The mountains are a dream in the summertime—waterfalls, hikes, spectacular views, and those high-elevation breezes are can’t-miss staples of a Franklin getaway.
There’s so much more in store for your summer weekends here, too! Take a break from outdoor adventuring and head around town for some funnel cakes, broadswords, kilts, quilts, blooming onions, and bicycle stunt shows!
The Airing of the Quilts – May 11
Around here, we’re known for our beautiful handmade items that call back to Appalachian family heirlooms—and the Airing of the Quilts stands out in a vibrant display of craftmanship from the past and the present.
More than 30 of our Main Street merchants sponsor the festival where businesses and homeowners alike gather to drape quilts from store fronts, railings, and porches for a springtime burst of color throughout the Town of Franklin, NC.
As you browse the quilts, you can also dip in to see the vendors lining the street to sell quilting materials, arts & crafts, food, and more! Quilting demonstrations and giveaways run for the duration of the festivals, too, so you can learn and possibly win big just by showing up.
A Taste of Scotland Festival – June 13 – 16
Speaking of our heritage, there’s no better way to officially ring in the summer months than our Taste of Scotland festival! Whether you come to peruse the broadswords, kilts, or jewelry, visitors from all over will have plenty to explore and learn about the Scots who settled here so many years ago.
Come enjoy a day of Scottish fun, food, fashion, music, highland games, clans, border collie demonstrations, crafters, Cherokee and re-enactor demonstrations, seminars, and culture for the whole family!
The 4th of July
Okay America—it’s your birthday, and Franklin knows how to celebrate like you wouldn’t believe! From Main Street to the Macon County Veteran’s Park, the party stretches all over the town and all through the day.
Catch a wave of patriotic fun on Main Street from 10:00am to noon with our 4th of July Parade, and even join the march decked out in your own red, white, and blue party clothes! No registration is required for the parade; just join us at the lower level of Franklin Town Hall to line up between 9:30 and 10:00.
After the parade, the celebration is in full swing with free watermelon and popcorn, an inflatable Kid’s Zone, a Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker costume contest, a patriotic pet contest, and the one and only Dialed Action Bicycle Stunt show! Everything takes place between 10:00 and 12:00pm.
Once that wraps up at 12:00pm, head over to the Macon County Veteran’s Park (south of Franklin on U.S. 441) and join the cornhole championships, vendors, and outdoor fun as we count down to dark and start the fireworks show!
Appalachian Heritage Festival – July 20
Late July is the height of summer, and what better time to celebrate all things mountaineer than at the Appalachian Heritage Festival? brings a day of free fun for all ages on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 9:00am to 4:00pm!
Between 9:00am and 4:00pm, you’ll get the full life-in-Appalachia experience as nearly 50 live demonstrations showcase the best our mountain life and history have to offer. Quilters, wood carvers, and canoe builders weave their magic on display, and you can even try your hand at finding buried treasure at a live, working gem mining flume.
No Appalachian festival would be complete without music, though, and the sweet sounds of guitar, dulcimer, banjo, flute, and piano float down Main Street as you explore vendors and local flair including a firetruck display and face painting for the kids.
Think you could give us a run for our homestyle money? Try your hand at our checker tournament at the Macon County Historical Museum for a blast from the past!
Franklin Folk Festival – August 17
When the first notes of cool weather start breezing through Franklin, we welcome travelers and locals alike to celebrate all things Western North Carolina at the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center’s Franklin Area Folk Festival!
Immerse yourself with live music that’s open for anyone to join at the SEBA (SouthEast Bluegrass Association) Jammin’ Tent or the Old-time music group jam. Jammin’ will occur throughout the day and for the novice picker, a special beginners slow jam session will be held at 3:15 on the Outdoor Stage.
Want to travel back in time to the golden age of automobiles? Don’t miss the antique car display from 10 am – 2 pm at the lower level parking lot of Town Hall. Contact John Waldroop (828) 342-2506 for more details about the show.
Once you arrive at Cowee School, be sure to jump into the awesome activities lined up! You’ll be sure to find fun as you visit Grandpa’s Woodshop, scour the area in a Scavenger Hunt with the Blacksmith, and create take-home memories with a Smoky Mtn. Quilters Guild Make It/Take It project or clay (pottery/raku).
Be sure to also check out the FFA “Mock Wooden Cow,” library activities, old fashioned games, Toy Museum, dulcimer lessons on the Back Porch, and loom for kids to try their hand at weaving!
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without food! The cafeteria and grounds vendors will offer BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs, tomato biscuits, roasted corn, ice cream, milk shakes, floats, snow cones, cobbler, baked goods, lemonade, and more!
Don’t miss out this summer!
Franklin loves a celebration, especially in the great outdoors—and where better place to soak up the sun than in the gorgeous Western North Carolina mountains? Whether you come for our hands-on history, lip-smacking good food, or rich historical roots, you’re sure to find a vacation destination as unforgettable as it is fun!
