and Swain County hold a large number of special events all year long. Some are annual events – such as those listed below. Others are ongoing or one time rallies, races, competitions, fishing tournaments, plays, etc. Most of the small mountain towns hold festive 4th of July celebrations and parades, as well as other holiday parades at Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas. The following is a list of some of the major special events in Bryson City and Swain County:
Annual Spring Splash: This event kicks off paddling season in the mountains. Activities include Flint Ridge trail run, gear demonstrations, rolling pool and much more. It’s held in April at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Annual Strawberry Jam Festival: A celebration of mountain music and agriculture. Pick-your-own strawberries, mountain workhorse and blacksmithing exhibitions, music, crafters and the Strawberry Cafe. Located at Darnell Farms just east of Bryson City.
Heritage Festival at Bryson City Riverfront Park: Traditional entertainment, games, food, crafts, costume and log sawing contests. Held the last weekend in May.
Music in the Mountains at Bryson Riverfront Park. Bluegrass and other old-time mountain music. This event is held every Saturday night during the summertime and is free to the public. Bring a chair or blanket, sit back and enjoy the tunes.
The Fireman’s Day Festival: A day of festivities including music, crafts, entertainment, barbecue, “Miss Flame” contest and parade of the area’s finest fire trucks.
Timberfest celebrates Bryson City’s first industry – logging. Woodcrafts, traditional music, lumberjack contests, and tree identification and history featuring the giant trees of Governor’s Island.
Guest Appreciation Festival: This is Nantahala Outdoor Center's largest gathering of the year and features a huge, used outdoor gear marketplace, free clinics, live music, costume contests and games for kids.
Corn Maze: Children and grown-ups alike enjoy this exciting journey through out 8-acre maze of corn. Visitors to the Maze are given a map and a "passport" with questions and clues. Choosing the right answers gives you the directions through the Maze. The maze is located at Darnell Farms just east of Bryson City.
Bryson City Chili Cook Off: Visitors can sample chili prepared by competitive teams. Trophies include judge's choice, peoples' choice and showmanship. Sponsored by the Swain County Chamber of Commerce.
Mountain Shapes and Colors: In Nantahala Village, held the first week of November. This is a showcase for local artists and artisans. Includes a silent auction and artist's gala. Original paintings, jewelry, hand thrown pottery, hand woven baskets, turned wood and wearable art.
Bryson City Christmas Parade: One of the biggest small town Christmas parades in the mountains! Holiday events begin at 8:30 am with Breakfast with Santa. Usually held the first weekend in December.