Things to Do in North Carolina in October

Last Updated on July 23, 2021

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October in North Carolina is when the fall fun really heats up. Summer is officially gone, but this month is jam-packed with fun, no matter where you’re planning to travel around our state. With the help of readers and members of our Facebook Group, we came up with nearly 100 things to things to do in North Carolina in October.

Hopefully, you’ll pick a few to go out and enjoy yourself. We’ve handpicked local festivals and some of the biggest events, from west to east and many spots in Central North Carolina. And just like with our previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these October events by starting date and alphabetized by city.

Many of these October events (along with September and November) are also mentioned in our guide that covers fall things to do in North Carolina.

100 Things to Do in North Carolina in October

Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, Goldsboro (October 1-10)

Named “The Best 10 Days of Fall,” the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair is an annual tradition you can’t miss! With live entertainment, a full midway, and exhibits, this kid-friendly fair has been celebrating agriculture for over 70 years!

Stick around for a while and spend at least a weekend in Goldsboro and Wayne County. It’s such a lovely place and our guide covers all the fun things to do!

Riverbend Farm Pumpkin Patch, Midland (October 1-31)

Riverbend Farm grows acres of pumpkins each year and is only open from October 1-31, so don’t miss out! Take a wagon ride to the pumpkin field and take one (or more) home.

Their playground’s collection of massive slides and play structures is the most impressive of all. If you need a new pumpkin patch to explore and live within driving distance of Cabarrus County, please head out to this one. 

We loved it so much that we included this place in our guides to a weekend in Concord and Cabarrus County and kid-friendly events in North Carolina.

Wilmington Boat Show, Wilmington (October 1-3)

The Wilmington Boat Show will take over Port City Marina and the Convention Center with shows and displays during this fun-filled three-day event. There will also be multiple displays at Pier 33, with music and food there, too.  

Mountains to Coast Ride, Blowing Rock to Atlantic Beach (October 2-9)

Greenville NC Bs Barbecue Image
The ride runs through Greenville, which is dangerous because B’s Barbecue and other amazing restaurants are also there.

Another race takes off from Blowing Rock, but this one is a little bit longer. Registration options for the Mountains to Coast Ride range from one-day to full-week and those who go all the way will end up at Atlantic Beach on the coast.

Fishing Creek Paddle, Enfield (October 2)

This year’s Fishing Creek Paddle will start at Bellamy’s Mill in Enfield, Halifax County. From there, you can paddle about five miles along Fishing Creek through a partnership between the Downtown Enfield Restoration and Preservation Committee and local landowners, so don’t miss out on this rare opportunity!

Personality Festival, Roxboro (October 2)

The Personality Festival in Roxboro is celebrating its return and 10,000 to 15,000 people are expected to attend this two-day extravaganza.

It’s the largest festival in Person County, thanks to tons of fun on hand, including street dancing, amusement rides, and more entertainment. 

Halloween International Film Festival, Kill Devil Hills (October 3-5)

If you’re in the Outer Banks in October, head to Kill Devil Hills for the fourth annual Halloween International Film Festival. Screenings for more than 30 international films will be held at R/C Theatres Movies 10, along with photo ops, meet-and-greets, and more. 

US Open King Mackerel Tournament, Southport (October 3-5)

The US Open King Mackerel Tournament is a big deal in Southport each fall and worth a trip out to the coast, whether you register or want to watch the weigh-ins. And if you happen to catch the largest king mackerel, you’ll take home $25,000, with prizes for 55 places in the primary prize category, too. 

Monster Truck Throwdown, Benson (October 4-5)

The Monster Truck Throwdown at GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson promises to be the biggest thing to do in North Carolina in October, with two days of massive fun planned. Throwdown superstars Avenger and Crushstation will join their friends and you also can’t miss the Freestyle Motocross and FREE Pit Party, where you can meet the drivers. 

Fall Cameron Antiques Fair, Cameron (October 4-5)

In Moore County during the first weekend of October, you can walk around Cameron’s historic district and peruse all the shops and an additional 250 dealers during the Antiques Fair! Collectibles and all sorts of antiques will be on display and for sale during this exciting event. 

Coin Show and Convention, Concord (October 4-6)

For the 61st year, the Coin Show and Convention returns to Concord for three days of collectible fun. Held at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, there’ll be coins and stamps available for sale, as well as an auction and various exhibits. You’ll even find a kids area for young collectors, too! 