The charm of corner antique stores is one of Franklin’s biggest draws to tourists and locals alike, but what really makes open rooms full of old furniture and knick-knacks such a staple here?
Whether antiquing was a chore you endured for your treasure-seeking grandparents or one of your lifelong hobbies, it’s always good to get back to the roots of why we love wandering into stores with hand-painted signs and rich, earthy smells.
Lasting the test of time
Sure, there may be a little fade in the colors and a bit of cloud in the glass, but colors fade in sunshine and sea glass holds its own sort of magic. The truth is that antiques have usually been well cared for and lovingly built—and that quality shows in how long they last.
Whether you’re looking for a new bedframe or some old-fashioned embroidery to mix up your wall art, antiques can deliver on the longevity.
While shopping for new furniture, why not purchase items that are environmentally friendly? Antique pieces are sustainable because of the years and years of use that don’t require new, fast replacements. Being good stewards of what’s already been manufactured slows the demand for quick fixes that won’t last as long.
Now, you may not want to decorate your first home with doilies and butterfly lampshades, but there are some great finds that have timeless designs. Trends come in cycles, too—so maybe you just might rethink those doilies in another few years!
Even if you have a very modern home, variety is the spice of life; an accent coffee table of rich, rugged oak in a white living room can be striking to say the least.
Traveling? Antique shops are a great place to explore the flavor of the town’s history. Items may not all be locally sourced, but you will be able to get a glimpse into the past through the eyes of business owners from the area.
Browsing antiques is like visiting a museum where you can actually touch the exhibit pieces—and maybe even bring one home!
Full of stories
If you’re the sentimental type, antique shops also hold a sort of reverent sweetness. Walking into a store is like opening a time capsule and enjoying the opportunity to soak up nostalgia for people, places, and things you may never have even known.
Shop owners are also a resource of deep knowledge and historical appreciation who can share stories, chat about items, and explain the odds and ends you might not recognize.
Come shop for antiques in Franklin!
Every antique shop has its own personality, and we love that about our stores! If you’re ever in town, make sure to drop in; we have several spots that have become staples for antiquing enthusiasts of all ages who want to soak up the history, invest in some quality pieces, and get a taste for Franklin’s homemade, old-fashioned style.
In a small town hidden away between mountains, stories flow as quick as the Little Tennessee river.
Let’s explore some of those stories, and who knows—you may experience them yourself the next time you drift into town!
Cherokee Spirit Warriors
Long before European settlers and Spanish explorers roamed the land, Cherokee Indians lived in the valley with a central mound at its heart. They called the town Nikwasi, and legend says that Cherokee warriors would pour out of the mound to help defend the land. It’s even said that those very warriors saved the town of Franklin during the Civil War, thousands of years later.
You can still see the Nikwasi Mound near Main Street in Franklin to this day and read its markers here.
But what about those settlers and explorers? Scotsmen with hearts homesick for their craggy mountains and wild hills planted their homesteads here, and the town of Franklin was officially organized in 1820.
Our rich Scottish history runs in our blood, but you can also find it tucked away in our Scottish Tartans Museum. The only one of its kind in the United States, the museum is a direct extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Keith, Scotland.
Ambush in the Valley
Long before Main Street in Franklin was a twinkle in the town’s eye, the French and Indian War raged in the East. In their efforts to stir up bad blood between the Cherokee and the British, the French incited a four-year war between South Carolina and the Native Americans in the mountains.
The two armies clashed right in the middle of Franklin. The South Carolina military was headed for Echoe, lowest of the Cherokee’s Middle Towns, to destroy it and force a surrender—but the Cherokee ambushed South Carolina forces on either side, and Colonel Archibald Montgomery lost almost 100 men before retreating from Echoe.
Now, a brick and iron marker stands on Main Street in Franklin to remember the battle where so many were slain. You can read the inscription online here.
Corundum Mining Unearths Rubies and Sapphires
Franklin’s history goes deeper, too. Below the surface of the green mountains lies stores of a crystalline mineral called corundum, which is second only to diamonds in hardness. As companies began mining the crystals in 1870, more than corundum rolled out of the cool dirt—rubies and sapphires caught the sunlight, and gem miners have been traveling to Franklin ever since.
Now, families and gem enthusiasts of all ages can grab a pail and sift through the earth to see what precious stones tumble out. You can learn more about gem mining and its history on our website here.
A Peaceful Family Retreat with a Wild History
Whatever brings you to Franklin—whether it’s the nearness to hiking trails and outdoor adventure or the cozy remoteness from modern life—there’s so much to discover about our history. Come visit and soak up the stories in Franklin with us; you won’t be quick to forget it!
Winter Wonderland 2019—A Franklin Christmas Tradition!
