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North Carolina Appalachian Trail Festival Canceled 

The country’s second-largest festival dedicated to celebrating the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) has been canceled this year. North Carolina’s Appalachian Trailfest, an annual multiple-day event featuring vendors, games, and live music was slated for April 12-14, before event host Hot Springs Tourism Association announced the cancellation late last month. At this time, organizers have not disclosed the reasons for the festival’s cancellation.

“This event is in transition, with plans to continue in 2025, in partnership with the Laughing Heart Hostel and Hot Springs community,” the association posted on its website. “To still celebrate the Appalachian Trail and the town of Hot Springs, N.C., some favorite events will be planned.”

On April 27, the town will host its iconic Duck Race event where over 700 rubber duckies are placed into a local creek and race down to the finish line. There will also be the Dinner + Fashion Show at the Laughing Heart Hostel on the same day that will be free to hikers and guests. 

Northbound A.T. thru-hikers often look forward to stopping at Trailfest, as a first big communal gathering during their journeys.

“We have a special relationship to the Appalachian Trail,” Elmer Hall, a Hot Springs local and a member of the TrailFest Committee, told the Asheville Citizen-Times in 2023. “It’s the first one that the northbound hikers come to—the first trail town. They look forward to being here—to resupply, to take a shower, to get their clothes clean and to take a little break.”

Despite the cancellation, some other events celebrating the A.T. are still on the books for the spring and summer.

Upcoming A.T. Festivals & Events

Cover photo: Appalachian Trail Descends Jane Bald through North Carolina Rhododendron bloom. Courtesy of Getty Images.

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