Downtown North Wilkesboro will be filled with over 300 arts and crafts vendors and 100 food stands for the 35th annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival on Saturday.
The festival features Civil War re-enactors, hit-and-miss engines, a petting zoo, climbing wall, giant inflated slide and craftsmen demonstrating woodcarving, quilting, spinning, rug braiding and chair, soap and apple butter making.
Orchardists from the nearby Brushy Mountains will have stands throughout the downtown area selling their fresh apples, apple cider and dried apples. The Brushy Mountain Fire Department and other food vendors will be selling fried apple pies.
There will be live bluegrass, country, folk and Southern gospel music on four stages. Cloggers, rope skippers and other dancers are featured elsewhere.
It’s one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast, with at least 100,000 people attending. Official festival hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the streets of downtown fill up even sooner.
Pre-festival activities begin with “Apple Jam” from 6-9 p.m. Friday featuring a live performance by Backstreet at the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club’s Brushy Mountain Apple Festival Park at the intersection of 10th and Main streets. A few food vendors will be set up and downtown restaurants will be open for dinner.
The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club owns, operates and organizes the event each year in cooperation with the Town of North Wilkesboro. It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for the club and many of the 100 or so civic, church, school and other nonprofit groups.
Hot dogs, burgers, barbecue, rib eye steak sandwiches, country ham biscuits, roasted corn on the cob, fried “blooming” onions, homemade ice cream and much more will be for sale, plus local restaurants open their doors wide to visitors.
Arts and crafts vendors have something for about every taste and price range. The Wilkes Art Council Juried section will again be on Ninth Street.
Crafts demonstrations and other exhibits at the festival feature the heritage of western North Carolina and more. These include woodcarving, chair making, soap making, blacksmithing, pottery throwing and quilting.
The festival has multiple stages featuring bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, and traditional southern Appalachian music. Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers, and square dancers provide additional entertainment.
The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club’s information booth will be at the intersection of Main and Ninth streets.