Last Updated on October 14, 2021
Last Updated on October 14, 2021
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.
October in North Carolina is when the fall fun really heats up. Summer is officially gone, but there are plenty of things to do in North Carolina in October, 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 70-plus local events.
And just like with our previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these October events by starting date and alphabetized by city.
Things to Do in North Carolina in October
Note that many October events in NC may make the decision to cancel or alter times/dates, sometimes at the last minute. Please visit the links we’ve provided to each individual event to confirm details and also, to lend your support in cases of cancellation.
Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, Goldsboro (September 30-October 9)
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!
Read More: Things to do in Goldsboro and Wayne County
Coin Show and Convention, Concord (October 1-3)
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!
Read More: Restaurants in Concord and Cabarrus County
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.
Read More: Pumpkin Patches in North Carolina
NC Seafood Festival, Morehead City (October 1-3)
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!
Annual Railroad Days, Selma (October 1-2)
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.
US Open King Mackerel Tournament, Southport (October 1-2)
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.
Spring Hope Pumpkin Festival, Spring Hope (October 1-2)
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.
Read More: Things to Do in Rocky Mount
Riverfest, Wilmington (October 1-3)
Water Street in Wilmington brings back Riverfest, with craft vendors, a kid’s play area, music on multiple stages, and Saturday night fireworks. The annual Miss Riverfest will also be crowned during the event, so be sure to check that out while you’re there!
Read More: Things to Do in Wilmington
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.
Read More: Beaches near Wilmington
Carolina Classic Fair, Winston-Salem (October 1-10)
The Carolina 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 2)
Dillsboro’s Colorfest returns with more than 40 hand-picked artisans, who’ll 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!
Read More: Bear Lake Reserve in Jackson County
Farm City Day, Hendersonville (October 2)
Hendersonville’s Farm City Day is one of the best things to do in Hendersonville. It mixes 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.
I think the sack race will be the most fun.
Carolina Renaissance Festival, Huntersville (October 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24)
Huntersville’s annual Carolina Renaissance Festival is ready for you every Saturday and Sunday from October 2-November 21. 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!
Read More: Day Trips from Charlotte
The Lunsford Festival, Mars Hill (October 2)
The 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. It’s held at the Ramsey Center, a spot on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.
Sonker Festival, Mount Airy (October 2)
Admission is free with fees for sonker and drinks.
Read More: Surry County Things to Do
Foothills Folk Art Festival, Newton (October 2)
From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in Newton, the 5th 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 2)
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!
Read More: Things to Do in Wilkesboro
Hoptoberfest, Rockingham (October 2)
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.
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.
Read More: Day Trips from Durham
Potters’ Pumpkin Patch, Seagrove (October 2 and 9)
Read More: Things to Do in Asheboro
Mountains to Coast Ride, Sparta to North Topsail Beach (October 2-9)
Starworks Pumpkin Patch, Star (October 2)
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.
Thistle Meadow Wine Festival, Laurel Springs (October 3)
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.
Monster Truck Throwdown, Benson (October 8-9)
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.
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Cashiers (October 8-10)
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!
Oktoberfest, Hickory (October 8-10)
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!
Autumn Leaves Festival, Mount Airy (October 8-10)
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.
Ol’ Front Porch Festival, Oriental (October 8-10)
Also on the coast, the Ol’ Front Porch Festival takes over Oriental for three days of music, food, arts and crafts, and more. 21 bands headline the fun this year, from a wide variety of genres, including Folk, Americana, Bluegrass, Gospel and more!
Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown, Rocky Mount (October 8-9)
This Kansas City Barbecue Society competition will hand out awards on Sunday, but you can enjoy samples, music, and more fun throughout the event.
Read More: Restaurants in Rocky Mount
Tryon International Film Festival, Tryon (October 8-10)
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.
Read More: Pearson’s Falls
Drive for the Cure 250, Concord (October 9)
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 ROVAL 400.
Read More: Breweries in Concord
Jazz Festival, Duck (October 9-10)
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.
Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks
Goldston Old Fashion Day, Goldston (October 9)
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.
Scrapfest, Greensboro (October 9)
The sustainability-focused music festival will kick off at Lebauer Park, with local business popups, live music, a beer garden, and more. This October event is presented by Little Brother Brewing.
Read More: Things to Do in Greensboro
Oink n’ Oyster Roast, Kitty Hawk (October 9)
Read More: Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Mountain Glory Festival, Marion (October 9)
Celebrate fall’s arrival in Marion at the Mountain Glory Festival 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.
Read More: Tom’s Creek Falls
MumFest, New Bern (October 9-10)
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.
Read More: Things to do in New Bern
Shaw House Vintage Collectible & Antique Fair, Southern Pines (October 9)
Oh, and don’t forget about the awesome food that will accompany this Moore County event!
Read More: Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve
Church Street Art and Craft Show, Waynesville (October 9)
Waynesville’s Church Street Art and Craft Show will feature a variety of artists to show off their work.
