Asheville and North Western North Carolina never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think I have written everything writable, something new pops up—like the White Squirrels Festival. That’s right, I said white squirrels. They are not only real, they are celebrated by the people of Brevard, NC.
First, let me tell you about the town. It is a thirty-five-mile drive, or bike ride, from Applewood Manor. Brevard is the gateway to endless outdoor adventures, including hiking, waterfall hunting, fly fishing and biking. It is a top destination for cyclists of all types—mountain, and road cycling—with excellent cycling shops where guides and equipment are always available. It has over 300 miles of epic single track in the area’s pristine forests. And the small town is full of shops, galleries and wonderful restaurants and eateries.
The town’s unique claim to fame is that Brevard is the home of the famous white squirrels. They are real. In fact, Brevard is host to one of the most established white squirrel colonies in the country. They have flourished in Brevard since escaping from an overturned carnival truck in 1949. Brevard’s squirrels are not albino. Albino squirrels have pink or blue eyes and no pigmentation at all. Brevard’s are a color variation of the Eastern Gray Squirrel. And they are easy prey for predators due to the lack of camouflage afforded by their color. Brevard’s squirrels have thrived despite this susceptibility in part because of the density of area trees and the fact that town residents put out feeders to encourage the squirrels. Residents of Brevard have a strong civic pride for their white squirrels. So much so, that the town enacted a protective ordinance in 1986, which makes it unlawful for any person to hunt, kill, trap or otherwise take or harm their squirrels.
The town celebrates their wonderful little critters by hosting the yearly White Squirrel Festival. The Festival has been described as a nutty, family fun party over the Memorial Day Weekend. Music is a major part of the event with 14 free concerts featuring national and international performers. And there is always plenty of food, art and crafts. The Southeast Tourism Society named the White Squirrel celebrations as one of the Top 20 May festivals. A word of warning–dogs are not allowed during the White Squirrel Festival for obvious reasons.
Brevard is 33 miles from Downtown Asheville. Take I-26 East to Exit 40 and follow Highway 280 to Brevard.
When the town is not celebrating its famous wildlife creature, they find something else to party about. Every month there is something going on in Brevard. Check out the website https://explorebrevard.com/. The town is a vibrant live music community and home of the world-renowned Brevard Music Center, the Summer Music Festival, and the Porter Center for Performing Arts. There is always plenty of music for partying in Brevard.