Gaston County Gem and Mineral Show, Dallas (October 4-6)

At the Gaston County Gem and Mineral Show in Dallas, minerals and fossils from all over the world will be on display. Hourly raffles and grab bags also join the fun during this three-day event, so don’t miss out! 

While you’re in town, check out these fun things to do in Gastonia and Gaston County, too!

NC Seafood Festival, Morehead City (October 4-6)

Things to Eat in North Carolina Oysters Image

The Morehead City Waterfront welcomes back the North Carolina Seafood Festival, which is the largest three-day festival in the state! Street dances, concerts, and roughly 200 arts and crafts vendors accompany innumerable varieties of seafood prepared for you to enjoy! 

Ol’ Front Porch Festival, Oriental (October 4-6)

Also on the coast, the Ol’ Front Porch Festival takes over Oriental for three days of music, food, arts and crafts, and more. This year’s headliners are the Way Down Wanderers and 21 more bands will be joining the fun this year. 

Annual Railroad Days, Selma (October 4)

Choo choo! So I’m a “train” person but even if I wasn’t, Selma’s Railroad Days Festival would seem like a good time. The event kicks off with the opening of its Model Train Display and a Chew Chew Food Truck Rodeo on the first night. More fun continues on the second day, with a 5K Railroad Run, parade, and live music from noon to 5:00 pm. 

Spring Hope Pumpkin Festival, Spring Hope (October 4-5)

Come out to the Spring Hope Pumpkin Festival for food, family fun, music, and more. A pumpkin decorating contest and recipe contest to go along with more fun during this two-day Nash County event. Oh, and the Embers will be on stage during the Headliners Concert, too! 

Dixie Classic Fair, Winston-Salem (October 4-13)

For the 135th year, the Dixie Classic Fair is back in Winston-Salem for 10 days of rides, games, food, and so much more. It’s the second-largest agricultural fair in the state and a Camel City tradition, so don’t miss out on it! 

Colorfest, Dillsboro (October 5)

Dillsboro’s Colorfest is celebrating its 10th year and boy, is it aging well! More than 40 hand-picked artisans assemble on Front Street with demos and art for sale. Food from local restaurants and musicians will also be on hand to keep your bellies and ears happy, too! 

Taste Carolina Wine Festival, Greensboro (October 5)

Places to Visit in North Carolina in October Greensboro Image

Dozens of wineries come together for the Taste Carolina Wine Festival in Downtown Greensboro. Seven food trucks, various games, and a DJ will also be there to keep things moving along. 

Farm City Day, Hendersonville (October 5)

Hendersonville’s Farm City Day is back with a mix of urban and rural displays, modern and antique farm equipment, and more throughout the day. Kids and adults will love the petting zoo, fishing pond, egg toss, and corn shucking, but I think the sack race will be the most fun, personally. 

Carolina Renaissance Festival, Huntersville (October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27)

Huntersville’s 26th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival is ready for you every Saturday and Sunday from October 5-November 24. Nearly 1,000 artists will fill the 25-acre village, along with music, theater, food and drinks, and even more. Don’t miss the Tournament Jousting, falconry demos, their Living Mermaid exhibit, either! 

Hops and Hogs Festival, Huntersville (October 5)

Sticking with Huntersville, the Hops and Hogs Festival brings Collective Soul, Lifehouse, and a handful more awesome bands to the stage. The Kansas City Barbeque Society’s first-ever Hops and Hogs BBQ Challenge will also be there, with 20 competitors in four categories. 

Good Ole Daze at Sonlight Farms, Kenly (October 5, 12, 19, and 26)

Kenly’s Sonlight Farms Corn Maze continues on from September. Head out to Johnston County to learn about corn shelling, blacksmithing, and homemade ice cream! 

Oink n’ Oyster Roast, Kitty Hawk (October 5)

From noon to 3:00 pm in Kitty Hawk, join the community for fresh oysters, homemade barbecue, and sweet tea (beer, too!) at the Oink n’ Oyster Roast. The First Flight High School Band will keep up the beat and if you needed any more reason to go, they’ll have door prizes, too! 

The Lunsford Festival, Mars Hill (October 5)

The 52nd Bascom Lamar Lunsford “Minstrel of Appalachia” Festival is the second oldest folk gathering in Western North Carolina and a great tribute to the area’s musical heritage. From 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, banjos, guitars, dulcimers, and dancing of the finest variety will take over Mars Hill University. It’s held at the Ramsey Center, a spot on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina

Foothills Folk Art Festival, Newton (October 5)

From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in Newton, the fourth annual Foothills Folk Art Festival returns for family-friendly fun throughout the day. Thousands of visitors will come out for local art, hands-on kids’ activities, food, music, and more! 

