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8 Off the Beaten Path Festivals in the Southeast

Perhaps Coachella sold out before you could say Beyoncé, you just can’t imagine fighting the crowds at Bonnaroo for one more year, or maybe you’d rather hang out riverside than beachside. No matter what the reason, we understand your desire for an intimate (but still larger than life) music experience this summer, so we picked eight of our favorite festivals in the Southeast that make for the perfect weekend getaway. Many involve camping, some are by the water, a few encourage family attendance, and all are worth checking out.

Throw on your most comfortable pair of Chacos, pack your backpack with breathable clothes and sunscreen, stock up on water, and head to a music festival (or all eight, we won’t judge) for an unbeatable time in the great outdoors. These no-frills festivals might be a bit off the beaten path, but that’s all part of the fun. And don’t worry—we included a few traveling and packing tips to help you out along the way.

1. MerleFest

When: April 27-30, 2017** Where: Wilkesboro, NC**

Designed with a focus on music, moments, and memories, this North Carolina festival is one not to be missed. First-time visitors and seasoned festival goers groove alongside each other while some of the best acts in Southern music belt one out. Sounds of the Appalachian region and Americana, country, blues, and rock flood the four-day festival. Last year, outstanding performances were giving by Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and John Prine—and this year’s lineup rivals that of years past. Make your way to the front of the crowds for The Avett Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Chatham County Line.

MerleFest does not offer an on-site camping experience, but you will still spend plenty of time strolling between the thirteen different spots to hear music. Keep your feet comfortable from all that walking in a pair of Chaco Fallons, and pack a blanket to set up shop at the different shows.

2. FloydFest

When: July 26-30, 2017** Where: Floyd, VA**

Floyd, a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia, comes to life in the spring. The mountain town becomes a listening room dedicate to an eclectic collection of music from groups like Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Steel Pulse, and Leftover Salmon. Cure what ails you by breathing the fresh mountain air and enjoying five days of music.

Take advantage of FloydFest’s surroundings by taking a dip in Little River, hopping on a mountain bike, playing a round of disc golf, or exploring the hiking trails. If you make the most of the weekend, you will be covering different terrain, so slide into a pair of Chaco’s Z/2 Classic sandals but be sure to bring a pair of warm socks to keep your toes toasty at night.

3. Front Porch Fest

When: August 31 – September 3** Where: Patrick County, VA**

If you weren’t able to make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains for FloydFest in July, or you need an excuse to return, The Front Porch Fest will welcome you to the mountain region with open arms. Front Porch is put on each year by a group of friends and family, which means the kiddos are welcome at this one. For the four days before Labor Day, the 130-acre Spirithaven Farm will become home to stand-out acts and music lovers. Check out groups like Big Daddy Love (a non-traditional string quartet) or Danger Muffin (known for breezy melodies). Let your life be enriched by art in this intimate setting, just as the founders of the festival intended.

The festival’s organizers encourage you to bring all of your friends, toilet paper, an open mind, and extra shoes. Consider easy-going friends, soft toilet paper, and a pair of Chaco’s ZX/3 Classics.

4. Aiken Bluegrass Festival

When: May 12-13, 2017** Where: Aiken, SC**

With nothing but a love of partying and a love of bluegrass, this festival was born. The two-day Aiken Bluegrass Festival may seem short compared to others of its kind, but the selection of bands is one not to miss, as differing styles and traditions of bluegrass music will take the stage each day. Whether you’re a first-timer or a longtime ticket holder, everyone around you will feel like a close friend as you bond over the 10-band lineup. If you are a lover of bluegrass, Aiken Bluegrass Festival is the one for you.

Pups are welcomed, camping is preferred, and Chaco’s Maya sandals are recommended.

5. Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival

When: September 23-24, 2017** Where: Franklin, TN**

New to the music fest scene, the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival has quickly grown into a must-attend event. We’re not sure if it’s past performances from Willie Nelson and Grace Potter or hopeful sightings of Justin Timberlake, but this festival has piqued our interest. The Park at Harlinsdale is a century-old horse farm in Middle Tennessee and it makes for a stunning setting for music listening. The lineup is always packed with big names but the festival offers a small-town feel.

