Our mountains’ gorgeous fall weather and colorful leaves make a picture-perfect setting for outdoor get-togethers. Throughout our tri-state region, community groups of all stripes have cooked up their own fall-themed festivals throughout the month of October. In fact, you’ll find several of these popular events just a stone’s throw from Murphy, NC. So pile your family into the car and head out for some classic October weekend fun.
Folk School Fall Festival: October 1 and 2
The John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival is the granddaddy of all fall celebrations, marking its 42nd anniversary in 2016. Always held on the first weekend in October, this year’s Fall Festival takes place on October 1 and 2 from 10-5. To get there, take a short ride to the school’s Brasstown, North Carolina campus, and find a parking spot in the gently rolling pasture near the school’s entrance.
Inside the Fall Festival, you’ll find over 240 fine craftspeople who have created enticing items for you to purchase. Think colorful woven scarves, handcrafted goat’s milk soaps, and recycled metal yard art, for starters. Many vendors are located along the school’s tree-lined paths, while others set up shop in nearby buildings.
For a change of pace, watch more than 40 artisans showcase traditional and contemporary crafts, including blacksmithing and quilting. Listen to the full range of live music on two stages, and satisfy your taste buds with sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. Kids will head toward the pony rides and alpaca petting zoo, and the entire family will enjoy the Humane Society’s pet adoption booth. In other words, the Fall Festival has something for everybody.
Oktoberfest in Andrews: October 8
If you’ve never visited Andrews, North Carolina, the town’s first Oktoberfest provides the perfect reason to check out this little mountain town. Located just a few minutes’ drive from Murphy along the four-lane (also known as US Highway 19/74), Andrews is smack in the middle of the most gorgeous mountain scenery around.
This year, Andrews is throwing its first Oktoberfest, set for Saturday October 8 from 2-8 p.m. in Hall Park on First Street. Andrews’ Oktoberfest is sponsored by three notable town businesses that specialize in fine libations. The Andrews Brewing Co., Calaboose Cellars, and Hoppy Trout Brewing Company have banded together to offer this appealing event.
As you might expect, the Oktoberfest offers lots of tasty food, along with beer and wine on tap. As you listen to live music, browse local crafters’ tables while keeping your holiday gift list in mind. Chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself so much that Andrews’ Oktoberfest will be on your “must do” list for next year.
Punkin Chunkin Weekend: October 14-16
If you’ve never been to a Punkin Chunkin, you’re in for an experience you won’t forget. This landmark fall event, sponsored by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, is spread throughout an entire weekend. The festivities are set in and around Hayesville, North Carolina, not far from Murphy.
The fun begins on Friday October 14 at 6:00 p.m., when the “Anything Pumpkin or Chili Cooking Contest” gets underway on Hayesville’s historic town square. Contestants can submit entries in categories such as appetizers, entrees, soups and stews, sweets, breads, sauces, and beverages. Chances are, you can snag some samples before casting your vote for the winning recipes.
Of course, you don’t want to miss the actual Punkin Chunkin, which takes place on October 15 and 16. To attend this iconic competition, head out to the Payne property on Settawig Road in nearby Brasstown. The grounds are open on Saturday from 10 to 6 and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Plenty of parking is available.
Once you get there, enjoy live music and games, and browse the craft vendors and exhibits. If you’re feeling adventurous, take on the rock climbing wall, zip line, or mechanical bull. To get a bird’s eye view of the festivities, take an airplane ride from the onsite flying field.
Finally, the famous Punkin Chunkin gets underway, with the first heats on Saturday and the final rounds on Sunday. Teams compete in the youth, teen, and adult categories. The highly energetic contestants hurl pumpkins for maximum distance, with coveted bragging rights for the winners.
As a spectator (watching from a safe distance), you might see pumpkins propelled by catapults, torsion catapults, trebuchets, compressed air devices, or human-powered launchers. As you might expect, the rules are rather loose: The pumpkin must stay intact until it slams on the ground, and combustibles are completely off limits. When the competition concludes, and the winners receive their awards, you can head back to Murphy, NC to compare notes over a tasty meal.
So, what are you waiting for? Put one (or all) of these enticing seasonal events on your calendar, and get ready to enjoy our beautiful North Carolina mountains in their fall finery. We might see you out there!
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team