10 Mountain Festival Experiences You Won’t Forget

There seems to be a festival for everything these days! Did you know there’s a Lightning Bug Festival?  Pretty cool actually but we have made you a list of local festivals that let you “do” something, experience something and feel like you have had a true authentic local festival memory for your Facebook photo album!



1. Soggy Bottom Farm and the Tin Shed Restaurant

tin shed

This local farm is a must on your visit to Mitchell County. Owner Lacey Queen prides herself on providing the most high quality chicken, beef, and pork products that are raised locally on her farm in Spruce Pine. After multiple years of success with her farm, Lacey decided to branch out and opened a small outdoor restaurant at her farm, the Tin Shed. Opened in Spring of 2017, the Tin Shed is serving up everything from slow smoked barbeque to massive burgers, all using the meat that is raised locally on her farm. Soggy Bottom Farms has been featured in CNN Travel as part of “12 of the world’s most enticing food and drink trails”. They have Spring and Fall Festivals each year where they have animal exhibits, games, food, music, hayrides, and local vendors that are free for the public to enjoy! Soggy Bottom Farms also has a small store where visitors can purchase many locally sourced items, such as fresh milk, eggs, meats, cheese, breads, ice cream, produce and more!

2. NC Rhododendron Festival Street Dance

People dancing at Rhododendron Festival Street Dance

If you are looking for a little bit of late night adventure during your summer visit, you must make the Rhododendron Festival in Bakersville a part of your stay. During the day, the streets of Bakersville bustle with people checking out the local artists, craftsmen, vendors, and others, but at night the town really comes alive. The main street of Bakersville is closed off to cars and traffic, but open to the hundreds of locals and visitors who come seeking an evening of unforgettable fun and dancing in the streets. With live music from great local bands and dancing until all at least midnight, this summer festival is one of the best ways to get a feel for the culture and creativity of Mitchell County.

3.Toe River Studio Tour



Every June and December, the local Toe River Arts Council hosts their semi-annual Studio Tour which local artists’ open their studios and workspaces to the public. Visitors can, at their own pace and time, seek out multiple studios by driving through the coves and hollows of the two mountain communities. This free, self-guided weekend event is the perfect road trip to experience Mitchell County, allowing visitors to drive through the meandering hills and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains to discover what the art of the journey is all about.

4. Kids Troutacular Festival

kids lined up with fish

If you have kids and you are seeking a fun outdoors activity, the annual Troutacular Festival is the perfect event for your Mitchell County Road Trip! With the help of adults and volunteers, children fish is the cold clear waters of the Toe River that runs through the heart of Spruce Pine and Cane Creek in Bakersville. This event takes place on the first Saturday of June in Riverside Park in downtown Spruce Pine and on the banks of the Cane Creek in Bakersville celebrating the designation of both towns as a Mountain Heritage Trout Cities. Kids get to compete in a fishing tournament, play games, and enjoy one of the greatest resources that Mitchell County has to offer. The river is stocked the night before the event, so come expecting your kids to catch a string of fish!

5. Annual Music Festival at Dellinger’s Grist Mill

Dellingers Mill in Bakersville, NC

What is more nostalgic than listening to mountain music in the shadow of a 200 year old grist mill? This road trip experience will take you back to a simpler time and give you a glimpse of what these mountains were like many years ago. This music festival is held annually in August and features several local bands and musicians that play everything from Bluegrass and Gospel to Country and Folk. While listening to some great music, you will also get to take in the scenery and experience the operation of the last working grist mill in the state.  Taking a bag of freshly ground grits or cornmeal home for your favorite recipe is an added bonus!

6.  MineFest at Emerald Village

Blacklight tours, Emerald Village Little Switzerland NC

Held annually each summer, the MineFest at Emerald Village has something fun for all ages! This event, featuring live music, treasure hunts, lectures from renowned geologists, mine tours, gem mining, food and more, will be a great road trip experiences for families! This festival is a local favorite, with lots of activities for both kids and adults. This three day event will be sure to inspire your inner rock hound! Don’t miss the Blacklight tour held in the evening where you will be amazed at the glow in the dark mine!

7.  Apple Butter Festival on the Bakersville Creekwalk


If you are looking for a fall leaf looking trip to Mitchell County, plan your road trip for October and come experience the Apple Butter Festival in Bakersville! This festival celebrates the tradition of using homegrown apples to make this famous mountain delicacy. As you walk along the Creekwalk, you will get to hear live music from local bands and musicians, shop from different vendors selling a variety of goods and food, and not to mention sample and purchase some of the best apple butter in the country while looking at the beautiful changing leaves! While in the Bakersville area, be sure to visit a local restaurant and drive up toward the Roan or near Loafers Glory for some spectacular views of fall foliage.

8.  Molasses Making at Harrell Hill Farm


As one of the largest producers of molasses in North Carolina, a visit to this farm is one of the most unique experiences for your Mitchell County Road Trip experience. Located in Bakersville, Harrell Hill Farms hosts a yearly molasses making day, where visitors can come and see firsthand how molasses is extracted and processed. This would make a perfect Fall road trip to visit Mitchell County where you can take your turn at helping create this dark syrupy treat.

9. North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival


One of our most famous summertime festivals is the perfect reason to plan a road trip to Mitchell County. This festival celebrates our heritage of mining by bringing in the finest gems, minerals, and vendors from all over the country to set up shop here in Mitchell County! After browsing some of the most unique and beautiful gems in the world, be sure to stop by some of the local shops and restaurants in Spruce Pine and a stop at the Museum of NC Minerals will delight all ages with the Smithsonian quality displays!  Don’t miss signing up for the mine trips during the Festival! They fill up fast and only happen once a year.

10.  Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival

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Who doesn’t love sitting in the warm summer sun eating a plate of smoked bbq while listening to some great music? If this sounds like your scene, then plan your Mitchell County road trip during the Annual Bluegrass and Barbeque Festival in Spruce Pine the third weekend in July! This annual summertime festival features mountain Bluegrass music, as well as many barbeque vendors from across the Southeast. This event is one of our favorites and has activities for the whole family! This festival is located at Riverside Park across from Downtown Spruce Pine, which is perfect for a shopping break or an ice cream after taking in a great day of music!

What’s your favorite?


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