The festival-goers guest list includes everyone from fashionistas to kiddos to Franklin-natives. So don your best festival attire (including a pair of Chaco’s Aubrey shoes) and plan to walk into the small town of Franklin to dine with the locals after the show.

6. River and Roots

When: June 23-25, 2017** Where: Berryville, VA**

Genres are not separated, but rather celebrated for their similarities and differences at River and Roots, where the lines between Americana, bluegrass, folk, and blues blur. The masses will not only flock to the main stage but also to the fiddle camp, band and pickin’ contests, and the nearby Shenandoah River during the weekend. The good people at River and Roots promise you great music and plenty of opportunities to join in on the fun of playing.

Pack your banjo for this one, show off your skills, and stroll from the campsite to the stage in a pair of Chaco’s Fallon sandals.

7. Shaky Knees Music Festival

When: May 12-14, 2017** Where: Atlanta, GA**

Who's ready to hang with Zeus again?! ⚡️🙋🏼 #shakykneesfest #shakyknees #atlanta #musicfestival

A post shared by Shaky Knees Festival (@shakykneesfest) on

Each year, Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is transformed into music madness with more than 60 bands for Shaky Knees Music Festival. There is nary a quiet moment during the festival’s three-day run and the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Cage the Elephant, Pixies, The XX, Moon Taxi, Ryan Adams, and The Shins are sure to keep things interesting.

During the festival, you will be strolling the streets of Atlanta, so wear something comfortable. Most people are not in your typical festival wear so ladies can kick things up a notch by pairing Chaco’s leather sandals with a stylish-but-breathable dress.

8. Tallulah Fest

When: March 31 – April 1, 2017** Where: Chattooga River Resort**

Although Tallulah Fest promises some of the best whiskey drinkin’ and one of the best boot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ lineups of handmade music anywhere in the Southeast, the festival offers more than just music. Thrill seekers can spend some time in their kayaks and outdoor enthusiasts can set up camp for a few days. Partake in the fun by enjoying the thrill of the class V paddling (if you’re up for that level rapid), or play it safe by setting up camp to catch stellar views of the action. You can also take advantage of the hiking and biking trails and fishing on the Wild and Scenic Chattanooga River.

Plan to get wet—and have a ball in the process. Don’t forget to pack a quick-drying towel, bathing suit, dry bag, and waterproof sandals.

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Originally written by RootsRated for Outdoor Sports Marketing.

Featured image provided by Photo courtesy of Chaco

5 Summer Things to Do in Western North Carolina

Our little corner of the world offers amazing access to the outdoors, music and art, picturesque mountain main streets, and the best friends and neighbors anyone could ask for. While you may be headed to the beach or out of town for a summer vacation, there’s plenty of local adventure to occupy a weekend or an afternoon in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Grab your kayak, lace up the hiking boots, and make your summer bucket list.

May

While May technically falls within spring, Downtown After 5 serves as an unofficial start to summer in the city. Celebrating its 29th year, this monthly concert series from the Asheville Downtown Association began as a way to draw locals into a largely abandoned city center in the late 1980s. The first DA5 concert featured a Mardi Gras theme and, in a nod to that history, the May 19 concert features dynamic New Orleans funk and RnB band the High & Mighty Brass Band and local opening the Josh Phillips Big Brass Band. Why not make a day of it and explore the city’s history on the Asheville Urban Trail, stopping at galleries and public houses along the way?

