Anyone who visits the Asheboro Fall Festival will quickly realize that “small, North Carolina town” is not synonymous with “lack of excitement.”
We arrived just before the start of the festival, 9:45 AM; however, the main streets of downtown Asheboro were already lined with cars. The sky was growing dark and rain made its way down onto the exponentially-growing crowd. Clearly, it takes more than a little congestion and water to keep the people of Asheboro away from a good time.
Walking into Main Street felt like being transported into another world. Vendors lined the streets; the aroma of fried food filled the air; parents let their children walk the street without fear for their wellbeing; and the overall mood was both chaotic and joyful in the best way. There was so much to take in, so many tents to walk up to and people to smile at, that we couldn’t decide what to do first.
Despite the large size of the festival–we stayed until noon, and it seemed like the people didn’t stop coming–traversing the streets of Downtown Asheboro felt like stepping into someone’s home. Every vendor and pedestrian we passed greeted us with smiles and a “How are y’all?” The large crowd didn’t stop children from finding their friends or adults from making small talk with nearly everyone they came across. Everyone knew everyone, or so it appeared, and that made Asheboro feel less like a town and more like a family.
If you plan on going to the Fall Festival in the future, bring a lot of cash. Or perhaps it might be better to come with none, lest you’re tempted to buy everything in sight. Tents along the road offered festival-goers the opportunity to browse locally made goods, from dream catchers to walking sticks. The local focus on goods only served to increase the sense of community.
Perhaps more tempting than the local vendors was the food. Tons and tons of food. Living up to the North Carolina reputation for barbecue, men dressed in camo and overalls lined the street, cooking dozens of pounds of pork for everyone to see. If pork isn’t your thing, well, then you could grab a turkey leg. And if you’re a vegetarian, there’s always roasted corn soaked with melted butter. While the southern cooking was most predominant, we were pleased to find a variety of ethnic foods as well, like Mexican and Greek. You might leave the festival empty handed, but you surely won’t leave with an empty stomach.
Whether you’re old or young, from Asheboro or Asheville, you’re bound to leave the Fall Festival satisfied and feeling at home. The town might be small, but they sure know how to throw a party.