Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure, NC


Come experience the time of your life at the 1st Annual Lake Lure (Dirty Dancing) Festival on September 16th, 2023! Nestled in the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lure is the perfect year-round destination.

Lake Lure’s iconic festival honors the beloved movie with dance lessons, live music, free screenings, watermelon games, a Lake Lift Competition, Kellerman’s Talent Show, food trucks, and a beer, wine, and cider garden. Get your fill of local art, crafts, and movie memorabilia.


This year’s new festival promises even more new experiences to delight fans, both old and new. And don’t miss the chance to walk in the footsteps of Baby and her father at Rumbling Bald Resort Bald Mountain Golf Course.

The Dirty Dancing-inspired free event is open to the general public and features live music, dancing, movie screenings, and a cookout. Don’t forget to snap a photo at hole #16, where Baby asks her father for money! Join us for a weekend full of music, memories, and magic.


Lake Lure Inn and Flowering Bridge

Discover the timeless elegance of the 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa, where the stars of a classic movie once rested their heads. Feel like a celebrity by booking the same rooms as Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Even if you’re not checked in, don’t miss the breathtaking lobby boasting antiques, music boxes, and a stunning Baccarat crystal chandelier from the 1870s.


While you’re in the area, make the most of your stay and explore all that Lake Lure has to offer. Take a leisurely stroll across the Flowering Bridge, a stunning 155-foot expanse that has been lovingly transformed into a vibrant garden bursting with native plants and flowers. With endless sights and experiences to discover, don’t cut your visit too short – stay for a few days after the festival and soak up all the beauty and charm of this serene paradise.


After your walk, take a relaxing boat tour of Lake Lure, named one of the top most beautiful man-made lakes in the world by National Geographic. Lake Lure sits in the Hickory Nut Gorge, surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs.  


Chimney Rock State Park 

Get ready to embark on an exciting adventure by lacing up your hiking boots to visit Chimney Rock. Unfortunately, the elevator to the top is currently under maintenance. But don’t worry, because the 499-step Outcroppings Trail is waiting for you!

Hike up to the 315-foot Chimney Rock for a breathtaking view of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Carolina Piedmont stretching 75 miles ahead of you.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed option, take a leisurely hike to the base of the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls. This is where the climactic flight scene in the blockbuster movie, The Last of the Mohicans, was filmed. Both options offer stunning views and unforgettable experiences.


Where to Eat in Lake Lure, NC

Looking for a delicious meal with stunning views? Look no further than The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant! With a varied seasonal menu, you won’t want to miss out on their fresh Lake Trout with citrus-herb butter, warm quinoa salad, and sautéed vegetables.

And don’t forget to try their amazing Shrimp & Grits Spring Rolls. Plus, you can snap a photo with a Johnny and Baby cutout and dance on the actual floor from the movie’s climactic scene.


And for a lakefront lunch, check out LaStrada’s large covered patio. This family-owned Italian grill serves up unique pizzas, like our favorite, the Lake Lure—A Cheese Lover’s Fantasy, a white pizza with three kinds of cheese, pesto spinach, garlic pesto, and tomatoes. Don’t miss out on delicious food with breathtaking views at these top spots in Lake Lure.


Lake Lure, North Carolina

So there you have my personal recommendations for visiting Lake Lure and the Annual Dirty Dancing Festival. And remember: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

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This article was originally written and published by Sandra Chambers of Southern-Traveller in 2018. It has been updated partially in 2023 by staff. 

(Sandra visited Lake Lure as part of a pre-media trip for the 2017 Travel Media Showcase held in Cabarrus County, NC. )

Check out our other North Carolina posts:

Great Things to Do in Carolina Beach

Asheville: Small Town Flavor with a Twist of Sophistication

Raleigh’s Food Truck Rodeo

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