Events


Costumed Event

Asheville Superhero 5K/ Super Villain 10k
(Asheville, N.C.)

“It’s like Comic Con,” said Leslie Grotenhuis, one of the organizers of the event. “Even if it’s just as simple as a superhero t-shirt or socks, I would say almost everybody is wearing something superhero-themed. In the last five years that we’ve been doing this, superheroes have only gotten bigger.”

     Since Grotenhuis and Greg Duff took over as managers of the Asheville Superhero 5K, the race has grown into an entire weekend of events. The Asheville Running Experience is a partnership between Grotenhuis’ and Duff’s separate companies, Kick It Event Management and
Glory Hound Events.

The weekend now includes a kick-off event at the Salvage Station, a trail race, and a team scavenger hunt. Younger kids can show off their skills at the Super Sidekick Training Camp obstacle course.

“The goal for us is to keep getting more and more people involved and getting more active,” said Duff. “If they can dress up and have a lot of fun with it at the same time, I think it’s a double win.”

Finalists

Zombie Run (Wytheville, Va.)

Surf-n-Santa (Virginia Beach, Va.)


Toughest Race

Blue Ridge Marathon (Roanoke, Va.)

Start and end this grueling 26.2-mile race in downtown Roanoke. Prepare for more than 7,430 feet of elevation change as runners climb and descend Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain.
Finalists

Get Outside Mountain Relay (Glade Valley, N.C.)

Smoky Mountain Relay (Western N.C.)


Rowdiest Festival

FloydFest (Floyd, Va.)

Five days of endless music, dancing, and craft beer
is sure to make for a wild and rockin’ crowd.
Organizers have already announced a monster lineup for this year’s festival, including Phil Lesh, Brandi Carlile, and String Cheese Incident.

Finalists

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, Tenn.)

Gauley Fest (Summersville, W. Va.)


Weirdest Festival

RoadKill Cook-off (Marlinton, W. Va.)

It’s a cook-off like no other. Started in the early 90s to celebrate the roots of wild game in Appalachian food culture, the West Virginia RoadKill Cook-off features dishes like bear chili, alligator gumbo, and spicy deer meat with apple chutney. At least 25 percent of the dish must contain meat that is commonly found dead along the road, such as groundhog, squirrel, snake, and wild board. A panel of judges chooses the winners based on taste, originality, showmanship, and presentation.

The last two years, Pendleton Community Bank has won the people’s choice award with their Bambi’s Revenge and Fender Fried Fawn Smothered in Vulture Vomit, both made with deer meat. Kendall Beverage, head cook for the PCB Buck Busters, said the bank closed this year so that more employees could participate.

“You cook a small portion at home and then when you have to multiply that in order to serve 2,000 people, that can be a little nerve wracking,” Beverage said. “We always try to run three or four test runs, tweaking it where we can, having blind tastings with family and friends to get ideas.”

Finalists

FloydFest (Floyd, Va.)

Tri-State Wing Off (Cumberland, Md.)


Music Festival

FloydFest (Floyd, Va.)
Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, FloydFest features an eclectic mix of musicians, from up and coming hard rockers to bluegrass artists who know how to draw a crowd. Finalists

LOCKN’ Festival (Arrington, Va.)

DelFest (Cumberland, Md.)


Family-Friendly Festival

Front Porch Fest (Stuart, Va.)

Kids of all ages are welcome at the Front Porch Fest, a weekend of music, art and fun started by a group of family and friends. Proceeds are donated to community organizations such as the Caring Hearts Free Clinic and the One Family Productions Education Fund.
Finalists

FloydFest (Floyd, Va.)

DelFest (Cumberland, Md.)


Mud Run/Adventure Race

Get Outside Mountain Relay (Glade Valley, N.C.)

Grab a group of friends and head out for this 208-mile relay. Shuttles take runners to and from hubs, meaning you don’t have to rent your own van.Finalists

Marine Mud Run (Salem, Va.)

The Grizzly (Big Stone Gap, Va.)


Triathlon

King of the James (Richmond, Va.)

This twist on the traditional triathlon calls for experienced trail runners, mountain bikers, and whitewater kayakers to compete in downtown Richmond.
Finalists

Captain Thurmond’s Challenge (Fayetteville, W. Va.)
Ironman Chattanooga (Chattanooga, Tenn.)


Running Event Under 13.1 Miles

Grayson Highlands Half Marathon (Grayson Highlands State Park, Va.)

Be prepared for rocky terrain and steep elevation change during this trail run through Virginia’s highest state park.

Finalists

Oskar Blues 4 Miler (Brevard, N.C.)

Hot Chocolate 10K (Asheville, N.C.)


Running Event Over 13.1 Miles

Blue Ridge Marathon (Roanoke, Va.)

Take in the views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Roanoke Valley as you run through the mountains. Register early as spots for this marathon fill up quickly.

Finalists

The Great Allegheny Relay (Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh, Penn.)

Get Outside Mountain Relay (Glade Valley, N.C.)


Climbing Event

Craggin’ Classic (The New, W. Va.)

Climbers from around the world gather for three days of climbing and skill clinics. This festival travels around the country to other climbing destinations, like Shelf Road, Colo. and Moab, Utah.
Finalists

Hound Ears (Boone, N.C.)

The Rumble (Raleigh, N.C.)


Paddling Event

Kanawha Falls Festival (Gauley Bridge, W. Va.)

The organizers of Kanawha Falls Fest found the perfect location for a paddling event, with world-class rapids, a waterfall for freestyle moves, and easy access for spectators. In 2017, 56 paddlers competed in the inaugural event. Although it was cancelled in 2018 due to high water, organizers are excited to continue growing the festival as an event leading up to Gauley Fest.

Corey Lilly, the man behind the idea, said he hopes the event will inspire more people to get out
and try kayaking. One such individual stumbled upon the competition by accident.

“He was there fishing and, unknowingly, fishing on the same day as Kanawha Falls Festival,” Lilly said. “So all of these people show up and are having such a good time. He showed up at the kayak shop in Fayetteville a few weeks later and ended up purchasing an entire paddling setup and now he’s a kayaker.”

Finalists

Battle of the Broad (Skyland, N.C.)

Green River Race (Saluda, N.C.)


Fly Fishing Event

Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (Doswell, Va.)

Fly anglers of all ages and abilities are welcome at this two-day festival, focusing on sport fly fishing and conservation issues in Virginia.

Finalists

Rumble in the Rhododendron (Cherokee, N.C.)

Casting for Hope (Asheville, N.C.)


Bike Race

Shenandoah Mountain 100 (Stokesville, Va.)

As the name implies, riders climb thousands of feet through the George Washington National Forest in
this 100-mile ultra-endurance mountain bike race.

Finalists

Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race (Pisgah, N.C.)

Mountains of Misery (Southwest Va.)


Retreat  

YogaJam (Floyd, Va.)

Try various types of yoga, from meditation-based yoga to acro yoga. Go beyond the physical practice with classes on live painting, creating space for social change, and yoga slackline.

Finalists

Summersville Lake Retreat and Lighthouse (Mount Nebo, W. Va.)

Mountain Retreat and Learning Center (Highlands, N.C.)