June

Summer officially arrives on June 21. What better way to celebrate than by participating in the Great American Campout? The National Wildlife Federation has tools that can help you host a public campout in your neighborhood or community. Buncombe County Recreation Services is planning a June 24 campout in Lake Julian Park with guided hikes, stargazing, morning yoga, s’mores, and campfire stories. Even if you don’t take a pledge to join the GAC, heading out with a group of friends is a great way to unwind and reconnect. Lake James State Park is just under an hour away from Asheville and offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountain range, hiking, boating, biking, and hot showers.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

July

Thru-hiking for months on end is out of reach for many of us. Luckily, the Appalachian Trail offers plenty of shorter hikes that offer the same experience. Art Loeb Trail is just west of Asheville. This 30-mile-long footpath is a highlight reel of the Southern Appalachians with rhododendron tunnels, waterfalls, swimming holes, 360-degree views, and much more. There are plenty of spots to set up camp – or pick a spot in one of the shelters. Three to four days offers ample opportunity for side trips off the main trail. You can also beat the July heat with a stop at Sliding Rock on the way back.

August

Parts of WNC are uniquely positioned to witness the contiguous United States’ first total solar eclipse in 38 years on August 21. Graham, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Transylvania counties are a handful of places in the world that will be plunged into total darkness as the Earth, moon, and sun line up so that the moon completely obscures the sun for about two minutes. Mountain towns are bracing for ten times the number of guests as usual and Clingman’s Dome is hosting a special ticketed viewing, so it’s best to reserve a campsite or cabin as early as possible. Depending on where you end up watching the eclipse, it’s a perfect chance to explore towns like Murphy, Cherokee, or Brevard. Events are also planned at UNC Asheville and in Pack Square Park, but Asheville will only see a 99% eclipse.

September

Just as summer begins with a festival, it comes to an end with the Asheville Outdoor Show on September 17. Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker host outdoor experts and leaders at this annual event that showcases everything new in hiking, camping, kayaking, outdoor clothing, and technology. With workshops, music, and the chance to chat with representatives from top brands like Patagonia, Prana, Mountain Hardwear, and Kelty, it’s a reminder that even as fall comes to the mountains, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in comfort and style with your favorite folks.

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Bring Us Your Gently Used Gear

Need some motivation to start spring cleaning? We’re offering a chance to clean out your closets and replace that old backpack or tent with something new. Outdoor companies continue to innovate with new technologies, fabrics, and fits. This is the perfect chance to save as you update your gear stash.

Drop off your gently used gear at Diamond Brand Outdoors in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road) during regular business hours from April 6-April 19, 2017. We’ll give you 20% off a new item so you get get back on the trail or on the water without missing a step (or paddle stroke). We’ll sell some of the gear at the Asheville Gear Swap and donate the rest to nonprofits connecting local kids and teens with quality outdoor experiences. (Keep this in mind when you ask, “Will someone else really be able to use this again?”)

The Rules

  • We’ll accept any item that is the same or similar to the products we currently stock. However, we retain the right to refuse any item. Below are some brief, but more specific guidelines.
  • Examples of acceptable items include packs, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns, guide books, luggage, camping chairs, PFDs, paddles, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.
  • Examples of unacceptable items include any item above that is dirty or unserviceable. Other items are excluded for legal or hygienic reasons, such as SHOES, rain gear, clothing, apparel, undergarments, personal hygiene items, furniture, climbing equipment, helmets, and electronics.
  • Please consolidate your items to one “drop off.” Limit is three items per person.
  • If you have any questions, please contact one of our expert team members at (828) 684-6262 or in person at our store on 1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville.

If you’ve got more than three items you’d like to trade in, please consider a booth for $15 at the Asheville Gear Swap on April 22. You can set up a tent, bring a table, lay out a blanket, or sell out of your own vehicle!

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Campapalooza 2017 Discounts + Special Buys

Campapalooza returns to our flagship store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road) Saturday with free workshops, clinics, and hikes, as well as education grants to local nonprofits thanks to partnerships with Patagonia and Columbia and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. We’ve also got lots of giveaways and special buys throughout the store!

Build You Own Package: Save up to 40% when you mix and match our entire stock of sleeping bags, tents, packs, cook sets, trekking poles, water filters, and stoves. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to raise the level of your camping collection, this is an amazing opportunity. Get your first item at full price, take 10% off your second item, 20% off your third, 30% off your fourth, and 40% off your fifth. It’s Campapalooza, so save on 2017’s best reviewed gear and get outdoors! (Greatest package discount applies to lowest priced item. See store for details.)