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, North Wilkesboro (October 5)

The massive Brushy Mountain Apple Festival returns to North Wilkesboro with 425 arts and craft vendors, four music stages, and 100 food vendors. It’s a celebration of apple growers but also Appalachian heritage. Be sure to catch Apple Jam at the corner of 10th and Main, which will be packed with entertainment for all! 

Hoptoberfest, Rockingham (October 5)

Hoptoberfest takes over the Rockingham Dragway with craft beer, wine competition-winning chicken wings, and music. The event keeps growing each year and this will be its first year at the Dragway, so come on out and continue to support this awesome local event. 

Pottery Pumpkin Patch at Crystal King Pottery, Seagrove (October 5-6 and 12-13)

Over two weekends in Seagrove, you can see Crystal King’s newest handmade pottery pumpkins and more fall-themed works at her studio. Enjoy refreshments during your tour, too! 

Starworks Pumpkin Patch, Star (October 5)

Things to Do in North Carolina in October Starworks Pumpkin Patch Image

In Montgomery County, decide on your favorite hand-blown pumpkin among 3,000-plus during the annual Starworks Pumpkin Patch. These pieces are all produced by local artists, so you’ll be supporting the area while also filling your home with something beautiful. 

Don’t forget to stop by the Starworks Cafe and Taproom for a pint or cup of joe before heading out. 

Riverfest, Wilmington (October 5-6)

Water Street in Wilmington brings back Riverfest, with craft vendors, a kid’s play area, music on multiple stages, and Saturday night fireworks. The fifth annual Miss Riverfest will also be crowned during the event, so be sure to check that out while you’re there! 

Thistle Meadow Wine Festival, Laurel Springs (October 6)

Enjoy music, food, crafts, and tastings in Laurel Springs at the Thistle Meadow Wine Festival. Held in a truly amazing setting, you won’t want to miss this event. 

Film Fest 919, Chapel Hill (October 9-13)

The second edition of Film Fest 919 begins in Chapel Hill with the critically acclaimed Marriage Story and will showcase films that have appeared at Cannes, Sundance, and other prominent film festivals. Filmmaker Q&A sessions, industry panels, and celebrity appearances are just a few of the reasons you should attend this festival. 

We mentioned Film Fest 919 in our guide covering a weekend in Chapel Hill and Orange County, too!

Drive for the Cure 250, Concord (October 9)

NASCAR championship contenders will race on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL during the Drive for the Cure 250. You’ll also get a chance to witness two NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions, which many times involve changes that will be reflected the next day during the Bank of America Royal 400

Charlotte Motor Speedway prominently features in our guide to a weekend in Concord and Cabarrus County, too!

Bank of America ROVAL 400, Concord (October 10)

September in North Carolina goes out with a pretty big race that NASCAR fans know as the Bank of America ROVAL 400. And to make things even more interesting, this will be the first road course race in NASCAR Playoffs history.

Add in Mario Andretti serving as the honorary pace car and I think this might be the hottest race of the year. 

NC Bacon Festival, Rocky Point (October 10-11)

The NC Bacon Festival is back and looks forward to sharing more deliciousness with those who attend. Honestly, thousands of pounds of bacon alone would convince me to visit, but there are also pig races, helicopter rides, and live music to join the fun. 

High Country Quilt Show, Maggie Valley (October 10-12)

At the High Country Quilt Show, you’ll find 80-100 quilts of varying sizes and even some that have been created to send off to wounded-in-action and returning servicemen and -women. Wall hangings, hot pads, and other decorations will also be in attendance at this Maggie Valley event. 

Pumpkin Fest, Brevard (October 11-12, 18-19, and 25-26)

Pumpkin Fest comes back to Brevard’s Silvermont Park for three Fridays and Saturdays of family fun. The festival will have lighted (and accessible) pumpkin trails, music, food, and more family fun ready for you. 

If you want to spend a weekend in Brevard, check out our guide to this awesome spot in Western North Carolina!

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Cashiers (October 11-13)

Commemorate fall foliage at the Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival. At the Village Green, you can shop for creations from 100 artists and vendors of wood, pottery, and jewelry. Music, food, and drink accompany a juried art show at this free event, too!

