Our Best Bets for Spring Events in the Communities Near the Parkway
As the weather warms, spring fever leads many of us outside and to hatching plans for some getaways. Whether an impromptu weekend getaway or looking ahead to what’s happening later this season, there’s no shortage of fun activities in the regions near the Parkway in spring.
Take a look at our Maps page to navigate around any lingering weather-related closures on the roadway itself. There you’ll find links to the NPS Road Closure Chart listing the status of each section of the Parkway and our Interactive Map which shows the Access Points onto and off the Parkway to create your own detour according to what you want to see and do and how you want to get there.
Read on for our breakdown of what’s going on this season in each region of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Shenandoah National Park Region
Shenandoah County, VA
Shenandoah County has been experiencing an Arts Renaissance in recent years and visitors can check out Galleries, Artisan Studios, a Film Festival, a Museum of Contemporary Art, and two Community Theatres throughout the year as well as a Mural project that encompasses the sides of many of the buildings in one historic town (Strasburg) which adds character, color and vibrancy to the town.
Artisans, Shops, Garden Centers, Wineries and more are part of the Shenandoah County Artisan Trail which showcase all that is beautiful, creative and abundant in Shenandoah County.
Massanutten Resort – McGayesville, VA
ValleyFest on Memorial Day weekend brings more than 4,000 people celebrate, dance to live music, shop for unique handmade crafts, and sample food, quality wines and microbrews of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. All proceeds benefit the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.
Winchester-Frederick County, Virginia
- Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
- Bloomin’ Wine Fest
- Of Ale and History Beer Festival
- St. Paddy’s Celtic Fest
Shenandoah Valley – Shenandoah National Park area of Virginia
Travelers are increasingly seeking out the nation’s last remaining dark places where they can get a clear view of the stars. While the east coast may be a concentration of cities with light pollution, the dark skies in and around the Shenandoah Valley are becoming a celebrated destination for stargazers. Learn more from amateur astronomers at astronomy presentations and viewing sessions held at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. Events cancel with inclement weather. Nearby lodging available at Skyland Resort, Big Meadows Lodge, and nearby Peaks of Otter Lodge.
In May, visit Art in the Park, a two day festival featuring juried fine art and crafts.
Buchanan Garden Festival in May- Nestled along the bank of the James River, vendors offer annuals, perennials, trees, bird houses, garden whimsies, food and more all in the shade of the historic Wilson Warehouse in downtown Buchanan, Virginia. Additional activities include live music, children’s games, educational programs, and a Plein Air Painting Competition.
National D-Day Memorial – Bedford, Virginia
June 6 marks the anniversary of D-Day. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia offers a variety of ceremonies, special events, displays, interviews and more to commemorate this date in our history.
Lynchburg Launch of the James River Batteau Festival. Unique to Virginia, enthusiasts take an eight day flat boat journey on the James River from Lynchburg to Richmond in the tradition of the Batteaux, which carried goods and passengers during the 1800s. The Launch starts on Percival’s Island in Downtown Lynchburg. The eight day expedition is a program of the Virginia Canals & Navigations Society, formed to preserve and enhance Virginia’s inland waterways heritage through history, exploration, archeology, modeling, local lore, restoration, preservation, and park and trail development.
Rockbridge County, VA
Historic Garden Week. Your Garden Tour ticket includes admission to sites such as Natural Bridge State Park – one of the original destinations of the first Garden Tour in 1929 – and nearby estates Herring Hall (ca. 1812), Forest Oaks (ca. 1806) and Vineyard Hill (ca. 1774).
The Maury River Fiddlers Convention at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista is a favorite among lovers of old time and bluegrass. Just off the BRP with three days of music. Camping available; held rain or shine.
Enjoy a movie at Hull’s Drive-In Theatre. The nation’s only non-profit, community-owned drive-in theater is celebrating more than 65 years of movies under the stars in Rockbridge County.
Monday at the Movies brings classic movies to the big screen once more at the historic Wayne Theater in downtown Waynesboro, VA. This is a great rainy day activity or just a way to unwind after a big day of hiking.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge – Roanoke, VA
Located within the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and along “America’s Favorite Drive” the Blue Ridge Parkway with Roanoke at its heart, Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a refined, authentic metro-mountain destination offering a wide variety of outdoor fun including being America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital with cultural amenities and diverse, craft food and beverage experiences that are perfect for a mountain vacation. Plan a metro-mountain adventure with VisitVBR.com.
Historic Garden Week Roanoke Tour
- Blue Ridge Marathon
- Festival in the Park
- Local Colors Festival
Martinsville-Henry County, VA
The Martinsville Speedway host high octane action at spring NASCAR races. Watch the action as drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series roll out to take their stab at winning the famous Grandfather Clock trophy and being crowned the champion.
