From Mayberry to Merlot, the Yadkin Valley wine region has progressed from a small collection of wineries into one of the most notable wine regions in the eastern United States. According to the NC Department of Commerce, North Carolina now ranks as a top-five destination for wine travelers and enthusiasts. The Yadkin Valley, a designated American Viticulture (AVA) Area, just celebrated its 10 anniversary. The AVA was designated in 2003 under the efforts of Charlie and Ed Shelton. Much of the growth of close to 40 wineries in the Yadkin Valley can be attributed to Surry Community College, which started an enology and viticulture degree program with its own on-campus vineyard and winery. The college opened the Shelton-Badgett North Carolina Center for Viticulture and Enology in 2001 with a winery, classrooms, climate-controlled wine cellar, microbiology labs and a large assembly hall.
Mount Airy, NC—Locals in the nostalgic place known as Mayberry enjoy experiencing a three-day festival in downtown Mount Airy. Mayberry’s downtown is alive with music, food and art. This popular event celebrates the area’s rich musical heritage with nationally renowned local musicians performing bluegrass, old-time and gospel music. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Admission is free. For more information, call (800) 948-0949 or visit AutumnLeavesFestival.com.
North Wilkesboro, NC—Over 160,000 people visit this one-day arts and craft festival. Created to celebrate the apple harvest from the nearby Brushy Mountains, the Brushy Mountain Apple features over 100 food concessions, 400 art and craft vendors, and four large music stages. All of the crafts and exhibits are designed to display the unique heritage and culture of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
The Apple Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more detailed information regarding the festival, contact the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club at (336) 984-3022 or visit applefestival.net.
Elkin, NC—Pumpkin growers from far and wide come to Elkin each year to compete for the “heavyweight title” in several categories for growing produce. This festival is an official weigh-off for the Great Pumpkin Common Wealth, a national body overseeing competitions in giant pumpkin and vegetable growing.
Last year, the festival weighed in a massive watermelon at about 275 pounds that was featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Show that broke the world record for watermelons. The festival features craft vendors, children’s activities, pie-eating contest, and food. Admission is free. For more information about the Pumpkin Festival, visit yadkinvalley.org/festivals-events/pumpkin-festival or call (336 ) 526-1111.
Mount Airy, NC—The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History combines history with a bit of mystery with its newest program, Historic Mount Airy Ghost Tours. The tours are held every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. through Oct. 22. This lantern-lit walking tour lasts 90 minutes through downtown Mount Airy. Visitors will hear about 13 of Mount Airy’s “less-mortal” friends and some of their final resting places.
Tour reservations are $10 per person and can be made at northcarolinamuseum.org or by calling (336) 786-4478.
In the Wayside Bluegrass Festival everybody is welcome. The festival is located three miles south of Stuart, Virginia. This is a very family oriented festival in which several artists perform their Bluegrass music and this year will take place from July 13 to July 16. The location provides the campers with rough camping and electrical hook up camping. This year artists like Crusher Run, Ten-Brooks, Virginia Sky, and many others will be performing. If you enjoy family reunion and Bluegrass music you can’t let this opportunity go away.
For nine years, during the second weekend in June, the Galax Leaf and String Festival has served to highlight the best Virginia has to offer. This festival was originally created as a traditional music event, but the community continued to evolve into a showcase for other events as well. Now, the festival is a celebration of arts, music and literature as more activities are offered for everyone. If you’re looking for something to do during the second weekend of June, don’t miss out on this amazing festival. Bring your family and enjoy! For more information, visit the festival’s website.