Sparkler central: Fourth of July events in and around WNC

LIGHT IT UP: Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats perform at New Mountain as part of the venue's inaugural West End 4th of July Celebration. Image by Jim Donohoo Photography

For those who love to have nonstop fun on the Fourth, there’s good news: This year, Independence Day falls on a Saturday, which leaves you with more freedom to explore the holiday’s historic significance, cultural pastimes and — oh, who are we kidding? You’ll be floating down the river and dreaming of cookouts, fireworks and Beer City’s best cold beverages.

Need more ideas for how to spend the liberating weekend? Xpress has got you covered, from multiple fireworks displays to a spectacular Native American powwow. We hold this truth to be self-evident: All men and women deserve an awesome Independence Day.

All events are on Saturday, July 4.


When it comes to celebrating this year’s Fourth of July, Catawba Brewing has got it figured out, with wood-grilled barbecue, whole hogs, cornhole and beer — what’s not to love? Lunch will be served at 32 Banks Ave., at 2 p.m.

One of the most respected artists working in Americana, bluegrass and country music, Grammy-winner Jim Lauderdale highlights the Ingles Independence Day Celebration. Music begins at 2 p.m. in Pack Square Park, with local country artist Joe Lasher Jr. to open the show. Adult beverages, food vendors and kid-friendly activities are slated for the afternoon. The Ultimate Air Dogs competition returns too. Admission is free. 

Looking for some more patriotic tunes? In West Asheville, The Mothlight presents Country Hits of Yesterday & Today, featuring the songs of Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church and others. The show starts at 10 p.m., following the fireworks downtown. $5 at the door.

Besides the American flag, nothing symbolizes freedom more than an antique American car. Classic cars, trucks and street rods will span 18 acres during the annual Mountaineer Antique Auto Club Car Show. Participate in the swap meet, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center near the Asheville Airport. $5 per person.

If parking lot parties are your scene, New Mountain promises a big one with its inaugural West End 4th of July Celebration. The lineup, which plays the venue’s outdoor amphitheater includes The Broadcast, Blu Bop, East Coast Dirt and Andrew Scotchie & The River Rats. The show starts at 2:45 p.m.; tickets are $10.

FUN ON THE FOURTH: Festivities in Crossnore include a craft fair, a frog-jumping contest, a cake-walk, an Honorary Veterans ceremony, watermelon give-away, a tobacco spitting contest and more. Photo courtesy of Handmade in America
FUN ON THE FOURTH: Festivities in Crossnore include a craft fair, a frog-jumping contest, a cakewalk, an honorary veterans ceremony, watermelon giveaway, a tobacco-spitting contest and more. Photo courtesy of Handmade in America

Black Mountain, Montreat and Swannanoa

The Montreat Conference Center hosts its all-Amercican small town parade. The theme this year is “Land That We Love.” Festivities begin at 10:30 a.m., but it’s suggested that spectators arrive early.

Swannanoa Valley Museum’s Independence Day Fireworks Hike is the perfect activity for those who love the outdoors. Families and friends can enjoy an easy-to-moderate 1 1/2 mile hike and watch the Black Mountain fireworks display from the top of Sunset Mountain. The hike starts at 6 p.m.; tickets are $35 for members/$50 non-members.


Start the celebration of the Fourth with the 5 & 10K Firecracker Run, at 8 a.m. in Brevard. There will be a fine arts and crafts showcase, classic automobile show, bicycle parade, hot dog-eating contest and more fun throughout the day. The party culminates in a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

As a part of The Brevard Music Center’s summer festival, the Transylvania Symphonic Band will present the Pendergrast Family Patriotic Pops Concert. The event features marches and patriotic tunes, a live color guard and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with live cannons. Music starts at 2 p.m.; tickets are $25-50.


Want an insider’s glimpse into a rich, ancient culture? The 40th Annual Fourth of July Powwow in Cherokee offers just that. Watch hundreds of world-champion dancers compete, sample authentic tribal meals, make traditional Native American crafts and more. The event begins at 9 a.m. and ends with a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Admission is $12 /$10 with a Food Lion MVP card.

Bryson City

Fireworks in the night sky.
Fireworks in the night sky.

Freedom Fest, Bryson City’s annual street festival, will begin the Independence Day celebration with the Rotary Club Firecracker 5K and then continue with a full day of local entertainment, festival foods and fun events including a watermelon-eating contest, and a hula hoop-off. Children are invited to explore Kids’ Street, where they will find a bounce house and other activities and games. Registration for the run begins at 6:30 a.m., and the festival ends with a fireworks show at 10 p.m.

All aboard The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Freedom Train: The ride takes passengers from the Bryson City Depot to the Fontana Trestle and later rejoins Freedom Fest (see above) for the fireworks show. The train departs at 7:30 p.m. Info at

Wanting to do something fun outdoors with your family and friends? Spend the day at the Nantahala Outdoor Center for a Sizzlin’ Fourth of July. The gathering includes live music, sales at the NOC Outfitters store and activities on and off the water for all ages to enjoy. Admission is free.

Chimney Rock

Grady the groundhog is the ambassador of Chimney Rock State Park. Meet some of his woodland friends, like the red-tailed hawk and great horned owl, and learn about their natural habitats. Then see if you can outsmart gravity on the climbing the tower. The event runs from 11 a.m to 4 p.m., and the price is included with park admission.


After a seven-year hiatus, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is bringing fireworks back to downtown Sylva. And to top it all off, Darren Nicholson and Friends, featuring Grammy-winner David Holt, will perform bluegrass music from 4-6 p.m. R&B band The Business plays from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and the evening closes with the fireworks show.


With the help of HandMade in America’s Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs Program, the historic July Fourth celebration — Family Fun on the Fourth — and craft fair in Crossnore is back on the calendar. “Families return to Crossnore year after year to participate in the great America tradition,” reads a press release. The Crossnore Community Enhancement Committee and volunteer fire department are partnering to present the celebration, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It includes a frog-jumping contest, a cakewalk, honorary veterans ceremony, watermelon giveaway, a tobacco-spitting contest and more. The craft fair, held in the parking lot of the Blair Fraley Sales Store, “will showcase and sell locally-made wares as an added attraction to the holiday festivities.”

Where to find fireworks:

Asheville – Pack Square Park, following the Ingles Independence Day Celebration. 9:30 p.m.

Lake Julian – Park at Estes Elementary School, come early for a picnic or park games. Fireworks start at dark.

Black Mountain – Downtown celebration begins at 7 p.m.

Sylva – Downtown Sylva following the 4-9:30 p.m. concert.

Brevard – Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Cherokee – At the Acquoni Expo Center, at 10 p.m.

Hendersonville – At 201 South Main St. (Visitors Center), 7-9 p.m.

Lake Lure – Watch from the shores or take a ride on a Lake Lure Tours boat. Fireworks start at sundown.

Maggie Valley – At Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 10 p.m.

Franklin – Fireworks at dark at Macon County Veteran’s Memorial Recreation Park.

Bryson City – Fireworks show at 10 p.m. in downtown Bryson City.

Find more events at


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About Jane Morrell
My name is Jane Morrell and I am a student from Troy University in Alabama. I am working as an intern for the Mountain Xpress over the summer. Follow me on Twitter @JaneMorrell2 Follow me @JaneMorrell2

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