Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 26
20. This party celebrates a pungent
member of the leek family; ramps
grow wild and taste great with fried
Dating to 1931, the Kentucky
Mountain Laurel Festival at Pineville features beautiful pageantry to
celebrate its queen and princess on
May 24-27 in Bell County (kmlf.org).
In Abingdon, Virginia, you'll
find the popular Plumb Alley
Day, mixing crafts, yard sales and
bagpipers on May 26 (abingdonkiwanis.org). You can also check out
the Spring Arts, Crafts & Music
Festival of Blairsville, Georgia, on
May 26-27, featuring juried craftsmen on the square surrounding the
Union County Courthouse (unioncountyhistory.org).
Lift up to the air on May 31 to
June 2 with the Helen-Atlantic
Hot Air Balloon Festival, hosted by the Helendorf Inn (706-8782271) of Helen, Georgia. This is the
South's oldest balloon event and
begins with a mass ascension of approximately 30 bright and colorful
hot air balloons. The weekend includes tethered balloon rides and a
champagne flight over the mountains (helenballoon.com).
Johnson City's Blue Plum Festival ripens on June 1-2 in Tennessee
(blueplum.org) while in North Carolina you can take the Toe River
Spring Studio Tour, June 1-3, in
both Yancey and Mitchell counties.
Come meet more than 100 artists
showcasing a variety of creations
Music lovers can follow The
Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage
Music Trail (thecrookedroad.org) for
a string of celebrations, June 8-16,
during the Crooked Road Homecoming Series. These concerts
in southwest Virginia include oldtime, bluegrass, gospel, traditional
singing and dance. Along the way,
make a stop in Galax, Virginia, for
HoustonFest on June 8-9 (houstonfestgalax.com).
Get ready for OktoberFest in Helen,
right), coming up
September 27-October 28. You'll also
find the largest
event of the year in
Sevierville, Tennessee, with Bloomin'
BBQ & Bluegrass
on May 18-19 (far
Rockin' the Commons on
June 9 includes a rocking chair auction plus music in downtown Sevierville, Tennessee (865-366-1475).
On the same day, in North Carolina,
you can bring your favorite mug to
fill at the State of Origin Craft
Beer Festival in Burke County
On June 9-10, the Blairsville
Scottish Festival & Highland
Games in Georgia features traditions of Scottish influence, like
music, dancing, food and events including the Clan Tug of War, Quilted Tile Run and Bonniest Knees
The Covered Bridge Festival
of Elizabethton, Tennessee, runs
June 9-10 (423-547-3852).
Blacksburg's Summer Solstice
Festival in Virginia on June 10
includes a doggy costume contest,
crafts fair and live music (downtownblacksburg.com).
Take a trip to Grayson Highlands
State Park along U.S. 58 in Virginia
to find the Wayne C. Henderson
Music Festival on June 16 (waynehenderson.org). And look for the
North Carolina Rhododendron
Festival in Bakersville on the third
weekend of June (ncrhododendronfestival.com).
Down in Georgia: You can raise
a glass to celebrate spring becoming
summer at the Blue Ridge Moun-
tains Wine & Jazz Festival (blueridgewineandjazz.com) on June 16,
1-10 p.m., in Blue Ridge.
In the Mountain State, on June
21-24, the multi-faceted Hometown Mountain Heritage Festival at Ansted, West Virginia,
includes a coal-shoveling contest,
flea market, arts and crafts (newrivergorgecvb.com).
Workshops, art exhibits, a crafts
bazaar, concerts and food vendors
can all be found at Wytheville, Virginia, during its annual Chautauqua Festival, June 16-23, along
the creek banks of the Elizabeth
Brown Park (wythevillefestival.org).
You'll find more fine crafts, ceramics
and fiber arts at the annual Mountain Fling on the campus of North
Georgia Technical College (706-8960932) in Blairsville on June 23-24.
Reach for the Mile High Fourth on
June 30 to July 4 at both Banner Elk
and Beech Mountain in North Carolina (milehighfourth.com). Or pig out
at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with food
vendors at the Patriot Festival on
July 4, held at Patriot Park with live
music and fireworks (mypigeonforge.
com). You can also find a Fourth of
July Fireworks Show in Gatlinburg on July 4 at 10 p.m.