40+ Things to Do in North Carolina in September

Last Updated on November 26, 2022

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As summer and fall converge, there are some pretty great things to do in North Carolina in September. The changing of the seasons and cooler air make this one of our busiest months, based on the sheer number of events we uncovered when putting this guide together.

Some of the biggest local festivals and events are held during this month, spanning from west to east and nearly everywhere in between. Just like with other monthly guides, we’ve ordered these September events by starting date and alphabetized by city.

Here’s how you can easily jump around to the date that you’re looking for.

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do in North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

Things to Do in North Carolina in September (1-10)

Note that many September events in NC may decide 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.

Hickory American Legion Fair, Newton (Aug 31- Sept 5)

The first entry in our things to do in North Carolina in September starts in August but spills over into this month.

It is the annual Hickory American Legion Fair in Newton. Rides galore, daily events, food, and much more will keep the fun going through September at this Catawba County extravaganza. 

Read More: Great Things to Do in Hickory

North Carolina Apple Festival, Hendersonville (September 2-5)

Celebrate Labor Day weekend in Hendersonville at the North Carolina Apple Festival. This festival is a huge Labor Day tradition for apple orchards in and around Henderson County.

It’s one of the best things to do in North Carolina in September, especially if you like loading up on freshly picked apples and festival food in one of North Carolina’s finest small towns

Read More: 10 Great Hendersonville Restaurants (+ Where to Eat and Drink!)

Happy Valley Fiddler’s Convention, Lenoir (September 2-4)

Labor Day on the Yadkin River means the Happy Valley Fiddler’s Convention will be back in Lenoir. Join the convention for food, dancing, amid gorgeous scenery and awesome mountain music in Caldwell County.

American Dance Festival, Raleigh (September 8-11)

The North Carolina Museum of Art and the Durham-based American Dance Festival have partnered to present “Together We Dance.” It will be an outdoor festival in the Joseph M Bryan, JR. Theater in the Museum Park.
 
Four performances by some of the finest dance companies will bring together both emerging and established companies and the elegance of both.

Read More: NC Museum of Natural Sciences (Everything You Need to Know!)

Full Bloom Film Festival, Statesville (September 8-10)

The seventh annual Full Bloom Film Festival brings quality, diverse, cinema to Statesville. The town will host films in the animated, documentary, narrative, and additional genres to support and advance the arts and culture of Iredell County.

Read More: 30+ Awesome Things to Do in Statesville

Autumn at Oz Festival, Beech Mountain (September 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25)

Oz opens its doors for three weekends in September to celebrate over 50 years of magic in the Land of Oz.

During Autumn at Oz, you can skip down the yellow brick road with the Scarecrow, TinMan, and ToTo with craft vendors, a petting zoo, face painting, and the Land of Oz Exhibit featuring original props and costumes. This event in Beech Mountain is a magical and transformative experience!

Read More: 60+ Kid-Friendly Events in North Carolina for the Whole Year

Mountain Song Festival, Brevard (September 9-10)

The two-day Mountain Song Festival returns to Brevard. Names like Steep Canyon Rangers, Shannon Whitworth, and Chatham Rabbits will take the stage during this family-friendly event in Transylvania County. 

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Brevard (Within 1 Hour)

NC Mountain State Fair, Fletcher (September 9-18)

The WNC Agricultural Center (near Asheville) will host its annual NC Mountain State Fair to celebrate our mountains and their heritage. Arts and crafts, rides, and various dedications to agriculture highlight this awesome family-friendly festival. 

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (Downtown, Biltmore, and More!)

North Carolina Folk Festival, Greensboro (September 9-11)

Over in Greensboro, the free-to-attend North Carolina Folk Festival will have music, food, crafts, and more fun happening downtown. Performers include Sam Bush, Karan Casey, Big Bang Boom, and Jeff Little Trio.

Read More: 7 Fun Museums in Greensboro (Kid-Friendly, Contemporary Art, and More!)

Thunder in the Smokies, Maggie Valley (September 9-11)

The fall version of Thunder in the Smokies returns to Maggie Valley, with thousands of bikers expected to roll into the Great Smoky Mountains. You’ll likely see a lot of bikers throughout the year, but this is typically the busiest motorcycle weekend of the year.

Highlights include an impressive tour ride and Bike Games, where a $1,000 cash prize goes to the winners.

