Last Updated on September 22, 2022
Last Updated on September 22, 2022
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 North Carolina Travel Facebook Group, we came up with 60-plus local events.
And just like with our previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these October events by starting date and alphabetized by city. Also, if you’d like to add to our October events guide and represent a tourism bureau, destination marketing organization, or PR agency, please see our guide to local events submissions.
Here’s how you can easily jump around to the date that you’re looking for.
- Things to Do in North Carolina in October (All Month)
- October 1-10 (with Some September Starts)
- October 11-20
- October 21-31
Things to Do in North Carolina in October (All Month)
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.
NC Beer Month (October 1-31)
NC Beer Month has moved to October after a lengthy stay in April, and we’re here for it! Many of our favorite breweries in North Carolina host events and special occasions during the month, so don’t miss out!
To help you better explore during this month (and beyond), we’ve created multiple guides to the entire state’s breweries and specific cities’ craft beer scenes:
Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches (October 1-31)
Two of the most festive things to do in North Carolina in October are typically paired together—corn mazes and pumpkin patches. At farms throughout North Carolina, you can pick your own pumpkins and in many cases, enjoy a variety of rides and fun entertainment.
Here are some of our favorite corn mazes and pumpkin patches scattered throughout the state:
- Briley’s Farm Market in Greenville (Pumpkin Patch, Hay Rides, and More!)
- Carrigan Farms in Mooresville (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Deal Farms in Franklin (Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch)
- Gross Farms in Sanford (Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, and More!)
- Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville (Corn Maze, Free Pumpkin with Admission, and More!)
- Ken’s Korny Corn Maze in Garner (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Kersey Valley Maize Adventure in Archdale (Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, and More!)
- Mike’s Farm in Beulaville (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Millstone Creek Orchards in Randolph County (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Page Farms in Raleigh (Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, and More!)
- Patterson Farm in Mount Ulla (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Riverbend Farm in Cabarrus County (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
- Rural Hill’s Amazing Maize Maze in Huntersville (Corn Maze and More!)
- Sonlight Farms Corn Maze in Kenly (Corn Maze and More!)
- Smith’s Nursery in Benson (Pumpkin Patch and More!)
October in North Carolina also means the revival of our most haunted attractions. Some start in mid-to-late-September but they’re all going strong in October.
Here are a few that we think you should know about:
- Granville Haunt Farm in Oxford
- The Haunted Farm in Hendersonville
- Hillside Horror in Roaring River
- Lake Hickory Haunts in Hickory
- Midway Wicked Woods in Statesville
- Spookywoods at Kersey Valley in Archdale
- Woods of Terror in Greensboro
- Xtreme Haunt in Durham
Things to Do in North Carolina in October (1-10, with Some September Starts)
Coin Show and Convention, Concord (September 29-October 2)
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
Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, Goldsboro (September 29-October 8)
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 more than 70 years!
Read More: Things to do in Goldsboro and Wayne County
NC Seafood Festival, Morehead City (September 30-October 2)
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 (September 30-October 1)
Also on the coast, the Ol’ Front Porch Festival takes over Oriental for two days of music, food, arts and crafts, and more. 26 bands headline the excitement this year, from a wide variety of genres, including Folk, Americana, Bluegrass, Gospel and more!
Personality Festival, Roxboro (September 30-October 1)
The Personality Festival in Roxboro is celebrating its 43rd year with an expected crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 people at 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
US Open King Mackerel Tournament, Southport (September 30-October 1)
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 (September 30-October 1)
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
Wilmington Boat Show, Wilmington (September 30-October 2)
The Wilmington Boat Show will take over Port City Marina and the Convention Center with shows and displays during the weekend. There will also be multiple displays at Pier 33, music, food, and overall good vibes.
Read More: Beaches near Wilmington
Carolina Classic Fair, Winston-Salem (September 30-October 9)
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 1)
Dillsboro’s Colorfest returns with dozens of hand-picked artisans who will gather to showcase their artwork. Visit Dillsboro’s Front Street and take a look at the amazing art, get some food from local restaurants, and listen to local musicians.
Read More: Bear Lake Reserve in Jackson County
Farm City Day, Hendersonville (October 1)
Kids and adults will love the petting zoo, fishing pond, egg toss, and corn shucking. We’re most excited about the sack race!
Carolina Renaissance Festival, Huntersville (October 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30)
Huntersville’s annual Carolina Renaissance Festival is ready for you every Saturday and Sunday from October 1-November 20. 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, the Living Mermaid exhibit, either!
Read More: Day Trips from Charlotte
Sonker Festival, Mount Airy (October 1)
Celebrate Surry County’s tastiest treat at the annual Sonker Festival. This dessert is a staple of Surry County culture, and lovers of this dessert will gather to share family recipes and sample different flavors.
Admission is free but you’ll have to purchase sonker and drinks.
