The community of Valle Crucis is home to several events during the course of the year. The first big event that has its beginning and end in the valley is Blood, Sweat, and Gears, which is a century bicycle ride around Watauga County and is a fund raiser for the Watauga County Chapter of the American Red Cross. It is held the fourth Saturday in June. The ride offers two routes one that is just over 100 miles and one that is just over 50 miles in length. Both include challenging hill climbs and beautiful scenery and are fully supported by aid stations.
The next event is a summer-long festival of music held at the Valle Crucis Community Park. Typically the Music in the Valle schedule will begin in mid May and will end on the second Friday of September. Performances include bluegrass and old-time music along with rock and roll and perhaps a little jazz. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy spending time with others in the community. The concerts are free, but show your appreciation when they pass the hat.
The Annual Valle Crucis Park Auction is always a community highlight. It is held the Saturday before Labor Day Saturday each year and is the primary fund raiser for the Community Park. You’ll find all kinds of items at this auction from antiques and furniture to gift certificates and artwork. There’s also a flea market held in conjunction with the auction. The usual location is the Valle Crucis Elementary School.
The Valle Country Fair, sponsored by Holy Cross Episcopal Church, is held in the field across from the Apple Barn on the third Saturday of October each year. The idea for the Fair actually came about as a fundraiser for the Church of the Holy Cross building fund. When it was “pitched” to the rector, he agreed with the idea with the understanding that in coming years the fund from the Fair would be shared with the community.
In the beginning, the people of the church made many of the crafts, cooked the food, provided the entertainment, helped with parking, and threw a big square dance at the Apple Barn on Fair night. Over the last 20 plus years, a few things have changed. Now, vendors from all over the South make their way to what they term as “the most successful show of the year.” Parking is typically handled by another community group as a fundraiser; the elementary school does a chicken or poor man’s supper in the evening; and other non-profit groups set up booths with food, etc.
One of the goals of the Valle Country Fair is to provide a “home-grown” experience. Crafters are juried in and must hand-make their items. The canned goods, cakes, muffins, cookies, etc. are all made in home kitchens. The entertainment is all local and can range from bluegrass to storytelling to clogging to poetry reading. Come early for the best selection and get your applebutter first thing – it sells out before the end of the day.
The Valle Crucis Punkin Festival is held the fourth Saturday in October and is a fund raiser for the Western Youth Network, an organization serving youth and parents in Ashe, Avery, and Watauga Counties. It is hosted by the Mast General Store in the yard by the Annex and is all about fun for all ages … especially kids. You’ll find old-fashioned games like Apple Bob, Hoop La, and Punkin Sack Races in addition to “no mess” Punkin Carving. Live music and a bake sale round out the activities for the day.
Christmas in the Valle is a series of activities at the Mast General Store beginning on Thanksgiving Weekend. The exact schedule may change year to year, but the elements are visits with Santa Claus in the Little Red School House behind the Original Mast Store, live musical performances, Kids’ Make-and-Take Craft Projects (just bring a couple of cans of food for the Hunger and Health Coalition), pet pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Paws (a fund raiser for the Watauga Humane Society), and a sampling of holiday cheer.