This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Monday, which means there’s a whole long weekend leading up to it. More days to practice your sparkler dance, select your red, white and blue outfit and perfect your grilling technique. Once you’ve reached your personal peak of patriotic perfection, you’ll need someplace to strut your stuff — or at least gather with friends and family for a picnic and fireworks viewing.
Xpress has already done the legwork, rounding up the area’s festivals, parades, concerts, cookouts, antiques fairs, car shows, 5K races, hikes, street dances and fireworks displays. All you’ve got to do is pick one (or several) and have at it.
Friday-Sunday, July 1-3
• Hendersonville's Music on Main Street series starts on Friday, July 1 at the Visitors Information Center, 201 S. Main St. Four-piece band Sound Investment launches the July Fourth weekend with '60s and '70s classics. 7-9 p.m., free. historichendersonville.org.
• Can't get enough old cars? The Mountaineer Antique Auto Club Car Show & Flea Market takes place at Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher, Friday-Sunday, July 1-3. mountaineerantiqueautoclub.com.
• Shindig on the Green starts up again (for its 45th season) on Saturday, July 2. This is the second year that the festival (held Saturdays through Sept. 3, 7-10 p.m.) is back at Pack Square Park's Roger McGuire Green on the Bascom Lamar Lunsford stage. folkheritage.org/shindigonthegreen.htm.
• Cashiers Mountain Music Festival has only been up and running for two years, but it's already drawing class acts like The Steep Canyon Rangers and Earl Scruggs. This year, the festival runs Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3. Balsam Range headlines on Saturday. Doc Watson (accompanied by David Holt) closes the festival on Sunday — followed by a fireworks display at dark. cashiersnorthcarolina.com/cmmf.
• What's more Independence Day-appropriate than a patriotic pops concert? The Brevard Music Center has just that on Sunday, July 3. It's the Pendergast Family Patriot Pops with the Transylvania Symphonic Band, and joined by Brevard Community Band. Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, 2 p.m. $15-$35. brevardmusic.org.
• Downtown Asheville's Ingles Fourth of July Celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 3. Due to new safety regulation in downtown Asheville, the free event has been moved to Memorial Stadium. Bands, family activities (face painting, inflatable rides) and food vendors are on the roster. The festivities culminate with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. ashevillenc.gov.
• The Songcatchers Music Series begins its season with old-time musician Laura Boosinger. Sunday, July 3, 6 p.m. at the Cradle of Forestry. $6 adults/$3 youth. cradleofforestry.org.
• Music on Main Street returns on Sunday, July 3 with a special Fireworks Celebration Concert from 7:30-10 p.m. at the Visitors Information Center (201 South Main St., Hendersonville). Admission is free, bring a lawn chair. One-man-band Tom Brown — a professional entertainer since the '50s — performs oldies hits like "Crazy," "Duke of Earl," "Loco-Motion" and more. historichendersonville.org.
Monday, July 4
• Run for a good cause: The 18th annual Firecracker 5K, held in downtown Weaverville, benefits the Kiwanis Club of North Buncombe's scholarship program for North Buncombe students planning to attend college or technical school. The race begins at RBC Centura Bank on Weaverville Boulevard at 8 a.m. Entry fee is $25, online registration available up to 48 hours prior to the race, or in person on race day. northbuncombekiwanis.org.
• The Brevard Rotary Club hosts a 5K/10K Firecracker Run (the 16th annual), both of which wind through downtown Brevard. Check-in starts at 6:30 a.m. on race day; start time is 8 a.m. at 299 S. Broad St. next to the public library. Pre-register at brevardrotary.org/july-4th-firecracker-run.html. $30 for the 5K, $35 for the 10K, $20 (either race) for seniors and students under age 18.