Read More: 20+ Amazing Things to Do in Maggie Valley

Historic Morganton Festival, Morganton (September 9-10)

The annual Historic Morganton Festival will kick off the second weekend in September. Live music, rides, food, games, and a Kids Zone come together for a successful event.

This Burke County event also brings back two fitness events—the Sunrise Run on the Greenway and Student Fitness Challenge.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)

Things to Do in North Carolina in September (11-20)

Four Oaks Acorn Festival, Four Oaks (September 10)

The Johnston County town of Four Oaks looks forward to its annual Acorn Festival. Come out for a day of live music, children’s activities, food trucks, antique cars, tractors, and great local shopping. 

The Kids Zone is a big hit with all the families who visit. This year, new rides have been added, including “Pirates Revenge” and “Ninja Extreme.”

Read More: 50+ of the Best Day Trips from Raleigh

The Autolawn Party, Hickory (September 10)

Hickory’s Museum of Art SALT Block Lawn will celebrate the European car and more during the Autolawn Party. Beyond the car show, there will be food, a beer garden, kids activities, and music during the event. 

Read More: 10 Amazing Restaurants in Hickory (and 1 Bonus Coffee Shop!)

The Amazing Maize Maze, Huntersville (September 10-November 6)

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting September 10, visitors can get lost in the Amazing Maize Maze at Historic Rural Hill. The seven-acre maze is made entirely of corn and is one of the largest mazes in the Southeast, with two miles of possible paths to explore. 

Read More: 25+ Best Day Trips from Charlotte (Within a 90-Minute Drive)

Dirty Dancing Festival Fundraiser, Lake Lure (September 10)

The Dirty Dancing Festival is probably the most Hollywood-esque of our things to do in North Carolina in September. The dance and music festival promises guests will have “the time of their life!”

This year, the festival is only selling 2,500 tickets, so be sure to buy yours right away. More than 800 tickets have already been sold!

Read More: 75+ Fun Day Trips from Asheville

Sculpture Celebration, Lenoir (September 10)

The Caldwell Arts Council will host its annual Sculpture Celebration in Lenoir, with $11,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Famed blacksmith and teacher Elizabeth Brim will judge the event and participants are welcome to bring up to three sculptures. 

NC Hot Sauce Contest, Oxford (September 10)

Get hot and fired up in Historic Oxford with the 16th annual North Carolina Hot Sauce Contest! Join thousands of other visitors in sampling the food and sauces, participating in pepper-eating contests, and looking at car shows.

Place your bets on which sauce will be 2022’s best sauce!

Read More: 50+ Day Trips from Durham

Grape Stomp, Rose Hill (September 10)

Things to Do in North Carolina in September Duplin Winery

For nearly 50 years, friends and family have been stomping grapes at Duplin Winery! During the Rose Hill Grape Stomp, you can expect live music, exclusive wine tastings, and a chance to stomp some grapes.

Tastings fill up quickly, so purchase in advance!

Read More: The Best Things to Do in Duplin County (Duplin Winery and Even More!

Lee Regional Fair, Sanford (September 13-18)

Hosted by the Sanford Lions Club, the five-day Lee Regional Fair brings in thousands of people and provides thousands of dollars in annual scholarships.

Complete with a midway, agricultural exhibits, antique tractor show, and demolition derby, this is truly a family fun event!

Read More: 50+ Easy Day Trips from Fayetteville

Day at the Docks, Hatteras (September 16-17)

Day at the Docks commemorates the resilience of this Outer Banks community as it was recovering from Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This event has become a tradition for locals and tourists alike.

Enjoy fresh seafood, watch live demonstrations, participate in the chowder contest, and close the event out with the Blessing of the Fleet, a slow parade of boats.

Read More: 40+ Things to Do in the Outer Banks

Olde Time Antiques and Collectibles Fair, West Jefferson (September 16-17)

Head out to West Jefferson for a trip back in time at the Olde Time Antiques and Collectibles Fair. The event features booths selling various antiques and collectibles as well as the Farmers Market and local businesses.

Read More: 20 Day Trips from Boone

Blue Ridge Conservancy 5K, Blowing Rock (September 17)

Sticky buns, coffee, and beer await those who complete the Blue Ridge Conservancy 5K in Blowing Rock. The only catch is that you have to climb up Wonderland Trail Road for a little more than three miles, but doesn’t that reward sound so good? 

