20+ Things to Do in North Carolina in April: Awesome Spring Events and Festivals

Last Updated on January 22, 2022

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Flowers are finally blooming and spring has officially arrived by the time April in North Carolina rolls around. This is the perfect time of year to travel through the state and attend events happening all around.

There is so much going on that we had to narrow it down to more than 20 fun things to do in North Carolina in April. We hope you can partake in at least a few, but for now, let’s see which ones you’re going to love the most!

Also, to keep things organized, we’ve ordered these events in April by starting date, alphabetizing by the city when there are multiple going on.

Just so you know, more than a few of these April events (along with March and May) in our Spring Things to Do in North Carolina, too!

Things to Do in North Carolina in April 2020

Note: If you represent a tourism bureau, destination marketing organization, or PR agency and want placement here, please visit this page for more info.

Baseball (All Month)

Most of North Carolina’s 11 Minor League Baseball teams get their seasons underway on April 8. They may also have special events going on to celebrate the first pitch of the All-American sport.

Don’t forget about NCAA Baseball, either, which started in February but is still going strong in April.

Pig in the Park, Goldsboro (April TBD)

At Pig in the Park in Goldsboro, 15 teams face off in a contest to cook their best whole hog BBQ. The teams are broken up into two divisions (NC Pork Council and Backyard), and it’s estimated that they’ll feed more than 5,000 festival-goers.

Read More: Amazing Restaurants in Hickory

NC Railroad Expo, Hickory (April 1-2)

Calling all train lovers–this event in Hickory is the thing to do in April for you! At the 20th annual NC Railroad Expo, 3,000 tables will be filled with various items related to model trains.

Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest, Newport (April 1-2)

Over 65 chefs participate in this pig cooking and judging contest in Newport. And the best-tasting pig isn’t the only thing on the line at the 44th Pig Cookin’ Contest. There are 10 money places and 10 trophy places at stake, too.

Tacos N Taps Festival, Cary (April 2)

More than 15 taco trucks, dueling margarita bars, and mariachi bands are just a small sampling of the fun found at Cary’s Tacos N Taps Festival. Open from 12 PM to 5 PM at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, the festival offers 60-plus beers, tequilas, wine, and ciders to compliment the delicious tacos.

Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine, Wilmington (April 2)

The NC Aquarium at Ft Fisher in Wilmington hosts Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine in conjunction with Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance. During this event, many local chefs pair their best creations with 10-plus North Carolina breweries.

North Carolina Azalea Festival, Wilmington (April 6-10)

At the NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington, be the belle of the ball! Or at least take part in the state’s largest festival to celebrate spring Southern style.

Sip on sweet tea and stroll through the historic homes, enjoy the music of Michael Franti & Spearhead and The Avett Brothers, and practice your wave during the annual parade.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham (April 7-10)

Full Frame Film Festival is often referred to as “Sundance of the South.”

Filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world come to Downtown Durham’s American Tobacco Campus to take in nearly 100 movies and participate in discussions and roundtable panels. This year, the festival will be taking place online.

Read More: 17 Amazing Eno River State Park Trails (+ Bonus Hikes)

Piratefest 2020, Greenville (April 8-9)

You scallywags aren’t going to want to miss the 15th annual Piratefest! Hosted along the Tar River in Greenville, this year’s event will have live music, BMX, sword fighting, and plenty of vendors on hand.

Be there, or dare to walk the plank. Before or after the fun, you should grab some food and/or a pint at one of these awesome breweries and restaurants in Greenville.

We also included Piratefest in our guide to kid-friendly events in North Carolina!

Loch Norman Highland Games, Huntersville (April 8-10)

The Loch Norman Highland Games returns to Historic Rural Hills! The Scotland-themed and family-friendly fun includes highland dancing, bagpipe bands, and other Scottish cultural festivities!

Catamount Climb Half Marathon & 5K, Cullowhee (April 9)

Two Western Carolina University departments (the Department of Campus Recreation and School of Health Sciences) join forces for the 10th year to host the school’s annual Catamount Climb Half Marathon and 5K, previously called the Valley of the Lilies. Proceeds from the race support the students of WCU through professional development and travel.

TarWheel Cycling Event, Elizabeth City (April 9)

Riders who join the 27th annual TarWheel Cycling Event have the option of cycling anywhere from one mile to 100. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll get a chance to ride and enjoy beautiful countryside views of Northeastern NC.