NHRA Carolina Nationals, Concord (October 11-13)

Things to Do in North Carolina in October zMax Dragway Image

Having attended this event, I can vouch for the excitement that surrounds the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway. The fun kicks off on Friday as all the teams show up and put together their racers in anticipation of qualifying, with the elimination rounds finishing things off on Sunday. 

If you’re planning a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway, check out our guide to a weekend in Concord and Cabarrus County!

Historic Ghost Walk, Elizabeth City (October 11-12)

Join the Elizabeth City Historic Ghost Walk and you’ll visit seven historic homes whose previous residents might still be with us today. Local actors provide the entertainment at each stop, sharing the lives of the person they’re playing and in between, you can walk around Elizabeth City or hop on a complimentary trolley. 

LandJam 2019, Greensboro (October 11)

Balsam Range and Chatham County Line will be in Greensboro for the 11th annual LandJam. This concert at Carolina Theatre benefits land conservation in the area and is presented by the Piedmont Land Conservancy

Oktoberfest, Hickory (October 11-13)

Oktoberfest in Hickory is a fun tradition, with three days of outdoor fun for everyone. Three stages feature music throughout the event, providing the perfect backdrop for all the rides, games, food, beer, and more!

Outlandish Hillsborough, Hillsborough (October 11-13)

Outlandish Hillsborough celebrates both Scottish heritage and Outlander, the popular TV drama. Local businesses and artists throughout Hillsborough participate, too, as you’ll find during walking tours, movie night, and themed food tastings. 

Autumn Leaves Festival, Mount Airy (October 11-13)

Mount Airy’s Autumn Leaves Festival brings together bluegrass and gospel music and nearly 200 craftspeople along the town’s streets. You can’t do this on an empty stomach and the event is happy to accommodate, with community-supported “Food for the Soul” ready to fill your bellies. 

MumFest, New Bern (October 11-13)

Places to Visit in North Carolina New Bern Image
Any reason to visit New Bern is worth it for me!

MumFest is of the prettiest things to do in North Carolina in October and brings in thousands each year. You’ll find 300 exhibitors, offering arts and crafts, food, rides, and boat rides on the Neuse River. There’s even a beer garden with live music playing throughout the event. 

Spend at least a weekend in this town and follow our guide covering things to do in New Bern while you’re there! 

Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown, Rocky Mount (October 11-12)

The Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown returns for its 12th year to Rocky Mount, at the Helen P Gay Historic Train Station. This Kansas City Barbecue Society competition will hand out awards on Sunday, but you can enjoy samples, music, and more fun throughout the event. 

Don’t forget to check out our favorite restaurants in Rocky Mount while you’re in town!

Tryon International Film Festival, Tryon (October 11-13)

It will be a busy weekend for Polk County movie lovers with the Tryon International Film Festival. Nearly 100 independent films can be seen throughout six venues in Tryon. 

Jazz Festival, Duck (October 12-13)

The Town of Duck’s annual Jazz Festival is free to the public, with events and promotions happening in and around this awesome Outer Banks town. It’s a family-friendly event, with food, coolers, blankets, and well-behaved dogs also welcome. 

Acorn Festival, Four Oaks (October 12)

The Four Oaks Acorn Festival starts at 10:00 am and runs through 4:00 pm with tons of family fun throughout the day. Kids activities, a vendor fair, barbecue competition, and antique car and tractor show are just a few of the things happening during this great event. 

Goldston Old Fashion Day, Goldston (October 12)

In Chatham County, Goldston Old Fashion Day crowds the historic town with local arts, jewelry, music, and a classic car and tractor display. Food vendors will also be there, with delicious fair food for you to walk around with and enjoy. 

Arts and Crafts Market, Little Switzerland (October 12)

The Artisan League of Little Switzerland will host its annual Arts and Crafts Market at Geneva Hall. View a variety of handcrafted gifts created by local artists that include woodwork, pottery and paintings, and other mediums, including photography, literary works, and more. 

While you’re in Little Switzerland, stop by the Switzerland Inn. It’s one of our favorite places to stay in North Carolina for a reason or two, ya know? 

Mountain Glory Festival, Marion (October 12)

Celebrate fall’s arrival in Marion at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown. From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, three blocks of the mountain town will be filled with artisans, food vendors, and the Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council

Shaw House Vintage Collectible & Antique Fair, Southern Pines (October 12)

Learn about the history of Southern Pines during the Shaw House Vintage Collectible & Antique Fair. They’ll have tours available to go along with collectible sales, craft demos, and live music. Oh, and don’t forget about the awesome food that will accompany this Moore County event!

