Memorial Day Weekend is a time for remembrance and celebration, and the mountains of North Carolina offer many different activities, events, and festivals to enjoy. Whether you’re into arts and crafts, live music, outdoor adventures, or commemorative services, there’s something for everyone.

Here’s a roundup of the best events happening across the region:

Honoring Memorial Day

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May, is a significant American holiday dedicated to honoring the men and women who have died in military service to the United States. Originally known as Decoration Day, it began after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the conflict. Over time, it has grown to honor all American military personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This solemn day is marked by ceremonies, parades, and moments of reflection to remember and express gratitude for the bravery and selflessness of our fallen heroes.

Waynesville, NC

Waynesville is buzzing with activities over Memorial Day Weekend. Start your weekend with the Rich Manz Trio performing at Valley Cigar & Wine Bar on Friday, May 24, and at Frog Level Brewing Company on Monday, May 27. For a patriotic experience, join the community for the Memorial Day Ruck March on May 27 at 216 Miller Street. The local veterans’ organizations will also host a memorial service to honor those who have served.

country music concert in Franklin, NC Memorial Day Weekend

Click to see a larger poster of this country music concert in Franklin, NC, on Memorial Day Weekend

Franklin, NC

In Franklin, the outdoor music series Pickin’ on the Square kicks off on Saturday, May 25, at 7 PM in downtown Franklin. Bring a chair, sit back, and enjoy the live music. On Monday, May 27, the local veterans’ service organizations will hold a commemorative service at 11:00 AM to honor the sacrifices of military personnel.

Also, check out the Mountain Echo Festival on Friday, May 24. Kat Velasco, JD Huggins, John Morgan, and David Nail will be in concert that evening. Gates open at 6 pm. Learn more and get tickets on their website.

Murphy, NC

Murphy hosts the Cherokee County Memorial Day Parade and a commemorative ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park on May 27. This event honors the service and sacrifice of military personnel and includes speeches, a flag-raising ceremony, and the playing of Taps.

Bryson City, NC

Bryson City offers adventurous activities such as the Smoky Mountain Relay, a challenging relay race that spans over 200 miles from Brevard to Bryson City on May 24-25. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Nantahala Outdoor Center provides whitewater rafting, zip lining, and hiking opportunities throughout the weekend. On May 27, a local veterans’ service organization will host a memorial service at the Veterans Memorial Park.

Hot Springs, NC

In Hot Springs, join the community for a Potluck and Music Jam at the Hot Springs Community Center on May 26. This event brings together locals and visitors for a shared meal and open music jam session. On May 27, a memorial service will honor fallen heroes, hosted by local veterans’ organizations.

Blowing Rock, NC

Blowing Rock is known for its Art in the Park, a juried art show featuring local and regional artists on May 25. Additionally, the town hosts a Memorial Day Parade on May 27 down Main Street, followed by a ceremony honoring veterans at the town’s memorial site.

Hendersonville, NC

Hendersonville’s Garden Jubilee is one of the largest gardening shows in Western North Carolina, with nearly 200 vendors along Main Street on May 25-26. This event offers a variety of plants, garden supplies, and expert advice. On May 27, the city will hold a memorial service organized by local veterans’ groups to honor military personnel who have sacrificed their lives for the country​.

Sylva, NC

Sylva starts its Concerts on the Creek series on May 24 from 7 PM to 9 PM at Bridge Park. This free event features live music from local bands and is family-friendly. On Memorial Day, local veterans’ organizations will hold a special service to honor fallen soldiers.

Spruce Pine, NC

The Mineral City Heritage Festival in Spruce Pine celebrates the area’s rich mining heritage on May 25 with live music, crafts, and historical exhibits. On May 27, veterans’ groups will host a memorial service to honor military service members who have passed away.

Burnsville, NC

Burnsville hosts the Burnsville Metric, a 60-mile cycling event through the scenic mountains, on May 25. The Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair, which takes place from May 25 to 26, also features local artisans and crafters showcasing their handmade goods. On Memorial Day, local veterans will hold a ceremony to honor those who served and sacrificed​.

Boone, NC

Boone’s Farmers Market at Horn in the West runs on May 25 from 8 AM to 12 PM. It offers local produce, meats, flowers, live music, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities. For a cultural experience, take a guided tour of the historic Appalachian Theatre on May 25 at 1 PM. Local veterans’ organizations will also hold a memorial service on May 27.

Asheville, NC

Asheville is alive with events, including GRINDFest AVL, celebrating Black business and entrepreneurship from May 24-26, and the Downtown Asheville Festival of the Arts, showcasing over 100 artists. Enjoy live music with the Asheville Community Band performing free concerts on May 25 at Rabbit Rabbit and May 26 at Biltmore Estate. A Memorial Day service will be held at the Asheville Veterans Memorial on May 27.

Banner Elk, NC

In Banner Elk, the Art on the Greene event will be held on May 25-26. This art show features a variety of artists displaying their work in metal, glass, pottery, wood, and jewelry. The event supports the historic school renovation and offers free admission. On May 27, local veterans will hold a memorial service to honor fallen military members.

Memorial Day Weekend in the mountains of North Carolina offers a perfect mix of remembrance, celebration, and community spirit. Whether you’re seeking cultural enrichment, outdoor adventure, or simply some fun, there’s an event for you. Plan your visit and make the most of this special weekend!

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