There’s no denying fall is one of the best times in North Carolina. From cool air, the gorgeous changing leaves, and plenty of fun. One of the best parts is all the festivals and fairs that happen in our state during this great season. While many festivals you might find throughout the country, these 10 are truly unique to North Carolina.
1. Mayberry Days
Relive the nostalgic days of Andy Griffith right in modern day Mayberry, Mt. Airy. The festival takes place from Sept. 21-25. See Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn), witness a pork chop eating contest and enjoy plenty of entertainment and a parade.
2. Woolly Worm Festival
The groundhog might predict if we'll have an early spring, but the woolly worm predicts the severity of the coming winter. How does such a small creature take on such a big task? Winning several competitions crawling up a three-foot length of string. The Woolly Worm festival has been going on since 1978 and today, over 20,000 people a year head to Banner Elk and experience the fun for themselves. The festival takes place Oct. 15-16th.
3. Brushy Mountain Apple Festival
As one of the largest festivals in the Southeast, it's not just about apples, but also 425 arts and crafts vendors and 100 food concession stands. Of course there's plenty of fresh picked apples, cider, and plenty of goodies to go along with everything else. The free festival takes place in North Wilkesboro Oct. 1st.
4. Carolina BalloonFest
If you've ever wanted to witness the magic of hot air balloons, this festival in Statesville is home to 50 colorful, decorated hot air balloons. 43 years in the making, the festival features mass ascensions, Saturday night balloon glow, balloon rides...and plenty of food, wine, craft beer as well as activities for the children. It takes place Oct. 21-23rd.
5. Lexington BBQ Festival
The best way to experience the famous Lexington style barbecue is right in its birthplace, and with a fun festival to boot. In its 33rd year, over 200,000 visitors come to Lexington to 'pig out' and explore over 400 exhibitors. You'll be sure to leave stuffed. The festival takes place Oct. 22nd.
6. Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree
If you've ever wanted to give the pirate life a try, you now have your chance. Edward Teach may be long gone, but you can still party like him. Taking place on Ocracoke and Hatteras Island, Captain Horatio Sinbad will put on a show, and maybe a slight invasion. The festival features a scalawag school, demonstrations on tricks of the pirate trade, and a three-ship battle. There's even a memorial for the most infamous pirate himself, and right where he put up his last fight. The festival takes place Oct. 28-30th.
7. Wilson Whirligig Festival
Vollis Simpson dedicated his life to turning metal scraps into towering, amazing pieces of art. His work has been displayed in New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Raleigh...and of course once famously at 'acid park.' The festival is a tribute to the late and great Vollis Simpson and his craft. Located in Wilson, there will be a windmill farm and you can see for yourself over 30 of Vollis' famous creations. The festival takes place Nov 5th-6th.
8. Wilmington Riverfest
In its 38th year, the scenic walk along Wilmington's Cape Fear River overflows with 200 craft and food vendors. There's also the crowning of Miss Riverfest, live musical entertainment, fun for the kids, fireworks and even the Invasion of the Pirates. The festival takes place Oct. 8-9th.
9. Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival
Ever wonder just how big a pumpkin can get? You can find out at the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival. Farmers come from all over the East Coast to participate in the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off. The largest pumpkin wins a $1000 prize. Aside from pumpkins, there are also carnival rides, arts, crafts and food vendors. The festival takes place Sept. 24th in Elkin.
10. Celebration of Seagrove Potters Festival
Home to the largest concentration of potters in the country, Seagrove's 35th annual festival features a potters market, an auction of signed and dated pottery as well as food vendors. If you love art or unique household finds, this festival allows you to meet potters firsthand and find the perfect piece to take home. It takes place Nov. 18-20th.
Sounds like a jam-packed fall, full of fun! It’s amazing to see the diverse festivals that represent North Carolina culture and the state as a whole. Have you attended any of these or plan to attend now?