The happy, southern Appalachian sounds of string bands and cloggers will once again fill the air when the 51st annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival comes to life Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 26, at Lake Junaluska.

This always-popular event is a celebration of the culture and heritage of the Appalachian region and is a wonderful way to learn about Western North Carolina.

Each night will feature free watermelon along with an open tent show on the lawn next to the historic 2,000-seat Stuart Auditorium. The open tent shows run from 5-6:30 p.m. Main stage performances in Stuart Auditorium run from 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Appalachian Smoke BBQ Food Truck will be available from 4-7:30 p.m. each day.

The festival welcomes some of the region’s finest performers including fiddlers, banjo players, string bands, ballad singers, buck dancers and square teams, as well as the unique sounds of dulcimer, harmonica, Jew’s harp, bagpipes and even spoons.

“The festival is about continuing our region’s rich tradition and keeping our music and dance alive. We present the very best of Appalachian music, story, song and dance,” said Joe Sam Queen, festival director.

Main show tickets are $15 at the door, $12 in advance, and children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Haywood County Arts Council at 86 N. Main St. in Waynesville or at Bethea Welcome Center at Lake Junaluska.

The early outside open tent shows include: Celtic band Bean Sidhe, Sadie Wicker and Friends, dulcimer player Don Pedi, The Trantham Family, and more.

Main Stage performances in Stuart Auditorium include: Bailey Mountain Cloggers, Don Pedi, Shelia Kay Adams, Green Valley Cloggers, Haywood Ramblers, Whitewater Bluegrass, Honey Holler, Carley Arrowood, The Montreat-Scottish Pipes & Drums, J Creek Cloggers, William Ritter, Frank Lee, Mack Snoderly & Flave Heart Band and more.

For more information, visit for a complete list of bands both evenings.

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