How will Cherokee affect you?

Make a special event the centerpiece of your vacation in Cherokee.

Events, festivals, fairs, and more abound in Cherokee throughout the spring, summer and fall, all of them as diverse as they are delightful. They’re a great way to have a great time, and often they provide an easy opportunity to absorb some intriguing Cherokee culture through dance, food, craftmaking, and more. But some Cherokee events are simply a fun way to spend time with your friends and family. Take a quick tour of the event lineup below, pick a few, and add them to your itinerary.

Cherokee Bonfire

Saturday, September 24 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Spend an evening by a roaring bonfire among Cherokee storytellers and dancers as they tell tales and dance traditional dances of days gone by. Stories often feature native myths, survival skills, and history passed down through generations of the Cherokee people. Dances showcase authentic 17th-century dress and traditional Cherokee music. Marshmallows for roasting and beverages are provided at this free event. Bonfires are held every Friday and Saturday night through the 2016 tourism season.


33rd Annual Wings Over the Smokies Convention

Thursday, September 22 to Saturday, September 24

For $15 per person/day, you can rally with fellow Honda Gold Wing riders just one mile from the gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Your admission gets you an official rally pin and access to vendors and GWRRA workshops on topics like rider education, leadership training, membership enhancement, and motorist awareness. An additional $15 will get you access to the home-style buffet on Friday night. Other activities include guided and self-guided tours, a light parade, ice cream socials, on-bike field events, an NC Precision Drill Team exhibition, and a drawing for a variety of door prizes as well as the rally’s grand prize. Preregister before September 12, 2016 at www.gwrranc.org.


Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon and 5K

Friday, September 30 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The 4th Annual Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon and 5K exists to benefit the Madison Hornbuckle Children’s Cancer Foundation. 2016 online registration for both races is now open and can be accessed at imathlete.com.  Each race is capped at 600 participants. There is a time limit of three hours to complete the half marathon.

Half Marathon Entry Fees:
January 1–April 30 - $45
May 1–September 30 - $50
October 1 - $55

5K Entry Fees:
January 1–April 30 - $25
May 1–September 30 - $30
October 1 - $35

Entertainment and Event Schedule
Friday, September 30
4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.  Packet pick up and late registration at Acquoni Events Center

Saturday, October 1 
6:00 a.m.–7:45 a.m.  Packet pickup and Late registration at Acquoni Events Center
7:45 a.m.  Assemble for Start of Half Marathon 
8:00 a.m.  Half Marathon Starts 
8:05 a.m.  Assemble for Start of 5K
8:15 a.m.  5K Starts
9:15 a.m.  5K Awards Ceremony 
10:30 a.m.  Half Marathon Awards Ceremony


Cherokee Bonfire

Friday, September 30 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Spend an evening by a roaring bonfire among Cherokee storytellers and dancers as they tell tales and dance traditional dances of days gone by. Stories often feature native myths, survival skills, and history passed down through generations of the Cherokee people. Dances showcase authentic 17th-century dress and traditional Cherokee music. Marshmallows for roasting and beverages are provided at this free event. Bonfires are held every Friday and Saturday night through the 2016 tourism season.


Gov’t Mule and Blackberry Smoke

Friday, September 30 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm

The Smokin' Mule 2016 Summer Tour with Gov't Mule and very special guests Blackberry Smoke is rolling into Harrah's Cherokee Event Center on Friday, September 30! Gov’t Mule is celebrating their 20th anniversary with an extensive tour and a series of dynamic live archival releases that highlight the group’s versatility and epic, fearless live performances. Get your tickets and join us for this magical night before they're gone!


Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon and 5K

Saturday, October 1 from 6:00 am to 10:30 am

The 4th Annual Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon and 5K exists to benefit the Madison Hornbuckle Children’s Cancer Foundation. 2016 online registration for both races is now open and can be accessed at imathlete.com.  Each race is capped at 600 participants. There is a time limit of three hours to complete the half marathon.

Half Marathon Entry Fees:
January 1–April 30 - $45
May 1–September 30 - $50
October 1 - $55

5K Entry Fees:
January 1–April 30 - $25
May 1–September 30 - $30
October 1 - $35

Entertainment and Event Schedule
Friday, September 30
4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.  Packet pick up and late registration at Acquoni Events Center

Saturday, October 1 
6:00 a.m.–7:45 a.m.  Packet pickup and Late registration at Acquoni Events Center
7:45 a.m.  Assemble for Start of Half Marathon 
8:00 a.m.  Half Marathon Starts 
8:05 a.m.  Assemble for Start of 5K
8:15 a.m.  5K Starts
9:15 a.m.  5K Awards Ceremony 
10:30 a.m.  Half Marathon Awards Ceremony


Cherokee Bonfire

Saturday, October 1 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Spend an evening by a roaring bonfire among Cherokee storytellers and dancers as they tell tales and dance traditional dances of days gone by. Stories often feature native myths, survival skills, and history passed down through generations of the Cherokee people. Dances showcase authentic 17th-century dress and traditional Cherokee music. Marshmallows for roasting and beverages are provided at this free event. Bonfires are held every Friday and Saturday night through the 2016 tourism season.


