Your go-to guide for the 828’s fall events

Maggie Watts, Reporter

After a year of online classes and events, App State is seeing a return to normalcy with the 2021-22 school year. In-person activities are in abundance throughout the High Country this semester! Here’s what’s up this fall:

Aug. 16 — First day of classes

After three semesters of mostly Zoom-based classes, App State will welcome students back to in-person classes on August 16. 

Aug. 18 — UREC Fest and Welcome Back Concert on Sanford

University Recreation will host a festival on Sanford Mall from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Later that night, local bands Bad Cameo and Deaf Andrew will welcome students back to campus with a free concert. The festivities will last until 9 p.m.

Aug. 19-22 — Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival

The Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival aims to bring artists from around the world to paint in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Artists may find inspiration for their paintings in the beautiful, mountainous scenery. At the end of the festival, their artwork is displayed and can be purchased at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s Wet Paint Sale.

Aug. 28 — High Country Beer Fest — $$

At the 14th annual High Country Beer Fest, 35 breweries will each give out two ounce samples of beer. The event features live music, free fermentation seminars and food. Additionally, the Watauga Humane Society will be at the event with puppies in search of their forever homes. The festival will be held at the High Country Fairgrounds from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $50.

Sept. 3 — Turchin Center exhibit opening

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts will open a new exhibit that aims to remind viewers of the intricacies of human relationships. In “Matters of the Heart (and Other Abnormalities),” artist Shawn Morin investigates human reactions to worldwide changes and major events, such as 9/11 and COVID-19. The exhibit will be located in the Mayer Gallery, and opening day hours are noon-8 p.m.

Sept. 4 — Luke Combs concert at The Rock — $$$

Get ready to have a “Beautiful Crazy” time at The Rock this fall! After two COVID-19 reschedulings, country singer and former App State student Luke Combs will play Kidd Brewer Stadium from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Labor Day weekend, along with opening act Drew Parker. 

Sept. 10-11 — Banff Mountain Film Festival — $

The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts will host the Banff Mountain Film Festival, an international film screening and competition. The films cover topics such as mountain culture, sports, environment, adventure and exploration. Doors open at 6 p.m., and screenings will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for App State students and $15 for everyone else. 

Sept. 16-19 — Merlefest — $$$

Merlefest is an annual music festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina that features traditional Appalachian region music, including bluegrass, folk, gospel, blues, classic country, Americana and classic rock. There are 13 stages at the hour-away event with various artists performing. The festival will be held at Wilkes Community College and begins at 9 a.m. Ticket prices vary depending on how many days you attend, but general admission for all four days is $190. 

Sept. 17 — Founder’s Day 

Founder’s Day honors the founders of App State: B.B. Dougherty, D.D. Dougherty and Lillie Shull Dougherty. It also honors the first day of classes held in 1899 at Watauga Academy. Following Founder’s Day tradition, Chancellor Everts will ring the Founders Bell at Founders Plaza with members of the Appalachian Bell Ringers Society, and new members will be inducted into the society. 

Sept. 17-19 — Family Weekend 

App State’s Family Weekend aims to give families a taste of campus life and the chance to meet other Appalachian families. 

Sept. 18 — App State vs Elon (first home game)

The Mountaineers play Elon in the first home game of the season. There will also be a celebration of the App State Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2021, a tribute to Coach Jerry Moore and the unveiling of the Coach Jerry Moore Plaza and statue. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. 

Sept. 23 — App State vs Marshall

The Mountaineers play Marshall University in the second home game of the season. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. 

Sept. 23-25 — Class of 2020 celebration weekend and commencement ceremony  

App State and the Alumni Association will welcome 2020 graduates back to campus for the graduation celebrations they missed due to COVID-19. There will be an in-person commencement ceremony on Sept. 25 and a Wine and Cheese Reception on Sept. 24.

Oct. 11-12 — Fall break

Oct. 15 — BRAHM Winter Exhibition Celebration

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will celebrate the opening of its winter exhibits with a free, family-friendly reception. This event celebrates the opening of three new exhibits: “Emergent Landscapes: Mountains, Music, & Improvisation in the Paintings of Abie Harris”; “Potters & Patrons: The Gorelick Collection at BRAHM”; and “Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites.” The celebration is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 16-17 — Spooky Duke Race

The annual Spooky Duke Race is a fundraising and awareness-raising event for the Parent to Parent Family Support Network, and it includes a 5k, 10k, costume march and contest. The Halloween-themed event encourages adults, children and pets to wear their one-of-a-kind costumes and participate in the festivities. The free costume march will begin at 10 a.m. in the Peacock Hall parking lot, and races begin at 9 a.m.

Oct. 16-17 — Valle Crucis Country Fair

The annual Valle Crucis Country Fair features crafts made by North Carolina artisans, homemade food and performances by authentic Appalachian bluegrass and country bands. There will also be family-friendly activities such as ‘pumpkin bowling,’ face painting, visits with alpacas and dancing with local clog teams. Admission is free. 

Oct. 16-17 — Wooly Worm Festival — $

The annual Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk celebrates the coming of winter. Wooly worms race up a three-foot long string, and the winning worm predicts how severe the winter weather will be. The event also features local food vendors, crafts and live entertainment. The festival is held at the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School and races begin at 10 a.m. Adult tickets cost $6 per day, tickets for children ages 6-12 are $4 and children five and under get in  free. 

Oct. 20 — App State vs Coastal Carolina 

App State faces off against Coastal Carolina in the first home Sun Belt championship game of the season. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. 

Oct. 30 — App State vs Louisiana Monroe (homecoming game)

App State’s homecoming game against ULM will begin at 3:30 p.m. An App State Football Alumni Reunion will also take place at the game. 

Nov. 13 — App State vs South Alabama 

The Mountaineers play South Alabama at The Rock. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 14 — Yonder Mountain String Band and The Del McCoury Band concert — $$

Bluegrass groups Yonder Mountain String Band and The Del McCoury Band will perform at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. The Del McCoury Band is the most awarded band in bluegrass history! Tickets go on sale Sept. 9. App State student tickets cost $25, faculty and staff tickets are $40 and other tickets are $45. 

Nov. 19 — Ski season begins (lasts till March 27) — $$

Hit the slopes at Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain Resort or Sugar Mountain Resort. All three establishments are within 9-19 miles of each other and less than an hour from Boone. At only 3.9 miles away, Appalachian Ski Mountain is the closest to campus. When classes are canceled due to winter weather, App Ski Mountain offers a discounted ticket price of $10 for 8 hours on the slopes. 

Nov. 24-26 — Thanksgiving break 

Nov. 27 — App State vs Georgia Southern

App State plays Georgia Southern in the last home game of the football season, with kickoff at 2:30 p.m. This game is also Black Saturday and Senior Day. On Black Saturday, App fans are encouraged to wear black to “blackout” Kidd Brewer. Senior Day refers to the last home game of the season and honors the seniors who are playing at Kidd Brewer Stadium for the last time. 

Nov. 30 — Last day of classes

Dec. 2-8 — Finals week

Dec. 3 — Turchin Center exhibit opening

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts will open its new exhibit, “In the Garden of Healing” by Dara Mark. This exhibit focuses on Mark’s emotional state over the five years after her husband died. The medium is watercolor on Yupo paper, and the various colors aim to reflect Mark’s changing emotions throughout the years. The exhibit will be located in Gallery B, and opening day hours are noon-8 p.m.

Dec. 10 — Fall commencement ceremonies 

Congratulations to the class of 2021!

Dec. 10-Jan. 7 — Winter break