Get the scoop first with our official blog about Franklin, NC!
For 20 years the streets of Franklin, North Carolina have been transformed into a premier fall festival every October. This year’s event is kicking off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 22. Franklin’s PumpkinFest has grown each year with fun for the entire family and for its 20th year celebration, the day-long event will surely be the best one yet. With hours of activities planned throughout the day, to make your decision to attend this year’s 20th annual PumpkinFest a little easier, here are the top 5 reasons why Franklin’s PumpkinFest is a must-do this Fall.
5) Win prizes or cold hard cash in any of the contests scheduled throughout the day!
PumpkinFest has become known for its annual Pumpkin Pie eating contest that pairs eager contestants against each other as they race against the clock to devour the deliciousness of a Pumpkin Pie. Whoever gets through more whip cream and Pumpkin spice will walk away with a cash prize.
The best dressed of the day won’t go unnoticed either with the annual costume contest. Separated by ages, judges will take notes as both kids and adults parade on stage with their best Halloween costumes. A winner for each age category will be crowned.
New to this year’s Pumpkinfest, a Lip Sync Battle will be taking place on the town square stage. Contestants are encouraged to come prepared with their best Halloween hit ready to lip sing right into the judges’ hearts.
4) Fire breathers, jugglers, dragons and more!
PumpkinFest is is jam packed full of entertainment throughout the day and this year there will be more street performers than ever. Last year’s’ hit fire breathing dragon will be stomping up and down the street again this year. Additional street performers will also be on main street this year, with jugglers and fire breathers that will be performing all day beginning at 9 am.
3) Bounce houses, pony rides, and kids activities on every end of the street
On both end of main street, Franklin’s PumpkinFest will have dozens of activities specifically for kids to celebrate Fall. From bounce houses to carnival games, to pony rides, to a costume parade up Main Street, PumpkinFest is all about the kids. All of the activities are free for families and will be going all day long.
2) Shop Main street merchants, eat local treats, and visit any of the 90 vendors scheduled to set up.
One of the best traits of Franklin is its diverse shopping opportunities. Main Street has everything from an Outdoor outfitter, to speciality boutiques, to a home goods store and jewelry. The shops that line both sides of the streets are the backbone of Franklin and make events like PumpkinFest possible. Main street restaurants or either of the town’s two breweries have the perfect treats and drinks to make the day a little sweeter. And speaking of sweet, from 3-4 p.m. during PumpkinFest, main street merchants will be giving out candy to all the trick or treaters that stop by the stores. In addition to the main street merchants who are opened everyday in Franklin, PumpkinFest maxed out the vendor list this year and will feature 90 vendors offering everything from handmade crafts to fall decor, to local jewelry and just about everything in between.
1) The World Famous Pumpkin Roll.
It wouldn’t be PumpkinFest without the World Famous Pumpkin Roll. From the top of Frogtown just off of main street, try your hand at rolling your pumpkin the furthers to be named the 2016 Pumpkin roll winner. Pumpkin rollers travel from surrounding states to try to conquer Frogtown and with last year’s event surpassing 700 pumpkins being rolled, this year the town will have even more pumpkins on hand for the contest.
Its just about time for the kids to head back to school, but before your daily routine turns into bagged lunches and carpools, pack the kids up and head to the mountains for a quick weekend getaway to end Summer with a bang.
Franklin is the perfect weekend get-a-way as it is just a few hours from Asheville, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Greenville and with endless activities for the whole family, its a great way to have one final relaxing weekend before getting back into the swing of things.
The Little Tennessee River is a 135 mile stretch of water that flows right through the heart of Franklin with access points all along the river, there are numerous opportunities for a quick dip or a day’s trip seeing Franklin by boat. Franklin’s business community has grown to cater to the asset of the river so you can rent a tube or boat at Primitive Outback in Otto or rent a stand-up paddle board from Outdoor 76 on Main Street and explore the Little Tennessee.
2) Gem Mining
After all, Franklin is the Gem Capital of the World, so what better way to see all the town has to offer than to stop in at any one of Franklin’s dozen gem mining shops to try your luck at finding some authentic mountain gems. Mining for ruby and sapphire began in Macon County in 1870.
3) Take a hike!
Franklin sits right off the Appalachian Trail making it an ideal location to get some mud on your boots and get lost in the woods. Franklin has hiking for all experience levels ranging from short .3 miles just out side of town to day hikes that can turn into a camping trip such as the Standing Indian Mountain Long Loop. Franklin is known for a trail town and the businesses and locals alike are natural pundits when it comes to steering you in the right direction.
4) Take in a show
The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts is in the middle of their summer line ups and still have a full schedule of gospel greats, country favorites, and world class tribute acts slated for the Summer. Before a night of entertainment at the center, stop into the Factory of Franklin and let the kids try out the newly opened trampoline park to burn off some energy.
