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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.

10 Annual Festivals in North Carolina

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

Over in the Piedmont community of Cary, the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival puts on an artful display all its own in late August.

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 

10 Annual North Carolina Festivals

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 

For over 20 years, the Biltmore House in Asheville has put on one of the best summer concert series’ in the North Carolina Mountains.

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.

10 Annual Festivals in North Carolina


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.


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Asheville Tunnel Road

501 Tunnel Road, Asheville NC 28805-1824
Phone: +1 828-298-5562  |  Fax: (828) 298-5002  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Cary Inn - NC State

1722 Walnut Street, Cary NC 27511-5931
Phone: +1 919-481-1200  |  Fax: (919) 467-7535  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Sterling Hotel & Suites

242 E Woodlawn Road, Charlotte NC 28217-2202
Phone: +1 704-525-5454  |  Fax: (704) 525-5637  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Charlotte/Matthews Hotel

2501 Sardis Road N, Charlotte NC 28227-7724
Phone: +1 704-845-2810  |  Fax: (704) 845-1743  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Statesville Inn

1121 Morland Drive, Statesville NC 28677-6973
Phone: +1 704-881-0111  |  Fax: (704) 872-5056  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Coastline Inn

503 Nutt Street, Wilmington NC 28401-3339
Phone: +1 910-763-2800  |  Fax: (910) 763-2785  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Wilmington/Carolina Beach

5600 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington NC 28412-2608
Phone: +1 910-796-0770  |  Fax: (910) 796-0750  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach

5345 Market Street, Wilmington NC 28405-3505
Phone: +1 910-799-4292  |  Fax: (910) 799-3994  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Hanes Mall Hotel

3330 Silas Creek Pkwy, Winston Salem NC 27103-3014
Phone: +1 336-893-7540  |  Fax: (336) 893-8660  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in North Carolina

  • Cultural North Carolina

    Cultural North Carolina

    Find hotels near cultural sites like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Old Baldy Lighthouse, and Biltmore Estate.

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  • North Carolina Sports Teams

    North Carolina Sports Teams

    Across the Tar Heel state choose sporting action from the Panthers to the Hurricanes, or the Blue Devils to the Hammerheads.

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  • North Carolina Airport Hotels

    North Carolina Airport Hotels

    Find hotels near major AL airports like Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the Raleigh–Durham International Airport.

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  • North Carolina Universities

    North Carolina Universities

    Your visit to North Carolina should include visits to historic and charming cities like Raleigh, Wilmington. Once there explore famous universities like Duke, UNC, and Appalachian State.

    Universities in NC ►
  • North Carolina State Parks

    North Carolina State Parks

    Canoe your way down the Lumber River, set up a picnic on Hammocks Beach, or climb to the top of Crowders Mountain. Never a dull moment in NC's state parks.

    Hit the Trails ►
  • Kid Friendly North Carolina

    Kid Friendly North Carolina

    Explore the Tar Heel State with the whole family. Visit Carowinds amusement park, experience the history of NC, or check out Hammocks Beach along the coast.

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