The arrival of Fall means a time for colorful foliage, scarves, sweaters and pumpkin everything! And for many, the best way to ring in this new season at the end of a long summer is to go to an outdoor festival! If that is your idea of good Fall fun, you are in luck! There are so many options to choose from all over the state; it’s hard to narrow down which ones to choose! Whether you are looking for face painting and other kid’s activities, some seasonal pumpkin butter (or pumpkin flavored ale!) or just some really good barbeque; we’ve got you covered!
We have to start by mentioning Riverfest; our very favorite fall festival located in nearby Wilmington. It is celebrated every year on the first weekend in October so mark your calendars! The city’s picturesque waterfront alongside the Cape Fear River is the perfect backdrop for the family-friendly event! The event features live music, arts and crafts vendors, kid’s play area, tons of food and even a finale of fireworks to end the weekend!
If pumpkins are your jam…and we’re willing to bet you can even get some pumpkin jam there, the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in Elkin is the Fall festival for you! Located about an hour from both Charlotte and Winston Salem, it is a fun weekend trip that is worth the drive! The highlight of the weekend is the Annual Great Pumpkin Weigh Off where local growers bring their best in hopes of winning a spot on the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth Top Ten List! It is not uncommon to see pumpkins weighing in at over 1,000 pounds! If that isn’t exciting enough, there are plenty of vendors selling pottery, home goods, antiques and hand made crafts. Not to mention what we’ve all been waiting for…pumpkin flavored concessions!
If small town fun and amazing Southern food is your idea of a celebration; then head on down to “Mayberry” (aka Mt. Airy) for the Autumn Leaves Festival October 11-13! The birthplace of Andy Griffith lives up to its nickname and doesn’t disappoint with its quaint main street and small-town vibe. The festival started over 50 years ago as a way to celebrate the end of tobacco and apple harvesting season. It continues today as celebration of the start of the fall season. Aside from the gorgeous views of the Blueridge Mountains; visitors and locals alike enjoy live bluegrass music, arts and crafts and some of North Carolina’s best soul food! Get ready to sink your teeth into ham biscuits, collards greens, corn bread, fried chicken and of course, barbeque!
If you haven’t heard of the Carolina Balloon Festival in Statesville, you’ve been missing out! The main attraction is the light off and flight of over 50 hot air balloons that take off twice a day! So grab your lawn chairs and kick back in the cool Autumn air and enjoy the show. But not only is it an incredible sight to behold; festival goers can even get in on the action and book a trip in one! There will even be live music and entertainment as well as meet and greets with the pilots!
Now, we promised you good barbeque and we plan to deliver! The people of Lexington NC loves barbeque so much that they have devoted the entire month of October to celebrating and indulging in it at their annual Barbeque Festival! Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon the town to enjoy arts, crafts, live music, antique car and bike shows and crazy entertainment including but not limited to a lumberjack sports show and a pig race! Fun and Yum!