Church Street Art and Craft Show, Waynesville (October 12)

Waynesville’s Church Street Art and Craft Show runs from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and continues to pour over into Main Street. Artists galore show off their work to join more fun. Along with art demos throughout the day, two stages feature live music and you’ll find lots of food options, either from event vendors or local restaurants open for the day. 

Wilsons Mills Pumpkin Festival, Wilson’s Mills (October 12)

Johnston County’s Wilson’s Mills Pumpkin Festival is back from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with vendors for all, kids fun, music, and food. It runs in conjunction with the Sue Daniels Memorial 5K Run/Walk for Backpack Buddies, which you can register for beforehand. 

Columbus County Agricultural Fair, Whiteville (October 15-20)

The Columbus County Agricultural Fair brings folks from all over Eastern North Carolina to Whiteville. Carnival rides, a Ferris Wheel, and demolition derby are just a few of the things that make this event such a time-honored tradition. Check here for more info on this Columbus County institution. 

The Hook Screening and Saltbox Seafood Cookbook Launch, Durham (October 15)

Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint will be screening UNC-TV’s “The Hook” at Motorco Music Hall. The preview pairs with the launch of owner Ricky Moore’s first cookbook. 

Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival, Hatteras (October 15-20)

For the first of two sessions, Hatteras will host its annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival. During this “main” session, there will be birding opportunities, hikes, and tours galore. 

Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival, Chapel Hill and Carrboro (October 16-19)

For the 10th and final year, Terra Vita brings together chefs, sommeliers, and other prominent food industry icons to celebrate excellence and sustainability in food and drink.

North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Kannapolis (October 17)

Head to Kannapolis for the NC Music Hall of Fame Induction, with a red carpet induction ceremony and reception for VIP ticket holders. Live performances from inductees are another reason to grab a ticket. Either way, you’ll get a unique chance to see Elizabeth Cotten, Merle Watson, and Big Daddy Kane enshrined. 

North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh (October 17-27)

The North Carolina State Fair kicks off in Raleigh at noon on October 17 and open times vary by day. Since it’s our state’s biggest agricultural fair, there are too many options to name. If you’d like more info, I suggest heading to the official fair website because they’ve got every single base covered. 

Waccamaw Siouan Pow Wow, Bolton (October 18-19)

You can learn the culture and traditions of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe during Bolton’s annual two-day event. Traditional food, a dance competition, and parade highlight more events at this Columbus County extravaganza.  

While in Columbus County, stop by Lake Waccamaw State Park for a look at one of our favorite Carolina Bays!

Chili Festival, Havelock (October 18-19)

The Havelock Chili Festival brings in competitors from far-flung places like Colorado and New Jersey to compete in a cook-off. Folks in the small town have benefitted from this competition since 1981, with delicious chili and tons of family fun on hand. 

Mountaineer Days, Kings Mountain (October 18-19)

Mountaineer Days Heritage Festival will begin Friday at 3:30 pm with the annual Kings Mountain Homecoming Parade. Kings Mountain High School’s Mountaineers will then take on the Ashbrook Green Wave under those Friday night lights. On Saturday, you’ll find contests, food, music, special guests, and much more!

Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Competition & Festival, Lenoir (October 18-19)

The Kansas City Barbeque Society lands in Lenoir from October 18-19 and the town has dubbed this time the “Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Competition & Festival.” $20,000 in prize money is at stake and attendees can enjoy music, a kids area, raffles, and more to go along with the competition. 

Carolina Balloonfest, Statesville (October 18-20)

Carolina Balloonfest takes over the skies of Statesville with mass ascensions of hot air balloons and tons more fun over the three-day event. A kids zone, lots of food, and a wine and craft beer tasting help make this one of the most exciting things to do in North Carolina in October. 

Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk (October 19-20)

Up in the High Country, the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk is back for more fun. Woolly Worm Races, food, and more entertainment keep folks coming back to this fun event. 

World Beer Festival, Durham (October 19)

North Carolina Breweries Ponysaurus Durham Image
Durham’s Ponysaurus will be there. Will you?

Celebrate 25 years of amazing beer as the World Beer Festival returns to Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Local, national, and international breweries will be there, but you’ll also have tons of amazing food and great music to contend with throughout the event. 

