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Stories from the Smokies

Sack race at Swain County’s annual Heritage Festival

Celebrating the Seasons

Throughout the year, Bryson City offers family-friendly festivals and events sure to please. Beginning in late spring, we celebrate the fresh fruits and vegetables grown here with events at Darnell Farms, and at our Farmer’s Market (May through October). In August, we show-off home-grown produce and farm animals at the County-wide Agricultural Fair, complete with judging and ribbons.

In Fall, we celebrate pumpkins with you-pick spots on the farm and also a fun-filled festival on the Nantahala River. And we top it off with our Annual Downtown Trick-or-Treat, Enjoy a family friendly, safe, and small-town Halloween event. With the streets closed, the kids are out in full force to fill their bags with candy from the costumed downtown merchants. And don’t forget to dress up your furry friends for the Canine Critter Contest. Enjoy some games and a photo opp at the Caboose.

We showcase our Appalachian heritage on Memorial Day weekend at the county’s heritage festival, complete with a cross-cut log-sawing contest, sack races, clogging, great food and music. In the fall, there are two other regional Heritage Festivals.

Christmas celebrations begin in early November and include not only Polar Express and our Christmas Parade, but a Christmas drive-thru light show and wonderland hayrides under the trees at Darnell Farms. Check out the full schedule of Holiday events.

Our neighbors in Cherokee celebrate their heritage in summer with stories around a bonfire, fishing tournaments and their annual PowWow in July.

Planning a trip to Bryson City? Check out our events calendar to see if one of these festivals or events is happening.

NOCtoberfest features paddlers vying to collect the most floating pumpkins at Nantahala Falls
4H club County Fair winners
4H Club championship winners at the Swain County Agricultural Fair
July 4th fireworks
Bryson City’s Fourth of July fireworks are shot from Airport Hill, making them watchable from any place in town.
Storytellin at the Cherokee bonfire
Enjoy Cheokee bonfire storytelling Memorial Day weekend and throughout October

On the Farm

Darnell Farms celebrates holidays, as well as fruits and vegetables in season with music, crafters and vendors  at their farm on the banks of the Tuckasegee River.

  • St. Patrick’s Day – March
  • Eggstraganza – Easter
  • Strawberry Jam – May
  • Summer Splash – June
  • Sweet Corn Festival – July
  • Peach Jam – July
  • Watermelon Bash – July
  • Sunflower Hippie Festival – August
  • Back to School Bash – August
  • Fall Frenzy – September
  • Plow Day & Harvest Festival – October
  • Christmas Wonderland Hayrides – November – December

Heritage & Freedom

Experience the heritage of the mountains of Western North Carolina at these festivals throughout the year.


Log sawing at the Heritage Festival
Cross-cut log sawing is a highlight of the Heritage Festival
NOC's GAF outfitter sale
The Guest Appreciation Festival is NOC’s annual ‘yard sale’ of used rafting and kayaking gear
Bryson City's July 4th Freedom Fest

Freedom Fest, Bryson City July 4 street festival, features arts, crafts, food and music followed by a super fireworks show at 10 pm.

Farmers Market

Smoky Mountain Farmers & Artisans Market. Stop by the old barn by the river for local, homegrown produce as well as baked goods, jellies and preserves, authentic crafts, and more. Food truck, picnic tables, musicians. Leashed pets welcome. Fridays & Saturdays, May thru October. A festive Holiday Market is held on select weekends in November and December,


The Nantahala River is a fun place to be when these family-friendly outdoor festivals kick into gear.

Silly rafts on the Nantahala

River guides kick off each season with a raft of silliness at ERA’s Nantahala Open

Vendor booths at the farmers market

Visit the Smoky Mountain Farmers & Artisans Market, Fridays and Saturdays, May thru October.

Darnell Farms Christmas Festival

Darnell Farms concludes a full year of seasonal festivals with Christmas Wonderland Hayrides

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