This annual mountain family tradition is free and open to kids, teens, and adults of all ages. This year’s theme, Get Curious About the Outdoors, is inspired by the adventures of Curious George that feature themes of learning, forgiveness, and playful curiosity. Festival goers are encouraged to attend dressed as their favorite children’s book characters or in another costume.
“Autumn is a special time at Lake Julian, with vibrant colors on the trees and crisp air that’s distinct to our area,” according to Lynn Pegg, Buncombe County Recreation Services Program Manager. “This year, the Fall Festival celebrates the creativity and boundless imagination of Buncombe County’s youngest citizens throughout the park.”
Festival games include an obstacle course, water balloon toss, scavenger hunt, ring toss, baseball target, foam bow and arrow, and alphabet walk. Free face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, and storytelling areas will be set up within Lake Julian Road, the main loop in in the park. Regular park amenities including the pirate-themed playground (installed in 2018), volleyball, horseshoes, picnic tables, walking trails, and disc golf are also accessible at no cost.
Fishing, paddleboats, water trikes, and a boat launch are available for a small fee. Food will be offered for purchase from Frank & Steins Hot Dogs, Kona Shaved Ice, and Papa John’s Pizza. Publix has provided supplies for a free cupcake decorating station. Free water stations are sponsored by Mountain Valley Spring Water. (Please bring your reusable water bottle.)
Other stations include Asheville Museum of Science (learning activities), Buncombe County Fire Marshal (kids’ fire house), Buncombe County Libraries South Asheville Branch (story time), Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office (BEAR CAT tactical vehicle and K9 handler), Lakeview Putt and Play (mini golf), Skyland Fire and Rescue (fire engine), Smokey the Bear and the United States Forest Service (outdoor education), and WNC Safe Kids (safety information).