Special Adventures

What’s a special place without special events? We wouldn’t know.

Music on the River

This free summer concert series is a celebration of all sorts of musical genres, with different lineups each weekend. The stage is conveniently located downtown near restaurants and Cherokee’s river features. Kids, and kids at heart, can cool off in our fountains while experiencing intimate, entertaining performances.

Cherokee Voices Festival

It’s all things Cherokee: living history, traditional dances, music, singing, crafting demonstrations, and food. It’s hosted on the grounds of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, featuring NC Arts Council Heritage Award winners and Elders who typically don’t travel, yet appear here. Fun doesn’t get more authentic than this.

43rd Annual 4th of July Powwow

First Nation dancers from tribes across the country gather in Cherokee to compete for prizes, bragging rights, and fun. Dance categories include Traditional, Jingle, and Grass Dances, and a native drum competition is sure to get your toes tapping. Don’t miss this three-day event filled with amazing regalia, singing, drumming, food, and dancing.

Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby

The centuries-old practice of teaching our young ones to fish is the foundation for this free, family-oriented event. Registered participants are invited to a pre-Derby celebration, followed the next day with a full morning of fishing fun. Parents do the teaching, and kids to the catching at Cherokee’s Oconaluftee Islands Park.

Open Air Indian Art Market

Fine Cherokee art, made right before your very eyes by master artisans, using age-old techniques, in broad daylight. Shop for the piece that speaks to you., Purchase the genuine article, made by the real deal.

106th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair

For over 100 years, the Cherokees have gathered to celebrate the harvest, family, and friendship. In addition to traditional carnival rides and concerts, you can experience authentic examples of Cherokee art, crafts, and food. This five-day event celebrates a different aspect of Cherokee life each day.

Cherokee Bonfire

This is your chance to come inside the bonfire circle and hear authentic Cherokees share the stories that make their culture so rich. Discover the Cherokee language, songs, dance, and history. You’re invited to come close, interact with the Cherokees (dressed in seventeenth-century attire). and even roast a marshmallow or two. No admission fee and all are welcome!

7 Clans Rodeo

It’s time to see cowboys pay for hundreds of years of beef jerky. There’s bull ridin’, bronco bustin’, and a corral full of skills competitions. You might even see a cowboy get hurled into the stands. You know, fun for the whole family.

Cherokee Blue Ridge Run

If you think life is simply better on two wheels, join us for this Cherokee motorcycle rally. With a planned ride that weaves through the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and three days filled with music, bike builders, a bike show, and top vendors to check out, it’s the ride of a lifetime. All bikes and ages welcome.

Go to VisitCherokeeNC.com for times and dates, as well as a complete events schedule.

Historic Adventure

The greatest story of Cherokee history ever told is now even more historic.

Since its debut on July 1, 1950, “Unto These Hills” has entertained over six million people, telling the Cherokees’ rich story from 1780 to the twenty-first century. And for the first time in decades, that original production–updated for cultural sensitivity and extra stage drama–is back. Yes, the original Kermit Hunter version of “Unto These Hills” is being performed live again, under the stars, at the Mountainside Theatre.

Does a story thousands of years old require spoiler alerts? If so, consider yourself alerted.

We begin with Hernando de Soto, the Spanish conquistador who encountered the Cherokees in 1540. Already, audiences will sense that not all is well, as de Soto’s visit portends the terrible tragedy that will befall the Cherokee people during the next 300 years.

We see the Cherokee people as the peace-loving nation that they are, willing to share food and gratitude with the strange interlopers in their land. Indeed, Yonaguska, the proud Cherokee leader, attempts to build a peaceful path through a rapidly changing world. But sadly, the modern world has other ideas.

And then, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, where Jackson is saved by Junaluska.

One wonders if the noble Junaluska, who famously saved Andrew Jackson during this violent battle, would undo his decision if he could. Because of course it was Jackson who later, with the stroke of a pen, set in motion the horrors of the “Trail of Tears,” casting out thousands of Cherokees from their native homelands through forced removal. Many died along the way, and those who did may have been the lucky ones. Others were ravaged by disease and famine, and this performance explores their heartbreak in exquisite drama and detail.

But before the tears, there’s gold in these hills–with a very steep price.

Wrapping themselves in the premise of Manifest Destiny, white settlers descended on Cherokee Country in 1835, and this astounding play details their impact on the Cherokees’ proud land and culture. Here, we’re introduced to the noble Tsali, a hero and revered figure in Cherokee history. Tsali’s heartbreaking personal sacrifice, made to preserve his family, his people, and their ancestral claim to the lands on which they lived, centers the drama and provides its emotional core.

But the Cherokee spirit cannot be broken.

The drama concludes on a hopeful note. Through amazing imagery, and even some astounding pyrotechnics and special effects, you’ll emerge thrilled by the beauty of the Cherokee people. Today’s Cherokee is a place of natural beauty and economic triumph, and the play will send you off into the night infused with the belief that the Cherokees’ courage is the strongest you’ve ever seen.

For “Unto These Hills” tickets and information, call 866.544.4557 or go to VisitCherokeeNC.com.