Read More: 14 Delicious Blowing Rock Restaurants for High Country Travelers

Creedmoor Music Festival (September 17)

The Creedmoor Music Festival returns with 7 performers on 2 stages and more than 100 food and craft vendors! The incredible performance lineup of country, rock, and R&B includes SoultriiI (R&B), GrassStreet (Bluegrass), Bellflower (Country), Sansvara (Rock), and more!

BugFest, Raleigh (September 17)

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Bug Fest in September

One of the most family-friendly things to do in North Carolina in September is BugFest, hosted by The NC Museum of Natural Sciences. 2022’s featured arthropods are “myriapods.” As the largest bug-centered event of its kind in the nation, BugFest embodies the Museum’s values of engagement and education.

Participate in over 100 exhibits, booths, games, crafts, and more!

Read More: 11 of the Best Museums in Raleigh (Downtown and Beyond)

Festa Italiana, Ronda (September 17-18)

Yadkin Valley Wineries Raffaldini

Festa Italiana returns to Raffaldini Vineyards with food vendors, music, arts, and crafts this September. Come and enjoy a truly festive atmosphere in the Yadkin Valley or join one of the event’s breakout sessions for in-depth discussions with Jay Raffaldini and his team on winemaking, the vineyard, Italian trivia, and more!

Read More: 25 of the Best North Carolina Wineries and Vineyards

Greensboro Pride Festival, Greensboro (September 18)

Celebrate universal love at the Greensboro Pride Festival! Hosted by the Alternative Resources of the Triad (ART), this year’s festival will include music and entertainment, vendors, and a KidZone.

The Festival runs along South Elm to East Market Street and will be a great time rejoicing in love for everyone!

Read More: Magnolia House in Greensboro (an Excellent Former Green Book Hotel)

Mayberry Days, Mount Airy (September 19-25)

Mount Airy’s weeklong Mayberry Days might be the most interesting of all our September events. In this Surry County town, you can take yourself back to simpler days of Andy Griffith’s time. Each day is rich with history and culture.

Read More: The 9 Best Things to Do at Stone Mountain State Park

Things to Do in North Carolina in September (21-30)

Footcandle Film Festival, Hickory (September 21-25)

Fall is also for film festivals and things start with Hickory’s Footcandle Film Festival. The Catawba County city will screen unique, challenging, and entertaining feature-length and short films throughout the event. 

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion, Beaufort (September 23-25)

Mark yer calendar for the Beaufort Pirate Invasion! The popular event is perfect for all ages, with activities like sword fighting, cannons firing, and a Captain’s Masquerade Ball. 

Beaufort is a wonderful coastal town. If you find yourself hungry in Beaufort, Moonrakers offers great food and beautiful seaside views.

Read More: The Rachel Carson Reserve in Beaufort (Come for Wild Horses, Stay for More)

Mule Days, Benson (September 23-25)

Held on the last weekend in September, Benson Mule Days is more than a Johnston County tradition. It’s a really fun time complete with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, parades, and rides.

Read More: The NC Museum of History in Raleigh (+7 Things We Love About It!)

Tweetsie Ghost Train, Blowing Rock (Friday & Saturday nights, September 23-October 29)

Grab your tickets in advance for the Ghost Train at Tweetsie Railroad, because you won’t be alone in flocking to Blowing Rock for this! Along with the creepy Ghost Train, there will be Halloween shows, trick-or-treating, and a haunted house for those brave enough to enter. 

Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More in App Town)

Guest Appreciation Festival, Bryson City (September 23-25)

Things to Do in North Carolina in September Nanatahala Outdoor Center Guest Appreciation Day

The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) outside downtown Bryson City wants to say “thank you” with its Guest Appreciation Festival. They’ll have sales on gear and apparel, riverside games, music, and so much more. 

You can drive to the NOC or hop off the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad halfway through their Nantahala Gorge Excursion.

Read More: Deep Creek Trail (3 Beautiful Waterfalls, 1 Hike)

NHRA Carolina Nationals, Concord (September 23-25)

Things to Do in North Carolina zMax Dragway Carolina Nationals

Having attended this event, I can vouch for the excitement and electricity that surrounds the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord.

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 traveling to the area, check out these awesome local restaurants and breweries.

Read More: How to See Speedway Christmas (Sparkling Lights, Movies, and More!)