30% off Hydro Flask: Hydro Flask has redefined what the classic outdoor water bottle can be. These bottles keep your beverage icy cold or piping hot all day whether you’re going from trailhead to summit, commuting to work and back again, heading to the gym, or any step in between. (Discount applies to all sizes and styles of the following colors only: Citron, Forrest, and Tangelo.)

40% off ENO: Blend into your environment, whatever that may be. As versatile as nature is varied, the CamoNest and CamoNest XL provide the perfect hidden nirvana in ENO’s trademark breathable, quick-drying nylon. (Discount applies to CamoNest and CamoNest XL only.)

40% off Outdoor Tech: The geniuses at Outdoor Tech have spent years perfecting bluetooth earbuds, headphones, speakers, and other wireless products for an active life. Our entire stock of their innovative speakers and headphones are 40% off during Campapalooza, allowing you to take your music with you wherever the road or trail leads. (Discount applies to entire stock of Outdoor Tech.)

30% off Thule samples: Thule duffel bags are the perfect travel companion, wherever life takes you and whatever you need to pack. In a variety of sizes and styles, we’ve got samples that make sense on a bike, on a kayak, on an adventure, or on vacation. (Discount applies to select sample packs and luggage. See store for selection.)

BOGO 60% off Yeti: Days on the dock or days at the desk are made better with the Rambler 30 oz. Tumbler. It’ll keep your dinnertime drink cool well past sundown or your coffee piping hot throughout the morning. The Rambler 30 oz. Tumbler is made of 18/8 kitchen-grade stainless steel, has double-wall vacuum insulation, and No Sweat Design. (Discount applies to 30 oz. stainless steel only.)

 

40% off Platypus: There’s not a hard bottle out there that’s cleaner, greener, and more flexible than a Platypus .5 Liter SoftBottle. Each one comes with a Clean-Taste Guarantee and it’s BPA free. It fits in a drink holder, a round pocket, a flat pocket, or any hand. When empty, it rolls up and fits anywhere you want. Plus, it weighs 80% less than hard hydration bottles. (Discount applies to .5 Liter SoftBottle only.)

40% off Freefly: $29.98, reg. $49.95. Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, Freefly has spent two years perfecting bamboo blends to produce the perfect sustainable wicking performance polos. Durable, but soft, these polos combine style and substance to allow more time spent outdoors. (Discount applies to Slate Green and Blue Bird colors only.)

50% off Storm Creek: $10, reg. $20. Lightweight, breathable performance that looks great from running errands to running a marathon, these wicking tees feature lightweight mesh, droptail hem, and inner neck tape for added comfort. (Discount applies to entire stock of Storm Creek performance tees.)

Spring Samples

  • Patagonia for 25% off MSRP
  • Prana for 30% off MSRP

Free Gifts with Purchase

  • Canvas tote ($28 value) with any KEEN footwear purchase
  • Streamer 3L ($27.95 value) with any Deuter purchase
  • Lasting Impressions tee ($27.95 value) with purchase of any two or more Royal Robbins items
  • Firecracker Snapback trucker hat ($29 value) with purchase of any two or more Howler Bros. items
  • MK Wallet ($24.95 value) with purchase of any two or more Mountain Khakis items
  • Multi-functional headwear with any Goal Zero or The North Face purchase
  • Running hat or drawstring sack with any Lowa purchase

Some exclusions apply. In-stock items only. No rainchecks. See store for details.

Let us know you’re coming to Campapalooza with an RSVP on Facebook.

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Workshops, Hikes, + Demos Announced for Campapalooza

Campapalooza returns to our flagship store on March 18 from 10:00-4:00, offering the opportunity to explore the latest trends in camping, upgrade your personal camping collection, and learn from outdoor experts. It’s a way for us to celebrate our history as the region’s first outdoor store and thank you for being great friends and neighbors for 53 years.

