After a long, hot summer, I think we could all use a bit of fall. There’s just something about the weather dipping five degrees that leaves everyone ready to bust out all the pumpkin candles and throw on their coziest sweater. With the weather finally getting bearable, it’s the perfect time to get out of the house and celebrate the greatest season of all. If you’ve been looking for a way to get into the autumn spirit, I’d love to tell you about some of the best Asheville fall festivals!
Eliada Homes was founded in 1903 with the sole purpose of helping children succeed. While Eliada started as an orphanage, it expanded to provide foster children with opportunities they might not have found elsewhere. This amazing organization helps over 600 children each year by providing mental health programs, intervention and prevention services, and trauma-informed care. They also work with families to find career opportunities and meet their basic needs.
Every autumn, the organization hosts a fall festival to raise money so they can continue to provide Asheville assistance. The activities happen every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting from the last weekend in September up until the last weekend in October. The festival features a rotation of different Carolina food trucks as well as lawn games, hayrides, and a bouncy pillow. They’ll have plenty of pumpkins available for purchase. And while the other activities are enough to fill a day, their corn maze is what has made the festival legendary. The huge maze brings you a challenge that spans across acres. Spend some time getting lost and enjoying the gorgeous weather! The festival offers season tickets in addition to their one-day passes, and 100% of the proceeds go toward Eliada Homes. You can find the festival at 2 Compton Drive, just minutes from downtown Asheville.
LEAF is a Global Arts Center that celebrates the diverse past, present, and future of Asheville’s culture. The organization constantly looks at ways they can breathe life into the city. They work with housing companies and developers to make cultural art programs more accessible to residents. Their building serves as an immersive experience so you can experience the art, music, stories, and maps that created this city.
Every year, LEAF hosts a fall festival that offers a wide stage so the Asheville community can view all their work. The festival takes place over a weekend in late October and sells a limited amount of tickets so they can showcase the talents of the city. They spend each festival highlighting a different culture around Asheville, and in 2023, they’re focusing on LatinX, First Nations, and Indigenous communities. You’ll get to see the traditions, listen to significant music, eat delicious food, and check out important artists.
You can purchase passes for individual days or buy a festival pass so you can attend all weekend long. The festival also sells weekend passes that include overnight camping, both with and without tents. If you’re not into the camping lifestyle, you’re able to get other lodging options through LEAF. The festival kicks off in Lake Eden in Black Mountain.
While the Haunted Trail offers tons of frights, the event remains fun for all ages. The Asheville family fall festival stays away from blood and gore in favor of scares appropriate for even the youngest visitors. In addition, the workers don’t chase or touch the guests. The event was created for children ages 12 and under. You’ll have access to tons of different play areas so you can find the one that’s right for your kiddo. If you’re still a little worried, you can check out the Sweet Peek, which opens a half hour before the main trail opens. This way, you can get a lit-up, behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming adventure to make sure your child can handle it.
The festival takes place throughout October and offers fall activities to get your Asheville family in the Halloween spirit. You can explore the Pirate Cove, where you’ll find a 10-minute escape room, the Captain’s Challenges, a live mermaid, and an obstacle course. An hour after the gates open, the Haunted Trail begins. The entrance is located near a field, so your child can run around while you wait. You’ll be treated to a display of aliens, mad doctors, and enchanted forests. You can also get a unique view thanks to the Aerial Glow Trail for climbers ages four and up. Before and after the trail, you can get your face painted, check out the bonfire, and grab food and drinks. You can find the trail at 85 Expo Dr.
The NC Apple Festival takes place over Labor Day weekend and gives you the chance to taste some of the best apples in the state. For four days, you’ll get to speak to apple growers, sample different foods, and do some shopping. The festival kicks off with a pancake breakfast presented by the Kiwanis at the First Methodist Church. After that, you can head over to Historic Courthouse Square for an apple recipe contest, followed by the opening ceremony. You can browse the different booths where you’ll learn tons about growing apples as well as the bees that help the trees to thrive.
A Kiddie Carnival opens up on S. Main Street while there are sidewalk sales happening throughout the downtown. You can visit the car show, tour the Mineral and Lapidary Museum’s open house, and book an aircraft ride. Each night brings its own concert, as well as different apple-themed events. The festival wraps up with a vintage aircraft flyover followed by the King Apple Parade. The events all take place throughout downtown Hendersonville.
With these Asheville fall festivals, you’ll feel ready for the cooler months! From engaging activities to the world’s best foods, these events will make this fall completely unforgettable.
If you’re trying to find more ways to remember this glorious season, I think we should talk! I’m a North Carolina photographer, and I adore working with families to schedule gorgeous photo sessions. I love creating a one-of-a-kind experience that will bring out genuine smiles. If you’ve been considering booking a session for your family, I would love to schedule a conversation so I can tell you more about my unique sessions. Contact me today to get it planned!