Last Updated on May 23, 2023
Memorial Day holds an important spot on our calendar as the unofficial start of summer. More significantly, it’s an opportunity to recognize and honor the servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, while carrying on the spirit of their legacy.
There are many ways to celebrate the holiday weekend this year. Communities across Western North Carolina are holding plant sales, arts festivals, and of course, memorial ceremonies. Whatever your interests, there is an event for you. Stay close to home or venture further afield to enjoy these 2023 Memorial Day events in Asheville and across WNC.
Know of other Memorial Day events in WNC? Send them our way and we’ll keep this list up to date!
Asheville Beer Week
May 19–27, 2023 | Downtown Asheville and beyond
If you haven’t already, use Memorial Day weekend to catch the tail end of Asheville Beer Week, a brew-centric celebration of experiences, connections, and enjoyment of WNC’s craft beer ecosystem. The multi-day, multi-venue calendar features collaboration releases, film screenings, beer dinners, educational seminars, brewer meet & greets, and friendly brewery competitions. This year, the focus is on Brewery District events—happenings that will spotlight the unique and up-and-coming areas of WNC that are adding to the culture of North Carolina beer.
Learn more: exploreasheville.com/asheville-beer-week
May 26–28, 2023 | River Arts District, Asheville
GRINDfest is back with three days of free and ticketed events—all celebrating the success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Asheville this Memorial Day. This block-party-style event includes a weekend full of music, games, live performances, food, and local vendors. There will also be plenty of learning, employment, and partnership opportunities. Saturday’s concert to benefit Black Wall Street features Big Boi, Waka Flaka Flame, and Tali Kwali.
Learn more: grindfestavl.com
White Squirrel Weekend
May 26–28, 2023 | Downtown Brevard
Brevard loves its white squirrel population! The annual White Squirrel Festival includes lots of live music; a street festival with kids activities, arts and crafts booths, and great food; auto show; hula hoop dance party; and special events and sales in many of downtown’s shops. If that’s not enough for you, festival goers can learn more about the town’s famed white squirrel population.
Learn more: brevardnc.org/whitesquirrelweekend
NC Arboretum Rose Exhibition
May 26–28, 2023 @ 9:00 AM–5:00 PM | NC Arboretum, Asheville
Need one more reason to visit the North Carolina Arboretum? The annual Rose Society exhibition features award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care, and history of roses. Educational programs will also be offered throughout the weekend.
Learn more: ncarboretum.org
14th Annual Concerts on the Creek
May 26, 2023 @ 7:00–9:00 PM | Sylva
The Town of Sylva, Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce team up each summer to produce the 15-week Concerts on the Creek series every Friday at the Bridge Park gazebo in Sylva. This year’s kickoff event on Memorial Day weekend will feature the folk/bluegrass stylings of The Foreign Landers. These events are free with donations encouraged. Dogs must be on a leash. No coolers or tents, and no smoking/vaping. Food trucks will be available on select nights.
Learn more: mountainlovers.com/concerts-on-the-creek
Paper Mill Town 5K
May 27, 2023 @ 8:00 AM–12:00 PM | Canton
Welcome to the inaugural Paper Mill Town 5K in Canton. Not up for a full 5K? There will also be a Fun Run/Walk in the school area. Money raised from the event supports the Pisgah High School cross country teams.
Learn more: downtownwaynesville.com/events
Mama T’s Summer Celebration
May 27, 2023 @ 9:00 AM–3:00 PM | Sorrells Street Park, Canton
Enjoy free admission to this family-fun event! Come out to support Canton and enjoy arts and crafts, food trucks, live music, cloggers, and more. For the kids, there will be a bouncy house, fairy hair, and a splash pad. For booth information visit wptlradio.net.
Learn more: cantonnc.com
May 27–28, 2023 @ 9:00 AM–5:00 PM | Main Street, Hendersonville
More than 200 plant and craft vendors will line Main Street during Garden Jubilee, one of the largest gardening shows in WNC. The two-day garden and plant extravaganza features local and regional nurseries selling thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and hard-to-find plants. Crafters will offer distinctive garden art, and there will be handmade lawn furniture, jewelry, garden tools, planters, wind chimes, birdhouses, soaps, and pottery. Visitors can also learn the latest techniques and tips from gardening experts.
Learn more: visithendersonvillenc.com/garden-jubilee
Saturday Night Lights
May 27, 2023 @ 6:00–10:00 PM | TIEC, Tryon
Visit Tryon Resort on select Saturday nights May–October to enjoy the signature “Saturday Night Lights” event series. These action-packed nights feature free family entertainment, including pony rides, live music, face painting, entertainers, kids’ activities, and so much more—all for FREE admission. The evening culminates with the $78,000 PBR® Ironpeddlers Chute Out Grand Prix CSI 2* in Tryon Stadium at 8:00 PM. The theme of the night: Military Appreciation!
Learn more: resort.tryon.com/events
Live Music at TIEC
May 27, 2023 @ 6:00–11:00 PM | TIEC, Tryon
Live on the Legends Plaza Stage: Ol’ 74 Jazz Band, an 18-member big band that performs many forms of jazz including swing, ballads, and fusion charts. See their sets from 6:00–7:30 PM and 10:15–11:00 PM alongside Saturday Night Lights entertainment. There is no ticket needed for this free performance. Grab dinner on the grounds and enjoy!
Learn more: resort.tryon.com/events
2 Asheville Community Band Memorial Day Concerts
May 28, 2023 @ 2:00 PM | Biltmore Estate, South Terrace
May 28, 2023 @ 4:30 PM | All Souls Church, Biltmore Village
These fun-filled, family friendly, all-American free concerts feature military music, marches, and wind band favorites. Bring a chair and enjoy the show. Free (with Biltmore admission for estate performance).
Learn more: ashevillecommunityband.com/concerts
Lake Lure Memorial Day Service
May 29, 2023 @ 9:00 AM | Lake Lure Veterans Memorial, Lake Lure
Join the Lake Lure community to honor and commemorate the sacrifices of those military men and women who laid down their lives in service to our nation. The special guest speaker for the service will be Colonial Ernest Beall. The Lake Lure Veterans Memorial is located across from the Lake Lure Beach and Waterpark.
Learn more: townoflakelure.com
Does this list still not satisfy your need for year-round community engagement? There’s always something to do in Western North Carolina, and that’s never more true than during summer festival season. Our region hosts special events throughout the summer months that draw crowds of locals and visitors alike for family fun.
Check out this list of 25+ WNC festivals you don’t want to miss this summer.