Our fantastic town was named the 2015 Top Small Town by the readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.
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The world famous pumpkin role, a Halloween parade down main street and a nine foot tall dragon are just a few of the things coming to Franklin for the 19th annual PumpkinFest. Right when the leaves are at their peak and the mountains of western North Carolina are set on fire with rich reds, golden yellows, and lushes oranges, the town of Franklin hosts the biggest annual fall festival in the south!
19 years ago the leaders of Franklin set out to host a family-friendly celebration of the Autumn season along a bustling main street, and nearly two decades later PumpkinFest continues to grow with this year’s event planning to be bigger than ever!
“We have expanded the Pumpkin Roll this year so more pumpkins will be able to roll at a time,” said Franklin Town Manager Summer Woodard. “This will allow more “rollers” to participate and cut down on wait times. One of the best balloon artist’s in the southeast will be thrilling the kids as well as street performers including a roving magician. The magician will also perform a stage show. Be on the lookout too for a knight riding a dragon. There will also be live music from guitarist Ronnie Evans and the classic rock of Tea 4 Three plus a record 90 vendors in attendance featuring everything from arts & crafts to great food.”
For the first time in the festival’s history, there is a waiting list of vendors to set up at PumpkinFest, promising that those in attendance have the best arts, crafts, and fall specials available. From kid friendly games and hand carved wooden toys to locally crafted pottery and deliciously served up food, vendors play a huge part in ensuring PumpkinFest is the perfect kick off to the holiday season.
PumpkinFest is Franklin’s biggest festival and the world famous pumpkin roll down Frogtown, paired with the always entertaining pumpkin pie eating contest on the square, the festival has a little something for everyone. The festival keeps growing each year and to help with some of those growth pains, the town of Franklin is bringing a shuttle option to the table that will expand parking. Macon County Transit will be shuttling people to and from PumpkinFest free of charge this year from Franklin High School.
“We work hard each year to keep the festival fresh,” said Woodard. “Yes we have standard events, but we bring new elements to the festival each year. It also goes back to family. There are activities for all age groups to enjoy in a family-friendly atmosphere.”
Grab your family or grab a friend, throw on your best costume and join Franklin in welcoming Fall as you march down main street in your Halloween best for the 19th annual PumpkinFest. PumpkinFest kicks off downtown Franklin at 9 a.m. and the fun doesn’t stop until 4 p.m.
The Town of Franklin presents the 24th Annual PumpkinFest
featuring the World Famous Pumpkin Roll • Saturday, October 17, 2020
Vendor Applications are now available for the 24th Annual PumpkinFest to be held on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Applications maybe be downloaded below and are in PDF format.
Get ready to let the good times roll during Franklin, North Carolina’s 24th Annual PumpkinFest! This street festival and celebration of Autumn is pure familiy fun! Children and adults alike will have a blast taking part in traditional and some very non-traditional fall festivities during Western North Carolina’s premier autumn festival.
PumpkinFest rolls into action on Saturday, October 17th and Historic Downtown Franklin, North Carolina is full tilt with everything pumpkin. Bring your pumpkin (or purchase one downtown) and sign up early for the World Famous Pumpkin Roll. The Costume Parade and Contest is another highlight of the day as well as the Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest. And don’t miss out on more than 80 vendors including mountain arts & crafts along with great food! Don’t miss our annual special attractions and more!. PumpkinFest runs from 9am to 4pm and is held rain or shine in Franklin, NC.
Gem Mining in Franklin, North Carolina
Franklin, North Carolina is renowned as the “Gem Capital of the World” for good reason. Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Sota ventured through the area in the 16th century, searching for gold and other treasures. That exploration established a tradition in Franklin, which morphed into gem mining in the late 19th century. During that time several companies constructed mines to discover and capitalize on the source of Franklin’s ruby and sapphire explosion in the 1870s. Ever since, folks have traveled to Franklin in search of precious gems, and quite possibly, a chance at finding the next big one. That person could be you!
Franklin and the surrounding area have various gem mines for families and individuals to choose from. Although Mother Nature seems to have bypassed spring altogether this year, the weather of late is perfect for those looking to continue the gem mining tradition in a beautiful part of Southern Appalachia. Just don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Below is a list of mines in the Franklin area. Contact them for operating hours and rates. Good luck and enjoy!
Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in the Cowee Valley at 41 Cherokee Mine Road off Ruby Mine Road
Rocky Face Mine
Located three miles North of Franklin at 268 Sanderstown Road
Rose Creek Mine
Located five miles North of Franklin on Highway 28 at 115 Terrace Ridge Drive
Gold City Gem Mine
Located about seven miles North of Franklin off Highway 441 at 9410 Sylva Road
Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine
Located about five miles from Franklin, at the foot of Cowee Mountain at 6771 Sylva Road
Jackson Hole Gem Mine
Located near Cullasaja Falls between Highlands and Franklin on Highway 28 and US 64
Located at 385 Sheffield Farms Road
Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Located in Burningtown off Route 28 North
Old Cardinal Gem Mine
Located at 72 Rockhaven Drive
Mason Mountain Mine & Cowee Gift Shop
Located at 5313 Bryson City Road
Ah, winter in the mountains… it’s a quieter time, a calmer time. And with the trees bare of their leaves, at every turn you’ll find views that go on forever.
For those who enjoy the brisk mountain air, there are plenty of things to do in western North Carolina during the winter months. Here are three hiking options that are sure to please, whether you’re after family fun or an active weekend escape.
Rufus Morgan Trail
A short 12-mile drive from Franklin, NC, the Rufus Morgan trail is a great option for hikers of all ages and abilities. The easy one-mile loop is well-marked and well-maintained, meandering through a mature hardwood forest and crossing a babbling stream via foot bridge.
Waterfalls in western North Carolina are a popular attraction, and for good reason. This trail will lead you to a great example. About halfway through the hike, take the optional side trail to the base of a beautiful 60-foot waterfall.
But don’t worry about crowds here. If you want some time for peace and reflection, this is the hike for you. Especially during this time of year, you’re likely to have the Rufus Morgan Trail all to yourself.
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.15398, -83.5446
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/vShvs
Siler Bald is one of the best kept secrets in the NC mountains, rewarding hikers with stunning 360-degree views. There are two trail options for reaching the Bald – one is 4 miles round-trip, the other is 8.4 miles. While both trails are family-friendly, take the shorter route if you have smaller children.
With an elevation of over 5,000 feet, if there’s any snow in the area, Siler Bald should have a good covering. If road conditions permit, do as the locals do and bring a sled or inner tube to enjoy the sloping terrain while you take in the breathtaking views.
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.12072,-83.547093
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/YBjON
Being in Franklin, NC is a great opportunity to hop onto a section of the gorgeous 100-mile Bartram Trail, one of western North Carolina’s best hiking trails.
A 10-minute drive from Franklin delivers you to a small parking area where you can begin the 4-mile out-and-back hike. This section of the Bartram Trail is appropriate for the whole family but is rated “moderate” difficulty due to the uphill journey through the wooded wilderness.
After only a few minutes, you’ll come upon a small, charming waterfall. At the end of the two-mile climb, you’ll find your destination: William’s Pulpit, a rock ledge that presents stunning views of the Nantahala Mountains. Enjoy the vista knowing that the return trip is all downhill!
Trailhead Coordinates: 35.18013, -83.43311
Directions from Franklin, NC: https://goo.gl/maps/owmCq