Florida Man on the Run

Your Guide to Brevard’s 2024 White Squirrel Weekend!

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The White Squirrel Weekend is your quintessential, small town, summertime festival. Picture in your head Main Street shut down for a parade. The local vendors and artists lining the streets hawking their wares and chatting with friends. Musical talent coming from right next door or far away to play on the Main Street Stage, which is of course setup on Main Street. Everyone in town turns out for what is a guaranteed good time, and even a few folks from states away (like me!) come to enjoy the atmosphere. The White Squirrel Weekend is simply everything one could ask from a small and well loved town. I already have a love for the city of Brevard, and the White Squirrel Weekend has simply cemented that love in my heart.

This post features both information about my previous trips to the White Squirrel Weekend (in 2019 and 2023) as well as what you should expect from White Squirrel Weekend 2024. All of the pictures are from my previous trips, but I’ve included the flyer and map for this year’s festival. No matter what, I highly recommend making the trip and spending a weekend immersed in small-town America!

Plenty of beer at the White Squirrel Weekend
Welcome to the White Squirrel Weekend!

Wait, What’s a White Squirrel?

I bet your wondering just what this festival is all about and why its obsessed with White Squirrels. Well, frankly the entire town is obsessed with the furry little critters. There are many stories about how the squirrels came to town, with the most widely accepted being an overturned carnival truck. These critters are not simply albino versions of your normal squirrel, but are actually colored white. The squirrels can be spotted around town, but they remain a pretty elusive sight. I’ve been to Brevard seven times and 2019 was the first time (and only) time I saw one in the wild.

Found an elusive white squirrel at the White Squirrel Weekend!
It’s hot out, isn’t it little buddy?

If you’re seeking to find a white squirrel while attending, you’ll need to leave the main strip. The downtown of any city, even Brevard, isn’t very conductive to squirrel finding. We were lucky to catch a picture of the guy above after we wandered a couple blocks off Main. It was super hot outside and he was trying to stay cool in the shade, so he didn’t skitter off when we walked up. If you’re wanting to spot one, head off to the quieter places in town. Just south of downtown Brevard is highly residential, which squirrels love. You can also head towards Brevard College and the creek there where the white squirrels love to play. Keep your eyes open and don’t be disappointed if you miss them.

Exploring the Markets and Beer Garden

Beyond the quirkiness and fascination with these ghostly colored squirrels, the festival itself is a celebration of Brevard. The vast majority of those who setup booths are locals from town or the surrounding area. Broad Street and Main Street in Brevard are the primary shopping avenues. Nearly all the stores are open during the event, with most setting up booths outside with a special promotion. For instance in 2019 the Crystal Mountain Gem Mine was letting you pan for crystals for just $4! Beyond the shops, you’ll find plenty of custom wares like wood working, candles, jewelry, etc. The market is a fun opportunity for locals and visitors alike to appreciate the skills of these craftspeople.

However, you’re not just coming to a small town festival to get your shop on. You’re also coming for the food, beer, and music! The White Squirrel Festival has all of this in abundance as well. The beer garden features always features the local craft breweries, plus locally located, national brand Oskar Blues. All of the beers are brewed locally, which means they are mega fresh and perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day. My favorite, as always, is Brevard Brewing Company‘s Red Ale. Brevard Brewing also makes a special White Squirrel Wit which you can only get around the time of the festival and is mighty tasty, too. Ecusta Brewing and UpCountry Brewing both bring delicious brews to the festival as well. When it comes to food, you’ll find the typical fair eats. It’s hard to go wrong with anything on offer, especially when you bring it back to the beer garden.

Music at the White Squirrel Festival

The White Squirrel Festival is also a musical celebration of bluegrass, soul, blues, folk, and rock n’ roll. Most of the performers have some connection to the musical traditions of the Appalachian Mountains, or even grew up in those very mountains. There is a bit of something for everyone. That being said, scout out the bands ahead of time. Finding which acts you like will let you plan out times to make it down to the beer garden or stage. Also, go ahead and pack your folding chairs. The stage is on the street and you’ll quickly find out that you can leave your folding chair in the best spot and go enjoy the festival. Aren’t small towns simply the best?

Show up early, put out your chairs, and come back when you’re ready for the music!

