The fifth-annual Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival, presented by Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express, will offer world-renowned musical talent, exciting family entertainment, the region’s best food truck cuisine, and unique arts and crafts to Main Street in historic downtown Wilkesboro on Friday and Saturday.

“We encourage everyone to come out and experience all that is Carolina in the Fall. The Main Street festival area is free and open to the public,” said Michelle Isom, festival director. “The only two areas that require a ticket purchase are the music stage venues and the beer and wine garden.”

“This year’s entertainment lineup is phenomenal,” said Dale Isom, festival organizer. “Carolina in the Fall offers a mix of Americana, traditional and progressive bluegrass, and folk music; exciting activities and competitions; inimitable arts and crafts vendors; delicious sweet and savory selections; and a festival ambiance that enhances lifelong memories for all.”

Gates will open on Friday at 11 a.m. with music from noon until 11 p.m. On Saturday, the gates will open at 10 a.m. with music from 11 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Carolina in the Fall offers four stages of entertainment: Carolina Stage, Foothills Stage, Hall of Fame Stage and the 1915 Stage.

In addition to festival hosts the Kruger Brothers, guests will hear performances by Balsam Range; Chatham County Line; the Black Lillies; EmiSunshine; Hawktail; Trout Steak Revival; Scott Mulvahill; Cicada Rhythm; the Contenders; the Honey Dewdrops; Baucom & Jones; Williamson Branch; Hank, Pattie & the Current; Zoe & Cloyd; Red Wine; Newberry & Verch; Presley Barker; Lateral Blue; Nikki Talley; Thurler-Mosimann Project; Carly Bannister, S. Grant Parker and Jac Thompson; the Burnett Sisters; Cane Mill Road; Back Porch Bluegrass Band; Shay Martin Lovette; Alex Key & the Locksmiths; and Bob and Roberta Kogut.

On Saturday evening, VIP ticket holders will have access to the Carolina Jam at the Yadkin Valley Event Center inside the Wilkesboro Holiday Inn Express. The jam is hosted by the Krugers and will feature other artists from the lineup, creating unique jam sessions and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations between the artists on hand. The jam will begin at 11 p.m.

“The Main Street festival area will feature the food and snack vendors, shopping, the splash pad and free entertainment offered in Sweet Smiles Candy Store. The Jamming Tent, hosted by the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society, is open to anyone who wishes to bring an instrument and join the jam. On Saturday, kids of all ages can meet Mr. Peanut and see his colossal Nutmobile,” added Michelle Isom.

“We have a great variety of food trucks vying for the coveted Carolina in the Fall Food Truck Championship,” says Caitlen Isom Wurdeman, director of the competition. “Guests will find slightly out-of-the-ordinary cuisine to the most beloved and anticipated festival dishes.”

Food trucks competing include PorterHouse Burger Truck, Wingz on Wheelz, Bleu Barn Bistro, the Hillbilly Philly and Kalman’s Bon Appetit. The grand prize winner will receive $500 and a championship trophy and truck sticker. Additionally, the trucks will be competing for the Best Themed Truck trophy.

PorterHouse Burger Truck and Wingz on Wheelz are both previous grand prize winners of the championship. PorterHouse serves a wide selection of burgers and French fries. Wingz on Wheelz serves hand-breaded wings and tenders and fresh cut potato chips. Bleu Barn Bistro features local farm-to-truck cuisine. The Hillbilly Philly offers cheesesteak sandwiches and more. Kalman’s Bon Appetit specializes in Hungarian cuisine.

This year, the vendors for the beer and wine garden are Booneshine Brewing Company, Botanist and Barrel Cider and Raffaldini Vineyards. The beer and wine garden is sponsored by Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express of Wilkesboro. Only those 21 and over and with festival tickets will have access.

In addition to the food trucks, the Duck Truck (Duck Donuts) and Kettlebear Kettlecorn will be on hand to satisfy the sweet needs of festivalgoers.

The Chad Lovette Memorial 5k and 10k Trail Run is Saturday morning at Cub Creek Park in downtown Wilkesboro. It will be professionally chip-timed by Racing Toes Inc. All proceeds from the race benefit the American Cancer Society.

“The park is a beautiful setting to spend the morning out in nature. If you are not a runner, still plan to come out and walk the trails,” said Daniel Isom, who organizes the trail run. “The festival is very thankful to host this benefit. With the help of over 500 participants over the last three years, we have raised $23,000 to help the American Cancer Society in their effort to find a cure.”

Check-in for the trail run begins at 7 a.m. and the event begins at 8 a.m. Parking is at 200 S. Bridge Street in Wilkesboro. For more about pre-registering and prizes, visit www.carolinainthefall.org and select the “Get Involved” button.

Local accommodations consist of campgrounds and hotels. The Town of Wilkesboro is opening the SewerFest campground. For more information or to reserve a campsite, email sewerfest@wilkesboronc.org

Ticket prices through Thursday are $40 for a one-day general admission, $70 for a two-day general admission, and $140 for a two-day VIP admission. Ticket prices at the gate are $45 for a one-day general admission, $80 for a two-day general admission and $150 for a two-day VIP admission. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

To buy tickets, see the performance lineup or get more information about the festival, visit carolinainthefall.org or call 336-990-0747.

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