North Carolina: rediscover joy on unspoiled beaches, encounter exhilaration in charming mountain towns or find vibrancy in diverse cities. No matter where you go in the Tar Heel State, wonder awaits. 806 events take place every year in cutting-edge college towns to sleepy beach villages and everywhere in between. You won’t want to miss the North Carolina State Fair, The Raleigh Market - February and The Raleigh Market - March, which are three of the biggest. But, have a look at everything else North Carolina’s Festivals, Art Shows, Music Festivals and Craft Shows have to offer!
Whether it’s spring, summer, or fall in North Carolina, it only means one thing - festival time! If you're in the mood for music, food, shopping, camping, arts and crafts, fitness, or fairs and festivals, NC offers something for all ages and interests. In this post, we have compiled a comprehensive database of some of the much-awaited Festivalnet upcoming festivals in North Carolina this year.
Art in the Park, Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock Art in the Park celebrates 60 years of shows! Enjoy arts and crafts from acclaimed and award-winning artisans. All of the artists are jury-selected and each show features a different group of artists that aim to present a wide variety of mediums. You can find handcrafted jewelry, cutlery, furniture, textiles, home décor items, and many other gifts.
Artists’ booths line Park Avenue in downtown Blowing Rock so festival-goers can enjoy proximity to restaurants, parks, and other shopping areas. We highly recommend making a weekend of it and staying for the outdoor music festivals that take place after the art showings on Sundays.
Summer Art in the Park, Asheville
See some of the finest artists in the region and all their treasures up close and personal in Ashville. The event takes place in Asheville‘s Pack Square Park on 3 Saturdays every June and October. Nationally-known artists showcase at this event and the best part is- they are all local.
You can take a stroll around downtown Asheville and feel the unique forms and textures of a truly magnificent art garden. Be ready to have your mind blown with the finest in handcrafted art that Asheville’s artists have to offer. Talented pros of metal, jewelry, wood, ceramics, and glass make their shops open to display to the public at every market.
Summer Art in the Park is positioned in the center of downtown Asheville and welcomes thousands of fans each year. This is no surprise since Asheville has always been known as the hub of artistic activity in North Carolina. Whether you’re a festival goer or interested in honing your artistic skills, this event is a must-attend for you.
Early Summer Artisan Market, Zebulon
From last week of April to throughout May and June, the town of Zebulon presents the Early Summer Artisan Market where you can find locally-made unique items of all kinds. Talented artisans set up booths to sell farm products, freshly-made jams and other snacks, crafts, and several other handmade products. If you’ve been hankering for good old-fashion sign craft shows, Zebulon is your place.
Summer Festival, Mt. Airy
This Summer Festival is organized by the Surry Arts Council and features over 50 live entertainment and music shows at the Blackmon Amphitheatre. It began in 2005 and now has become one of the state’s staples. As people are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets to spread out on the grass, the atmosphere is super picnic-y and fun.
The music festival attracts several artists that cover a wide range of styles including country, R&B, soul, Americana, Motown, beach, and 80s tribute bands. There’s wine, beer, and food to complete the experience, however, outside coolers and alcohol are not allowed to be brought into the amphitheater.
Reptile and Exotics Show, Durham
This is one of the biggest reptile and exotic pet shows in North Carolina. If you are interested in these creatures, or you already have pets and are looking for supplies and feeders from a quality service provider, you should head to Durham Armory. The show is held multiple times a year, in January, March, June, September, and December. This is a safe and family-friendly event designed to educate and introduce people to reptiles, amphibians, and exotic animals.
Summer Craft Fair, Winston-Salem
The Summer Craft Fair hosts about 100 vendors selling jewelry, vintage and antique treasures, soap and body care products, handmade arts and crafts, and much more. They also have live music and a variety of traditional food. This is what craft fairs should be – an event where you can find row upon row of unique goods, wearables, décor, furniture, glass, and ceramics handcrafted by hundreds of skilled artisans and artists.
You’ll also be able to see live demonstrations of several craft techniques, mingle with the talented artisans, and browse displays of fine design and quality craftsmanship.
Food Truck Rodeo, Raleigh
To say that Raleigh knows a thing or two about food trucks wouldn’t be an understatement. The city’s obsession with food trucks actually just started a few years ago, but it has now become an integral part of the cultural and foodie experience here. The rodeo is the dream-come-true of every food lover as some of the best food trucks and restaurants take over 10 city blocks, which roughly translates to half a mile.
It’s held in June and more than 100 food trucks show up from across North Carolina to participate. From Ethipian, Mexican, Indian, and Italian, to Japanese and Polish traditional food, you’ll find every cuisine here. And of course, American comfort foods like fries, burgers, sandwiches, cupcakes, and tacos are available as well. Food trucks are parked outside pretty much every structure in the city – parks, office buildings, art galleries, breweries, and museums – so it’s impossible to miss it.
Our favorite not-to-be-missed treats include sausage-stuffed baguettes, mouth-watering BBQ sandwiches, whipped-cream-topped Belgian waffles, and buttery lobster rolls. No matter what your taste buds demand, the downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo has it all. Another great thing about the event is that it is held four times every year!
Early Summer Geek and Grub Market, Raleigh
As you probably guessed from the name, this is an event for geeks who are crazy about delicious food, grand games, and a ton of other events that promise fun. There are over 20 geeky-themed vendors and a giant free-to-game area, all hosted by Triangle Game Night and Events.
North Carolina Blueberry Festival, Burgaw
The 2-day festival includes a blueberry recipe contest, a model train show, BMX stunt shows, a car and truck show, a craft beer area, whole hog BBQ cook-off, food vendors, and various shows centered on great entertainment. This is one event where you’ll never get bored.
The festival celebrates the cultural, economic, and historical significance of blueberries in the southeastern part of North Carolina, so you can expect a lot of events to reflect that. Essentially speaking, the Blueberry Festival presents tons of opportunities to appreciate the delicious berries, including a Tour de Blueberry and vendors who sell scrumptious treats made from nothing but the fruit!
North Carolina Rhododendron Festival, Bakersville
The 2-day festival features live music, a beauty pageant, street dancing, an arts and crafts fair, a classic car show, food vendors, and children’s activities galore. The festival was inaugurated in 1947 in an effort to promote tourism to the 600 acres of rhododendron fields on Roan Mountain in Tennessee. But as it became larger and larger with each passing year, each state started to hold its own version of the festival. The first Rhododendron Festival in North Carolina was held in 1952 in Bakersville, which makes it one of the oldest running events in North Carolina.
Pride Festival and Parade, Winston-Salem
The Pride Festival and Parade in Winston-Salem celebrates the LGBTQ community in the region with live music, parade, street vendor, food, and hands-on activities. Everybody and their friends are welcome to join this week-long celebration of love and unity.
North Carolina Juneteenth Festival, Concord
This is an important festival that features over 40 black-owned businesses and services, and includes arts, performances, culture, crafts, and kids’ games. If you want to show your support to the African-American community, head to the NC Juneteenth Festival for a day of celebration of the Emancipation of Slavery. Each year features a theme that educates the Black community on its history while artistically altering the narrative of the damaging impact of slavery.