Festivals & Events

You can't sip an award winning wine from a dot on a map. You can't bike on Dark Mountain on the lake through your computer screen. You can't learn to drive a race car commuting to work. Some places are the same in a magazine or on TV. Wilkes County is not one of those places. Our pride and joy are our mountain views, eco-conscious activities, and our living heritage. Come visit and exhale.

The region springs alive in Wilkes County when the fun-filled festivals begin. Whether you are sipping wine at the Shine to Wine festival or tapping your toes at Merlefest, everyone will welcome the spring season with great festival food and entertainment. Ahhh….exhale.

There is something for everyone all year long in Wilkes. For more information click on the links below and remember to visit our Local Events Calendar for a list of more upcoming events.

Fall Festivals

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival
One of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast held the 1st Saturday of October since 1978 in downtown North Wilkesboro. And remember to bring your lawn chair for Friday night's "Apple Jam" - live entertainment on the corner of 10th and Main Streets in the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Park.

Carolina in the Fall
Since 2003, musical hosts, the Kruger Brothers from Switzerland, invite their talented musicians & friends to join them for Americana, Traditional Bluegrass, & Appalachian Mountain music in an outdoor family setting. Experience music workshops, children's activities & the "NC Banjo Championship".

Light-Up Downtown North Wilkesboro
Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro annually kicks off the Holiday Season with the Lights, Joys, Smells, and Sounds of Christmas on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Santa never tires of having his picture taken with the little ones. Enjoy hay rides, live music and entertainment, food, crafts and more.

Trail of Treats on the Greenway
Happy Halloween!!! Trick or Treaters have safely ventured on the Yadkin River Greenway Trail of Treats for some spooky and some not so scary treats! Sponsored annually since 2003 by the NWPD on the Saturday before 10/31 unless October 31st falls on Saturday.

Wilkes Agricultural Fair
Fun rides, music, entertainment, and agricultural exhibits featuring the county's many natural resources, varieties of garden produce, canned goods, country crafts, baked goods, hand crafted quilts, livestock and more. Annually in October beginning the 2nd Tuesday through Saturday held at the North Wilkesboro Rotary Fairgrounds.

Winter Festivals

Christmas with Old Wilkes
Live Holiday music ~ refreshments and merriment for all! Tours include the Wilkes Heritage Museum (20th Century), Old Wilkes Jail (19th Century), and Robert Cleveland Cabin (18th Century) decorated in period style Holiday splendor. Santa is always there too! 2008 features a Revolutionary Reenactment. 2nd Saturday in December since 2005.

Christmas Parade
On the 1st Saturday of December beginning at 1:00pm community businesses and organizations parade through downtown North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro in the splendor and majesty of Christmas with all the trimmings and of course Santa will be there but not in a sleigh.... he will be riding atop a Fire Truck! 

Festival of Trees
Each year festively decorated trees, wreathes, and gift baskets donated by local businesses and various hospital departments are on display in Wilkes Regional Medical Center's hospital lobby as a gift to the community. Items auctioned benefit health care programs sponsored by The Health Foundation.

Holiday Tour of Homes
Enjoy the beautiful splendor, harmonious sounds, and decadent tastes of Christmas by touring magnificent homes extraordinarily designed & decorated. Dessert reception follows. Annual since 2002. Wilkes Art Gallery (336)667-2841.

Check our Calendar of Events for the area's New Year's Eve Celebrations! HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you in 2011!

Spring Festivals

Beach Bash
Bike enthusiasts gather for live entertainment, music and more in May since 2000 at CrossRoads Harley Davidson-Buell in Wilkesboro. Plus, many participate in the Dream Ride
benefit for Ebenezer's Christian Children's Home.

Bluegrass In Wilkes
All day Bluegrass Festival held at Forest Edge Amphitheater in Wilkesboro since May 2007. Proceeds exclusively are used for improvements to the trails for hikers, bikers, and horses in the Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest.

Music lovers of all kinds enjoy this four day traditional plus music festival beginning the last weekend starting with Thursday in Apri, and is spread all over the Wilkes Community College Campus. This event has been hosted by Doc & Richard Watson in memory of Eddy Merle Watson since 1988.

Shine to Wine
Wine festival held in Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro since Spring 2004 featuring Yadkin Valley wines, live music, crafts, food, and culinary chef's competition.

Summer Festivals

Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Induction ceremony each year in June honoring rich musical heritage of the greater Blue Ridge Mountain area from northern Georgia to northern Virginia . The Hall of Fame is on display in Wilkes Heritage Museum located in Wilkesboro.

Independence Day Celebration
Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy this American tradition! The whole family will get excited about the Emergency Vehicle Parade that begins one hour before the fireworks begin at dusk. Happy Birthday America!

Moonshine & Thunder: The Junior Johnson Story
Wilkes Playmakers, Inc. present one man's life that truly reflects on those living in the foothills of North Carolina in the 1930's. Outdoor performances since 2007 at Forest Edge Amphitheater, Wilkesboro.

Night of Fire Bring
your family and lawn chairs for the PRE-Fourth of July celebration with afternoon live entertainment, food and beverages with fire works beginning at dusk @ CrossRoads Harley Davidson-Buell.

"Tom Dooley: A Wilkes County Legend''
People have been intrigued with Tom Dula (also known as Tom Dooley) for over a century... the hanging of a man, many believed innocent. This true story of love & murder has been told in a gripping performance by Wilkes Playmakers since 2001. Outdoor performances held in Summer at Forest Edge Amphitheater in Wilkesboro. Explore the Legend of Tom Dooley for yourself...