North Carolina Festivals

In North Carolina, Festivals Abound

Pick any month in North Carolina and you’re sure to find a festival to attend. There are beer festivals, food festivals, craft festivals, music festivals—even festivals celebrating Bigfoot, Mayberry, and NASCAR. It’s impossible to detail every festival, but Marla Hardee Milling, author of North Carolina Day Trips by Theme,
shares a few with us.

Carolina BalloonFest

This festival offers eye candy with
its colorful balloons floating in
the air. If you want to stay closer to the ground, try out a tethered balloon ride. The festival takes place over 3 days in October and features food, live entertainment, and more.

The decision on whether to inflate the balloons is weather dependent. Admission and parking fees are charged; separate fees for balloon rides; ages 12 and younger free.

Coon Dog Day

Organizers of many North Carolina festivals ask you to leave your four- legged friends at home. That’s not the case for this annual festival in Saluda. Dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed. Coon Dog Day is billed as “a celebration for dogs and their people.” Activities include a 5K race, live music, a quirky parade, a street dance, and an American Kennel Club–licensed show. Held in July. Free admission; registration fees for race
and show.

WNC Bigfoot Festival

North Carolina Festivals

The WNC Bigfoot Festival in Marion debuted in September 2018. Organizers had hoped that at least 1,000 people would attend. They were blown away when more than 25,000 flocked to town.

Even as elusive as Bigfoot is, the creature is ultra popular. Along with festival food, craft vendors, and store windows decorated with fun paintings of Sasquatch, skilled Bigfoot hunters share their castings, photos, and experiences.

There’s also a Bigfoot Calling Contest and Bigfoot Knocking Competition. This festival is a true gem. Free admission.

Mayberry Days

For more than 30 years, this fun festival held in late September has brought The Andy Griffith Show to life. Enjoy experiencing Mayberry with shows and special performances, a parade, a silent auction, contests, and games. Separate admission charged for each show.

White Squirrel Festival

Brevard is home to a sizable population of white squirrels—they are so popular that a festival was created to celebrate them. Held over 2 1/2 days each May, it’s been recognized for selecting undiscovered and regional musical talent.

Activities include a Memorial Parade, a White Squirrel Photo Contest, and a White Squirrel 5K and 10K. Free admission.

Marla’s comprehensive guide to the Tar Heel State is jam-packed with hundreds of North Carolina’s top spots for fun and entertainment. With North Carolina Day Trips by Theme at your fingertips, you’ll always have something to do.

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Liliane Opsomer

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