Not able to attend and still looking for a pint in Bull City? Check out our guide to breweries in Durham!

Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass & BBQ Benefit Concert, Ellerbe (October 19)

At Millstone 4-H Camp, the Rascals, Chatham Rabbits, and Long Gone Bluegrass are headlining the third Pickin’ in the Pines. At this adult-only event, your admission ($50) provides scholarships for North Carolina youth who attend Millstone for summer camp

Mustang Rock & Roast, Corolla (October 19-20)

At Corolla’s Mustang Rock & Roast, day one is a BBQ Cook-off and day two is an Oyster Roast. Throughout the weekend, 14 different bands will be filling Mike Dianna’s Grill Room with music to keep the event even livelier. 

Fall Festival and Living History, Four Oaks (October 19)

Bentonville Battlefield is joining the autumn fun with its Fall Festival and Living History. Attendees can partake in wagon rides, 19th-century carnival games, cornshucking, and townball—19th-century baseball. 

Arts & Crafts Festival, Lake Lure (October 19-20)

Lake Lure’s Arts & Crafts Festival is the fall edition of this biannual event. More than 90 artisans and roughly a dozen food vendors will provide the eats, kid-friendly activities, and hand-made things to take home. 

Apple Festival, Lincolnton (October 19)

More than 80,000 visitors come to Main Street in Lincolnton for their annual Apple Festival and this year looks like things won’t be any different. From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, things will be in full swing, with a farmer’s market, music on two stages, apple-centric food, and much more! 

Fall Arts & Crafts Festival, Maggie Valley (October 19-20)

More than 100 makers and creators return to Maggie Valley for the Fall Arts & Crafts Festival. Chainsaw demonstrations and awesome food accompany all the awesome hand-made items that come from all over the Southeast.

Oyster and Shrimp Festival, Morganton (October 19)

If you happen to be in Western North Carolina, that doesn’t mean you too can’t partake in some seafood. Morganton’s Oyster and Shrimp Festival kicks off at noon until 7:00 pm with proceeds going to the Burke Arts Council.

Note: No pets are allowed at this event. 

Fall Festival on Main, Mount Gilead (October 19)

Live music, food, inflatables, and a variety of sports tournaments (pickleball!) return to Mount Gilead during the Fall Festival on Main. Arts and crafts and music will also be there waiting for you from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Outer Banks Seafood Festival, Nags Head (October 19)

Honor our coastal fishing heritage at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival in Nags Head. Fresh seafood, storytelling, and activities for everyone are just a few of the highlights. Admission is only $5 and food and beverage samples are available for $1. 

North Carolina Oyster Festival, Ocean Isle Beach (October 19-20)

Ocean Isle Beach is another awesome place to be for oysters during October in North Carolina. The Oyster Festival is back for its 39th year, with food (of course!), contests, and musical performances. The Oyster Stew Cook-off is waiting for you to come taste and judge with one is your favorite! 

Corn Shucking Frolic, Pinnacle (October 19)

Horne Creek Living Historical Farm hosts its all-day Cornshucking Frolic, with admission $8 for adults and $5 for kids 6-12 years old. Bluegrass and gospel music will be playing and you can learn through demos, too. Oh, and don’t forget about all the with corn harvesting, shucking, shelling, and grinding you can enjoy! 

Holly Arts & Crafts Festival, Pinehurst (October 19)

Local creators will be on display in Pinehurst during the Holly Arts & Crafts Festival. Traditional and modern pottery, paintings, and metal sculptures headline wonderful productions by local artisans. And to get the kids out, too, a Kids Zone will be ready and waiting at the Tufts Green in the Village. 

Mush, Music, and Mutts, Shelby (October 19)

From 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, head to Shelby for a day of fun at Mush, Music, & Mutts. Free and discounted attractions will be available throughout Uptown Shelby. If we were to choose one event, we think you should join the Liver Mush Eating Contest—registration opens at 10:00 am, by the way. 

We featured two out of three of these Ms in our guide to a weekend in Cleveland County. And if you’re hungry for more food in the area, check out our guide to restaurants in Shelby and Cleveland County!

Autumn with Topsail, Topsail Beach (October 19-20)

North Carolina Attractions Topsail Beach Image

One of our favorite places to visit is hosting 100 vendors of arts and craft, food, beer, and wine at Autumn with Topsail. At the Missiles and More Museum at Topsail Beach, you’ll find all of this, including games and rides for the kiddos. 