Read More: Surry County Things to Do
Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, North Wilkesboro (October 1)
The massive Brushy Mountain Apple Festival returns to North Wilkesboro with hundreds of arts and craft vendors, four music stages, and dozens of food vendors. One of the biggest festivals around, it’s a celebration of apple growers and 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 1)
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.
Potters’ Pumpkin Patch, Seagrove (October 1, 8, 15, & 29)
Read More: Things to Do in Asheboro
Mountains to Coast Ride, Sparta to North Topsail Beach (October 1-8)
Starworks Pumpkin Patch, Star (October 1-24)
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. They will keep selling these all month while supplies last.
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 2)
On the first Sunday of October, come visit the 24th annual Thistle Meadow Wine Festival. Many NC wineries will come together in Laurel Springs for visitors to taste their offerings. Enjoy a day of music, food, crafts, and wine tastings in this beautiful setting.
Monster Truck Throwdown, Benson (October 7-8)
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.
The event promises 10 throwdown superstars, as well as the chance to ride in a truck and meet your favorite driver at the 2-hour pit party before each day officially kicks off.
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Cashiers (October 7-9)
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 7-9)
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!
Read More: Amazing Restaurants in Hickory
Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown, Rocky Mount (October 7-8)
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
Annual Railroad Days, Selma (October 7-8)
Choo choo! Even if I weren’t a “train” person, 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.
Ava Gardner Festival, Smithfield (October 7-9)
We’re not doing with Johnston County, as the Ava Gardner Festival will celebrate one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. This year’s celebration is even more special because it is also a celebration of Ava’s 100th birthday.
There will be new exhibits, video tributes, and an opening night concert to honor a truly world-famous star.
Tryon International Film Festival, Tryon (October 7-9)
Polk County will be abuzz during the second weekend of October, when the Tryon International Film Festival brings new life in the form of film. Nearly 100 independent films will be on display in six venues in Tryon.
Read More: Pearson’s Falls
Riverfest, Wilmington (October 7-9)
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
Drive for the Cure 250, Concord (October 8)
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 8-9)
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.
We think this festival is one of the best things to do in the Outer Banks, especially in October!
Goldston Old Fashion Day, Goldston (October 8)
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.
Mountain Glory Festival, Marion (October 8)
Celebrate fall’s arrival in Marion at the Mountain Glory Festival downtown. On the second Saturday in October, three blocks of this mountain town will be jam-packed with artisans, food vendors, and the Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council.
Read More: How to See Tom’s Creek Falls in Marion
The Lunsford Festival, Mars Hill (October 8)
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.
MumFest, New Bern (October 8-9)
MumFest has a variety of activities for the whole family to partake in. Browse the rows of exhibitors and arts and crafts, try some food, and go on the 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
Church Street Art and Craft Show, Waynesville (October 8)
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: 20+ Amazing Things to Do in Maggie Valley
Bank of America ROVAL 400, Concord (October 9)
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!
Things to Do in North Carolina in October (11-20)
Columbus County Agricultural Fair, Whiteville (October 11-16)
The Columbus County Agricultural Fair brings folks from all over Eastern North Carolina to Whiteville. The event’s carnival rides, Ferris Wheel, and demolition derby are just a few of the things that have cemented its place as a Whiteville time-honored tradition.
Read More: Lake Waccamaw State Park
North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh (October 13-23)
The North Carolina State Fair kicks off in Raleigh at noon on October 13 and open times vary by day. As the state’s largest agricultural fair, there is so much to do that you likely won’t get through it all in just a day!
Read More: Things to Do in Raleigh
Historic Ghost Walk, Elizabeth City (October 14-15)
Join the award-winning Elizabeth City Historic Ghost Walk for a weekend of ghastly spirits and local history. The Ghost Walk takes you to 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.
Arts and Crafts Market, Little Switzerland (October 14)
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
Autumn Leaves Festival, Mount Airy (October 14-16)
Mount Airy’s 56th annual Autumn Leaves Festival is a nationally-recognized event that brings together bluegrass and gospel music. People from all around the state come to browse the assortment of crafts, listen to music, and try the delicious food!
You won’t be able to stay long without trying some of the food! The festival is prepared with “Food for the Soul” ready to fill your bellies.
Carolina Balloonfest, Statesville (October 14-16)
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 kid’s 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.
Read More: 30+ Awesome Things to Do in Statesville
Autumn with Topsail, Topsail Beach (October 14-16)
One of our favorite places to visit is Autumn with Topsail, a festival hosting over 100 local arts and crafts vendors, food, beer, and wine. The event is located at the Missiles and More Museum at Topsail Beach, where there are also games and rides for children.
Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk (October 15-16)
Up in the High Country, the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk is back for its 45th year. The festival incorporates the town’s history by taking place at the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School, but its biggest highlight is the Woolly Worm Races.
These exciting races, good food, and more entertainment keep folks coming back to this fun event.
