Heart of Folk’s Carolina in the Fall™ presented by Wilkes Communications, Inc.
Insider’s Guide to Carolina in the Fall™
Hello Festival fans! With Carolina in the Fall going into it’s second year in 2016, some of you know the ropes and some of you don’t! So, here is what we know today and this Insider will be updated regularly to get the latest info out to you.
The festival is located in the heart of downtown Wilkesboro. Main Street is closed from West Street to East Street. Bridge Street is closed from South Street to North Street and Broad Street is closed from Main Street to North Street. Additionally, North Street is closed form West Street except for residents. Hope that helps!
The Carolina Stage (main stage) is located in the Open Air Market Park. The Foothills Stage is located right beside The Carolina Stage and will serve as a side stage during Carolina Stage evening changeovers. The Hall of Fame Stage is located in The Heritage Museum(old courthouse) and will showcase mostly local bands. The Great State Stage (located in Great State Auction Co.) will feature workshops, dancing and a kids showcase.
Food trucks will be lined up on Main Street from West Street to Bridge Street. The Beer Garden is located in a large tent in the Open Air Market Park. Vendors are set up along North Bridge Street.
This year’s festival will feature some of Bluegrass/Americana/Roots music’s best bands. The Kruger Brothers will serve as the Festival’s host band and will feature prominently throughout. The Infamous Stringdusters, The Steel Wheels and Symphony of the Mountains are all headliners for 2016.
With over 100 awards, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage is the most award winning band in Bluegrass Music today. Balsam Range is the 2014 IBMA Entertainer and Vocal Band of the Year award winner. The Secret Sisters have been featured on late night television with David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. They have been busy filming their own PBS special with Elvis Costello and Jakob Dylan, and recorded music for the platinum-selling soundtrack to The Hunger Games.
Other bands scheduled to perform are Flatt Lonesome, Snyder Family Band, Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line, Front Country, Slocan Ramblers, and Locust Honey String Band. Additional bands are to be announced.
The festival begins at 11:00AM each day and concludes at 10:30PM. Gates will open at 10:00AM. Seating is festival style and is first come first serve, so get there early for the best seats! For those that purchased a VIP ticket, The Carolina Jam™ sessions begin at 11:00PM at the Yadkin Valley Event Center at the Holiday Inn Express each evening. These sessions are scheduled for two hours, but you know musicians.
Downtown parking is available at area churches, public lots and private lots. My best advice is to take the Brushy Mountain Rd/ Oakwoods Rd exit off US Hwy 421 or the NC Hwy 268 exit onto Main Street. Each exit will bring you to downtown Wilkesboro. I am sure there will be lots of signage for parking, so pay attention and find the best spot.
What you can bring into the Festival
Like most other festivals… no coolers, no beverages, no drugs, no alcohol, no pets, no blankets. Bring your best folding chair, a jacket or sweater (this is Carolina in the Fall!), comfortable shoes and a camera to capture the memories.
The Carolina in the Fall Food Truck Championship™ will bring the region’s best food trucks to Main Street to serve up some great food to festival goers. There will be something for everyone as the Festival planners are working hard to bring trucks that serve every kind of food the region has to offer. Plan on NC Barbeque for lunch, fish tacos for dinner and some Thai for an evening snack! The next day, some southern fried chicken and turnip greens followed by some Italian creation for dinner. The food will be fun!
Of course, no one will stop you from bringing your own food in! Just remember… no coolers and no beverages can be brought in.
All of your standard beverages will be available. A local coffee shop, Talia Espresso will be set up onsite to give you that shot of caffeine to keep you going all day and evening.
As this region has become home to some of the nation’s best wines and craft beers, there will be a beer and wine garden available for those of age to sip on locally made adult beverages while they take in their favorite bands.
This is first come, first serve festival seating at each stage. Chairs will be available at The Hall of Fame Stage and The Great State Stage, you will need to bring your own chair to The Carolina Stage.
The Carolina Stage seating will fill up fast for the big name artists, so get there early and stake your claim. Regardless of where you sit, the sound will be amazing!
Where to stay
Local hotels are offering festival packages. Local hotel rooms are very limited, so get your room now!! My best advice is to go online to the brand reservation website and give it a try. Camping is a great option and the Town of Wilkesboro is opening up Sewerfest for this event!! This is great news for all of the Merlefest® campers that want to come back in the fall and close out the festival season. To book your camping spot, go to http://www.wilkesboronorthcarolina.com/explore-wilkesboro-2/wfd-campgroundsewerfest and contact them to reserve a spot! They will begin taking reservations beginning in mid-July.
The Festival organizers say that Carolina in the Fall ™ is about celebrating the region and the season. It is all about the music we love, the food we crave and the beverages that we share. This festival provides plenty of all three and more!
So what is Carolina in the Fall™?
My take on it is this… two days of Western NC magic that makes the other 363 days seem long. But then again, the wait makes it all the more special. The clock is ticking, the musicians are picking, the food trucks are cooking and the grapes are growing… see you downtown Wilkesboro the last weekend of September!!