Raise a Stein

By Erin Valentine
Newsletter for WNC Magazine

At Sugar Mountain’s Oktoberfest celebration (above left) and the House Party at High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, Bavarian costumes and beer signal local love of the German tradition. Photos courtesy of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and High Hampton Inn

Beer, oompahs, lederhosen, oh my! Celebrate beer this fall with seven hopping Oktoberfests

Maggie Valley Oktoberfest
October 3 & 4

Take in the smells of German food, the taste of craft beer, the sounds of Oompah bands, and the sights of the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy live music and dancing while perusing the arts and crafts vendors. A Kid’s Zone is available too. Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 3374 Soco Rd.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; $2, free children 12 & younger; (828) 926-9464; www.maggievalleyoktoberfest.com

Hickory Oktoberfest
October 10-12

For those looking for a large party, more than 100,000 people usually attend the Hickory Oktoberfest. A 5K run/walk and 10K, two beer gardens, multiple stages, and over 100 vendors assure that this event will be big. Along with a juried arts and crafts show, the Kid Fest area boasts amusement rides, carnival games, and a performance stage just for kids. Traditional polka and rock ‘n’ roll music liven up this outdoor festival. Union Square, Main Ave. N.W.; Friday, noon-10 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; free; (828) 322-1121; www.hickoryoctoberfest.com

Asheville Oktoberfest
October 11

Multiple area brewers compete in Asheville Oktoberfest’s battle for the Das Boot trophy. Watch your favorite breweries duke it out during beer-related games, including stein hoists, pretzel tosses, and keg-rolling contests. The festivities include music by the Stratton Mountain Boys, and visitors are encouraged to come decked out in their finest German duds. Downtown, Coxe Ave.; Saturday, 1-6 p.m.; $40; (828) 251-9973; www.ashevilledowntown.org/Oktoberfest

Oom Pah Paws: Oktoberfest in Murphy
October 11

Murphy’s event will feature authentic German food, live music, and a sizable silent auction, with items ranging from an antique truck to signed NASCAR prints to Bavarian china. And Oom Pah Paws is a good time for a good cause: Proceeds will benefit Logan’s Run Rescue, a nonprofit animal shelter. Lakeside Plaza, 3000 U.S. 64 W.; 5:30-8 p.m.; $10 for German meal; (828) 557-3273

Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain
October 11 & 12

Sugar Mountain brings Bavaria to WNC. The Harbour Town Fest and Valle Crucis Middle School bands grace this festival’s musical lineup. German food and Spaten Oktoberfest beer are both available, and for those looking to also take in the views at Sugar Mountain, ski chairlift rides are available for $12. Sugar Mountain Resort, 1009 Sugar Mountain Dr.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free; (828) 898-4521; oktoberfest.skisugar.com

Oktoberfest House Party, Cashiers
October 18

Hosted by the High Hampton Inn, this outdoor carnival is an Oktoberfest celebration of beer, food, and dancing. In its fifth year, the event offers authentic German cuisine with live music and costumed dancers. A beer garden is on tap for the adults, with face painting and games for the little ones. High Hampton Inn, 1525 N.C. 107 S.; Saturday, noon-4:30 p.m.; free; (800) 334-2551; www.highhamptoninn.com/

NOCtoberfest, Bryson City
October 25

NOCtoberfest makes a celebration out of fall weather. This active-oriented affair hosts events ranging from a pumpkin-decorating contest and cornhole tournament to s’mores and an egg race. A highlight of the day is the Great Pumpkin Pursuit: Rafts of visitors attempt to snag as many pumpkins out of 400 as possible, each with a raffle number; winning numbers receive a variety of prizes. Live musical jams keep the day going, and visitors are encouraged to come prepared for the costume contest. Nantahala River Outpost, 13077 U.S. 19 W.; Saturday, noon-5 p.m.; free; (828) 488-7285; noc.com/events/noctoberfest

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The Must List: Shop the region’s top craft events for your next one-of-a-kind purchase

By Erin Valentine and Melissa Reardon

Published in the July/August 2014 issue of WNC Magazine

Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

July 17-20, Asheville

The Southern Highland Craft Guild boasts more than 900 members across Southern Appalachia. But this isn’t just any club. Acceptance into the guild signals that an artist has attained a high level of excellence. This biannual fair is a chance to meet and buy direct from more than 200 of the juried artists, and includes live bluegrass music and craft demonstrations. US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood St.; $8; (828) 298-7928; southernhighlandguild.org

Blowing Rock Art & Antique Show

July 31-August 3, Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum hosts this annual showcase of heirloom-quality antiques, including English, European, and American furnishings, porcelain, jewelry, and silver, plus fine and folk art. The weekend draws a crowd of around 800 and offers a preview party on Thursday for serious and burgeoning collectors. Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, 159 Chestnut St.; $10, $75 preview party; (828) 295-9099; blowingrockmuseum.org

Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair

August 1 & 2, Burnsville

This annual fair, held on the streets of quaint Burnsville, set a lovely Norm Rockwell-esque scene, with bluegrass bands, families enjoying barbecue and homemade ice cream in the tree-shaded square, and shoppers perusing booth after booth selling fine and folk crafts. Here, you’ll find everything from hand-hewn rhododendron furniture to jewelry to homemade jellies and jams. Town Square; free; (828) 682-7413; yanceychamber.com

Village Art & Craft Fair

August 2 & 3, Asheville

An event of New Morning and Bellagio Art to Wear galleries in Biltmore Village, this annual street fair presents more than 100 skilled artisans from across the country. While everything presented is high caliber, you’ll find works of art to fit every budget. 9 Swan St.; free; (828) 274-2831; newmorninggallerync.com

Penland School of Crafts Benefit Auction

August 8 & 9, Penland

For this annual event, you’ll need to have your bidding paddles ready. Penland School of Crafts’ students, instructors, and alumni donate nearly 250 exquisite pieces of fine craft for live and silent auctions, which raise money for the nonprofit school’s operations. Preview opportunities, lively receptions, dinners, and studio visits are part of this revered art collecting event. 67 Doras Trail; $225 Friday, $275 Saturday, $385 weekend; (828) 765-2359; penland.org