Those seeking gold, games, music and entertainment can look no further than two festivals held in Marion and Old Fort this weekend.

This Friday and Saturday, the North Carolina Gold Foundation, in partnership with Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine, will hold the Original NC Gold Festival at the mine on Lucky Strike Drive and the Gold Foundation grounds on Polly Spout Road.

According to Liz McCormick of Lucky Strike, the festival, which relocated from Old Fort to the Gold Foundation land in 2018, promises gold panning, gem screening, nugget shoots, inflatables, games, contests and even demonstrations on turning raw gold into commemorative coins. Music and entertainment for Saturday includes The Rewind Band playing at 1 p.m. and the Vein Mountain Quartet playing at noon.

Food options for the festival include a cookout by the Glenwood Ruritan Club, the Miner’s Diner, funnel cake, pizza, snow cones, ice cream and much more.

Simultaneous to the event will be the Gold Rush Run 5K, presented by the Glenwood Ruritan Club in conjunction with the festival, held Saturday at 9 a.m. Entry fees are $25 per runner. All registered runners will be entered into a drawing to win a genuine gold nugget worth $200. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 registered runners with additional t-shirts available for purchase on race day. To register, visit

Concurrently, Old Fort will be holding the Official NC Gold Festival on June 1 at the Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center.

According to the festival’s itinerary, the event likewise promises gold panning, gold vendors, a display of the NC Gold Trail, a display of the Bechtler Coins (which, according to event planner Deborah Millikan, will be the largest display of the coins in the country), games, food and live entertainment.

This year’s headliner for the festival will be Rick Scott, former member of the group Alabama, co-writer of the hit song “Why Lady Why” as well as “Tennessee,” performed by Johnny Cash. Scott has performed with Nashville stars like Earl Thomas Conley, Vern Gosdin and David Allan Coe, according to his bio.

Additionally, the Official NC Gold Festival will hold the Rugged Nugget 5K run, starting from the Town Hall parking lot and up Commerce Street. The run will begin at 8 a.m., with a preferred 7:30 a.m. arrival time. Entry fees are $5 per person.

Tandem with the Old Fort festival is the NC Gold album project, an open invitation held to North Carolina born or connected singers and songwriters to submit music for an album to be released this fall. Finalists for the album, who were notified May 15, will be invited to perform at the Gold Festival and notified later if they’ve won a slot on the album.

The Original NC Gold Festival will be held this Friday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine at 251 Lucky Strike Drive and the NC Gold Foundation grounds at 1296 Polly Spout Road. For more information, visit or the Original North Carolina Gold Festival Facebook page.

The Official NC Gold Festival will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Mountain Gateway Museum. For more information, visit or the 2019 Official NC Gold Festival Facebook page.

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