman + Kill the Clique, is also the day of the Anything That Floats Parade, which means it’s your chance to see some of the wildest + most creative floats in Asheville. Registration for the parade opens soon.

6️⃣ OrganicFest | 10 a.m.–6 p.m. | August 26 | Pack Square Park | Free | Sample organic food + drink, buy organic + sustainably-sourced crafts, participate in a “Bee Organic!” Parade, and dance to live music from artists like Sherri Lynn and Mountain Friends, Bryan Divisions, Ben Phan + more.

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