By D. Lanier Shook September 11, 2019
As the school year begins everyone is looking to maximize their time and money. Here’s a short list of events that should appeal to every member of the family. Of course, different ones will probably appeal to different members of the family simultaneously, but, um, that’s a, uh, a teachable moment. Yeah, that’s it! It’s a teachable moment for your kids to learn about healthy conflict resolution. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
1. NC Mountain State Fair
This is the last weekend for the Mountain State Fair, which may be as close to appealing to every member of the family as any event on the list. The Mountain State Fair is an incredible Fair experience, with lots of very unhealthy fried food, great rides, and lots of great exhibits. Friday is actually Senior Citizens Day with Free admission to those who are lucky enough to have made it past 65. (I’m comin’ y’all!) Friday night is also the Friday Night Frenzy where one price admission includes unlimited rides for only $28 from 9pm to 1 am. For more information just click here to visit their website.
2. McKameys at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium
On Friday night the McKameys will bring their Farewell Tour to Spartanburg’s Memorial Aduditorium. For many of us the McKameys bring back fond memories of Southern Gospel on the Radio and inspiring concerts. You can find out more by clicking here to visit the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium website.
3. Living History Weekend at Cowpens National Battlefield
This is an event I probably won’t get to, but I’m very excited about. Cowpens is not only a short drive from Asheville, Greenville, and Spartanburg (and even Charlotte) but its an incredible life lesson. I don’t have time to go into the whole reason I’m a big fan of the Battlefield, so click here to read my article about my visit to it. This event is the Battlefield visit on steroids.
A Living History weekend means there will be reenactors there demonstrating how daily life went on 250 years ago. Its an amazing educational experience for people of all ages and will interest school kids of all ages. (When I went to one the soapmakers discussion on the widespread uses of urine as an industrial chemical was … intriguing. Let’s just say prior to World War One there was really only one source nitrogen. Um, moving on.) This weekend the Mecklenburg Militia will be conducting live-fire demonstrations of Eighteenth Century weapons, but only at certain times on Saturday only. For all the details you should click here to visit their Facebook page or click here to visit the National Park Service’s website for the weapon demonstration times.
4. Hogback Mountain Day Festival in Landrum
Landrum is a great place to visit any day of the week, but this weekend is even better than usual because the Hogback Mountain Day Festival is this Saturday. You can click here to read my article about Landrum and get a feel for it, but even it won’t do justice to the events of this weekend. These include food, music, and even more. For example the SC Army National Guard will have an trailer where Festival goers can play leading XBox One games. A team of expert chalk artists will compose 10 by 10 chalk art while you watch and there’ll be a tractor show. For more information — including a schedule of what happens when — click here to visit the Hogback Mountain Day Festival Facebook page. (That also features photos of past festivals.)
5. 7th Annual Homesteading Festival in Williamston
This isn’t at the Cowpens Battlefield, but its also a great place to take kids to learn how we used to live before automatic faucets, doors, toilets, and … everything else. This event offers free classes, demonstrations, and exhibits. Since its located on the other side of Greenville in Anderson County, this could be more convenient for those of you down toward The Electric City. To decide for yourself just click here to visit their Facebook page. If the free classes — including basket weaving and plant identification — sounded intriguing then you’ll probably want to click here to view their class schedule. This looks like a great, life-changing event.
6. Jeep Fest 2019 in Seneca
Speaking of Anderson County and Clemson, if you happen to be on that end of Highway 123 you need to know about Jeep Fest in Seneca. (This event is also wonderful since the proceeds go to benefit autism awareness.) For more information click here to visit their Facebook page.
7 Paw Patrol Live at Bon Secours Wellness Center
Obviously this event will be of interest to a certain demographic out there. But for those who have children in that demographic, you need to know about it. (Attention Greenville Drivers — hyped up toddlers will be on the loose around Bon Secours Wellness Center this weekend. Attention dog owners — hyped up toddlers who just saw a show about puppies will be on the loose around the Bon Secours Wellness Center this weekend.) For all the information on the four showings click here to visit their website.
8. 10th Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure, NC
The Hickory Nut Gorge is a great place to visit any day of the week, but this weekend is especially magical as the residents come together to celebrate one of Lake Lure’s biggest claims to fame — the movie Dirty Dancing was shot there. This year is no different and you can find out all the details by clicking here to visit their website. If you’ve never been to the Hickory Nut Gorge — the small towns of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and Bat Cave — you need to visit. Its like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville rolled into a few miles. Whatever you enjoy —from tourist attractions to placid peaceful wilderness — you can find it here and this weekend offers even more. Oh, and I have to mention that — in honor of Patrick Swayze — the festival is a partner with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to end this awful disease.
9. Chow Chow Asheville Food Festival
If you are a “foodie” then you already know Asheville has a vibrant food scene. If you didn’t, well, uh … now you know. If you’re not a foodie but enjoy a good meal, are interested in an exciting event and great food, then you still need to know about the Food Festival this weekend in Asheville. You can click here to visit their website and find out all the details. This is the real deal with over 20 events, workshops, seminars, and even their own app you can download to keep track of everything going on. If you’re in the restaurant or foodservice industry this event probably should at least be on your radar, too.
10. 11th Annual Flock to the Rock in Chimney Rock
So the Dirty Dancing Festival is in Lake Lure and if you’re not into Hollywood movies about good looking actors busting a move then you just might be interested in the birder festival just down the road in Chimney Rock. (So a Dirty Dancing fan and a birder walk into a bar …) This is a great opportunity to get to know about the vibrant ecosystem of the Hickory Nut Gorge and get kids interested in nature. (My brother was a huge ornithology fan. He taught me everything I know about birds. I still remember sitting in the Kmart parking lot with him in middle school as we watched a crow and mockingbird face off. It was almost as exciting as WWE.)
This event has bird walks, exhibitions, and Bird of Prey demonstrations. For more information you will want to click here to visit their website. And,hey, if you go see the birds then you can check out the Dirty Dancing Festival right down the road.
11. Bigfoot Festival in Marion, North Carolina
Even though I wrote about it in an article about a month ago, this one is worth another mention. However, to find out about it you’ll have to click here and read the article I wrote about it and the Bluegrass festival that’s over. (I hope you enjoyed it.) Its a great article — if I say so myself — several photos that give a great idea of what you can expect as Marion welcomes Bigfoot with open arms.