North Carolina has a lot of reasons to celebrate. From pickles, to white squirrels, to the coming snow season, to a shared love of dance, there seems to be a festival for each type of person, and really, every season. While some are not for everyone, some you must experience at least once. Here are ten.
1. Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games, mid July
Flickr / Matt P.
For 57 years, one of the most unique festivals to grace North Carolina is the Highland Games. It is a gathering of Scottish clans at McRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain. This is considered to be one of the best Highland Games in America. Scottish or not, you'll enjoy the weekend of traditional games, bagpipes, and plenty of Celtic music and Gaelic culture.
2. Rogallo Kite Festival, Jockey's Ridge State Park, June
Since 1982, this one-of-a-kind, two day festival has been drawing in people from all over the country. The festival is named after NASA scientist Francis Rogallo, who invented the flexible wing. You'll see a large collection of multi-sized kites, have the opportunity to make your own, or take power kite lessons.
3. Wilmington Riverfest, October
The Wilmington Riverfest is a three-day festival that brings in almost 250,000 people a year. There are plenty of food and craft vendors, live performances on several different stages, dance competitions, the River 8k marathon, and Saturday night fireworks.
4. Carolina Renaissance Festival, weekends, Oct.-Dec
You won't need a time machine to experience these ye olde times. Just outside of Charlotte, the Carolina Renaissance Festival is quite impressive. There is whole village filled with quaint pubs, cottages, and small castles. Kids will especially love this one.
5. Lexington BBQ Festival, October
As "barbecue capital of the world," it's only appropriate to hold one the most delicious festivals in the birthplace of Lexington BBQ. The festival has been called “one of the top ten food festivals in the USA." With over 100,000 people in attendance, the estimated 12,000 pounds of BBQ served makes sense.
6. Christmas at Biltmore
During November and December this 'festival' is the best way to rekindle that Christmas spirit. Being hosted at 'America's Castle' you can assume the decor, the trees, and the ambiance will be like something out of a movie.
7. Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, April
This festival has been heralded as one of the best, not just in North Carolina, but also in the Southeast. This 3-day festival hosts live entertainment, craft vendors, artists, and several fun activities for children.
8. Folkmoot USA, July
Folkmoot is an international festival hosted in the beautiful mountains of Waynesville and Maggie Valley. The festival draws in over 300 performers from a dozen or more different countries to celebrate the world's colorful connection through dance and folk music. You can expect lively concerts, dance performances, unique costumes, and a new perspective on the global art of 'folk music.'
9. NC Seafood Festival, Morehead City, October
As North Carolina's second-largest festival, this event has been a beloved tradition for 22 years. You won't just find seafood, but musical entertainment, arts and crafts, rides, and an 8k road race.
10. Seagrove Pottery Festival, November
The pottery-making tradition began in Seagrove over 200 years ago, and today the pottery festival allows you to browse over 100 unique vendors to find a piece that is perfect for you. With such a rich heritage, and connection to our state, Seagrove Pottery Festival will inspire the inner artist in us all.
What is your favorite festival in North Carolina? Have you been to any of these ten? Tell us in the comments.