Your Complete Guide to the Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival (A Moms-Only Vacay Dream Come True)

We’re all about vacationing with the family—especially during sweet summertime. But we’ve got something special for you. So special that you might consider leaving the kids behind with your spouse for a moms-only vacay dream come true. 

Are you ready to hear what inspired that thinking? The one and only (that we know of!) two-day Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival

If you’re an iconic movie lover who’s just as googly-eyed as we were upon hearing about it, here’s your complete guide to ensure you have the time of your life. 

About the Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival:

Lake Lure is the backdrop of where many timeless shots of the 1987 Dirty Dancing were filmed. For example, you know the banquet room where Baby and Johnny performed their epic routine? Yeah, it happened in a local gymnasium!

So, obviously, why wouldn’t a yearly Dirty Dancing Festival be a thing here in Lake Lure?

  • How it all started: It originated in 2010 with over 1,000 attendees, and it continues to give guests the chance to not only relive the magic of the iconic movie and remember the beloved Patrick Swayze, but also commemorate the end of summertime and raise awareness, support, and resources for PanCAN and the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge.

  • Price: The cost of the festival is affordable (when compared to major festivals you’re probably familiar with). No matter if you want to pay for both the kick-off party the evening before and the actual fun-filled day-long festival or simply the latter, you’ll save by purchasing your tickets in advance here. But you can buy them on-site, too. Remember, it’s for a great cause! A percentage of the proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).

What can you expect?

You know, out of a festival built around the cause of your childhood fantasies and obsession with heartthrob Patrick Swayze? Well, here you go:

lake lure dirty dancing festival
source: GIPHY


The Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival starts with a fun-filled evening to jump your inner teenager twitterpated heart to life. 

Learn to dance like Jennifer Grey.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a great dancer to join in on the fun. This festival offers movie-inspired dance lessons during the kick-off celebration, as well as virtually all day Saturday (the day of the festival). 

Get into character with a screening of the movie.  

If you’re eager to catch a lakeside screening of the movie, you won’t want to miss this! Bring a cozy blanket and beach chair so you can kick back and relax. And don’t worry, you won’t be the only one quoting lines and belting out the lyrics! 

Then, get some sleep because the next day starts early


The festival continues with live performances, a DJ, band, more dance lessons, competitions, and walking tours of Dirty Dancing movie scenes.

Best dressed character look-alike contest. 

Pull out all the stops and come dressed as your favorite character from the movie. Oh, and get creative. Makeup, wigs, costumes, and props are not only allowed, but they’re also encouraged! Just be sure to stay in character because judging takes place randomly throughout the day. 

Couples shag competition. 

Are you a quick learner? Start your morning off with a 30-minute dance lesson, then step out onto the mainstage for the chance to shag your way to a prize. 

Kellerman’s talent show. 

Show that you have what it takes! First, learn some moves from the Asheville Ballet, imitate dance routines, and earn a spot on stage to be a part of the movie experience.  

Lake lift competition. 

Remember when Johnny lifts Baby in the lake? Of course, you do. Relive the moment with the festival’s lake lift competition. And if you came to win — keep your arms and legs up, and toes pointed!

Watermelon races. 

“I carried a watermelon.” 

Lace-up your shoes and get ready to race your watermelon across the field for this movie-inspired competition for PanCAN. 

With all the fun, you’ll work up an appetite! Satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst in the Food Court and Club House Garden. Plenty of options await—from BBQ to tacos, chicken, lobster, and more. 

But don’t forget to make a stop at the Artisan Village where you can be sure to leave with a souvenir! Handcrafted artisans will be on-site to sell unique, one-of-a-kind items that represent the culture of Lake Lure and the Dirty Dancing community.

And if you’re still not ready to turn back to reality, there are a select number of after-parties if you want the fun to continue! 

So, when is it? 

Remember earlier when we mentioned that part of the reason behind the event is to commemorate the end of summer? Well, you can expect the Dirty Dancing Festival to happen mid-ish September! Perfect timing to get the kids settled into school before you sneak away for your refreshing mamas-only weekend getaway

And don’t you worry – this festival is rain or shine!

What if you can’t make it for the festival? 

There are plenty of Dirty Dancing-inspired spots you can enjoy during a getaway to this timeless town nestled in the Blue Ridge Foothills. Yes, many of which primarily cater to family vacations during the summer. 

Have dinner at the Esmeralda Inn Chimney Rock Restaurant

According to restaurant-goers, it has incredible food! And the Inn’s historic lobby is built from the wood salvaged from the gymnasium where Baby and Johnny performed their final dance. 

Stay at The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa

Why? Because Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey stayed here during filming. We can’t think of a better way to feel closer! Accommodations range from guest rooms to suites, and even a couple of Dirty Dancing-themed cabins. Oh, and we can’t forget about the on-site spa and dining options. 

Tripbound Traveler Tip: If you’re planning on visiting for the annual Dirty Dancing Festival, be sure to book a room well in advance!

Hop on a guided boat ride with Lake Lure Tours

Soak in unbeatable views of Chimney Rock and Rumbling Bald Mountain. And cross your fingers for the opportunity to see where the famous stair scenes were filmed (from afar as this area is now private property!). Tours leave every hour on the hour.

Tripbound Traveler Tip: Visit the website for ticket costs, booking information, and hours of operation. This is a popular attraction, so book early!

Where should you stay?

lake lure dirty dancing festival

Look no further than Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Mountains! Here’s why we think you’ll love staying here:

  • More than 2,400 acres of wooded seclusion are yours for the taking. All centered around the resort’s two golf courses and the pristine waters of Lake Lure.
  • Well-appointed, yet affordable two-bedroom villa-style condos blend mountain charm and modern convenience with an in-suite full kitchen, washer/dryer, private balcony/deck, and whirlpool tub.
  • Enjoy resort amenities such as the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, indoor hot tub, lazy river, mini-golf course, and three on-site restaurants. 

A trip to Lake Lure to relive one of your favorite iconic movies is just the beginning of an incredible, memory-making vacation opportunity. So what do you say? Let the team here at Tripbound help you plan and book a stress-free escape—whether that includes the entire family, just the gals, or you and your loved one.

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