North Carolina Festivals

From the mountains to the coast, experience our state’s culture, foods and history at these annual festivals

Soak up North Carolina mountain culture at these annual festivals across the state, categorized by the mountains, Piedmont and coastal regions, and listed in order of date.


Mountain Festivals

Hillbilly Jam, Maggie Valley
July 21–23, 2022
Maggie Valley’s largest festival celebrates North Carolina’s music and moonshine history and heritage. Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” will attend, along with crafters, and car and motorcycle enthusiasts.

Mayberry Days, Mount Airy
September 19–25, 2022
Celebrate “The Andy Griffith Show” in Griffith’s hometown. Journey back in time when life was simple: The town’s sheriff carried no gun, children fished in ponds and everyone knew each other’s names. 

Woolly Worm Festival, Banner ElkOctober 15–16, 2022
Located near several North Carolina ski resorts, celebrate the upcoming ski season with a Groundhog’s Day–esque woolly worm forecast by a fuzzy caterpillar that predicts the severity of the coming winter. 


More Festival Fun


MerleFest, Wilkes County
April 27–30, 2023

Christmas in July Festival, West Jefferson
First weekend in July

Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Asheville
August 4–6, 2022

Sourwood Festival, Black Mountain
August 13–14, 2022

Dirty Dancing Festival, Lake Lure
September 10, 2022

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Cashiers
October 7–9, 2022

Apple Harvest Festival, Waynesville
October 15, 2022

Highlands Food & Wine Festival, Highlands
November 10–13, 2022

Piedmont Festivals

Got to be NC Festival, Raleigh
May 2023
Celebrate what makes North Carolina great each May at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Offering carnival games, rides, live music, food fair, pig races and livestock shows, it’s spring’s answer to fall’s state fair. 

Benson Mule Days, Benson
September 22–25, 2022
Consider this North Carolina’s answer to the Kentucky Derby. Instead of horses, mules take the spotlight. Enjoy a parade featuring local bands, floats, antique tractors, beauty queens, horses, wagons, buggies and, of course, mules.

North Carolina State Fair
October 13–23, 2022

Explore North Carolina’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture at this annual fair featuring amusement rides, live performances and culinary delights. From fried Oreo’s and donut burgers to atomic tots and lobster pops, you’ll find a wide range of twisted treats to try.

Barbecue Festival, Lexington
October 22, 2022
The age-old battle of eastern versus western barbecue divides families more than Tobacco Road basketball. The Barbecue Festival welcomes nearly 250,000 visitors, doing its part to prove that North Carolina is the barbecue capital of the world. 

More Festival Fun

Brewgaloo, Raleigh
April 2023

North Carolina Pickle Festival, Mt. Olive 
April 2023

Dreamville Festival, Raleigh
April 2023

Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, Fayetteville
April 2023

Durham Blues & Brews Festival, Durham
May 2023

Pimento Cheese Festival
June 2023

Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, Charlotte
June 2023

Festival for the Eno, Durham 
July 2 and 4, 2022 (not held July 3)

IBMA World of Bluegrass, Raleigh
September 27–October 1, 2022

Carolina BalloonFest, Statesville
October 14–16, 2022

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, Cary
November 2023–January 2024

Costal Festivals

North Carolina 4th of July Festival, Southport
July 4, 2022
This quintessential patriotic celebration featuring a flotilla procession and parade, has been hosted in Southport for more than 200 years, welcoming upwards of 50,000 revelers annually. 

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion, Beaufort
September 23–25, 2022
Batten down the hatches! Every year, pirates invade Beaufort, once home to the infamous Blackbeard. This 1747 battle reenactment, when the town was attacked by Spanish pirates, features sea battles, sword fights, pirate pleasures and mermaids that will shiver your timbers.

Swansboro Mullet Festival, Swansboro
October 8–9, 2022
The oldest festival on the Crystal Coast began as a tribute to the small, bony fish that fed workers building the White Oak River Bridge in 1954. Nowadays, the festival features fish fries, live music and a parade. 

More Fun in the Sun

North Carolina Azalea Festival, Wilmington
April 12–16, 2023

Outer Banks Watermelon Festival, Nags Head
August 4, 2022

Fig Festival, Ocracoke
August 6–7, 2022

Outer Banks Kite Festival, Nags Head
September 9–11, 2022

The North Carolina Seafood Festival, Morehead City
September 30–October 2, 2022

Ocean Fest, Surf City
October 7–8, 2022

Mumfest, New Bern
October 8–9, 2022

Holiday Flotilla, Beaufort
December 3, 2022

“My parents used to live in Southport, and they always seem to be having some sort of festival there. My favorite is the one on the Fourth of July. For such a small town, the celebration is massive and so much fun.”
— Danny Meyers, host of “Danny Meyers & the G105 Morning Show”