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Feb. 16, 2024, 2:53 p.m.

Ushering in Warmer Weather with these Springtime Events

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As the days get warmer and longer in McDowell County, locals love to lift up this wonderful time of year with celebrations and festivities!

With a majority of events kicking off in the town of Old Fort, you’ll want to stay in McDowell County’s basecamp town at one of our amazing inns or short-term rentals. On April 27th, 2024, you can start your day in Historic Old Fort celebrating cycling, local art, and the rich heritage of Pioneer Day.

Hosted by the McDowell Trails Association, the Rock n Roller, features three courses: the 60-mile Hard Rock, the 30-mile Soft Rock, and the 45-mile Gravel Ride. This is a fundraiser for trail development, an excellent training ride and is limited to 300 registered riders. There will be food and beer for refueling at the finish, and you will also receive a tee shirt commemorating the event (for those registered by April 1). Sign ups are available on RaceRoster, so be sure to register here:

Arrowhead Gallery hosts over 40 regional artists practicing new and heritage art traditions. Their Art by the Creek event provides visitors a chance to see ongoing art, pottery and multimedia forms of art here in Old Fort. The gallery also hosts host shows and exhibits throughout the year open to artists across the region. Learn more about their upcoming Art by the Creek by visiting the A3L website.

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The ever popular Pioneer Days Festival at Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center offers the unique opportunity to enjoy local crafts, music, food, demonstrations of pioneer era heritage crafts, and more! The Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center website provides more details about this yearly event. Vendors, exhibitors and organizations are encouraged to apply for a booth during Pioneer Days through the following link. Expect demonstrations of crafts, hobbies an skills that highlight the heritage of our Blue Ridge Mountains community.

Want to do more in Old Fort? Check out the Gateway Trail System and the Curtis Creek Recreation Area and campground of the Pisgah National Forest. Our area of the Pisgah National Forest includes approximately 67,000 protected acres are within the Grandfather Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service lands. The first track of land purchased through the Weeks Act in 1911 and was an active part of the Civil Conservation Corps Project celebrating its 76th anniversary in 2009. You can still see remnants of the CCC’s work throughout the Curtis Creek area, and archaeologists continue to make historic finds. More information on these finds and history of the Old Fort can be found at Gateway Museum and Heritage Center.