Festival FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Highlands Food & Wine Festival 21 and up?

All Highlands Food & Wine events are 21+.  Valid ID is required at all events. If we cannot verify your age, you will not be allowed into the festival. Anyone under the age of 21 will be stopped at the gate and refused entry. Passes will not be refunded. Please don’t bring infants, small children in child carriers, or strollers, as they will not be permitted entry.

Can I purchase a ticket for a friend/as a gift?

Sure! Please include their email address to allow them to receive all important information!

Can I receive a refund if I bought a ticket and cannot attend the event?

Unfortunately, Highlands Food & Wine Festival has a no refund policy. 

What If I Still Need More Information?

For up-to-the-moment event updates and event details, please join the mailing list here. For specific questions, contact the festival at info@highlandsfoodandwine.com

Is Highlands Food & Wine a Non-Profit?

Yes!  Highlands Food & Wine is property of Highlands Festivals, Inc, a 501(c)3 organization that produces the annual Highlands Food & Wine and Bear Shadow festivals in Highlands, NC. The organization is dedicated to promoting Highlands, NC, as an inspiring place to live and visit by producing world-class events that showcase, enhance, and support the region’s vibrant culinary, visual, and performing arts organizations, while contributing funds and resources that directly benefit similar local initiatives and strengthen our community. A portion of all tickets from the 2023 festival will directly benefit the Louis Osteen Legacy Scholarship at Culinary Institute of America and the Friends of Founders Park.

What is the festival doing to help the environment?

Highlands Food & Wine is committed to preserving the pristine beauty of our community and promoting good environmental practices. We are proud to continue to implement a recycling and composting program to divert waste created by our weekend celebration from landfills, and work towards a plastic-free event. Since 2016, we have diverted over 18,000 lbs. of recycled and compostable waste.


Mountain Chic, Resort Casual. Thursday and Friday evening events along with Sunday’s afternoon event are heated under a tent. The tented area is flat but with grass and gravel. High heels are discouraged.

Rules and Restrictions

  • No one under the age of 21 is permitted.
  • Please no pets (service animals are permitted).
  • No outside food or alcohol will be permitted in the events.
  • Chairs are not permitted at events unless stated otherwise.
  • Complimentary water will be provided. Empty refillable water bottles are permitted.


All events are in tents or outdoors and will happen rain or shine. Please be prepared for forecasted weather. Should dangerous weather arise, all ticket holders will be contacted via email, and we will utilize our social media platforms.


There is limited parking at each of the events. Please consider walking or carpooling to limit cars needing to park.

What to Bring

  • Government-issued Photo ID
  • Barcoded event tickets
  • Cash or Credit Card for Merchandise
  • Proper attire for forecasted weather

What Not to Bring

  • Pets
  • Outside food or drink
  • Chairs
  • Illegal drugs
  • Children under the age of 21
  • No smoking or vaping products of any kind

Tickets & Wristbands

Why do tickets sell out so quickly?

Our biggest challenge each year  is satisfying the demand for tickets. We are limited in how much we can grow these events while still providing a world-class experience for attendees and respecting the quaint nature of the Highlands community. As a result, we are able to offer limited tickets each year.

Were tickets sold privately before the official launch on June 15?

No. We didn’t offer a ticket presale this year nor did we sell tickets privately ahead of time.

When can tickets be purchased?

Tickets can only be purchased via the festival website beginning at 12pm EST on Thursday, June 15th.

How can I get ready for the ticket launch on June 15?

  1. Grab your credit card
    • We recommend typing your card details in a doc or note ahead of time so you can simply copy and paste at checkout.
  2. Get your browser ready
    • Keep our event overview page open in your browser for easy access.
    • Refresh the page at noon and hit the Buy Tickets button.

Where do I pick up my tickets/wristbands?

Wristbands will be distributed at the gates of each event, unless you have VIP Weekender Passes – those will be available for early pickup at the festival box office in Highlands (see location and times below). You must have a printed ticket or barcode on your phone to present at the gate for wristband and entry.

Highlands Food & Wine Box Office

242 Pine Street
(former Bank of America building)

Hours of Operation for VIP Weekender Wristband Pickup to be announced.

What do I need to get into the event?

You need your ticket bar code.  After receiving your event wristband, you must wear your wristband for the duration of the event. Weekender VIP Pass Holders must wear Weekender wristbands for the duration of the festival. Weekenders will be able to pick up wristbands in advance at the festival box office (listed above).

What if I lose or cut off my wristband?

Wristbands must be worn at all times. Individuals not wearing a wristband will not be allowed entry, no exceptions. Do not lose your wristband—these are not replaceable. The plastic security lock on the wristband is a one-way lock. Do not play with this lock to tighten the band too much.

How do I put on my wristband?

Treat your wristband like cash—lost, stolen, tampered with, and/or confiscated wristbands will not be replaced!

Festival security will put on your wristband for you.


Your wristband allows you to come and go as you please to the events. You must have the specific event wristband on to enter/re-enter. Beverages may not leave the boundaries of any event.