This year, we’ve assembled an amazing schedule of free outdoor education. Drop in for as many classes as you like. Get hands on with our top picks for camping in 2017 between sessions and enter raffles for prizes from Osprey, Marmot, ENO, Chaco, Hydro Flask, and more.

Outdoor Education
Learning about the outdoors is fun — and rewarding! Join these experts for a short presentation and you’ll be entered to win some serious prizes. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A.

  • 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Test Drive Salewa Footwear 
    Salewa is a family owned mountain brand that has been in business for over 80 years. Focusing on high quality, durable technical footwear perfect for a trip up Mt. Mitchell or kicking it around Asheville, this is the perfect chance to test drive a pair of trail shoes or hiking boots. Kurt Smith will use his knowledge to select a pair that’s right for you. Take them for a run or a walk on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail anytime throughout Campapalooza.
  • 10:30 a.m., Hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Join Marmot‘s Stephanie Whitaker for a 30-minute morning hike along the portion of the MST that runs alongside our store and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a great chance to identify native flora and fauna while sticking close to all the Campapalooza fun.
    Giveaway: Stanley Steel Growler Pack
  • 11:30 a.m., Choosing the Right Hiking Shoe
    Oboz Footwear Expert Alex Cavner travels the southeast with one goal: matchmaking hikers with the perfect fit. Though there seems to be a dizzying array of choices, his process can easily drill down to correct type and fit, leaving you free to worry about style and color.
    Giveaways: Oboz shirts, hats, and samples
  • Noon, Presentation of Grants to Local Organizations
    We’re local and we like to support local groups connecting youth to the outdoors. Call it civic pride or mountain spirit, but we think it’s the right thing to do. We’re presenting $12,000 in awards to Asheville GreenWorks, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, River Link, and The North Carolina Arboretum.
  • 12:30 p.m., Meet Shelly the Eastern Box Turtle + Friends
    Did you know the Eastern box turtle is our state reptile? Did you know that these turtles can live to be 100 years old? Jonathan Marchal will introduce Shelly, The North Carolina Arboretum’s “celebriturtle” and learn about how you can help she and other turtles that call Western North Carolina home.
    Giveaways: KEEN Arroyo II keychains for everyone
  • 12:30 p.m., Bamboo You: New Trends in Clothing
    Free Fly spent over two years developing their unique bamboo fabric blends to create apparel made from an ultra-soft performance fabric that is breathable, provides UV protection, wicks moisture, and is naturally odor resistant. Jeff Weathersbee will run through the effort to make durable clothing from one of nature’s most sustainable resources.
    Giveaway: Free Fly clothing
  • 1:30 p.m., Solar Power Your Adventure
    Goal Zero‘s line of portable solar products allows you to charge almost anything while exploring the outdoors: phones, laptops, lights, refrigerators, and more. Ultra lightweight and portable, Crandall Caughman will run through the technology that powers the weather-resistant solar panels of the next generation of outdoor products.
    Giveaway: Goal Zero charger
  • 2:00 p.m., Picking the Right Pack
    Osprey backpacking expert Will Pfister knows a poor fitting pack can be the difference between a great time and a terrible time outdoors. He believes in making the right relationship between pack and its wearer. He’ll run through the basics of picking the correct pack for any adventure.
    Giveaway: Osprey
  • 2:30 p.m., Hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Sponsored by Outdoor Research, one of our expert team members will lead a 30 minute hike on section of the MST different from the morning hike. Different times of the day bring out different vantage points so you may want to do both!
    Giveaway: $150 Outdoor Research gift card

Let us know you’re coming to Campapalooza with an RSVP on Facebook.

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Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville in March

March equinox brings spring to the mountains on March 20. The month is named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare, and the festivals held in his honor during the month were mirrored by others in October, when the season for these came to a close. As winter comes to an end, March is seen by many as a month to celebrate rebirth, rejuvenations, and regrowth.

Here are some picks for getting outside during the first month of springtime. Visit the experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors to make sure you’ve got all the right gear and outdoor clothing before heading out!