Block House Steeplechase, Columbus (April 16)

North Carolina’s longest-running steeplechase commences in Columbus when the Block House returns. Total purses reach $70,000 among the four National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned races.

Easter Hat Parade, Dillsboro (April 16)

For the Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro, you can bring your own hat or fashion one at Dogwood Crafters. Parade registration begins at noon and the parade starts at 2:00 PM. A sneak peek of the fun you’ll have here are face painting and meetings with the Easter bunny!

All American Tattoo Convention, Fayetteville (April 15-17)

The All American Tattoo Convention is the place to be if you are looking for new ink. With celebrity artists also seen on Inkmaster, Tattoo Nightmares, and Tattoo Rescue browse to find your perfect fit.

Specialty vendors will be on-site to accompany events happening all day. They include tattoo contests, the Miss All American Pin-up Pageant, and even a Food Truck Rodeo.

Rockyfest, Hiddenite (April 23)

Join a community of bluegrass music lovers at the 10th annual Rockyfest! This festival celebrates old-time bluegrass music and has a trail race, rock climbing, and more fun. Kids can enjoy inflatables and everyone involved will love the arts and craft vendors and food that will be on hand.

NC Pickle Fest, Mount Olive (April 23)

Occurring Downtown every April, the small town of Mount Olive fills with thousands of pickle enthusiasts for the NC Pickle Fest. Events include the Pickle Eating Contest, Tour De Pickle (25, 53, or 75-mile bike races), and the Cuke Patch 5k.

And if you’re not in a competitive mood, Downtown is packed with events, special vendors, and all things pickle this April!

Looking for more to do while in Mount Olive? Check out our Goldsboro weekend travel guide!

Greening Up the Mountains, Sylva (April 23)

Sylva in Jackson County has its own spring celebration with Greening Up the Mountains. Three stages will have bands from the area playing during this free festival and there will be a variety of kid-centric events—storytelling and a recycled materials Superhero Costume Contest, to name a couple.

Hickory Hops Craft Beer and Music Festival, Hickory (April 25)

50 breweries and vendors converge at Olde Hickory Brewery for the 18th annual Hickory Hops Craft Beer and Music Festival to celebrate delicious brews for a perfect weekend.

Looking for more ways to enjoy NC beer? Check out our North Carolina Brewery guide!

SpringFest, Southern Pines (April 30)

Celebrate spring’s arrival in downtown Southern Pines with a fun day of food, rides, and more entertainment. During SpringFest, two blocks of Broad Street are blocked off, with more than 160 vendors from our state and beyond filling them up for the day.

Dogwood Festivals, Fayetteville & Mebane (April 21-24)

There are two dogwood festivals happening at about the same in April. The first one is the four-day Fayetteville Dogwood Festival (April 21-24). Here, you’ll find entertainment, food, a street fair, and more to accompany a lovely display of blossoms.

And in Alamance County, the Mebane Dogwood Festival (April 22-23) is back for its 34th year. The fun includes food and fun for kids and adults.

RiverRun International Film Festival, Winston-Salem (April 21-30)

The annual RiverRun International Film Festival returns to Winston-Salem with over 100 films from 30+ countries. This lineup is just part of why RiverRun is considered one of the Southeast’s premier film festivals.

Along with ticketed showings, there are more free events and screenings offered than ever before.

The Quicksilver Waterman Collection Carolina Cup, Wrightsville Beach (April 27-May 1)

Racers from over 20 nations will compete in the largest paddleboard race on the east coast in Wrightsville Beach.

The five-day event attracts the best professional paddlers and amateurs to compete and attend clinics. You can come and check out the races or hop on board yourself.

MerleFest, Wilkesboro (April 28-May 1)

Considered to be one of the premier music festivals in the country, MerleFest showcases “traditional plus” music in memory of late Eddy Merle Watson, son of the American music legend Doc Watson.

And the April 2022 lineup in Wilkesboro includes names like Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, and Greensky Bluegrass.

We interviewed MerleFest founder B Townes and you can read all about it here!

Got Something to Add?

So, which April event or events do you plan on attending? Also, is there something we should add to this list of April events in North Carolina?

We’d love to know about it. Send us an email and we’ll take a look!

Note: If you represent a tourism bureau, destination marketing organization, or PR agency and would like placement here, please visit this page for more info.

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