Festivals & Events
Caldwell County hosts a number of annual events that bring residents together to share the spirit of community. Art aficionados will appreciate the Caldwell Arts Council’s annual five-state sculpture competition, the largest gathering of professional sculptors in the South. Thousands also attend Harambee, the Festival of African American Arts, organized by the City of Lenoir and the Freedman Community.
Automotive enthusiasts will enjoy the Lenoir Cruise-In, a series of family-oriented classic and collector car shows held May through October in downtown Lenoir, as well as many other popular cruise-ins held throughout the year. The Caldwell County Farmer’s Market and the Lenoir Bluegrass Farmer’s Market is held during the summer months. Caldwell County’s rich musical heritage is celebrated each summer with weekend jam sessions such as Hudson’s Pickin’ in the Park and Mountain Music Jammin’ at Bolick Pottery. Many of the area’s traditional musicians are also featured at the annual Caldwell County Traditional Musicians Showcases, sponsored by the Performing Artist Series of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.
Other popular events in the area include: Mow Day, Plow Day, the Butterfly Festival, the Blackberry Festival, Fort Defiance Colonial Christmas, Fort Defiance Living History Days, Happy Valley Old-time Fiddlers’ Convention, and the Molasses Festival. One of the area’s greatest draws is the Bridge to Bridge Incredible Cycling Challenge, a grueling trek that starts in Lenoir and finishes at Grandfather Mountain, 103 miles and a 4000+ foot change in elevation later. Sponsored by the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, the ride draws more than 1,000 participants and many more spectators each year.