31 Things to Do in North Carolina in August (Updated for 2021)

Last Updated on August 25, 2021

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If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.

There’s an impressive number of local events and things to do in North Carolina in August. You might think this is the busiest time of year.

It’s highly possible that it’s because this is the last full month of summer, but who cares about why. This is a fun time to be in our state, whether you’re traveling through or already live here.

For our rundown of things to do in North Carolina in August, we’ve got plenty of foodie fun, family-friendly festivals, and watery celebrations for you. 

And like we’ve done with other monthly roundups, these events are ordered by starting date and alphabetized by city.

Many of these August events (along with June and July) are also mentioned in our guide to Summer Things to Do in North Carolina

Things to Do in North Carolina in August

Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, Blowing Rock (July 27 to August 1, August 3 to 8)

The first of our things to do in North Carolina in August is a wonderful charity event. Blowing Rock’s Charity Horse Show commences with its second and final week of Hunter/Jumper events.

Admission is $10 per person each day and kids under 12 get in free. Proceeds will go to various local organizations in North Carolina’s High Country.

Since it’s one of our favorite mountain towns, we think you should know about our picks for the best things to do in Blowing Rock!

North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival, Spruce Pine (July 29-August 1)

This year’s North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival adds an even more special reason to go. Visitors will enjoy all the shopping opportunities, mine tours, and the fact that this festival will coincide with Mitchell County Day on Sunday. 

NC Watermelon Festival, Murfreesboro (August 4-7)

Murfreesboro’s NC Watermelon Festival is one of the hottest things to do in North Carolina in August, and not just because of those summer temps. This four-day event serves to honor our troops with a USO Show Troupe.

Music, free watermelon slices, rides and much more will take over the Hertford County town. 

Fig Festival, Ocracoke (August 5-7)

During the Ocracoke Fig Festival, you can learn about one of the most storied parts of The Outer Banks and its relationship with the delicious fruit enjoyed savory and sweet.

Special guest Vivian Howard will headline this festival that includes music, storytelling, and more!

Robbins Farmers Day, Robbins (August 5-7)

Robbins Farmers Day returns to Moore County, with local music, food, carnival rides, and more kid-friendly fun. The Farmers Day Parade on Saturday will bring tractors, well-dressed men, women, and children, and horses for all to see. 

Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair, Burnsville (August 6-7)

Yancey County celebrates the annual Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair in downtown Burnsville, always on the first Friday and Saturday in August.

Artists, vendors, and musicians come from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia to Burnsville’s Town Square to show off their goods and connect with the local community. 

Reevestock Music Festival, Elkin (August 6-7)

Reevestock Music Festival returns to Elkin for its 10th year. The grassroots festival will feature roots, indie rock, Americana, and bluegrass musicians.

Reevestock kicks off at the Reeves Theater in downtown Elkin on Friday, August 6 before moving to the Hidden Amphitheater on Saturday. Saturday’s headliner is Nashville-based folk-rocker Aaron Lee Tasjan.

Damon Atkins & Friends (Atkins is originally from Surry County) will headline Friday night.

National Lighthouse Weekend, Bald Head Island (August 7-8)

Things to Do in North Carolina in August

As if you needed another reason to visit Bald Head Island, National Lighthouse Weekend will add a further spotlight to Old Baldy.

A rubber duck race, a scenic 5k/10k, and more will celebrate North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in style. 

Denton Watermelon Festival, Denton (August 7)

Denton’s Harrison Park will host the Denton Watermelon Festival.

At this Davidson County event, there will be a variety of family-friendly fun, including a “Heaviest NC-Grown Watermelon Contest,” a Watermelon Pageant, and Cornhole Tournament. 

Pelican Awards and Taste of the Coast, Morehead City (August 7)

The North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Pelican Awards and Taste of the Coast will again celebrate our shores and the delicious seafood that comes from it.

At this ticketed event, attendees will enjoy gourmet seafood dishes from local restaurants, an awards ceremony, and stories of how the winners are working to keep our coast clean and plentiful. 

