Written by Katie Smith
On Saturday, August 28, Greening Up the Mountains will return to the streets of downtown Sylva after a year-long hiatus from the annual event. Guests attending can expect to find live music, craft beer, local cuisine, and of course, artisans and vendors lining the street selling everything from arts and crafts to delicious homemade treats.
2021 Greening up the Mountains is certainly a different event than it has been in other years. For starters, the annual festival is typically held in April each year. Event Coordinator Kendra Hamm notes that the shift in season has resulted in a smaller-than-usual festival as some usual vendors were already obligated to other August events. However, Kendra says festival-goers will still have their fill of delicious food, live music, 55 vendors, and the incredible craft beer that the town of Sylva is becoming increasingly known for.
Greening Up the Mountains usually brings 12,000 visitors to downtown Sylva annually, but the numbers are expected to be smaller this year due to timing and the COVID-19 pandemic. I asked Kendra if the concerns surrounding COVID-19 during the spring that led to the event being rescheduled were still present today.
“The COVID 19 pandemic continues to be a concern as we proceed cautiously on Saturday. We have rented five handwash stations, encouraged vendors and their employees to wear masks, and made modifications to our original layout to include extra space between the vendors in an effort to maintain the highest level of safety possible. Additionally, we have conferred with the local Health Department and ensured that we are in compliance with the most recent guidelines for festivals as published by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.”
Festival leaders are also asking that attendees wear a mask and practice social distancing if they are able.
As for other insider tips to safely navigating this regionally-loved festival, Kendra recommends taking advantage of parking shuttles from the Jackson County Justice Center and the Jackson County Plaza to downtown. Masks are required and the cost is $1 and service animals are permitted. Handicap parking will be available on Railroad Avenue in front of Lifeway Church. Main Street will remain open to traffic and attendees are encouraged to leave the parking downtown open so that shoppers can still access shops, restaurants, and breweries on Saturday.
Learn more about Greening Up the Mountains on the festival website which includes an event map, live music line up, and additional visitor information