We love Topsail so much that we created this guide to a weekend there

Valle Country Fair, Valle Crucis (October 19)

150 juried arts and crafts vendors and live music set the stage for the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis. Taste Brunswick Stew and apple butter before partaking in pumpkin carving and, yes, pumpkin bowling! October in North Carolina’s High Country is an awesome time and this festival makes it even better. 

Annual Apple Harvest Festival, Waynesville (October 19)

Downtown Waynesville’s Annual Apple Harvest Festival is one of the best things to do in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in October. Apple-themed food, hand-cranking ice cream, and music keep bringing people back, with more fun in store for those who attend. 

We included this festival in our guide to apple picking in North Carolina.

Appalachian Folk Festival, Weaverville (October 19)

Celebrate early 19th century traditions at Vance Birthplace in Weaverville during the Appalachian Folk Festival. You can tour the pioneer mansion and slave cabin to learn more about the site’s backstory. Music, crafts, and treats will also be waiting for you when you stop by between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. 

Pride, Winston-Salem (October 19)

Show your love for all at Pride Winston-Salem! Happening on Trade Street in the Camel City’s Arts District expect a day packed with fun, a parade, vendors, and a food truck rodeo. Attendance to Pride promotes the culture, diversity, inclusion and community outreach for friends, allies, and supports on equal rights for all.  

Yadkin Valley Grape Festival, Yadkinville (October 19)

During the 16th annual Yadkin Valley Grape Festival, a wine tasting ($25) from local wineries is the main attraction, but there’s more. The rest of this event is free and open to the public, with vendor displays and music all happening from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

Tuna Run 200, Atlantic Beach (October 25-26)

From Raleigh to Atlantic Beach, the Tuna 200 is a race across the state! The Tuna Relay 200 is an overnight relay adventure for running teams as they race 200 or 70 miles to reach the tuna (no really, you get some tuna and a beer at the end!). Teams of four to 12 people split 36 legs to reach the finish line in Atlantic Beach.

Woodworking Shop Extravaganza, Hickory (October 25-26)

Hosted by Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop, Hickory’s Woodworking Shop Extravaganza is the only one of its kind in the state! Free to attend, there are free demonstrations and classes as well as vendors selling the best woodworking tools and supplies. Check out master woodworkers as they compete in several competitions.

Carolina Kite Festival, Atlantic Beach (October 26-27)

Get ready for a beautiful site of hundreds of kites dotting the coast of Sands Villas Resorts in Atlantic Beach at the Carolina Kite Festival. Hosted by Kites Unlimited, admission to the festival is free. Bring your kite and a camera and enjoy the wind and sand!

Chicken Mull Festival, Bear Grass (October 26)

In Martin County, Chicken Mull is something to be celebrated! During this event in Bear Grass, festival-goers will have live entertainment, a classic car cruise-in, and of course, Chicken Mull! But what is Chicken Mull? Also called Chicken Muddle, it’s parboiled chicken, broth, crackers a splash of hot sauce and eggs served with a sleeve of crackers.

Blowing Rock Halloween Festival, Blowing Rock (October 26)

October Places to Visit in North Carolina Blowing Rock Image

Make Halloween a community event! The Blowing Rock Halloween Festival is free and filled with fun events for everyone. With games, hayrides, a “Monster March”, Trick-or-Treat, and a Moonlight Scavenger Hunt it’s bound to be a Spooktacular time!

While you’re in Blowing Rock, we’ve got you covered for restaurants and how to make it an awesome weekend there!

Heart of Brevard Annual Halloweenfest in Transylvania, Brevard (October 26)

While we might be a hike from Count Dracula’s Transylvania, Transylvania County in North Carolina hosts a family fun festival during the Heart of Brevard Annual Halloweenfest. Hit the pavement at The Flight of the Vampire 5K, 10K, and Fun Run, enjoy crafts, music artists, games, food, and pumpkin carving!

NOCtoberfest, Bryson City (October 26)

Along the beautiful Nantahala Gorge, NOCtoberfest is a family fun event whether you’re on or off the water. Pumpkin decorating, a costume contest and live music are perfect for everyone.

But if you’re wanting to get on the water participants can compete in the Great Pumpkin Pursuit, a mad dash to collect as many numbered pumpkins while going through Nantahala Falls.