The 2024 White Squirrel Weekend features a number of great acts, spread over three days. Friday Night’s festivities are highlighted by Paul McDonald & The Mourning Doves, High Flying Criminals, and the Coffis Brothers. Saturday night has five different acts, including The Hip Abduction, J & The Causeways, Tray Wellington, Pink Beds, and The Wilder Flower. 2024 White Squirrel Weekend Sunday will go later in the evening than previous years. On Sunday you’ll find musicians like The Sensational Barnes Brothers, Big Daddy Bluegrass, Gritty Flyright, and The Brevard All-Star Percussion Ensemble. There will be plenty of music across the whole weekend, meaning there’s a sound for everyone!

The full schedule of the 2024 White Squirrel Weekend

I’ve found a number of bands that I continue to listen to well after leaving the White Squirrel Weekend each year. In 2019, that was Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds who absolutely rocked the main stage all night long. After last year’s White Squirrel Weekend, Fireside Collective got added to heavy rotation including a few spots on my West Virginia playlist. Honestly, what better way to spend your weekend than listening to music reverberating off the pavement of Main Street, cold beer in hand, and then having new music to listen to on the way home?

Fireside Collective killed it on Friday night at the 2023 White Squirrel Festival

Other Activities at the 2024 White Squirrel Weekend

While the music, food, beer, and crafts will be enough of a draw for most people, there are other things going on around and beyond the festival in 2024. That starts with the Transylvania Cruisers Car Show on Saturday of White Squirrel Weekend. Car enthusiasts from around Transylvania County and beyond descend on Brevard. They’ll get an opportunity to show off their hard work, or appreciate the amazing cars put on display. On our Saturday visit, I really enjoyed the awesome cars as we walked to and from the main festival area.

You’ll find all kinds of neat cars on the Saturday of White Squirrel Weekend

Planning Your Trip to the White Squirrel Weekend

Alright, so now your hooked on the idea of the White Squirrel Weekend. The next question is just how you’re going to get here next year. Fortunately, I’ve made three trips to the area now so I can help you plan the perfect trip to the festival. One item to keep in mind is that the festival is on Memorial Day Weekend each year, so prices can be higher than normal for lodging.

Let’s talk about lodging first. Brevard is pretty unique due to its nearly complete lack of “major” hotel chains. There is a Holiday Inn Express and a Hampton Inn about three miles outside of town. If you’re really wanting a major chain, Hendersonville and Asheville have plenty but you’ll be a 25+ minute drive from town.

The Sunset Motel is where we stay for every White Squirrel Weekend
The Sunset Motel is a might cool place to spend the night!

What you should really be looking for to maximize your weekend is a little more intimate. My first suggestion is to scout out the local B&Bs. Brevard has a quite a few options near downtown. This would allow you to walk to the festival, saving you the hassle of parking. I’d advise looking into Campbell House or Red House Inn which are on the opposite end of Main Street from the festival, allowing less inconvenience from the street closures. Alternatively, check out The Sunset Motel a couple blocks down on South Broad Street. Its a retro or old school motel, which is perfect place if you’re “road tripping” or festival hopping. It’s also on my list of the best hotels on the Blue Ridge Parkway if you’re extending your trip beyond the 2024 White Squirrel Weekend.

Beyond downtown Brevard your options are a bit more varied. There is an active Airbnb scene near the town which provides a wealth of options. We have spend a few of our trips to Brevard in an Airbnb. You’ll be able to find places near downtown, a little ways away, or even up in the mountains. If you’re considering the Airbnb route, look for a place where you’ll be the only guests. Sharing a space with others can pretty quickly spoil the experience if you’re not compatible.

If the White Squirrel Weekend isn’t going to be the primary reason for your trip, then consider staying in Asheville. The city of Asheville is a hub for the rest of the region that you can explore from. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the area and is one of America’s best drives. Asheville plays host to some of the best craft beer in America if that’s your jam. It also has a great music and arts scene which can be a fantastic complement to your trip to the White Squirrel Festival in Brevard.

Make it More Than A White Squirrel Weekend

The White Squirrel Weekend is a wonderful way to spend a a few days in Brevard. Let’s be honest, however, and recognize that a weekend in this beautiful area isn’t enough. There is an absolute wealth of natural beauty to explore. Every single time we go, it becomes harder to leave. Go ahead and extend your trip into Monday or Tuesday to have the time to wander beyond the town. You can easily reach the Blue Ridge Parkway from town, or just do the Pisgah Forest Loop. Waterfalls are everywhere (Transylvania County is the Land of Waterfalls) which means you need to get outdoors and stay outdoors. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to take a trip to Brevard for next year’s White Squirrel Festival. Even if the festival hasn’t grabbed your attention, the city and surrounding country should. Western North Carolina is gorgeous country that you need to visit at least once in your life. If you want to read more of my adventures, check out my Great Asheville Brewery Tour.

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