One of the High Country’s most famous summer events occurs July 5-6, as the Christmas in July Festival takes over downtown West Jefferson.

Happening rain or shine, the festival offers great live music, homemade arts and crafts vendors and food court vendors sprawled across the downtown streets, according to a release from CIJ’s Wesley Barker.

“A variety of over 100 handmade arts and crafts vendors will fill the ‘craft row’ area of the festival offering a variety of handmade items ranging from pottery, woodworking, jewelry, art, décor and so much more,” Barker said in the release. “The food court vendors never disappoint and will be on hand to offer a variety of famous festival foods you look forward to including funnel cakes, homemade ice cream and chicken on a stick, just to name a few. In addition, children’s activities, local and regional nonprofits and a special Ashe County Farmers Market will be part of the festival.”

According to Barker’s release, the farmers market vendors will be showcasing some of Ashe County’s very best homegrown and handmade items including jams, jellies, produce, homemade candles, crafts and more.

Scheduled performers for the event include Alex Key and the Locksmiths, Restless, Lucky Strikes, Blue Country, Amantha Mill, Whitetop Mountain Oldtime Band, Cane Mill Road, Jeff Little, Wayne Henderson and Friends, Claybank Bluegrass, Backporch Bluegrass Band, Les Deaton and the Rhythm of Rails, 421 West and more. While accurate as of early summer, these performers are subject to change.

“Street performers will be roving the crowd showcasing talents such as magic, juggling, stilt walking, uni-cycling, and balloon art,” Barker said in the release. “Straight from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus plan to attend the festival as well.”

The Christmas in July Festival began in 1987 to showcase the Ashe County Christmas Tree Industry and its importance on a regional scale, according to the release. During the years, the festival has still held on to its heritage of recognizing and honoring the Ashe County Christmas Tree Industry while also incorporating talented musicians, artisans, food and fun activities into the event.

Additionally, the annual historical war re-enactment group plans to set up throughout the duration of the festival at the West Jefferson Municipal Park, according to Barker. This will include live demonstrations, battles, a meet and greet and a tour of their camp.

Come early Friday, July 5, for early festival kickoff events including live music from 3-10 p.m., food vendors from 4-10 p.m. and a special farmers market from 4-8 p.m.. A special opening ceremony is planned for 6 p.m. at the main stage with special guests to officially kick off the festival. Visit www.christmasinjuly.info for more festival information.

“Nowhere else will you find such an excellent array of local and regional music, food vendors, fun and festivities for the entire family than at Christmas in July in Downtown West Jefferson,” Barker said. “We hope to see you there.”

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