10 family-friendly ideas for the start of fall

Marla Hardee Milling
The Asheville Citizen-Times

From llamas and free painting sessions to dogs getting a little pool time: September is full of some unique WNC opportunities. Here’s hoping with school back in session that you’ll still have time for fun in the dwindling days of summer. We present our 10 picks for things you’ll want to highlight on your calendar.

Eat and paint for free

Every Monday, kids eat free at Moe’s Original BBQ in Woodfin. Now, they can paint on those nights for free too. The Paint Bug will set up a painting station for kids ages 2-13 to use between 5-7 p.m. Kids will be given an 11x14 canvas board and acrylic paint. Once they’ve created their masterpiece, they can take it home. Go to http://bit.ly/1Ea8yve.

Day for kids

The High Country of North Carolina has added appeal on Sept. 12. That’s the date for families to take part in the 12th annual Kidfest at Grandfather Mountain. There’s a wealth of special activities to enjoy that are included with the price of park admission. Enjoy traditional storytelling, mountain music, guided hikes, face painting and more. Find additional details at www.grandfather.com or call 800-468-7235.

Doggie Dip

Recreation Park Pool at 65 Gashes Creek in Asheville will host some special guests on Sept. 12: dogs! If your dog weighs 35 pound or less you can take it for a swim in the pool from noon-2 p.m. Dogs weighing over 36 pounds may swim from 2:30-5 p.m. Proof of current vaccinations is required, plus your pet must have been spayed or neutered. Check out all the rules for the Second-Annual Doggie Dip at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.

Tea with the llamas

Spend the afternoon getting to know a special group of llamas at the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah Forest. You’ll learn about these fascinating pack animals and have a chance to take turns leading a llama on a two-mile trail walk. The llamas will carry your lunch and snacks. Iced tea will be provided. The event takes place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sept. 12. The fee is $5 for ages 16 and up; free for youth. The fee includes all the exhibits and trail tours the Cradle of Forestry has to offer that day. Visit http://cfaia.org/event/afternoon-tea-with-llamas/.

Fall fun on the farm

The fall season is underway at Hickory Nut Gap Farm at 57 Sugar Hollow Road in Fairview. Spend a day on the farm with your family. Visit the store, purchase apples, and take part in all the activities: corn maze, trike track, animal barn, pumpkin picking, cider making, and more. The hayrides and horse rides start Sept.19 and run through Oct. 31. More at hickorynutgapfarm.com.

Story time at Spellbound

Spellbound Book Shop in Reynolds Village just north of Beaver Lake offers a free story time each Saturday morning at 11 a.m. for about 30 minutes. It’s geared to children ages 3-7, but all ages are welcome. Also, from 1-2:30 p.m. Sept. 19, you can take your kids to Spellbound to meet Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat! Learn more at www.spellbound


Can you gee and haw?

Try your hand at the Appalachian toy known as a Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle when you attend the Heritage Weekend, Sept. 19-20 at the Folk Art Center. A highlight of this free weekend is the 30th Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition, but there’s also a chance to talk to area experts about beekeeping, canning, blacksmithing, natural dyeing, spinning, quilting, whittling, basketweaving, folk pottery and other mountain crafts. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visit www.southernhighlandguild.org/heritage-weekend/.