Wytheville… There’s Only One! Festival season revs up with the Downtown Food Truck Rodeo followed by Brews & Bands in Withers Park. Annual events in June include the Chautauqua Festival, featuring eight days of free arts and music, and the Lavender Thyme Festival.
Primland Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection– Meadows of Dan, VA
The Big Ivy Gran Fondo is a completion of cycling routes from Meadows of Dan to Claudville, VA. 76 Miles in total. Different bike routes are offered. Post ride meal and awards are included. Prices vary from $50 in advance to $130 the day of the event. All proceeds benefit local community services.
Patrick County, VA
The Annual Bushels and Barrels Local Food, Wine & Beer Festival is held at the Reynolds Homestead in Critz, Va. Experience a locally-sourced Farm-To-Table dinner with paired beer tastings and live Bluegrass and Americana music on Friday. Saturday starts with a variety of sustainability workshops in the first half of the day. This is followed by the main portion of the festival in the evening featuring a three-band line up and many food, wine and beer vendors onsite to indulge your tastebuds.
Floyd County, VA
Join the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store where music spills into the streets each week – or check out music Thursday-Sunday in venues throughout the county. Floyd county borders nearly 40 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway with the town of Floyd easily accessible at BRP Milepost 165.3. Spring events include: Tour de Floyd cycling event, Chantilly Farm Bluegrass and the Floyd Artisan Trail Tour.
Surry County, NC
Spring is a beautiful time to visit the Surry County Wine Trail as the buds break on the vines and May is wine festival month in Surry County. The Budbreak Wine & Craft Beer Festival is in Mount Airy and the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is held in late May in Elkin.
North Wilkesboro, NC
Concerts on the Deck is a warm weather live music series May through October held the third Saturday of each month at the Yadkin Valley Marketplace in downtown North Wilkesboro. Shows are free and from 6:00-10:00PM. Sponsored by Window World and the Town of North Wilkesboro.
Grandfather Mountain – Linville, NC
The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble, Nature Photography Weekend and Animal Birthday Party offer opportunites to view, photograph and learn about the Park’s flora and fauna.
Emerald Village – Little Switzerland, NC
Have a ‘Gem’ of a Day at Emerald Village’s RockFest! Celebrate the gem & mineral heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the spectacular home of 12 historic mines, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland. Fun for the whole family with food, music, guided hikes, kids’ treasure hunt, geology talks, gem mining, gold panning, free exhibits, and a special Saturday night Black Light Mine Tour! Saturday at 5:00 the Blue Ridge Brass, Pipes and Drums give a free concert of Celtic favorites like you’ve never heard!
The Orchard at Altapass – Spruce Pine, NC
A non-profit 501(c)3, the orchard’s mission is to preserve the history, land, culture and traditions of the Appalachia and to educate the public about such. Bring the family, (pets welcome) and spend the entire day. Free admission. Free parking. Free music and dancing. A variety of apples are available to pick. Take an adventurous, storytelling hayride through the Orchard or walk the trails. Open weekends only in May and five days a week June-October. Adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 328.3.
Elkin is rightly proclaimed a Trail Town, boasting a State Paddle Trail, National Park trail, mountain bike trails, and the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail. NC Trail Days is an annual festival held in Elkin on the first weekend in June. The festival features trail runs, mountain biking, paddle trails, outdoor-oriented vendors, live music, kids’ activities, and so much more to do outdoors! The event is held throughout the various Elkin Trails, on Main Street, and at the Elkin Heritage & Trails Center at 257 Standard Street, Elkin, NC 28621. Elkin also hosts North Carolina’s biggest wine festival the third weekend in May – the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival.
Linville Falls Winery – Newland, NC
Come enjoy the live music series at Linville Falls Winery! Live music each weekend. Guests can take part in wine tastings, wine by the glass, or bottles of wine while listening to a variety of great local music, all in the midst of a beautiful mountain vineyard setting. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon!
Tweetsie Railroad – Blowing Rock, NC
All aboard for a Wild West Train Adventure at North Carolina’s original family-friendly theme park. Tweetsie Railroad is a unique attraction featuring historic steam locomotives, live entertainment, classic amusement rides, gold panning, gem mining, and a Deer Park Zoo. Come see the Easter Bunny or Thomas the Tank Engine!
Burke County, NC
A beer-vitalization offers travelers several top-flight brewery experiences in Morganton and Burke County. Catawba Brewing Co., one of NC’s larger craft breweries, has its flagship location in downtown Morganton, while Fonta Flora, the upstart that has won two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival, is just blocks away. Fonta Flora’s brewery at Whippoorwill Farm is located in a renovated farmhouse in rural Burke County near Lake James State Park. The sixth State of Origin Beer Festival takes place on the square in downtown Morganton.
