Independence Day events around WNC

OH WOW POWWOW: “This action-packed weekend includes colorful regalia, jaw-dropping dances and music made to move you,” says a press release for the 42nd annual Fourth of July Powwow, held in Cherokee. Tribal foods and crafts are also part of the three-day celebration. Photo courtesy of festival organizers

Oh, say can you see all the festivals, fireworks and fun in the sun around Western North Carolina to celebrate our nation’s independence? Whether you favor a pig pickin’ or watermelon, live music or a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, there’s something for almost everyone this holiday, and Xpress has all your pie-flavored, freedom-filled needs covered.

Unless otherwise noted, events take place Tuesday, July 4. For additional ideas, check out our Calendar section or


• For an all-day, family-friendly event, head downtown to the annual Ingles Independence Day Celebration, hosted by the Asheville Downtown Association. From 2 to 6 p.m., there will be inflatables, children’s activities, the Splashville fountain and a variety of food trucks. Live music begins at 4 p.m., and people are encouraged to picnic in Pack Square Park, although no pets, outside alcohol or coolers are allowed. Fireworks will begin at 9:30.

• The Asheville Tourists will take on the Charleston RiverDogs at McCormick Field for an Independence Day matchup. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. and will conclude with a fireworks display presented by ABCCM. Purchase tickets in advance, as the game is expected to sell out.

• In South Asheville, Lake Julian will hold a free fireworks show beginning at dark. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, bring chairs and picnic blankets, and stake out a spot along the lake. Horseshoe pits, a sand volleyball court, playgrounds, picnic tables and boat rentals will be available to keep you entertained. Parking is offered at Estes Elementary School on Long Shoals Road.

• The Mountaineer Antique Auto Club is having its 50th anniversary car show and swap meet Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1, at the WNC Agricultural Center. Come show, swap or look at antique cars from across the decades. Spectator tickets cost $5 per day. Also at the WNC Agricultural Center, the Highland Sports Car Club autocross will have a precision driving competition 6-11 p.m. July 4. Spectators are welcome, no fee to watch. and

Banner Elk and Beech Mountain

• In its second year, the Mile High Fourth of July five-day extravaganza begins Saturday, July 1, with Beech Mountain’s 47th Roasting of the Hog pig pickin’ at 6 p.m., and a fireworks display at dark. On Tuesday, head over to Banner Elk for a parade on Main Street at 11 a.m. and a party in the town square. In between, check out live music at various venues, the Art on the Greene craft show, Blues on Beech music festival and performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE: Join the march, or watch from the shady sidelines, in Banner Elk, Montreat, Crossnore and Lake Junaluska, pictured, among other towns. The long weekend’s festivities also include picnics, 5K races, fireworks displays and much more. Photo courtesy of Lake Junaluska
EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE: Join the march or watch from the shady sidelines in Banner Elk, Montreat, Crossnore and Lake Junaluska, pictured, among other towns. The long weekend’s festivities also include picnics, 5K races, fireworks displays and much more. Photo courtesy of Lake Junaluska

Black Mountain, Montreat and Swannanoa

• Venture to Sutton Avenue in Black Mountain for a night of food vendors, kids’ activities and street dancing. At dusk, there will be a fireworks display. The free event runs from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

• The Montreat Conference Center hosts its annual July 4 parade at 10:30 a.m., along with a 5K race, barbecue and evening square dance. The theme is “Stars and Stripes.”

• White Horse Black Mountain is offering two patriotic shows this holiday weekend: Clarinet and piano duo AmiciMusic will present “Sounds of America Patriotic Show” with classic arrangements from American composers such as Joplin, Gershwin and Sousa on Sunday, July 2, at 2 p.m. Then, on July 4, the Land of Sky Symphonic Band will hold a special Independence Day concert at 7 p.m. Watch the downtown fireworks in style while listening to the 43-piece orchestra. Tickets for both shows are available at

• For a more scenic fireworks vista, the Swannanoa Valley Museum is holding its annual Independence Day Fireworks Hike, a 1.5-mile, easy-to-moderate trek to the top of Sunset Mountain. At the summit, participants will arrive in time for the sunset and enjoy a watermelon cutting before watching fireworks over the town of Black Mountain below. The hike starts at 6 p.m. $35 museum members/$50 nonmembers.


