Small bites: North Carolina Apple Festival returns to Hendersonville

CELEBRATING THE HARVEST: The N.C. Apple Festival runs Friday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 4, on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Photo by Colby Creasman Buchanan

Since 1946, Hendersonville has bidden farewell to summer and welcomed apple season with the N.C. Apple Festival. “We celebrate the bounty and the harvest and highlight all of our local farmers,” says Lee Henderson-Hill, the event’s senior program officer. This year’s festival runs Friday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 4. Admission is free.

The event owes its longevity to the continued significance of the apple-growing industry to Henderson County. As noted on the festival’s website, the fruit has been influential in the area since the 1700s, and the region currently has about 200 growers, accounting for 65 percent of the apples harvested in North Carolina. Annually, the industry brings an average of $22 million to the region.

Meanwhile, Henderson-Hill says the festival attracts an estimated 250,000 visitors to downtown Hendersonville. The celebration encompasses nine blocks of Main Street featuring more than 200 vendors. Food highlights include an apple taste-testing tent, a tour of regional facilities and fruit stands, the Elks Lodge Apple Breakfast and 15 local growers offering caramel-covered apples or fried apple pies.

Musical acts are scheduled to perform all four days of the event, opening with the Buddy K Big Band on Friday evening. Saturday’s act is the Motown-inspired Atlanta Pleasure Band, and the Tony Howard Band will perform its blend of oldies and beach music tunes on Sunday. The gathering closes out Labor Day with the annual King Apple Parade. The festival will also feature a National Guard exhibit, a kiddie carnival and the 36th annual Henderson County Gem and Mineral Show, among other family-friendly events.

Parking is available throughout the city, with many of the area’s nonprofit organizations charging a fee for their available spaces to help support programming and services. For those hoping to avoid driving through the downtown area, Henderson-Hill recommends Jackson Park, where a trolley will shuttle guests to and from the event.

“It is a great hometown celebration,” says Henderson-Hill. “It celebrates what we value in our community: Our farmers are the ones that put food on the table.”

The N.C. Apple Festival runs Friday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 4, on Main Street in Hendersonville. Admission is free. Pets are not permitted within the event area. To learn more, visit

French Broad Chocolates expansion

More changes are coming to French Broad Chocolates. This fall, French Broad Chocolate Lounge on Pack Square will add table service, and in spring 2018, the company’s production facility will relocate from 21 Buxton Ave. on the South Slope to the River Arts Makers Place on Riverside Drive. In a press release, the company says the new 12,000-square-foot facility will allow annual production to increase from 18 to 50 tons while also providing space for a classroom, an enhanced tour program and a retail component. The current South Slope factory will become French Broad Chocolates’ new creamery, allowing the company to triple its ice cream production. Also, that location’s retail space will be renovated to accommodate a family-friendly ice cream and dessert café.

For details, visit

Eat Fat — Get Thin

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, Acupuncture for Digestive Health will host a free event highlighting the benefits of eating fats. According to the event’s Facebook page, the talk, titled Eat Fat — Get Thin, will address the misconceptions and “plain falsehoods” surrounding fats. The gathering aims to separate fact from fiction by distinguishing good fats from bad fats and will address the causes of arteriosclerosis, inflammation and cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels. Healthy, organic hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Eat Fat — Get Thin! runs 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, at Acupuncture for Digestive Health, 960 Tunnel Road. Admission is free, RSVPs are requested. To learn more, visit

Whole Foods Market and Greenlife Grocery benefit

On Thursday, Aug. 31, Whole Foods Market on Tunnel Road and Greenlife on Merrimon Avenue will donate 5 percent of their daily sales to the Asheville City Schools Foundation. Founded in 1988, the foundation champions strong public schools in Asheville through advocacy, grant-making, after-school programming, and parent and community engagement.

The benefit will run during regular operating hours, Thursday, Aug. 31, at Whole Foods Market, 4 S. Tunnel Road and at Greenlife, 70 Merrimon Ave. For details, visit

Get Canned

With wine there are always questions. Red or white? Cork or twist-off? And now a recent industry trend, glass or can? Last year, canned wine sales saw an increase of 125 percent, according to a Neilsen report. On Saturday, Sept. 2, the Asheville School of Wine will offer a tasting of canned wines that include Backpack White Table California wine; Lila Italian sparkling; Underwood pinot gris, pinot noir and sparkling from Oregon; Porch Pounder zinfandel blend and chardonnay from Southern California; Alloy Wine Works rosé and chardonnay from the Central Coast of California; and Fiction zinfandel blend from Paso Robles. “Canned wines have become enormously popular for hiking, parties and road trips,” says Gina Trippi, co-owner of Metro Wines. “We have even sold canned wines for weddings.”

Get Canned runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. Admission is free. For details, visit

Great American Jerk Off winners

Ole Shakey’s Getaway hosted its second Great American Jerk Off competition on Sunday, Aug. 20. Michelle Bailey of Smoky Park Supper Club won this year’s judges’ prize. Collin Lee repeated last year’s victory with another win in the people’s choice competition.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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