Asheville Parks & Recreation warms up spring with festivals, fun and more in May

small children looking at bugs with microscope

Days for sweaters turn into days for short sleeves as the North Carolina mountains prepare for the return of green leaves, warm nights, and plenty of time spent outdoors. Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) hosts a May packed with free and low-cost festivals, meetups, sports, block parties, and more to connect neighbors and inspire creativity. 

Check Out Summer Programs

APR’s May-August Program Guide is available in English and español (online and at community centers) for locals who want to enjoy their hometown all summer. Programs fill up fast and many require advance registration, so it’s worth spending some time planning which activities and events to attend. Use these resources to discover additional opportunities:

May Festivals in Asheville

  • May 2 – Get ready for the “greatest two minutes in sports” with southern snacks and drinks, memorable games, and a hat contest at Kentucky Derby Party
  • May 5 – Celebrate Mexican American culture with a family-style fiesta featuring food, music, games, and more at Fiesta Cinco de Mayo
  • May 10 – Watch Wonka on a massive outdoor screen as Movies in the Park returns for a summer of cinema beneath the stars
  • May 11 – Shake the pavement and fuel excitement at Montford Community Car Show
  • May 17 – Start your weekend with delicious food and fellowship at Shiloh Fish Fry
  • To see special events in Asheville’s outdoor public spaces produced by other organizations, check out the Office of Special Events’ calendar

Fun for Kids

Asheville Outdoors

  • May 3 and 24 – Show off your skating skills and jam to the music as Summer Skate returns to the Carrier Park rink on the first and fourth Friday of each month through August
  • May 6, 13, and 20 – Celebrate National Walking Month and take in the beauty of Montford with Walk It Out Adult Walking Club
  • May 13 and 21 – See mountain streams from a different perspective with River Snorkeling classes
  • May 17 – Learn the basics at APR’s monthly Belay Clinic followed by Open Gym Climb on Avery Montford Center’s indoor climbing wall
  • May 18 – Start your day with a gentle flow outdoors at Yoga in the Park
  • May 22 – Greenway Walking Club ends its spring session with a stroll from French Broad River Park towards New Belgium Brewery

Arts & Community in the Land of Sky

  • May 7-July 2 – Veterans Creative Retreat is an eight-week program for veterans and their partners to find calm and comfort in creating through various artistic mediums
  • May 9 – Art in the Park wraps its spring session for older adults who enjoy painting en plein air
  • May 9 – Join beginners and fellow artists in the creative space that is Wise Words Open Mic
  • May 24 – Pick your neighborhood as Burton Street Center hosts Outdoor Movie Night and Grant Southside Center hosts Family Movie Night
  • May 30 – Shop gently-worn clothes, shoes, and toys (or donate your own treasures) at Oakley Community Closet

Asheville Sports Leagues

  • Register by June 1 – Young wrestlers learn fundamentals and experienced wrestlers improve technique at Let’s Wrestle! with separate classes for ages 6-12 and 13-16
  • Registration open April 29-May 16 – Tennis Clinic for Beginners and Intermediate Players (two-week session meets Tuesday and Thursday starting May 21)
  • Registration open May 6-28 – 4v4 Half Court Men’s Summer Basketball League (games are all double headers, upper division plays on Tuesday starting June 11 and lower division plays on Wednesday starting June 12)
  • Registration open May 13-June 17 – Over 35 Men’s Summer Softball  League (games played Wednesday nights starting July 10)


These are just a few highlights of Asheville fun. If you don’t want to miss a moment, sign up for Asheville Parks & Recreation’s monthly newsletter or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Special thanks to Program Leader Jason Garris for photos (except for river snorkeling).