We’d say you could call it “festival season,” but that wouldn’t be quite right. That’s because in North Carolina, we’re fortunate to have an assortment of fun and funky festivals year-round. From food to music to gardens to boats, and so much more, there’s a festival in North Carolina for all ages, tastes, and interests this year.
We’ve selected just a few of our favorites, but we want to hear from you if there are any you think we missed. Be sure to leave us a note in the comments here on our blog or on Facebook to let us know!
Blue, Brew & ‘Que Festival (March 30) — The Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville plays host to this annual jam session with some of the best bluegrass music around, beer from local craft breweries, and, of course, mouthwatering BBQ. More.
North Carolina Azalea Festival (April 3-7) — Renown for its pageantry, the North Carolina Azalea Festival is not one to miss. Held in Wilmington, the festival has parades, street fairs, home and garden tours, fireworks, concerts, and other entertainment. More.
Piratefest (April 12-13) — The 13th annual Piratefest welcomes all swashbucklers to Uptown Greenville and the banks of the Tar River for a free concert, street food vendors, a carnival, live music, and a variety of family-friendly happenings over two days. More.
Hickory Hops Brewer’s Festival (April 27) — Here’s another one for the beer lovers! Olde Hickory Brewery, the second oldest brewery in North Carolina, is the setting for this popular beer fest. Enjoy drafts from local breweries and grub from area favorites. More.
Carthage Buggy Festival (May 11) — This annual festival pays homage to the Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory which produced the carriages that toted North Carolinians around from the mid-1800s to the 1920s. More than 20,000 pack Carthage’s Courthouse Square to enjoy classic cars, live music and more than 125 food and craft vendors. More.
Charlotte Asian Festival & Dragon Boat Race (May 18) — Celebrate Asian culture this May in Cornelius with dragon boat racing and a music and dance component with categories encompassing traditional and contemporary vocal, instrumental music, and folk and modern dance. More.
Carolina Beach Music Festival (June 1) — This festival is the only beach music festival held on the beach on the North Carolina coast. There will be a full day of live entertainment right there on Carolina Beach with access via the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. More.
Freedom Fest & Fireworks (July 4) — There’s bound to be more fun Fourth of July events in North Carolina than you can shake a firecracker at. But the old-fashioned street festival in quaint Bryson City is too good to not include on our list. There are arts and crafts, food, activities for kids, a watermelon eating contest, music, and a firework show. More.
North Carolina Apple Festival (Aug. 30) — Now in its 73rd year, the North Carolina Apple Festival takes place on Hendersonville’s historic Main Street. There’s a steady stream of live music, activities for kids, food (including many delicious NC apples!), and the King Apple Parade with floats, bands, antique cars, and other fun surprises. More.
Hopscotch Music Festival (Sept. 5-7) — One of the largest music festivals in the state, Hopscotch spreads throughout venues across Raleigh. There are artists from about every genre you can think of, with about 25% of those artists hailing from the state of North Carolina, giving it a cool local feel. More.
Centerfest (Sept. 21-22) — The self-proclaimed festival for art lovers, Centerfest will celebrate its 45th annual event this year in the heart of downtown Durham. You will find juried visual artists, music, dance, art for sale, and activities for kids. More.
Carolina Renaissance Festival (Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-Nov. 25) — Don’t act like you never dreamed of being a knight and jousting on horseback! Here’s your chance to at least see them live and up close. This 16th-century European-style art and entertainment festival is the perfect way to go back in time. More.
Outer Banks Seafood Festival (Oct. 19) — You won’t find seafood much fresher than you’ll get at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival. If it tastes like someone just plucked it from the ocean, that’s because they probably did! Held in Nags Head, you’ll find activities for kids, live music, cooking demonstrations, and succulent seafood. More.
As you can see, 2019 is shaping up to be another incredible year for festivals in North Carolina. Be sure to check the Events page on VisitNC.com for new events as they add them. Happy festing!