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556 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779
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WNC Pottery Festival

Western North Carolina is full of artistic spirit. Whether it is cooking mouth-watering meals, painting landscapes, singing and dancing to Appalachian inspired music, or crafting pottery, artists are inspired by the peace and beauty that radiate through the mountains, no matter their chosen discipline. One of the many events that celebrate the artistic presence abundant in Western North Carolina communities is the WNC Pottery Festival. Find out more about ways to enjoy the WNC Pottery Festival below!

What to Expect

Rain or shine the WNC Pottery Festival is typically held the first weekend of November at Bridge Park in Sylva. This is one of the most popular art events in the state! The WNC Pottery Festival serves to highlight the skill necessary to the art form, as well as the beauty of the discipline itself. Stroll through vendor tents that are spread out showcasing artwork, crafts, and pottery in a number of mediums including various types of clay and creations, including mixed media pieces. See work created by aspiring art students from the nearby Western Carolina University. Watch periodic clay throwing and firing demonstrations to get a feel for the artistic process. Meet the artists and pick up a few functional designed pieces such as dinnerware like plates, bowls, and mugs. Also, enjoy vases and sculptures that could serve as an eye-catching piece to further the design features in your river cabin

WNC Clay Olympics

The best part of the festival is the Clay Olympics held the day before the festival. Potters from across the country submit their work and audition, but only 40 master potters are selected to compete in the Clay Olympics in Sylva. The events are judged by a jury of professional potters, and the craftsmen are cheered on by the crowd. The craftsmen compete in four timed challenges to see who can form the tallest cylinder from five pounds of clay in only five minutes, who can craft the widest bowl with five pounds of clay in five minutes, who can throw the best clay artform in two minutes–while blindfolded, and finally a mystery event the competitors will not know until it is announced at the start of the competition. 

Make a weekend out of it

The Festival is only part of the reason to attend. Held the first week of November every year, there are a number of activities to enjoy during this time of year. The peak leaf season is coming to a close, which means the crowds have mostly dispersed while the leaves are still holding their autumn paint. Take the time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and look out in awe. Reap the benefits of Apple Harvest Season at various Western North Carolina orchards that make North Carolina the ninth-largest apple-producing state in the country. Catch a football game at Western Carolina University or just browse a few of the surrounding mountain communities like Bryson City, Cashiers, Franklin, and Cherokee, each with their own heart and personality.  

Does Western North Carolina feel like home? Does the fresh mountain air and untouched beauty of the Western North Carolina Mountains appeal to you? Come carve out your piece of Western North Carolina in Cullowhee. Cullowhee River Club offers a unique mountain riverfront living experience you will surely want to call home.