10 North Carolina Festivals
With a slew of fun-filled annual festivals, the fine people of North Carolina are prepped for to party pretty much year round.
Everything from music and food, to heritage and culture is on display here in the Tar Heel State. So plan your visit accordingly – here are the top annual festivals in North Carolina:
1. Carolina Renaissance Festival
Grab some mead, perhaps take in a joust, and be sure bow to the king and queen in Charlotte this fall.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival takes places on weekends from early October through late December in the “village” of Fairhaven.
2. Q City BBQ Championship
If ye olde merriment isn’t for you, then visit Charlotte during the Q City BBQ Championship, held in mid October in uptown. Over 10 years old, the festival features over 100 teams competing for prizes, live music, craft beer, and plenty of delicious BBQ.
Street Fair in Wilmington
3. Wilmington Riverfest
An annual favorite of Wilmington residents (and visitors) for decades, Wilmington Riverfest is a community-wide party held on the first full weekend of October.
Riverfest is known across the coastal region for its celebration of local arts and culture, featuring plenty of vendors, live entertainment, fireworks, and colorful concessions.
4. Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival
Head to the historic district as the streets are lined with arts and crafts vendors, entertainment, awesome food, and more, offering a festive, small-town atmosphere.
5. Greensboro Folk Festival
Live Music in Asheville
One of the country’s biggest heritage celebrations, the Greensboro Folk Festival offers three days of music, crafts, dancers, native-south cuisine, and more, all free of admission.
The festival is held over the course of three days in early September, generally around Center City Park, Government Plaza and LeBauer Park downtown. Not bad for a festival pushing 80 years old.
6. Biltmore Concert Series
If you’re planning on trekking out this summer, you’re in for nearly a week of premiere artists performing at one of the most unique outdoor venues in the U.S.
7. International Festival of Raleigh
Raleigh gets cultural each fall as over 50 cultural groups from across the globe set up shop for a few days at the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. So what can you expect? Well, tons of international dishes, non-stop exotic performers, beers of the world, kids’ activities, and more. It’s a wonderful experience.
8. Carolina BalloonFest
Certainly NC’s most high-flying festival, the Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville has been drawing oohs and ahhs for decades.
Apart from the 50 or so dazzling balloon launches, the festival features a tasty beer garden, live entertainment, an artisan village, tethered balloon rides, and more.
9. North Carolina Jazz Festival
North Carolina may not be the epicenter of jazz, but hasn’t stopped Wilmington residents from getting their “cool blue” in every February for over 30 years.
Come for the great music, stay for the workshops, jazz education programs, and festive atmosphere handing over Wilmington for several days.
10. Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture
Back over on the NC coast, head over to Morehead City – just minutes from Jacksonville – and come hungry. The North Carolina Seafood Festival has been reeling in festivalgoers for over 20 years, offering live entertainment, regatta sailing, an 8k, Midway rides, seafood markets, and so much more, all along Evan’s Street in downtown.