It happens slowly and then all at once. The leaves of the trees on the Quad change from green to yellow to orange and red. These colors mean only one thing: fall is coming, and so is Turning of the Maples, everyone’s favorite UNC Asheville tradition.
What seems like a tradition as old as the university itself really only started a little over a decade ago with a group of students who wanted to build traditions and spirit on the UNC Asheville campus.
Brian Davis, director of events and conferences at UNC Asheville, graduated the spring before the tradition started in fall 2006. He said the mystery around the event is part of its charm.
“The first couple years I was working here, we would say, ‘Well, A.C. Reynolds himself started this tradition. He would host the faculty with cookies in October when the campus became beautiful.’ A.C. Reynolds never saw this campus to my knowledge,” Davis said. “We were never here while he was alive, to my knowledge. It’s just a little bit of mystery with that part.”
In order to continue the mystery, Davis said he does not like to announce the event more than a week before it happens. This short time also ensures the leaves will be colorful enough and the trees not yet bare, as well as the weather being favorable.
Originally published Oct. 13, 2017. Written by Karrigan Monk.