Indian Fair Parade 2016

Tuesday, October 4 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Experience the many sights and sounds of tribal entities, tribal athletics, Cherokee High School Band, and other festive Cherokee figures at Cherokee’s annual Indian Fair Parade between Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and The Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs, as well as bags for the candy thrown from passing floats. All parking along the parade path and surrounding areas will cease 15 minutes prior to the parade and roads will not open again until the conclusion of parade festivities. Please come early before roads close at 3:45 p.m.


104th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair

Tuesday, October 4 from 10:00 am to Saturday, October 8 at 10:00 pm

It’s over a century old. It’s a cornucopia of sights and sounds—a treat for all your senses. It’s a carnival and an agriculture show. It’s an art show and a game show. There’s food, music and rides. It’s pure, unfiltered fair entertainment with that unmistakable Cherokee touch: a Ferris wheel, fireworks, and stickball.

Stickball has long been known as the “Little Brother of War,” and you’ll find thrilling demonstrations of it mixed into all the traditional fair fun and food. In fact, you’re going to find ample amounts of all sorts of authentic Cherokee culture, including archery and blowgun demonstrations, local art, dance, music, and more. Happening at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, the 104th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair is October 4-8.

Tickets are available for purchase at the gate for $10 per person. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted for free. Celebrate a different emphasis each day you attend.

Tuesday: Parade Day
Wednesday: Children’s Day
Thursday: Elder’s Day
Friday: Veteran’s Day
Saturday: Community Day


KOA Fall Fishing Tournament

Saturday, October 8 from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm

Cast your line for a chance to compete with other anglers for thousands of dollars in prizes at the Cherokee KOA Fall Fishing Tournament this October. Fishing permits, required for Cherokee streams or ponds, are $10 per person 12 years and older. Permits are available at a variety of business entities within Cherokee or can be purchased online at FishCherokee.com. Accommodations available at KOA.com. This event is only open to KOA campground guests.


Rumble in the Rhododendron Fly Fishing Tournament

Friday, October 28 to Sunday, October 30

Are you and your best fly-fishing buddy ready to rumble with the top anglers around? Then get your $225 entry fee together for this two-person team competition held exclusively in the catch-and-release section of Cherokee’s “trophy waters” known simply as Raven Fork. This tournament offers a guaranteed payout totaling $10,000 for the top teams. To enter this tournament you must first acquire a Cherokee fishing permit (a list of permit-selling locations may be found at FishCherokee.com), then register for the event by phone or in person wherever fishing permits are sold. Prize money will be distributed at the Beetle Stage next to the Cherokee Welcome Center. Your entry fee also includes lunch and dinner. Open to all ages. 


Cruise the Smokies Fall Rod Run

Friday, November 4 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Enjoy a vintage car show at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds featuring hundreds of restored and enhanced vintage cars. Chat with their owners to get each car’s unique history, enjoy pristine paint jobs, and have your fill of polished chrome. This show will have food, memorabilia, and automobile parts vendors and will be hosted with music by a professional DJ for lots of old-fashioned fun. Admission is $5 per person and free for children 10 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the event. 

Pre-registration for participation in the Rod Run is $30 until October 24, 2016, or $35 at the event. Visit www.CherokeeRodders.com for more details and to print a registration form. 


Cruise the Smokies Fall Rod Run

Saturday, November 5 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Enjoy a vintage car show at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds featuring hundreds of restored and enhanced vintage cars. Chat with their owners to get each car’s unique history, enjoy pristine paint jobs, and have your fill of polished chrome. This show will have food, memorabilia, and automobile parts vendors and will be hosted with music by a professional DJ for lots of old-fashioned fun. Admission is $5 per person and free for children 10 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the event. 

Pre-registration for participation in the Rod Run is $30 until October 24, 2016, or $35 at the event. Visit www.CherokeeRodders.com for more details and to print a registration form. 


Turkey Strut 5K Walk/Run

Saturday, November 19 from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm

Get ready for Turkey Day with a 5K. On-site registration will be available from 10:30–11:30 a.m. Or pre-register online at runsignup.com. The race begins at noon.

Pre-sale Tickets:
$10 for adults before November 15, and $20 after November 15 
$5 for adults ages 59 and up
$5 for kids ages 12 and younger 
 ​


Brothers in the Wind Toy Run

Saturday, November 26 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

All proceeds from this annual motorcycle ride go to children and families in need. Following the ride will be music, drinks, and food at the Fair Grounds. There will also be chances to win door prizes and 50/50 tickets. The requested donation is $20 per rider or $30 per couple. Tickets can be purchased at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds entrance. Please park at the front entrance to the fairgrounds. Ride route will be determined just prior to the event, depending on the weather. Signup begins at 10:30 a.m. and riders depart at noon.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Friday, December 2 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Saturday, December 3 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Friday, December 9 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Christmas Parade 2016

Saturday, December 10 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Experience the many sights and sounds of festive holiday entertainment between the Cherokee Bear Zoo and The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at Cherokee’s annual Christmas Parade. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs and bags for the candy thrown from passing floats. All parking along the parade path and surrounding areas will cease 15 minutes prior to the parade and roads will not open again until the conclusion of parade festivities. Please come early before roads close at 1:45 p.m.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Saturday, December 10 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Friday, December 16 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Saturday, December 17 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Friday, December 30 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas

Saturday, December 31 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

It's a traditional Christmas celebration with all the trimmings, but with a unique Cherokee twist. Enjoy interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, and more.


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