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Wilkesboro NC

Wilkesboro North Carolina
“Heart of American Folk Music”

Town of Wilkesboro NC

Wilkesboro is a town is located along the south bank of the Yadkin River, directly opposite the town of North Wilkesboro. Wilkesboro is the home of the annual Merle Fest music festival. Merle fest will be here at the end of April and the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in October. The Town of North Wilkesboro offers the unique charms of a small town yet embraces technology, new development, and forward-thinking ideas. North Wilkesboro has been and continues to be a vibrant economic center. You can do things such as taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike at Stone Mountain State Park, take a trip to the lake or go mountain-biking at the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, play disc golf at our public course or visit any of the other numerous public recreation locations. After the adventure, Wilkesboro offers numerous restaurants and area vineyards known for their unique flair, as well as cultural attractions like our first-class Art Gallery and our live community theatre group known as the Wilkes Playmakers.

History of Wilkesboro NC

North Wilkesboro was founded in 1891 when the Norfolk and Southern Railroad built a railroad line into Wilkes County. The line ended on the northern bank of the Yadkin River opposite Wilkesboro, the county seat. The town of North Wilkesboro quickly developed around the railroad tracks. North Wilkesboro was the home of the Carolina Mirror Company, which for many years was the largest mirror factory in the United States. Lowe’s Foods, one of the Southeast’s largest supermarket chains, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1954. Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, the nation’s second-largest chain of home-improvement stores, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1946.

The North Wilkesboro Speedway, located just outside the city limits, predates the founding of NASCAR; the speedway held its first race on May 18, 1947 and from there it grew in popularity. On October 16, 1949 the Speedway held the 8th and final race of the 1949 NASCAR Strictly Stock Division; when the race was over Robert “Red” Byron had become the first NASCAR-sanctioned champion.The North Wilkesboro Speedway held NASCAR races for 50 years; on September 29, 1996 Jeff Gordon would win the final race to be held at the speedway. In 1995, following the death of long-time owner and track founder Enoch Staley, the speedway was purchased by two new owners, Bob Bahre and Bruton Smith. Soon after their purchase, both men announced that they were closing the speedway and moving its two NASCAR race dates to their new tracks in Texas and New Hampshire.

  • Merlefest Music Festival

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