Guten tag, festival lovers! October is closer than you think. And with Hickory’s annual Oktoberfest gearing up for its 31st year, it’s time to raise a glass of your favorite beer, throw a bratwurst on the grill, get your polka shoes on, and start making plans to celebrate the season.
When the lush fall foliage blankets the Blue Ridge Parkway, and wildflowers bloom brightly in the best mountain towns in North Carolina, you can be sure the folks living in and around NC mountain communities are counting down the days until Hickory Oktoberfest. The 2016 festival takes place on October 7th, 8th, and 9th at Union Square, Main Ave NW in Hickory, NC.
Why is this three-day outdoor family festival the most highly anticipated fall event in the area? Just ask the 100,000 festival-goers who attend each year. Some come to rock out to the live bands. Others come to enjoy the savory foods accompanied by their favorite brews from one of two Oktoberfest beer gardens. Still others come for the amusement rides, carnival games, and juried arts and crafts shows. Artisans come to sell their hand-made jewelry, woodcrafts, pottery, and tapestries. And shoppers come to browse and buy.
The festival kicks off at noon on Friday when hundreds of food vendors start serving up an appetizing array of tasty street foods. This is a perfect time to take a stroll around Hickory’s beautiful Union Square to get your fill of turkey legs, corn dogs, sausages, Philly cheese steaks, and fire roasted corn-on-the-cob, among other tasty treats. And be sure to leave room for dessert. There’s quite a variety, including funnel cakes, ice cream, authentic Bavarian pastries, and sweet Southern treats.
At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, four festival stages will come alive with non-stop entertainment that appeals to all ages and music appetites, and continues non-stop throughout the three days. With so many bands to choose from – ranging from Americana, blues, and jazz to polka, beach tunes, and gospel – music lovers will want to plan ahead to make sure they get to see their favorites. The 2016 Hickory festival line-up includes:
Friday October 7th
Foothills Oompah Band 6:00-8:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Tony Eltora 6:15-7:15 p.m. (SS Stage)
Carolina Soul Band 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Main Stage)
Nacirema 7:00-7:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Pearl and Stone 7:45-8:45 p.m. (SS Stage)
Carving the Architect 8:00-8:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Selwyn Birchwood 8:30-10:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Shiva’s Destruction 9:00-9:45 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Too Much Sylvia 9:00-10:45 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Saturday October 8th
Rick Cline & P3 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Foothills Oompah Band 11:00-2:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Thomas Aaron Garlow 12:15-1:15 p.m. (SS Stage)
Rick Cline & Steel Grooving and Pandemic 12:30-2:00 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Kendra Blethen 1:45-2:45 p.m. (SS Stage)
Project X 2:00-4:00 p.m. (Main Stage)
Circadium 2:30-3:00 p.m. (HMF Stage)
The Message 2:30-4:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Casey Clark 3:15-4:15 p.m. (SS Stage)
Hickory Parks & Rec Music 3:30-5:00 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Pan Jive Steel Drum Band 4:30-6:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Mac Arnold & Plate Full of Blues 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Main Stage)
J. Patrick Warren 4:45-5:45 p.m. (SS Stage)
Brock Pate 6:00-6:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Don Nivens 6:15-7:15 p.m. (SS Stage)
Tony Eltora Trio 6:30-8:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Pandora’s Box 7:00-7:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
JJL Band 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Main Stage)
David Childers 7:45-8:45 p.m. (SS Stage)
Clockwork Hart 8:00-8:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
The Jarvis Jenkins Band 8:30-10:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Moon Unit 9:00-10:30 p.m. (HMF Stage)
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band 9:00-10:45 p.m. (Main Stage)
Sunday October 9th
Hickory Jazz Orchestra 12:30-2:00 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
Praise Teams from Across the South 1:00-5:00 p.m. (Main Stage)
Doug Thompson 1:00-1:45 p.m. (SS Stage)
Krystal Heffinger 2:30-4:00 p.m. (SS Stage)
Foothills Oompah Band 7:45-8:45 p.m. (Pavilion Stage)
And speaking of music, what would an Oktoberfest celebration be without some good old-fashioned accordion music? This festival’s got it covered. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for strolling accordionist, Bob Wilusz, who mingles with festival crowds, creating the perfect Oktoberfest atmosphere with his cheerful traditional folk music on all three days.
The younger generation will flip over the Kidfest area of Oktoberfest, especially when they try out their skills at kid bungee jumping. And if they still have energy to burn, there’s lots more to do – strongman contests, swings, face-painting, train rides, merry-go-rounds, tilt-a-whirls, games, crafts, and activities. On Saturday, the festival offers a full selection of family-friendly live performances on the Kidfest Stage, including:
Ronald McDonald 11:00 a.m.
Foothills Gymnastics 12:00 p.m.
Clater Kaye Theatre Works 1:00 p.m.
Sims Country Cloggers 2:00 p.m.
Suzuki School of Music 3:00 p.m.
So if sweater weather is on your mind, and you’re in the mood to try something unforgettable this fall, put Hickory’s Octoberfest on your list of “Ways to Create Memories to Last a Lifetime.” Then be sure to add something else to your itinerary – a stop to see us. As NC mountain communities go, we know we’ve got something truly remarkable.
With more than five miles of frontage along the Johns River and spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain, and with its own community garden, vineyard, private hiking trails, and full service equestrian center, our neighborhood is heaven on earth with amenities. HOA fees are low at less than $1,000 per year.
Best of all, we’re a short drive from Hickory where you’ll already be Oktoberfesting. But we won’t blame you if you extend your trip by veering off into a few of the other mountain towns in North Carolina that The Coves residents love to visit regularly for shopping, dining, entertainment, and night life. Towns like Morganton, Blowing Rock and Lenoir are filled with memories waiting to be made, especially in autumn when the mountains are vibrant with color and festivals are in full swing.
Hickory Oktoberfest is one of the area’s favorites. But there’s plenty more where that came from. Give us a call at The Coves, and we’ll be happy to tell you more so that you can make the most of your October visit.
Call us directly at 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84-page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide, which gives you more information about living in the foothills of North Carolina.