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.
Read More: Things to Do in Maggie Valley
Bank of America ROVAL 400, Concord (October 10)
One of the biggest things to do in North Carolina in October is NASCAR’s Bank of America ROVAL 400. And to make things even more interesting, this will be where this year’s champion will be crowned!
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.
Columbus County Agricultural Fair, Whiteville (October 12-17)
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.
Read More: Lake Waccamaw State Park
North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh (October 14-24)
Read More: Things to Do in Raleigh
Arts and Crafts Market, Little Switzerland (October 15)
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.
Read More: The Switzerland Inn
Waccamaw Siouan Pow Wow, Bolton (October 15-16)
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.
Carolina Balloonfest, Statesville (October 15-17)
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.
Unfortunately, this event has been canceled for 2021 but will be back and better than ever!
Read More: Why and How to Support Small Businesses
Autumn with Topsail, Topsail Beach (October 15-17)
One of our favorite places to visit is hosting 100 vendors of arts and crafts, 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.
Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk (October 16-17)
Read More: Day Trips from Boone
North Carolina Wine Festival, Cary (October 16)
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!
Read More: Things to Do in Cary
Arts & Crafts Festival, Lake Lure (October 16-17)
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.
Read More: Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Apple Festival, Lincolnton (October 16)
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 16-17)
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.
Fall Festival on Main, Mount Gilead (October 16)
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 16)
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 $15 for this amazing event!
North Carolina Oyster Festival, Ocean Isle Beach (October 16-17)
Ocean Isle Beach is another awesome place to be for oysters during October in North Carolina. The Oyster Festival is back 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!
Holly Arts & Crafts Marketplace, Pinehurst (October 16)
Local creators will be on display in Pinehurst during the Holly Arts & Crafts Marketplace. Traditional and modern pottery, paintings, and metal sculptures headline wonderful productions by local artisans.
Mush, Music, and Mutts, Shelby (October 16)
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.
Read More: Restaurants in Shelby and Cleveland County
Valle Country Fair, Valle Crucis (October 16)
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.
Read More: Things to Do in Banner Elk
Annual Apple Harvest Festival, Waynesville (October 16)
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.
Read More: Apple picking in North Carolina
Pride, Winston-Salem (October 16)
Show your love for all at Pride Winston-Salem! Happening on Trade Street in 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 equal rights for all.
Read More: Day Trips from Greensboro
Yadkin Valley Grape Festival, Yadkinville (October 16)
During the 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.
Read More: The Best Yadkin Valley Wineries
Film Fest 919, Chapel Hill (October 19-23)
Film Fest 919 in Chapel Hill 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.
Read More: Things to Do in Chapel Hill
North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Kannapolis (October 21)
- The Briarhoppers
- Jermaine Dupri
- Donald Lawrence
- Michael T Mauldin
- Charles Whitfield
- The Squirrel Nut Zippers
- Tony Rice
- Robert Moog
Music industry icons Tony Brown and Roberta Flack will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Read More: Bands from North Carolina
Tuna Run 200, Atlantic Beach (October 22-23)
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.
Carolina Kite Fest, Atlantic Beach (October 23-24)
Bring your kite and a camera and enjoy the wind and sand!
Read More: Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach
Chicken Mull Festival, Bear Grass (October 23)
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.
Annual Festival at Hart Square, Hickory (October 23)
Hart’s Square is a museum of Early American structures and antiques in an authentic and educational 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.
The Barbecue Festival, Lexington (October 23)
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.
Read More: Things to Do in Lexington
OBX Brewtag, Nags Head (October 23)
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 Rogallo Foundation.
Read More: Off-season in the Outer Banks
Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, Clayton (October 27-31)
Johnston County’s largest festival is 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!
Historic Ghost Walk, Elizabeth City (October 29-30)
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.
Bacon Brew and Boo Festival, New Bern (October 29)
There’s nothing better than bacon and beer! At Bacon Brew and Boo Festival in New Bern, you can feast on bacon-themed menus from area food trucks, sip awesome beers, rock out to awesome music, and even watch some professional wrestling!
This 21 and over event benefits the United Way of Coastal Carolina and happens rain or shine!
Heart of Brevard Annual Halloweenfest in Transylvania, Brevard (October 30)
Hit the pavement at The Flight of the Vampire 5K, 10K, and Fun Run, enjoy crafts, music artists, games, food, and pumpkin carving!
Read More: Waterfalls near Brevard
Seaboard Festival, Hamlet (October 30)
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.
NC Festival by the Sea, Holden Beach (October 30-31)
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!
Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival, Wilmington (October 30)
The last of our fun things to do in North Carolina in October is a highly popular festival in Wilmington that is known to sell out! 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. Proceeds support the Carousel Center to help those in need in surrounding counties and cities.
Read More: Breweries in Wilmington
Ready for these Fun Things to Do in North Carolina in October?
October in North Carolina is currently the winner for the busiest month and I don’t even know where to start! As fall continues 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!