Anniversary of the Battle at House in the Horseshoe, Sanford (August 7)

The engagement between loyalist and patriot militias known as Battle at House in the Horseshoe will be celebrated with its annual reenactment.

While the official date of the battle is a bit unclear, there will surely be activities, demos, and food vendors on August 7. 

7th Inning Stretch Festival, Shelby (August 7)

Shelby will host its 7th Inning Stretch Festival, kicking off with a morning 5K. At 10 am, the Little Miss American Legion beauty pageant will get started at the Don Gibson Theatre.

OBX Pirate Festival, Nags Head (August 11-12)

Outer Banks NC Beaches Image
Do you need to be convinced to visit The Outer Banks?

If I think of August in North Carolina, I’m imagining the Outer Banks and hopefully, you can make it there. And if you brought kids along, you can take them to the OBX Pirate Festival.

A two-day “Scallywag School” (pre-registration required) and Living History Pirate Encampment headline the event at Nags Head’s Kitty Hawk Kites

NC State Bluegrass Festival, Marion (August 12-14)

The annual NC State Bluegrass Festival kicks off at Tom Johnson’s Camping Center in Marion. Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson, The Lonesome River Band, Larry Stephenson, and more will take the stage for this three-day, dancer-friendly event. 

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion, Beaufort (August 13-15)

A variety of events will capture the Town of Beaufort, for the first buccaneer-heavy event during August in North Carolina.

For the Pirate Invasion, there will be all-ages activities including a sword fighting, cannons firing, and a Captain’s Masquerade Ball. 

If you find yourself hungry in Beaufort, Moonrakers offers great food and beautiful seaside views.

Festival of the Arts, Hudson (August 13-14)

Hudson’s Festival of the Arts will bring lots of folks into the Caldwell County town for two days of fun. At the HUB Station in Downtown, artists, food, wine, and musicians will be ready and waiting to put on a good show for those who stop by. 

Waldensian Festival, Valdese (August 13-14)

Things to Do in North Carolina in August Waldensian Festival

Valdese will host its annual Waldensian Festival that brings together friends, family, history, and more. There will be music, attraction tours, and amusement rides during this celebration of the “Glorious Return” of the Waldenses. 

The Waldensian Festival is one of the best things to do in North Carolina in August, but in case you can’t make this event, Valdese is a great spot in Burke County!

Sourwood Festival, Black Mountain (August 14)

The ever-growing Sourwood Festival will welcome thousands of people to Black Mountain. The weekend event will also host 100 vendors serving food for all palettes, honey and bee demos, and some of that delicious sourwood honey.

Don’t forget about the music, kid’s fun, and more that will be on hand. 

Carolina Beach Music Festival, Carolina Beach (August 14)

The Carolina Beach Music Festival is the place to be for barefoot dancing on the sand. You’ll find laid-back fun in the place where the shag was born.

This event is known as “the biggest and only beach music festival actually held on the beach on the North Carolina coast.“

Monster Truck Bash, Concord (August 14)

The Circle K Monster Truck Bash returns to The Dirt Track at Charlotte for a night of high-flying 2,000-horsepower machines on the toughest outdoor course. Your ticket ($10 to $25) allows you to meet the drivers and get a close-up view of monster trucks.

Big names such as Bigfoot, Stone Crusher, Hooked are a few of the many who will be at the pre-race pit party.

Stick around for a while and explore our favorite things to do in Concord and Cabarrus County! This includes the area’s great restaurants and breweries in the area.

Concerts in the Commons, Wilkesboro (August 14)

Wilkesboro continues its “Concerts in the Commons” series held on 2nd Saturdays from May through October at the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons (park) and also, on the Wilkes Communications Pavilion.

These events offer fun for the entire family, including live music by regional and nationally known artists, local food trucks, vendors, and kids’ activities.

Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival, Blowing Rock (August 19-21)

Watch artists from across the state paint “en Plein air” at the Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival. Hosted by The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, artists will paint in real-time without the aid of photography.

