Festivals & Activities
There's almost always something special happening Summer through early December in our part of the Blue Ridge. Our Calendar of Events attempts to be as complete a listing possible of the activities in this community. If you are looking for a special weekend to come up the mountain, the follwing is a list of major events. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to email or call at 800-372-5473 or 336-372-5473.
The Crouse House Pickers gather at Crouse Park at 6 p.m. on Mondays for their weekly free jam (two blocks behind and north of the Courthouse in the center of Sparta, NC). Their home is in the Crouse House at the Park’s center, but on warm evenings they spill onto the porch or onto the Crouse Park stage. Musicians have been gathering for this weekly event for more than two decades and no two evenings find the exact same mix of players. If you pick a guitar or can make a fiddle sing, you are invited to sit in. Learn about our Alleghany County and Sparta, North Carolina mountain history and heritage.
The Alleghany Historical Museum at 6 North Main Street, Sparta, NC (kitty-cornered to Farmers Hardware) is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No admission is charged and new displays are featured on a regular basis. Come often so you don't miss a thing. Click to learn more about the museum and the Alleghany Historical and Genealogical Society. Or call 336-363-2282.
Tuesdays and Saturdays, at 7 p.m., the former Spartan Theater that once hosted the likes of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (hence the name of the music he invented) and other historic musicians, as well as Roy Rogers westerns, is now the Alleghany Jubilee. Located on Sparta’s Main Street across from the Courthouse, it offers the finest in traditional mountain music to keep your toe tapping or lure you onto the dance floor in a small venue and family atmosphere. Concessions are available. Admission is a whopping $5. 336-372-4560
May through October at Mile Post 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Blue Ridge Music Center offers daily informal jams by area musicans, weekend concerts, and a museum of mountain music history for your entertainment.
Thistle Meadow Winery, located in Laurel Springs, NC, and Grapestompers.com, its companion business that provides supplies for home-based winemaking, have two festivals each year. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in May they host the Amateaur Winemaking Showcase, a gathering of some of the area's most enthusiastic home vintners. Admission is free and you sample and learn from these amateaur vintners. The first Sunday in October, the Thistle Meadow Wine Festival hosts professional vintners and crafts people from the area. Enjoy an afternoon of sampling new wine and browsing hand-made items. A $5 admission includes a complimentary wine glass that is yours to keep.
Summer Jamboree features special activities planned by Sparta merchants between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You can download our events brochure and print a copy for your convenience. Check the Calendar of Events for specific activities closer to their scheduled time. Please check our online calendar for any last minute changes.
Music in Crouse Park features a different band playing every Saturday on the stage in this quaint town park, June through Labor Day. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to spread out on the lawn under the shade of one of the big oak trees. The Park is located two blocks behind the Courthouse in Sparta. Concerts are free and usually begin at 6 p.m. Please note that on Saturdays when there is another big musical event in the area, we don't try to compete. And don't forget the Monday evening Jam at the park. Beginning at 6 p.m., the Crouse House Pickers play indoors during the winter and inclement weather, outdoors under the trees or on stage at other times.
Sparta loves a parade and there are three each year. The Saturday of Memorial Weekend hosts a parade to commemorate those who died in service to their country. The Parade celebrating the Fourth of July winds south along Sparta’s Main Street beginning at 2 p.m., and is held the Saturday closest to July 4th. On July 4th, a giant tailgating party in the Alleghany High School parking lot features music and food and is capped off by a fireworks display at dusk. Our annual Christmas Parade is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day.
Musicians flock to the County Fairgrounds Friday and Saturday the third weekend in July, for the Alleghany Fiddlers Convention, to compete in musical and dance performances that celebrate traditional mountain music. On site camping is available. The event is big enough to attract keen competition, but small enough to have an almost family-like atmosphere. Some folks say the real treat is lingering at the many RVs camped out and listening to the informal jams that spring up throughout the event.
On the fourth weekend in July, the Blue Ridge Mountain Fair unfolds with a variety of local and area artists, entertainment and food at Crouse Park, just two blocks behind the Courthouse. Browsing the one-of-kind, handcrafted items is free. Entertainment is on the Crouse Park stage. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to lay on the ground under the shade of the big oak trees and enjoy some of the area's best local entertainers.
The last Friday and Saturday of July, the Alleghany Quilters’ Guild displays some of the best handiwork of their members at the Black Building at the County Fairgrounds 1 1/2 miles north of Sparta on US 21. Admission is free and you get to vote for the Peoples’ Choice Award. Vendors of quilting and sewing supplies will also be on hand and advice from other quilters is always plentiful.
The first Saturday in August brings in a large number of car, truck, motorcycle and farm tractor enthusiasts to the VFW Annual Car Show at the NAPCO plant on Trojan Ave, Sparta. There is a DJ on site, along with the Jubilee Dancers, and vendors. Hours are from 7:30 am to 2 pm with trophies being awarded at 1 pm for Best of Show, People’s Choice Award, and Best of Show Top 30. Judging is done by entries and paid attendees. General Admission is $5.
The Mountain Heritage Festival spreads along Sparta’s Main Street in the old downtown area the third Saturday in September. Some 100 food and craft vendors and demonstrators participate in this old-fashioned street festival. Live musical entertainment and traditional mountain dance are capped off with the annual Possum Queen competition and crowning, always a crowd pleaser. There is no admission charge. This is a juried show. All crafts are handmade. Vendor application available.
In October everyone wants to know when is the best time to view the color of the Fall Leaf Season. While every year is a bit different, October 15-22 is usually a good time to visit. For an attempt at a more accurate forecast, call 800-372-5473 or 336-372-5473 and we will do our best to read the tree leaves.
November begins the countdown to Christmas in the Mountains. The first of our choose and cut Christmas Tree farms open in early November and for the next six weeks, folks find their way up the mountain to select that perfect tree right on the farm. By Thanksgiving, the nip in the air and the many cars with trees tied to their roofs mean Christmas can’t be far behind. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the big Christmas Parade winds down Sparta’s Main Street, beginning at 2 p.m.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the first Saturday in December the Christmas Craft Fair is held at the Black Building at the County Fairgrounds, 1.5 miles north of Sparta on US 21. Area artisans are displaying their creations for that unique gift to go under the tree or to treat yourself. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for fair details.
For an evening of traditional inspiration, the community Singing Christmas Tree performs at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that weekend at First Baptist Church (336-372-8446). No admission is charged, but reservations are recommeded. Check the Calendar of Events for event details.
Go to EvergreenTrailChristmasFarms.com for a list of choose and cut farms, their holiday schedule and a map and directions for each farm.
For precise times and details on smaller events, check the Calendar of Events. Email or call 800-372-5473 or 336-372-5473 with your questions. Many events are located at the County Fairgrounds which is 1.5 miles north of Sparta on US 21 and at Crouse Park, located at the corner of NC 18 North and Grayson Street, two blocks behind the Courthouse in the center of town.