Note: Participants must sign a waiver to participate. Also, the numbers on the pumpkins match raffle tickets for prizes!

Zombie Walk, Fayetteville (October 26)

Gather your best undead friends and haunt the Cool Spring Downtown District at the Fayetteville Zombie Walk! Pre-party with a DJ, face-painting, and children’s games before the walk and finish with a live concert!

Seaboard Festival, Hamlet (October 26)

The largest festival in Richmond County, the Seaboard Festival celebrates Hamlet’s heritage as a railroad town. Starting in 1982 as a display railroad on Main Street, the festival today now has family-friendly events, food, entertainment, and even a 5k.

Alamance Artisans’ Extravaganza, Haw River (October 26-27)

A beautiful gathering of artists converges at the Alamance Artisans Art Extravaganza in Haw River. Members of the Alamance Artisans Guild will be displaying and selling their original artwork.

1840s Carolina Village, Hickory (October 26)

Hart’s Square is a museum of Early American structures and antiques in an authentic and education space. The Annual Festival showcases the space with artisans and demonstrators. Learn about flax making, cotton baling, and tinsmithing with Hart Square Village’s amazing team of 400 volunteers. Tickets are required and can be bought online.

NC Festival by the Sea, Holden Beach (October 26-27)

Bring the whole family out and celebrate the arts and crafts of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands at the NC Festival by the Sea. With live entertainment and art by local artisans, this free festival in Holden Beach is guaranteed to be enjoyable for everyone!

The Barbecue Festival, Lexington (October 26)

The Barbecue Festival Lexington NC Things to Do in October Image

This year’s Barbecue Festival is the 36th edition. Over 100,000 people will travel to Uptown for a day celebrating Lexington-style barbecue.

Along with three tents serving barbecue, attendees can enjoy festival food. Entertainment on seven stages, rides and games, and craft vendors are a few more highlights of this massive event.

It’s certainly one weekend that you’ve gotta be in Lexington but this guide covers you for any other time of year!

OBX Brewtag, Nags Head (October 26)

OBX Brewtäg celebrates flight and beer in a unique way! Contestants compete to see who can launch an empty 1/6 keg barrel the farthest on an aircraft. Proceeds from this year’s OBX Brewtäg will be donated to the Outer Banks Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. They will specifically help the community of Hatteras Village on Ocracoke that was damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

If you’re planning a trip to the Outer Banks during this time, check our guide to the shoulder season and offesason there! 

North Carolina Wine Festival, Raleigh (October 26)

Celebrating North Carolina’s premier vineyards, the North Carolina Wine Festival brings more than 100 different varieties of NC wines to taste. Sip wine, grab a bite, and enjoy live music!

Dismal Day and 5K Family Fun Run, South Mills (October 26)

Celebrate the beautiful Dismal Swamp State Park during Dismal Day! With activities all day including craft vendors, food, music, raptors, snakes, alligators, and wagon rides. Add in a scavenger hunt and this family-friendly event is the perfect way to enjoy Fall in North Carolina.

Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival, Wilmington (October 26)

Breweries in North Carolina Mother Earth Kinston Image
Join Mother Earth and tons more breweries during this fun event!

This highly popular festival in Wilmington is known to sell out! So hop on over to the Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival and explore over 100 craft breweries and wineries. The largest Beer & Wine event in the southeast, Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival also has VIP ticket options and two sessions to choose from to attend.

Outer Banks Halloween Parade, Kill Devil Hills (October 27)

Show off your costume and strut through Kill Devil Hills at the Outer Banks Halloween Parade! With over 100 registered participants the parade is an absolute blast for everyone. Check out the trick or treat tables during the pre-parade party!

Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, Clayton (October 30-Nov 3)

The last of our things to do in North Carolina in October is Johnston County’s largest festival. It’s also known as the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, a five-day fun-filled event. Here, you’ve got carnival rides, community-focused events, vendors, food, music and so much more!

Take part in the People’s Choice BBQ contest or watch the Clayton High School Football team battle it out during the Hot Dog Eating Contest. This festival is known to draw over 31,000 people for festival fun in JoCo!

Got Something to Add?

October in North Carolina is currently the winner for the busiest month and I don’t even know where to start! As fall continues on through November, we can’t wait to share all the events going on in our state. And before we move on, we’d love to know which of these events and festivals you’ll be attending? 

Also, what things to do in North Carolina in October do you think we should add to this list? Let us know about it here or via email and we’ll gladly take a look! 

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