• The annual Independence Day hike leaves from the parking lot of Black Mountain Savings Bank, 200 E. State St. at 6:30 p.m. Bring dinner, water, warm clothing and a folding chair (which will be transported for you). The hike takes 45 minutes on moderate-easy terrain to reach the peak of Sunset Mountain, where hikers can dine and watch the Black Mountain fireworks display. $15 members/$25 nonmembers. Register at 669-9566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• An Old Time Fair takes place on the grounds of the Transylvania Heritage Museum, 189 W. Main St., Brevard. According to the event website there will be "hot dogs, watermelon and homemade ice cream, games for kids and kids at heart and a seat in the shade of the old chestnut tree. For a little extra fun, try your hand at writing with a quill pen in the 1861 School Room!" 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Suggested donation is $5 adults/$3 children. transylvaniaheritage.org.
• The town of Franklin hosts a Fourth of July Parade in its historic downtown, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Later, there's a "Fireworks & Funday" event at the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreational Park at 3 p.m. franklin-chamber.com.
• Montreat holds a parade, free to the public, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The town of Black Mountain follows suit with a street dance, food and family fun, beginning at 5 p.m. blackmountain.org/calendar.php.
• Even though Hendersonville is nonstop action leading up to the big day (an antique car show July 1-3, The Tuna Saga ongoing at Flat Rock Playhouse, art events and the Music on Main Street concert series), there's still the downtown parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. historichendersonville.org.
• Waynesville's Stars and Stripes Celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Main Street with music, sidewalk sales and entertainment. downtownwaynesville.com.
• Brevard goes all out for Independence Day. The Transylvania Community Arts Council hosts its 39th annual Fine Arts and Craft Showcase; there's a Classic Automobile Show featuring vintage vehicles from the 1920s through the 1970s. Music at the Courthouse Gazebo, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes Lynn Goldsmith & The Jeter Mountain Band, Stepchild and Moon Shine Babies. brevardnc.org/july-4th-celebration.
• Orchard at Alta Pass on the Blue Ridge Parkway invites the public to a covered dish picnic. Admission is a dish to share or $10, the Orchard provides barbecue, water, iced tea and paper goods. Bring lawn chairs and stay for live music. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. altapassorchard.com/calendar.htm
• The Big Ivy Community Center holds a celebration beginning at noon. There’s a parade, concessions, clogging and music and swimming in the pool. The evening ends with fireworks. bigivy.org.
• A special concert, featuring the Blue Ridge Orchestra (with Music Director Dr. Milton Crotts and
mezzo-soprano Amanda Gardner-Porter) takes place at 7:30 p.m. at White Horse Black Mountain. Musical selections include the “1812 Overture,” the finale from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, excerpts from Porgy and Bess, The Music Man and Oklahoma!. $15 adults/$5 students/$25 for front row table seating. Then watch the fireworks from the patio. blueridgeorchestra.org.
• Highlands: View fireworks at 9:15 p.m. at Highlands Civic Center. highlandschamber.org.
• Hendersonville: According to its website, "Through the generous financial donations of sponsors Pepsi and Morris Broadband, Henderson County will launch an Independence Day fireworks display at sundown on Sunday, July 3." A new downtown Hendersonville launch site replaces the July Fourth celebration held in Jackson Park. hendersoncountync.org
• Black Mountain: A fireworks display starts after dark. blackmountain.org/calendar.php.
• Lake Julian: The annual fireworks display at Lake Julian Park is back. "Bring a lawn chair or blanket and join the fun," says a press release. "The fireworks display is one of the largest in the area and this year’s show promises to be the best yet. Fireworks start after dark but come early and enjoy your Buncombe County Park." buncombecounty.org/Governing/Depts/Parks/Facilities/Parks/LakeJulian.aspx.
• Brevard: Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. brevardnc.org/july-4th-celebration.
• Cherokee: The Fourth of July Fireworks display at the Acquoni Expo Center in Cherokee is an annual event (you might want to head to Cherokee a day or two early for the Cherokee Art Market, July 1-3). Fireworks begin at dark. cherokee-nc.com.
• Big Ivy: A fireworks display begins after dark at the Big Ivy Community Center. bigivy.org.