This weekend on a shoestring

Friday, April 29

• “Whether you’re looking for herbal medicine, holistic treatment, herbal soaps and shampoos, gourmet cooking herbs, cookbooks, or organic gardening information, you’ll find the products and experts you need,” reads a website for the Asheville Herb Festival. “Master gardeners and experts from the Buncombe Count Extension Service will be on hand during the festival to answer gardening questions.” The event runs through Sunday, May 1 at the WNC Farmers Market (570 Brevard Road). Info: 301-8968 or 253-1691. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• UNCA and the Botanical Gardens at Asheville celebrate the sights and sounds of spring with The 39th Annual Spring Wildflower and Bird Pilgrimage, featuring extensive tours and presentations on the wide variety of bird life and wildflowers native to WNC. Events run through Sunday, May 1. $5/$1 students. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, in the lobby of Robinson Hall.

• “Tim Barry’s been kicking around the musical underground for nearly 20 years, first as the front man for Virginia punk heroes Avail, and more recently as a singer-songwriter with a penchant for constructing beautiful folk and country tunes,” reads his website. “Dude’s been particularly busy the past few years, gigging relentlessly, including a couple months on the inaugural Revival Tour and generating a steady stream of recordings.” This weekend, Barry visits Broadway’s (113 Broadway St., 285-0400) with Jenny Owen Young, Morgan Stickrod and Ryan Sheffield. 10 p.m.

Kovacs and the Polar Bear recently won top honors at Music Video Asheville for the hilarious and heartbreaking short that accompanies their song “Skeleton Crew.” This weekend, the band is bringing their melodic indie-folk to life, first at The LAB (39 North Lexington Avenue, 252-0212), with Mt. Moriah, and later at the Big Love Fest (see the Sunday rundown). 10 p.m. $5.

Saturday, April 30

• The N.C. Arboretum (100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, 665-2492) invites the community to get out of the house and take in the wonders of WNC at Outdoor Adventure Day, a family-friendly event featuring live animal presentations, games and prizes, nature walks, geocatching and crafts. Held at the Asheville Outdoor Center, 521 Amboy Road. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free/$4 gem mining/$8 tubing.

• The Asheville Puppetry Alliance and Southern Highland Craft Guild present “a day of puppet shows, puppet-themed games and puppet-building activities for the entire family” at The 13th Annual National Day of Puppetry, held at the Folk Art Center (milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway). Reads a release for the event, “This is a special opportunity to see several shows by some of Carolina’s leading puppeteers and build a puppet or two of your own in our family-friendly make-and-take area. Throughout the day there will be puppet building for young children, puppet themed games and puppet manipulation for all ages.” 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $7.

• “Mandolin Orange is a duo (and sometimes band) led by songwriter Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz,” reads the group’s website. “The duo ornaments lyric and harmony-driven tunes with acoustic and electric guitars, fiddle, and mandolin.” In other words, Mandolin Orange plays melodic Appalachian folk. See them at the Emerald Lounge (112 N Lexington Ave., 232-4372) with Maggie and Her Mistakes. 10 p.m. $5.

• Learn about blacksmithing’s “deep roots” in WNC at Downtown Spruce Pine’s annual Fire On the Mountain Festival. The all-day event will feature demonstrations and exhibitions of world renowned metal art and tools. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.


Sunday, May 1

• Celebrate all things local at the Big Love Fest, featuring live music by Floating Action, Sky Lake, Red June, Mad Tea Party, Kovacs and the Polar Bear and many more. The event, “a free celebration of unchained and independent Asheville,” will include local beer, food, entertainment, crafters and artists. Held at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. 1-8 p.m. Free.

Bountiful Cities, Asheville’s “urban agriculture and sustainability organization,” brings you the “Rites of Spring.” “This outdoor celebration of spring will feature food, beer, wine, live music, children’s activities and an old-fashioned Maypole dance,” according to the organization’s website. Sample meats from Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Carolina Bison, brews from the Wedge and Pisgah, wine from Marco’s Pizzeria and the French Broad Food Coop, and sweets from Short Street Cakes while Jason Daniello, Shane Perlowin and Silver Machine provide the music. Held at the French Broad Food Coop downtown. 4-10 p.m. Free. $2 beer wristbands/$10 food tickets. Proceeds go to Bountiful Cities’ last mortgage payment on the Pearson Drive Community Garden in Montford. 



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