That’ll give festival-goers a chance to watch the artistic process and purchase artwork created.

This festival is one of the many reasons we love Blowing Rock.

King Mackerel Tournament, Sneads Ferry (August 20-21)

Anglers interested in snagging a big prize should look into the King Mackerel Tournament happening in Sneads Ferry. It’s a Southern Kingfish Association-sponsored event and over $40,000 in prizes will be awarded to winners. 

Franklin Area Folk Festival, Franklin (August 21)

At the annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, visitors can learn about Macon County’s history and heritage through demonstrations, music, and more.

Food and a variety of kid-friendly activities will also be on hand and ready to keep everyone full of yumminess, entertained, and better informed about Appalachian heritage. 

If you’d like a nice view of the area, hike or drive up to Wayah Bald Tower!

Dragon Boat Race and Festival, Oriental (August 20-21)

Oriental will host the 10th annual Dragon Boat Race and Festival with two days of fun for everyone who stops by.

The world’s largest flat water racing canoes will compete and there will be food, music, and kids activities available for visitors. 

Live and Local: Tryon Palace Beer Festival, New Bern (August 21)

NC Events Tryon Palace Beer Festival New Bern Image

The North Carolina History Center in New Bern will host its annual “Live and Local: Tryon Palace Beer Festival.” This exciting event will showcase beers and breweries from Eastern North Carolina, with food trucks and music joining the 21-plus fun. 

Tryon Palace is fun any time of year and a big reason why New Bern is one of our favorite historic towns!

Wahine Classic, Wrightsville Beach (August 21-22)

The all-female Wahine Classic Surfing Competition will bring professional and amateur surfers together for the seventh time. This event in Wrightsville Beach kicks off with a welcome event for participants and their families. 

Railroad Heritage Weekend at Tweetsie, Blowing Rock (August 28-29)

Things to Do in North Carolina in August Tweetsie Railroad Heritage Days

Railroad Heritage Weekend at Tweetsie kicks off the last weekend of fun things to do in North Carolina in August. The theme park honors the steam era with special attractions for rail travel lovers like me.

This August event is a great time for everyone and the perfect accompaniment to the Wild West fun that’s available year-round at Tweetsie. 

Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, Cary (August 28-29)

The 43rd annual Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival returns to the Cary Town Hall Campus and will feature over 300 artists. Featured artist JJ Jiang will headline the showcase that will include live music, kids activities, food and drink vendors, and more. 

Home Grown Arts Festival, Kernersville (August 28)

Things to Do in North Carolina in August Kernersville NC

On the grounds of Korner’s Folly, the Kernersville Arts and Crafts Guild will hold its fifth annual Home Grown Arts Festival. Local artists will be on hand to showcase their creations, including woodwork, jewelry, pottery, and more. 

Washington Summer Festival, Washington (August 27-28)

The last of our fun things to do in North Carolina in August is in the eastern part of our state. The Washington Summer Festival is a nice celebration and wonderful fundraiser for the town.

Attendees will be treated to fireworks, music, and more fun in this awesome small town. Oh, and there’ll be plenty of food there, too. 

Ready for These Amazing Things to Do in North Carolina in August?

Shew! August in North Carolina is filled with fun and we hope you’re as excited about it as we are! As summer makes its way toward fall, we look forward to sharing all the fun things happening in our state. 

And before we look ahead to September and beyond, we want to know which of these events and festivals you’ll be visiting? Also, are there any things to do in North Carolina in August that you think we should add to this list? 

Let us know about it here or via email and we’ll gladly take a look! 

More Things to Do in North Carolina

 

5 thoughts on “31 Things to Do in North Carolina in August (Updated for 2021)”

  1. 7th Inning Stretch in Shelby, NC. Martina McBride will be doing a free concert downtown Shelby on August 7th.

    Reply
    • Hi Tim, thanks for stopping by and mentioning these events. If you know of any specific ones, please let me know and we’ll take a look to consider adding them!

      Reply

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