Read More: Day Trips from Boone
Waccamaw Siouan Pow Wow, Bolton (October 15-16)
You can learn about the culture and experience the traditions of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe during Bolton’s annual two-day event. The pow wow is complete with traditional foods, drumming and dance competitions, and a parade to enhance the immersion into the culture.
North Carolina Wine Festival, Cary (October 15)
Arts & Crafts Festival, Lake Lure (October 15-16)
Lake Lure’s Arts & Crafts Festival is the fall edition of this biannual event. Dozens of artisans and food vendors will come together to sell their wares and food items. This vibrant event is perfect for lovers of art from Lake Lure and beyond.
Read More: Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Apple Festival, Lincolnton (October 15)
More than 80,000 visitors come to Lincolnton’s Main Street for the town’s annual Apple Festival, and this year won’t be any different. From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, things will be in full swing, with a farmer’s market, two music stages, apple-centric food, and much more!
Fall Festival on Main, Mount Gilead (October 15)
Mount Gilead lights up with live music, food, inflatables, and a variety of sports tournaments (including pickleball!) at the Fall Festival on Main. From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, there will be a plethora of arts and crafts, music, and food for you to enjoy!
Outer Banks Seafood Festival, Nags Head (October 15)
Honor North Carolina’s coastal fishing heritage at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival in Nags Head. The festival seeks to celebrate this heritage with fresh seafood, storytelling, and activities for everyone.
Admission is only $20 for this amazing event!
North Carolina Oyster Festival, Ocean Isle Beach (October 15-16)
If you love all things oysters, then Ocean Isle Beach is the place to be during October in North Carolina! The NC Oyster Festival is back with food (of course!), contests, and musical performances.
Visitors can also taste different oyster stews and voice their opinion for their favorite during the Oyster Stew Cook-off.
Mush, Music, and Mutts, Shelby (October 15)
Head to Uptown Shelby for a day of fun at Mush, Music, & Mutts! There, you can find both free and discounted attractions for the whole family. While there is quite a selection of contests and things to do, our number one event is the Liver Mush Eating Contest.
Read More: Restaurants in Shelby and Cleveland County
Valle Country Fair, Valle Crucis (October 15)
North Carolina’s High Country is one of our favorite places to spend October, and a big reason is the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis. In addition to juried craft and food vendors, the fair brings together bluegrass, gospel, and country musicians for a day of fun.
Get the family together to go pumpkin bowling, get your face painted, pet some alpacas, and try Brunswick stew and apple butter! Proceeds from the fair go to local Valle County organizations.
Read More: Things to Do in Banner Elk
Annual Apple Harvest Festival, Waynesville (October 15)
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
Yadkin Valley Grape Festival, Yadkinville (October 15)
Many visitors attend the annual Yadkin Valley Grape Festival for the exclusive wine tasting from local wineries, but there’s more to do. Advance tickets for the wine tasting are $20, while day-of admission is $25.
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. Chapel Hill residents and film-lovers from all over attend the filmmaker Q&A sessions, industry panels, and celebrity appearances.
Read More: Things to Do in Chapel Hill
North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Kannapolis (October 20)
- Nnenna Freelon
- Janet Paschal
- Stephanie Mills
- Bernard Edwards
- Charlie Poole
Read More: Bands from North Carolina
Things to Do in North Carolina in October (21-31)
Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival (October 21-22)
Head out to the coast for the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival and some awesome entertainment! Live music on Friday kicks things off and on Saturday, there’ll be a parade, more live music, craft vendors, kids’ activities, fireworks, and NC Shrimp fresh off the boat!
Chicken Mull Festival, Bear Grass (October 22)
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!
Some of you may be wondering what exactly is Chicken Mull? Also called Chicken Muddle, it’s parboiled chicken, broth, a splash of hot sauce, and eggs served with a sleeve of crackers.
Annual Festival at Hart Square, Hickory (October 22)
Hart’s Square is an educational museum showcasing early American structures and antiques. Each October, it transforms into the Annual Festival with over 300 artisans and vendors.
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 22)
Along with three tents serving barbecue, attendees can enjoy festival food, entertainment on seven stages, rides and games, and craft vendors.
Read More: Things to Do in Lexington
Fall Arts & Crafts Festival, Maggie Valley (October 22-23)
More than 100 makers and creators journey to Maggie Valley for the Fall Arts & Crafts Festival. In addition to handmade artwork and crafts, this festival also features chainsaw demonstrations and awesome food from all over the Southeast.
OBX Brewtag, Nags Head (October 22)
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 27-30)
Johnston County’s largest festival is the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, a jam-packed four-day extravaganza. Over the weekend, you can play carnival games, eat at food trucks, and watch cars, motorcycles, tractor shows, and BBQ contests.
Tuna Run 200, Atlantic Beach (October 28-29)
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 29-30)
Bring your kite and a camera to enjoy the stunning view against the beach backdrop.
Read More: Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach
Heart of Brevard Annual Halloweenfest in Transylvania, Brevard (October 29)
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 29)
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.
Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival, Wilmington (October 29)
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!