Nothing screams summer in Franklin more than the annual BBQ festival held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center. This year’s two day event is scheduled to kick off on August 12 and makes the eight annual festival and will feature authentic, mouth-watering BBQ, live entertainment, a car show, crafters and tastin’ tent!
Whether you’re planning a day adventure, a weekend escape or a week’s vacation in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Franklin has plenty on the schedule to keep the whole family entertained and happy this Summer.
The Dogwoods are pristine, the tulips are exploding with color and the mountains of Western North Carolina are calling. Spring in Franklin is unlike anytime of year. Everything is new and fresh and the air is a little crisper than normal. If you are thinking of a weekend getaway, look no further, Franklin is where you need to be.
May is a fantastic month to plan a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, with unique experience planned each feel. From an introduction to puppetry class at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on May 2 to the Echo Valley Gem and Mineral Show May 4-8, there is something for everyone.
Mother’s Day weekend is a treat in Macon County, with gem shows like you have never seen, a plant sale along main street and the famous annual “Airing of the Quilts” festival. Come see homemade, one of kind masterpieces as they are hung up and down Franklin’s quaint main street and stop in to say hello to the shop owners displaying these works of art.
The Little Tennessee Greenway is perfect in the Spring, with the cool breeze of the Little Tennessee River pairing well with the sweet smells of native flowers blossoming along the walk.
The Appalachian Trail and Bartram Trail are bustling with hikers and with various trail heads and access points to both, a great day hike or even a section hike is the ideal way to spend time in Macon County.
Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts and what better way to recharge and refresh than Discovering Us, here in Franklin, North Carolina.
Top Outdoor Town – Check out Franklin, NC
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home.” –John Muir
With mountain ridges as far as the eye can see and fresh water streams that meander through the hills, Macon County is home to nearly 250 square miles of United States Forest land, making it the perfect outdoor adventure mecca.
From unmarred national forests to pristine mountain waters, and its location as a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Franklin, North Carolina is the ideal outdoor destination. With Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine’s recent designation as a 2015 Top Outdoor Town, visitors from all over will soon find out exactly what makes Franklin the perfect place to get lost outside.
- Home to Nantahala National Forest
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” -John Muir
With terrain reaching 5,580 in elevation, the Nantahala National Forest spans 531,270 acres over six counties, with the majority being located in Macon County. As the largest national forest in North Carolina, the Nantahala National Forest houses three wilderness areas, including Ellicott Rock near Highlands. These unharmed wilderness destinations preserve the forests as close to their original state as possible, making for the perfect outdoor experience. These wilderness areas create the perfect opportunity for solitude in a rugged, natural setting.
- A day’s drive from three major metropolitan areas
“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” – John Muir
Not everyone wants to get lost for long and by being located two to two and half hours away from Atlanta, Charlotte, and Greenville, Franklin makes for the ultimate day adventure. Franklin sits 130 miles north of Atlanta, 180 miles west of Charlotte, and 110 miles northwest of Greenville. After a couple of hours in the car, anyone can leave the hustle and bustle of the city and become consumed with crisp mountain air and pristine relaxation.
- Businesses and a community centered around outdoor recreation
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
From the Nantahala Hiking Club providing insider information about the best spots to put some miles on your hiking boots to businesses built on serving the outdoor enthusiast, Franklin is an entire community dedicated to the outdoor industry. From custom shoe fittings at Outdoor 76 or resupplying before heading back into the woods at Three Eagle Outfitters, to grabbing a beer at the Lazy Hiker Brewery, Franklin has grown into a one stop shop, all of which are locally owned and operated for premiere customer service, for the outdoorsman.
- Franklin was designated as the very first official Appalachian Trail Community
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
All 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail stretches through 14 states and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has designated 36 towns from Georgia to Maine as certified Appalachian Trail Communities. Franklin, being recognized as a leader in community involvement to promote and protect the trail, was designated as the very first Appalachian Trail Community.
Macon County is home to 47 miles of the Appalachian Trail, with Franklin being just 11 miles off the trail. The Macon County Transit also provide a shuttle service to hikers during peak season. As a leader in the trail communities, Franklin has even worked to develop an annual month long celebration of the trail, April Trail Days, spanning from the first day of Spring until Earth Day. With events and celebrations hosted by various businesses and clubs in the community to promote the trail and welcome hikers to Franklin.
- Hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, and every other outdoor recreation opportunity you can possibly fathom.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
The possibilities are endless. From hiking perfection like the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail, to rock climbing at Pickens Nose, to paddling down the Little Tennessee, the miles and miles of forests and rivers encompassing Franklin lends itself beautifully to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you want to throw on a pack and go off the grid in the Nantahala National Forest or if you was to suit up to test out your rod in a fresh mountain stream, there is no shortage of opportunity in Franklin.
Our fantastic town was named the 2015 Top Small Town by the readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.
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