Franklin is full of Christmas magic on Winter Wonderland, which we celebrate on the last Saturday in November and the first Saturday in December. Main Street is glittering with lights, and musicians wave and wink from shop windows as you ride by on a horse-drawn carriage or wagon. Shop owners offer steaming cups of cider on the house as you welcome in the official Christmas season with local shopping in our cozy mountain town.
So what sort of festivities and fun can you expect on November 24 or December 1?
Night One: November 24
While any evening is wonderful for shopping in Downtown Franklin, the first night of Winter Wonderland is the best: November 24 is Small Business Saturday®, founded by American Express®, and that means discounts at participating stores.
Both nights of Winter Wonderland feature living window displays, where musicians and carolers perform from shop windows for all who walk by—including Santa Clause himself! Santa pays a visit to Franklin on both November and December dates to meet children and hear their Christmas wishes!
Don’t feel like strolling? There are some exciting ride options, too! On the November weekend, catch a train ride around Main Street on the Winter Wonderland Holiday Express! It’s fun for all ages and runs from 5pm to 8pm, as do the horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides.
You definitely don’t want to miss the annual tree lighting ceremony at 7pm, either—the big tree at the gazebo will be lit up in spectacular fashion for the rest of the holiday season! The lighting will be immediately followed by a candlelight service, where you can join in the good cheer with well-known Christmas carols.
Night Two: December 1
Just like that, December is officially here! It’s a month of lights and joy as the countdown to Christmas jumps into full swing. What better place to kick off the festivities than on Main Street during the last Winter Wonderland?
Santa will join us one more time before heading back to the North Pole for his busy season, so make sure to catch him as he walks around the shops! Our window musicians will make a comeback as well, treating shoppers to songs and free entertainment.
You can still catch a wagon ride at any point between 5pm and 8pm and clop around Main Street as the winter weather nips at your nose, but be sure to catch the special treat of the December weekend: The free ice slide! The slide is made completely out of frosty ice bricks and slabs, looking fresh out of a Christmas fairytale—you won’t want to miss it!
Whether you choose one weekend or swing by both, Franklin welcomes you to our Winter Wonderland on November 24 and December 5, from 5pm to 8pm on Main Street. There’s plenty of Christmas cheer to go around!
You know Fall is officially rolling in when it’s time for PumpkinFest in Franklin, North Carolina! Get ready for the 22nd year of the Pumpkin Roll, festival fun, costume contests, and a weekend the whole family will remember for years to come.
So what kinds of autumn activities can you expect Saturday, October 20th?
All Things Pumpkin: The World-Famous Pumpkin Roll and more!
That’s right—Franklin is home to the World-Famous Pumpkin Roll! Gather ‘round as a crowd sends bouncing pumpkins down Phillips Street downtown, and try your hand at rolling the furthest for a grand prize of $100! Last year, the winning pumpkin went on a whopping 985-ft. adventure. Can you beat that?
Bring your pumpkin (or purchase one downtown) and sign up for the World-Famous Pumpkin Roll between 9am and 1pm. The good times officially start rolling at 10:30am and don’t stop until 2:30pm.
But that’s not all the pumpkin fun to be had! There’s also a pumpkin decorating and carving contest for any artists who’d like to celebrate the season, and of course, you can’t have a fall festival without a pumpkin pie eating contest!
Off the Beaten Trail: The Chris Clark Bicycle Stunt Show
Whoa, bike stunts? Yep, we’ve got that, too! Professional stunt cyclist Chris Clark is taking Pumpkinfest by storm one 30-minute show at a time. Watch the breathtaking show as Clark tackles custom-built ramps and hairy obstacles with ease.
We’re also thrilled to be partnering with Clark to give away a brand-new Schwinn bike at the end of the day! Make sure to stop by the show and register to win!
Fun for Kids: Adventures galore!
PumpkinFest is great for the kiddos, too! Two bouncy-house Kids Zones will be set up downtown for some high-flying fun while you parents take a moment to enjoy some ice cream, blooming onions, or funnel cake. The kids zones will be open from 9am to 4pm, so make sure to stop by!
And don’t forget to saddle up for a FREE pony ride before the day is done! Hop on up and take a stroll with Little Rascal Pony Rides from 9am to the end of the day.
Fun for All Ages: Costume Contest and Parade
Last but not least, what would PumpkinFest be without a Halloweeny costume contest? Anyone of any age can sign up and hop in for our parade at 1:15pm—the contests will begin directly afterwards! We can’t wait to see what incredible costumes people come up with this year.
We’re thrilled to have you for the 22nd Annual PumpkinFest this year! As you wander from event to event, don’t miss out on more than 80 vendors including mountain arts & crafts along with great food! There is always live entertainment including roving street performers.
More information can be obtained by calling 828-524-2516 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow PumpkinFest on Facebook to keep posted on the latest information!