fall events in the High Country

Fall events in the High Country, farmer’s insights, and Harvest Moon facts for October

October means harvest month in Boone, NC! At the Horton Hotel, we plan to use as many local products as we can to honor the farmers in our region. It’s quite simple in the end: good local food comes from good local people. To give you an idea of what harvest month is all about, we’ve compiled some regional farm facts and shared insight on some of our favorite fall events in the high country.

On this Harvest Moon…

“Because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon” – who doesn’t know this beautiful song by Neil Young? The harvest moon is probably the best known moon. This year the harvest moon was on September 24th, at 10:52 PM to be precise. The harvest moon is the full moon nearest the September equinox, which occurs around September 22nd. So…what’s an equinox? Well, there are two equinoxes every year – in September and March – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Some sources claim the name ‘harvest moon’ originates from the name of an ancient Native American month, while others point out that the phrase ‘harvest moon’ was recorded as early as the 700s in both Anglo-Saxon and German languages. In ancient times it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month, whereas in modern times we base the 12 months of our calendar on the solar year.

fall events in the High Country

What crops are harvested in October?

At the Horton Hotel, we plan to honor and celebrate North Carolina’s rich agricultural history by working with many different farmers throughout the region. Because of all the microclimates in this area, the variety in produce is impressive. Back in the day, people living in Appalachia had to prepare for long, harsh winters. The growing season in our area is short, so come October it was common to harvest and preserve as much food as possible for the coming months. Many great preserving techniques were developed and honed so that the people of Appalachia could enjoy their harvest year-round. For example, pickled beets, cucumbers (pickles), squash, peppers, and onions were popular pickling foods which we still enjoy today. We’ve listed a selection of all of the delicious crops that you can enjoy in season during October in North Carolina:

  • Apples
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Corn
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Pears
  • Pumpkins
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomates
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini

fall events in the High Country

Fall events in the High Country

It’s no secret that we love autumn in the Appalachian Mountains. If you’re curious about when the leaves start to change and the colors start to peak, make sure you read our blog about fall colors in Boone in 2018. As for our favorite fall events in the High Country, grab a pumpkin spice latte and get your calendar out… because it’s time!


Apples, apples, apples! The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is a free one-day arts and crafts festival in downtown Wilkesboro. Four music stages join hundreds of arts and crafts vendors and more food items than you can eat. It wouldn’t be an apple festival without plenty of apples, and they’ve got plenty! Enjoy apples from local growers, apple cider, apple butter, dried apples, candied apples and more.  For more information, call (336) 921-3499 or visit www.applefestival.net.


Sugar Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest invites you to bring your lederhosen or dirndl and have fun! Parking, shuttle service, and admission are free for this two-day event. The Harbour Town Fest Band and the Valle Crucis Middle School Band will provide entertainment, and a wide variety of festival food and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as traditional Spaten beer. Attendees may also purchase a ride on the ski lift to view fall color from the top of the Oma’s Meadow Slope. Oktoberfest lasts from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. both days of the weekend. The festival takes place rain, shine or snow. For additional information, call (828) 898-4521 or visit oktoberfest.skisugar.com/


Crafts, food, and fun all day with face painting and special children’s activities are offered at the Todd New River Festival. This small-town festival is held right on the banks of the New, and is a long-running tradition in Todd. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Walter and Annie Cook Park in Todd and is sponsored by the Todd Ruritan Club. Bring a lawn chair to enjoy music and storytelling. For more information, call (828) 964-1362 or visit www.toddruritan.org.


The annual Valle Country Fair is a favorite among locals and visitors. Overflowing with food, crafts, music, and family fun, the Fair offers an all-day immersion into all things “fall.” Watch fresh cider being pressed from local apples. Carve a pumpkin, try some brunswick stew, and browse the artisan tents. Tap your toes to some great music, watch traditional dancing, and hear classic tales spun by a master storyteller. Perhaps the best part: the festival usually coincides with peak color for the Valle Crucis area. Vendors donate at least 10 percent of their profits from the day to charity, and the festival is a force for good in the High Country. Be sure to carpool!  Admission is free, and parking costs $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van and $50 for a motorcoach. Hours are 9am-4pm, and early arrival is highly recommended due to traffic congestion. For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at (828) 963-4609 or visit www.vallecountryfair.org.


The quirky and light-hearted Woolly Worm Festival is an event that you won’t see anywhere else! Enjoy traditional festival fare like crafts, plenty of food vendors, and live music, plus the Woolly Worm Wace. Participants (you can be one too!) bring a woolly worm caterpillar to race up a three-foot long string for a chance to win $1,000. The winning worm is used to predict the length of winter, depending on the variation of brown and black stripes. Hours are 9am to 4pm both days. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children aged 6 to 12 and free for children five years of age and younger. It costs $5 to race a worm. Proceeds from the festival go to support children’s charities, small business, and tourism. For more information, call 828-898-5605 or visit www.woollyworm.com

(source: BlowingRock.com)

Book your stay at the Horton Hotel

We can’t wait to have you stay with us in downtown Boone’s historic Horton Hotel. We’re now accepting reservations for January of 2019, so book now! Our goal is to be open by the end of fall 2018… so sign up for our email list here to stay in the loop. Don’t forget to check out some of our other blogs to learn about all the things you can do in the area while visiting.

Author: Sanny Visser

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