As warmer temps start to settle in, wildflowers start to line the hiking trails, and trees start to blossom across the ridges, the spring celebrations start to kick into full gear throughout the Western N.C. mountain towns of Jackson County. Our signature events provide a wonderful way to elevate every visitor’s experience to a new level and allow them to truly immerse themselves in our mountain culture. So, check your calendar, and plan to come visit during the spring months to enjoy the following events!
Assault on Blackrock
Held at Pinnacle Park in Sylva on March 23 from 8 to 11 a.m., the eighth annual Assault on Blackrock is a seven-mile mountain trail race that includes 2,770 feet of elevation gain. Along the route, runners will summit Blackrock at 5,810 feet—and that’s just the halfway point of the race.
Racers will continue through the Plott Balsam Mountains on challenging gravel and dirt roads until the final summit of 650 feet on a steep one-third mile track. Registration is $25, and all proceeds will go to the Town of Sylva Police Department for the purchase of a K-9.
N.C. Beer Month and the Sylva Brew Hop
Whether you prefer a smooth golden ale, a sour or an IPA, Jackson County’s craft breweries have something for everyone to sip on during this year’s N.C. beer month, which is held annually in April to celebrate the state’s innovative craft beer scene. Follow the Jackson County Ale Trail, where you’ll be able to sample some local favorites at these four breweries: Innovation Brewing and Balsam Falls Brewing Co. in Sylva, Innovation Station in Dillsboro, and Whiteside Brewing Co. in Cashiers. Innovation Station and Whiteside Brewing are the newest additions to the Ale Trail, so be sure to stop by and celebrate N.C. beer with them. Given the location of these breweries in Jackson County, you won’t have to fight the crowds at the bar like you might in some of the state’s larger cities.
As part of the month-long N.C. beer celebration, the fourth annual Sylva Brew Hop will take place on April 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. Not only can you follow along on the Jackson County Ale Trail, but eateries such as City Lights Café, Mad Batter Food & Film, The Cut, and more will be participating. Tickets start at $25 and include a souvenir glass and two pours at each location. Participants must be at least 21 years old.
Valley of the Lilies
On April 6 from 8 to 11 a.m., the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon & 5K takes off at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Runners of the half marathon will follow a 13.1-mile route through the college campus and along the Tuckasegee River, experiencing a challenging elevation gain of approximately 1,080 feet.
Participants should make a weekend of it and stick around for the Sylva Brew Hop later that afternoon; in fact, runners who purchase a Brew Hop ticket before Feb. 28 will receive $10 off their ticket.
Easter Hat Parade
On April 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Dillsboro, prepare to don your Easter finest, or funniest, for a day of fun at the annual Easter Hat Parade. Start by making your own hat at Dogwood Crafters on Webster Street at 10:30 a.m., or bring your own. Don’t be afraid to get creative; special themes, moving parts, lights and even live chicks have been spotted before on these decorative hats.
At 2 p.m., the parade kicks off at Town Hall and will weave through a four-block circuit through downtown Dillsboro. Awards will be presented for categories such as biggest hat, smallest hat, most outrageous hat, funniest hat, hat with the most spring flowers, and poofiest hat, to name a few. Participants are welcome to bring their four-legged friends with them, and a special trophy for best dog hat will be awarded.
Throughout the day, attendees can take part in face painting, Easter Bunny meet-and-greets, and egg hunts. Families and people of all ages are welcome.
Greening Up the Mountains
On April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., celebrate Earth Day and the arrival of spring at Greening Up the Mountains in downtown Sylva with food, live music, face painting, craft beverages and more. At this free event, attendees can shop the wares of various arts, craft, retail and artisanal vendors, ranging from paintings and pottery to locally-made soaps, jewelry, stained glass ornaments, and much more.
Drawing more than 12,000 visitors each year, this celebration of sustainability also will feature three music stages with local bands, children’s performances, heritage dance and the annual Youth Talent show.
Make it a Weekend Getaway
No matter which event you choose to celebrate with us, you’ll be able to find the perfect accommodations to meet your needs. Whether you’re looking to save with a hotel or inn or need a lot of room for your whole group with a cabin rental or Airbnb, we’ve got you covered.
To make your stay in Jackson County even more affordable, take advantage of special lodging offers that extend through March. Stay with Smoky Mountain Getaways through March 28, 2019, and receive at least 20-percent off regular season rates.
At Laurelwood Inn in Cashiers, book their special now through March 31, 2019, for $75, and receive a one-night stay in one of their cozy, classic rooms plus a $25 gift card to use at Whiteside Brewing Co.
Bear Lake Reserve is offering a Wine and Dine Getaway Special on Friday and Saturday nights through March 30 that includes luxury accommodations, live music and wine tasting for two with a complimentary bottle of the wine of your choice to take home, a 20-percent off dining experience coupon that is redeemable on food items at the Bear Lake Reserve Tap Room, and access to the Lake Club, fitness center, hiking trails, hot tubs, sauna and steam room. Book one night for $359 or two nights for $549.
Celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring with a getaway to the N.C. mountains that includes one of our unique events. To help you plan your spring visit to Jackson County, order your free copy of our Visitor Guide today.