Kolo Bike Park
Opens for the season on March 4, Prices vary
Part of the Adventure Center of Asheville, this experience includes miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails and features — including wooden and dirt jumps, 180 degree wood berm, and wooden bridges — in a wooded, rolling terrain. It’s adult and kid’s pump track make it a sort of mountain bike sampler pack. There are multiple ways to ride Kolo’s trails depending on your skill level whether you’re just learning, taking it easy, or looking to push your edge a bit. Bring your own bike or rent one on site.
1 Resort Drive in Asheville

Spring Hiking 101
6pm-7pm on March 9, Free
With the arrival of spring, the ground thaws, flowers begin to blossom, and nature is jumps back to life. With trails that weave through multiple waterfalls, provide ample bird-watching opportunities, and lead to epic vistas, there’s no better time to explore WNC’s terrain than the temperate days of spring. Frugal Backpacker‘s experts will review essential items you should take with you while hiking in the Asheville area and share their favorite spring hikes.
52 Westgate Parkway in Asheville

Campapalooza
10am-4pm on March 18, Free
Spring camping season gets an early start with a preview of 2017’s best reviewed gear from international innovators like Kelty, Marmot, and Oboz, as well as locally based makers like ENO, Astral, and LiquidLogic. Free hourly workshops on topics from festival camping to choosing the right backpack for a thru hike to getting started to hiking are joined by giveaways and the presentation of grants to local environmental nonprofits. It’s our way of celebrating Diamond Brand Outdoors’ history as WNC’s first and oldest outdoor store — and thanking our customers for their support!
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Get in Gear Fest
Noon-5pm on March 18, Free
26 WNC Gear Builders will be demoing their newest equipment on the banks of the French Broad River at Salvage Station. From a slingshot shooting range and 1:1 guided outdoor experiences to unique events to test outdoor skills and outdoor gear collaboration beers and ciders, it’s no joke that this festival is called Get in Gear. Diamond Brand Outdoors’ paddle experts will be hosting paddlesports demos on the river at 1:00, 2:15, and 3:30 in the afternoon.
468 Riverside Drive in Asheville

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Bird Walk
8am-10am on March 25, Free
Have you ever wanted to get to know the birds that you see and hear around you? Join international birdwatching guide Kevin Burke for an moderate hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. You’ll look for typical winter species, such as Carolina Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Golden, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, as well as early spring migrants like Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Wood Thrush.
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Asheville Orchid Festival
9am-5pm on March 25 & 26
$5 per person, Free ages 12 and under (standard parking fees apply)
The Western North Carolina Orchid Society hosts its 19th annual ode to the excitement and joy of cultivating orchids inside The North Carolina Arboretum’s Education Center. World-class orchid growers and breeders, along with regional orchid societies, will exhibit hundreds of orchids presented in carefully crafted displays. Orchids will be for sale by vendors from Taiwan, Ecuador, and across the United States.

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$6,000 for Local Youth Environmental Education

We believe the outdoors are for everyone. That’s why we teamed up with Patagonia to award $6,000 to area programs that support environmental and stewardship education for local kids and teens. You helped us by voting in the Winter of Love poll for your favorite organizations and — wow! — 5,147 votes later, we’re happy to announce the winners.
 The North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE takes the top spot with 2,513 votes. ecoEXPLORE is an incentive-driven program that engages K-8 students in guided and self-directed citizen science activities. Students engage as active participants as they record observations of organisms found in their neighborhoods, libraries, and at the Arboretum. They’ll receive a check for $2,500 and a $500 gift card.

Finishing a very close second is RiverLink with 2,276 votes. RiverLink delivers K-12 watershed education at no cost to schools within the French Broad River Watershed. Through hands-on and fun experiences, students leave lessons with the knowledge and skills to care for their watershed. We’re sending them a check for $1,500 and a $250 gift card.

In third, The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility. They’ll receive a check for $1,000 and a $250 gift card to support their work.

