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White Squirrel Festival: A Brevard Tradition

Brevard’s beloved white squirrels have their day once again as the town celebrates its 15th annual White Squirrel Festival Friday, May 26, through Sunday, May 27. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday, and include a Memorial Day Parade, live music performances, the White Squirrel 5K/10K Run and the Squirrel Box Derby, a traditional soapbox race down Jailhouse Hill.

“The white squirrels are unique to our area and are not albino,” says Greer Gunby, White Squirrel Festival coordinator. “And while not rare around here, they don’t have near the population of the gray squirrels.” During the festival, a rescued white squirrel will be on display to raise awareness and funding for the local White Squirrel Research Institute. “The institute not only rescues orphaned or injured white squirrels,” Gunby says, “but also tracks the population through an annual count.”

The family festival attracts more than 35,000 visitors each year with local food vendors and local beer, arts and crafts vendors, the Transylvania Farmers Market, a photo contest and children’s rides and activities. The parade is organized by the American Legion and VFW and is followed by the Presentation of the Wreath ceremony at the courthouse. A trailer at the American Legion and VFW Post booth will accept donated items—toiletries, coffee, sunscreen and snacks—for the 210th National Guard Unit currently in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Musicians include Sister Sparrow, Fireside Collective, Songs from the Road Band and Cicada Rhythm. All concerts are free.

“The White Squirrel Festival keeps getting better every year and is a great way to spend Memorial Day weekend in Brevard,” Gunby says. “With the parade, music, arts, food and the Squirrel Box Derby, there’s something for everyone.” To learn more and to see a complete schedule of events, visit whitesquirrelfestival.com.

For information about adopting a white squirrel or donating to the White Squirrel Research Institute, visit brevardnc.org/whitesquirrelresearchinstitute.

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