• “Americana at its best,” boasts the website for Brevard’s Fourth of July celebration. Start the day by racing in the Brevard Rotary’s Firecracker 5K and 10K, then check out craft vendors, interactive games, the 24th annual auto show of pre-1984 classic vehicles, a bike parade, hot dog eating contest and a live reading of the Declaration of Independence. Brevard College will host the town’s fireworks display, complete with food and live music. Free.

Bryson City

• The Freedom Fest street festival is back with a full lineup of events. Kick off the holiday by running the Rotary Club Firecracker 5K race and then stick around for events such as a Strut Your Mutt pet show, a hula-hoop-off, watermelon-eating contests, live music and an evening fireworks display.

• The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad will also run the Freedom Train, departing from the Bryson City Depot at 7 p.m. and traveling out to the Fontana Trestle for sunset views of Fontana Lake. Visitors will be served a barbecue-style picnic dinner before returning just in time to catch the Bryson City Freedom Fest’s fireworks. To purchase tickets, visit


• Get an inside look at a vibrant, rich culture and honor a different aspect of our nation’s history with the 42nd annual Fourth of July Powwow in Cherokee. From Friday, June 30, to Sunday, July 2, spectators from across the country flock to hear traditional Cherokee music, taste authentic tribal food, purchase handmade crafts and participate in dance competitions with more than $60,000 in prize money. On Sunday night, there will be a fireworks show over the Acquoni Expo Center to celebrate Independence Day. $12 per day, cash only. Viewing of the fireworks is free from the parking lot.


• Looking for a parade, cookout with members of the fire department, free watermelon, inflatables and an old-fashioned frog-jumping contest? All are part of the small-town Independence Day celebration in Crossnore, the town’s biggest event of the year. A firework show, set off by the fire department, caps off the night’s festivities.


• Downtown Hendersonville will host free, live, outdoor music — local artist Izzi Hughes will sing the national anthem and a full music lineup is still to be released. Performances are 7-9:30 p.m., fireworks display at dark.

Lake Junaluska

• Extend your holiday weekend even longer with music, parades and dancing at Lake Junaluska — festivities will run from Sunday, July 2, to Wednesday, July 5. Evening concerts featuring Balsam Range, Lauren Story and the Lake Junaluska Singers are just the start: On July 4, the official holiday kicks off with a national parks-themed parade followed by a barbecue picnic, kids activities, free square dancing and an evening fireworks show over the lake.

Lake Lure

• Celebrations start a day early in Lake Lure: Enjoy snacks and baked goods by the Welcome Center or snow cones, ice cream and more at a food court near the Lake Lure Beach entrance on Monday, July 3. The beach opens at 8 p.m., and fireworks begin at sundown; visitors are encouraged to watch from the beach or Morse Park for the best views.

Rumbling Bald Resort is hosting a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. — beach access is for resort guests only, but boat rentals are a popular way to see the show.

• If you’re looking for an outdoorsy way to spend the holiday weekend, Chimney Rock State Park will have family-friendly events from Saturday, July 1, to Tuesday, July 4, including hiking trails, a 32-foot climbing tower and an animal encounter at 2 p.m. each day.


• The Red, White and Bluegrass festival is back with four days of camping, barbecue and live music. The first three days showcase some of the area’s biggest bluegrass names, including Flatt Lonesome, Blue Highway, Volume Five, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice and the Boxcars. On Tuesday,  July 4, the festival opens up to the general public with yard games, a watermelon-eating contest and a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are required for Saturday, July 1, to Monday, July 3. Purchase online at


• The Sylva Independence Day celebration is back in full force for the third year in a row since its seven-year hiatus. R&B band The Business is performing before the fireworks show at sundown. The event is free to the public.


• There are no fireworks to be had in Waynesville, but the midday Stars and Stripes festival, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., provides a family-friendly alternative. A children’s parade begins at 11 a.m., and live music starts at 2 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.




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About Molly Horak
Molly Horak served as a reporter at Mountain Xpress. Follow me @molly_horak

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