North Carolina is home to tons of great festivals and annual events. If you think about it, we’ve got a lot to celebrate.

To me, a festival includes vendors, food trucks or stalls, a kid section, and entertainment. Annual events can be anything from enjoying the sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park to the once-a-year Autumn at Oz at Beech Mountain.  

We also have some spectacular Holiday Light Displays.

Crowds along street in front of City Hall at Whirligig Festival in Wilson

There’s no way to create a list of every festival and event, so I highlighted some of my favorites. I’ve noted months where you may find similar local festivals you can easily search for. Think of this list as inspiration to find fun things to do throughout the year.

Also, the “official sites” aren’t always official. Some festivals have great websites they routinely update, and others use Facebook. Overall, I’ve found that in the days leading up to the festival, you’ll want to check the Facebook sites. Organizers tend to provide more up-to-the-minute information via social media.  

“More Details” next to a festival indicates I’ve personally attended and have an article with all the details you need to plan your visit.

January 

Several winter wonderlands and holiday light events begin in December and continue through January. You can search for local places to go online. It’s a wonderful way to wind down after the busy holidays.

Penguin Plunge

February 

North Carolina Jazz Festival 

Outhouse Races 

March

March is home to several Saint Patrick’s Day parades. Check online to find the one closest to you.  

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival

April

North Carolina Azalea Festival 

North Carolina Pickle Festival – More Details 

Fayetteville Dogwood Festival 

May

North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival 

Breakaway Music Festival 

Jiggy with the Piggy – More Details

Cheerwine Festival  – More Details

June

North Carolina Black Bear Festival  – More Details

Carolina Beach Music Festival

Pimento Cheese Festival 

July

Grandfather Mountain Highlands Games 

Sunflower Field at Dorothea Dix Park – More Details 

August

Black Mountain Sourwood Festival

NC State Bluegrass Festival 

Outer Banks Watermelon Festival  

Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival  

September

North Carolina Apple Festival 

Autumn at Oz More Details

Hillsborough Hog Day – More Details 

Historic Morganton Festival

Eden RiverFest

October

North Carolina Seafood Festival – More Details 

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival 

Duck Jazz Festival 

Woolly Worm Festival 

Swansboro Mullet Festival 

Autumn Leaves Festival 

Lexington Barbecue Festival – More Details

Wilmington Riverfest 

Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train – More Details 

November

North Carolina Whirligig Festival – More Details 

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival – More Details

Holiday Light Displays – More Details

  • Througout the state
  • There are public displays and private light shows
  • Some shows are free but many have fees, including the private home and property shows

December

There are tons of winter festivals and winter markets throughout December. You can search “winter festivals near my town” and find the ones closest to you. There are also holiday light displays that run through January.  

MAKRS Holiday Fest 

Tweetsie Railroad Christmas 

Solstice Lantern Walk 

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