Since opening WNC’s original outdoor store in 1964, community support has been an important tenant of our success and one of our guiding principals. Join us on March 18 at our store on 1378 Hendersonville Road for Campapalooza, a celebration of our history and a showcase of 2017’s hottest gear. We’ll have giveaways, package discounts, one-day-only deals, outdoor education from some of the best in the business, and more. We’ll also present checks to the local organizations listed above and others.

Everyone who cast a vote was also entered to win a $100 gift card to Diamond Brand Outdoors. Congratulations to Wayne S. of Asheville!

We’re blown away by the response. It’s great to be part of a community dedicated to making sure the next generation of adventurers are developed through the ability to get outdoors and run, jump, play, and explore! #AdventureIsLocal

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Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville in December

Even though summer hung around longer than usual, we’re lucky to enjoy four distinct seasons in our little corner of the world. Every season is a great season to live in Asheville, but holidays in the mountains carry a special charm all their own. From sharing a fire pit with friends in your backyard to getting in one last camping weekend with the family, there are plenty of traditions—casual or official—to fill up the month of December.

Here are some picks for getting outside during the last month of the year. Visit the experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors to make sure you’ve got the right hiking shoes and gear before heading out!

Frozen Waterfalls
While the power of rushing water is a spectacular site during any waterfall hike, winter brings magical icy scenes that are on display for just a short time each year. Leafless trees offer clearer views and the absence of crowds make for a very personal experience. Daniel Ridge Falls, Cove Creek Falls, Soco Falls, or one of many others are just a short drive from Asheville. Visit RomanticAsheville.com for some great suggestions.

Lake Julian Festival of Lights
6pm-9pm nightly through December 22
$5 per car, $10 per van
Transforming the road circling Lake Julian Park involves thousands of lights and more than 50 displays, growing each year! The lake’s reflection can even make it appear that the dazzling wonderland goes on forever. A fundraiser for Buncombe County Special Olympics, the annual event is a great value since you pay by the vehicle and not per person. December 1 offers the option to walk through the festival at your own pace rather than driving in the car.

Choose ‘n’ Cut Christmas Tree Farms
The North Carolina Fraser fir is the second most popular Christmas tree in the nation. Christmas tree farms are a great holiday outing, allowing you and your family to make memories while picking the perfect yuletide centerpiece. Cut it yourself or have the professionals bale and tie to your vehicle while you enjoy refreshments and (in some cases) hay rides. A good resource is NCChristmastrees.com.

Santa on the Rock
11am-2pm on December 3 & 10
$13 adults, $6 ages 5-15 (includes park admission)
Jolly Old Saint Nick practices his chimney shimmy with multiple rappels down Chimney Rock. Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa and cookies, and meet live critters that call Chimney Rock Park their home.

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum
6pm-9pm nightly through January 1
$18 adults, $16 ages 5-11
Shorter days mean more time to enjoy the nighttime wonderland of light displays throughout the region. The North Carolina Arboretum’s elaborate Winter Lights show transforms the gardens into a magical experience. Grab some layers and enjoy the experience of roasting marshmallows and making s’mores!

Asheville Downtown Holiday Windows
Map available at ashevilledowntown.org
Finish your holiday shopping or just get in the holiday spirit as you window-shop about 30 businesses that make up the Holiday Windows walking tour sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Association. Seasonal interpretations range from the traditional to the neo-traditional to the only-in-Asheville, a delightful experience that reinforces that we may celebrate in different ways, but we all love the experience of winter magic.

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Annual Coat Drive for Eblen Charities Kicks Off November 19

Last year, you helped us get over 400 coats to those in our community who need them most. This year, we’ve set a goal of 450 coats for Eblen Charities and you can score a discount for doing good.

November 19-December 24, you’ll receive 20% off an item for bringing in a gently used coat. (There’s a limit of one discount per person during the length of this promotion.) We’ll kick things off at Marmot + RootsRated’s Fall in Love with the Outside Road Tour during our Big Super Saturday celebration.

You can drop off a coat at either Diamond Brand location or Frugal Backpacker. You’ll only be able to use the discount on one item, but if you’d like to bring in multiple coats during the drive, that’s awesome! We’re also not allowed to discount certain items like YETI, GoPro, gift cards, and boats.

Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach extends throughout the counties of Western North Carolina and through its numerous programs has helped thousands upon thousand of families each year with medical and emergency assistance through more than 70 programs yearly throughout the region.

Eblen Charities Asheville

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Big Super Saturday Brings Big Names Together for a Good Cause

Join us for Big Super Saturday, a full day celebrating the simple things we can do with family and friends to enjoy the outdoors. The free event features live music, giveaways, apple cider, outdoor treats, contests, and more. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, local nonprofits Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Eblen Charities, and Diana Wortham Theatre benefit from events during the week. Big Super Saturday takes place on November 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., at our flagship store in the Parkway Center on 1378 Hendersonville Road in South Asheville.

The day kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with Native Watercraft and Liquidlogic’s Factory Warehouse Sale. Current and previous season boats will be on-site and priced below wholesale, including models that have never been available in Western North Carolina region. Native Watercraft and Liquidlogic are international companies headquartered in the area with their factory located in Fletcher, North Carolina. Thule specialists will be on hand to answer questions, talk about products that best fit your needs, and show off some of the coolest accessories for 2017.

The fun continues and takes a turn to the kid-friendly side at 3:00 p.m. Steve Longenecker of Falconers of Falling Creek Camp will host his popular Birds of Prey presentation with live raptors including a Peregrine, male and female American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Haw, Great-Horned Owl, and an Eastern Screech Owl.

At 4:30 p.m., the Fall In Love With The Outside Road Tour touches down in North Carolina. Marmot and RootsRated have traveled to 30 different cities around the country, but Diamond Brand Outdoors has something special in mind for its Asheville stop. The family-friendly (and dog-friendly) event celebrates with live music, tent pitching contests, Marmot gear raffles, s’mores, apple cider, outdoor trivia, a photo booth, and good ole’ conversations about where to go outdoors. A suggested $5 donation includes hot cider, a Ball® mason jar pint glass, and entry into Marmot’s awesome raffles. 100% of donations benefit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

November 19 is also the kickoff for Diamond Brand Outdoors’ annual coat drive for Eblen Charities. Anyone who brings a gently used coat will receive 20% off one item from Diamond Brand Outdoors (with some limited exclusions). This continues through December 24.

Earlier in the week, Diamond Brand Outdoors hosts the sixth annual Step Out & Shop, a benefit for Diana Wortham Theatre on Thursday, November 17 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The free event offers a 20% storewide discount to shoppers and 10% of the sales benefit the programs of the downtown performing arts venue.

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Events

Asheville Outdoor Show 2017

The Asheville Outdoor Show brings the finest outdoor brands and latest trends in recreation directly to our friends and neighbors who live in the outdoor playground of the mountains of North Carolina. We’ll showcase innovators known for quality, variety, and uniqueness. Enjoy music and outdoor games throughout the day — and pick up lots of discounts from your favorite brands for your outdoor lifestyle.

This kick-ass event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public!

RSVP on Facebook

 

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Adoption Day

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization. In addition to offering free spay/neuter assistance and a pet food pantry to the community, BWAR runs a 10,000 square foot adoption center, provides behavioral counseling, runs a popular dog hiking club, and is expanding an animal sanctuary.

BWAR volunteers and companion animals will be at the store on Saturday, July 8. Stop by to meet these adorable dogs and cats — and find out how you can provide a loving home.

RSVP on Facebook

This free event is open to the public. Well-behaved kids and pets with owner on leash are welcome.

Wander Lost Tour

This summer, GearJunkie is collaborating with Kelty to prove that outdoor fun can be found anywhere. Living in Western North Carolina, we know #AdventureIsLocal and can be found on the trail, on the town, and even in your own backyard.

The free celebration includes food, drinks, Kelty prizes, interactive presentations, and more! You’ll also score 20% OFF all #KeltyBuilt gear that evening.

RSVP on Facebook >

Well-behaved pets and kids with owner on leash are welcome to attend.