This Blue Ridge Mountain town just south of Asheville blends warm hospitality with a rich arts and culture scene, vibrant Main Street, and hundreds of acres of outdoor adventure. Downtown Hendersonville’s wide sidewalks adorned with flowering planters and colorful bears create a charming corridor for shoppers and alfresco diners. Each Memorial Day weekend, Garden Jubilee transforms Main Street into a lawn-and-garden oasis. And Flat Rock Playhouse, the official state theater of North Carolina, is known as the little Broadway in the mountains.
The arts are an experience in Burnsville. The surrounding Toe River Valley is a haven for artists and crafters. On Memorial Day weekend, Burnsville hosts the inaugural Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational with some of the most talented luthiers in the region participating in concerts, workshops and exhibits. The beloved Toe River Studio Tour offers visitors the opportunity to visit approximately 100 local studios.
Spring blooms with opportunity in Transylvania County. After exploring miles of newly green trails and 250 waterfalls, enjoy the charms of historic downtown Brevard. Here you’ll find art, live music and delicious food. Come for the spring events and stay for the adventure:
• Assault on the Carolinas
• Opening Day Appalachian Folkways Celebration at The Cradle of Forestry
• The Looking Glass Tour
• Songsmith Gathering
• Cradle to the Grave Trail Races
• White Squirrel Festival
Asheville, North Carolina is a vibrant city with a lively downtown, 250+ independent restaurants, and a wealth of cultural experiences to explore. Heaven on earth for outdoor aficionados – you can blaze along hundreds of miles of trail through unfragmented wilderness in national forests, summit one of 40 peaks above 6,000 feet, cast for trout on a blue ribbon stream, or cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway via numerous Asheville access points. Experience a magnificent spring during Biltmore Blooms.
Folk Art Center – Asheville, NC
Glass & Metal Day: See demonstrations in two of the original craft media: blacksmithing, glass blowing, knife making, bezeling, repoussé, copper etching, stained glass, forging and more.
Fiber Day: Southern Highland Craft Guild demonstration of fiber techniques. This free event takes place in the auditorium and outside on the hill.
Clay Day: Visitors can participate in this six-hour event. Artisans and guests demonstrate their skill set behind the wheel or over a kiln.
Grovewood Village – Asheville, NC
The Antique Car Museum features vintage automobiles from the romance-filled days of wooden steering wheels and polished brass headlamps. Highlights include a rare 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and Asheville’s own 1922 American LaFrance fire truck. The site – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – once housed the weaving and woodworking operations of Biltmore Industries. Learn how it grew from a small craft education program to one of the largest producers of handwoven wool in the world at the Biltmore Industries Homespun Museum. Both museums are open April-December.
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park – Chimney Rock, NC
Family Animal Encounters – Join one of Chimney Rock’s Park Naturalists for an informal program where your family will love meeting some of our animal ambassadors! Kids of all ages are sure to take home some fun facts and special memories. Family Animal Encounters happen daily in June, July and August and are included with Park admission.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Region
Pigeon Forge, TN
The Music in the Mountains Spring Parade kicks off at 6 p.m. on the Pigeon Forge Parkway with local and visiting marching bands, cold-air character balloons, local attraction and entertainment representatives and more! Make plans to attend this celebration of the city’s rich musical heritage and look for surprise music performances at several stages around town.
Steeped in history, Gatlinburg visitors will love the new Appy Lodge. Located in the heart of town, Margaritaville Resort is directly across the street from outdoor adventure park, Anakeesta. Cherokee Orchard and Stony Brook Cabins offer large cabins, perfect for family reunions. Blake Shelton’s 16,000 square foot entertainment venue, Ole Red Gatlinburg, opened March 2019. Gatlinburg Sky Lift has added the longest Sky Bridge in America to thrill visitors. And, Ripley’s Believe it or Not has recreated the museum with all new exhibits.
Sevierville’s annual Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival draws barbeque cook teams from around the U.S. for Bush’s Best TN State Championship Cook Off and the great bluegrass music, arts and crafts, kids’ games, and Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honoring Sevierville’s favorite hometown girl, Dolly Parton. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy several concerts. Best of all, admission is free.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – Bryson City, NC
Join us for Uncorked – a unique experience pairing good wines with a four-course meal on an enjoyable train ride in the Smoky Mountains. A narrator presents each pour and shares knowledge of the four wines selected in an all-adult first-class car with private attendant and well-appointed seating. All trains depart from Bryson City.