Prohibition Hot Rod and Moonshine Festival, Wilkesboro (September 23-24)

Things to do in North Carolina in September North Wilkesboro Prohibition Festival

Prohibition Hot Rod and Moonshine Festival in Wilkesboro commemorates the relationship between fast cars and alcohol during an era when the latter was illegal. The Wilkes County event features live music, food, and classic cars built before 1989. 

Read More: 15+ Great Things to Do in North Wilkesboro (Speedway and More!)

Greek Festival, Raleigh (September 23-25)

The 2022 Raleigh Greek Festival will be a drive-through event at the Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Stop by for some delicious and authentic Greek dinner and pastries made using traditional recipes.

Carolina in the Fall, Wilkesboro (September 23-24)

Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival will be held entirely in the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons in Historic Downtown Wilkesboro. The event will be free to attend, but a limited number of Reserved Seats will be on sale to help fund the festival and keep the rest free to the public. 

Host band The Kruger Brothers will be joined by a handful of other great musicians for a great weekend of free music in Wilkesboro.

Mountain Heritage Day, Cullowhee (September 24)

Head out to Western Carolina University’s main campus for music, food, and a kids area during Mountain Heritage Day.

This unique event brings thousands to Cullowhee to celebrate Southern Appalachian mountain culture and we think this is one not to miss this September! 

Art on Main, Hendersonville (September 24-25)

Hendersonville’s Art on Main returns for its 61st year to showcase 100-plus artists in a variety of mediums. Artists who apply will be juried and those who attend are welcome to purchase any art that catches their eye, as long as it’s for sale. 

Read More: Hiking in Hendersonville (30+ Great Trails Within 1 Hour)

North Carolina Muscadine Festival, Kenansville (September 24)

Things to do in North Carolina Duplin Winery Duplin County

The NC Muscadine Festival brings wineries, food, arts and crafts vendors, and music to the Duplin County Events Center. Admission gives you unlimited tasting from more than 20 area wineries and a commemorative wine glass. 

If you want more muscadine grapes in your life, we created a map of where to pick them throughout NC!

Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map

Home Grown Arts Festival, Kernersville (September 24)

Museums in Winston Salem Korners Folly Kernersville NC

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

Read More: Things to Do in Winston-Salem

Art on the Island, Marshall (September 24)

Blannahassett Island in the middle of the French Broad River comes alive with art during Art on the Island. In addition to featured artists and their artwork, the event will also have food and music.

Read More: The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge (and Why You’ll Love It!)

Harborfest for HeartWorks, Oriental (September 24)

Harborfest for HeartWorks in Oriental benefits over 450 at-risk kids in Pamlico and neighboring counties with amazing food and music. It’s hosted by River Dunes, a waterfront community just outside Oriental. 

Art on the Mountain, West Jefferson (September 24)

The Ashe Arts Center will host Art on the Mountain, where more than 30 artists and makers will be waiting for you. Items for sale include holiday- and fall-themed pieces, and a few of the artists there will be demonstrating how they create their work. 

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone (within 2 Hours)

Bright Leaf Hoedown, Yanceyville (September 24)

Downtown Yanceyville’s Bright Leaf Hoedown offers crafts, educational booths, kids rides and games, and more fun during this big day in Caswell County. The fun will go on all day long and over 20,000 people are expected to drop by. 

World of Bluegrass, Raleigh (September 27-October 1)

World of Bluegrass is a conference, awards ceremony, talent showcase, and bluegrass festival all in one. The festival takes over Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh for two days of music on eight stages.

Read More: Restaurants in Raleigh

Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, Dudley (September 29-October 8)

Dudley’s Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair stretches into October, but we still consider it to be one of the best things to do in North Carolina in September. It’s a nice, long celebration to start North Carolina’s harvest festivals.

This year’s “Best 10 Days of Fall” will have rides and games, tons of amazing food, and more. 

Read More: Things to Do in Goldsboro

Carolina Classic Fair, Winston-Salem (September 30-October 9)

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! 

Got Any Things to Do in North Carolina in September to Add?

I knew September in North Carolina was going to be a busy time but wow! There’s so much fun going on throughout the month and we can’t wait to enjoy it along with you.

As fall continues on through October and November, we can’t wait to share all the events going on in our state. However, before we look ahead, we want to know which of these events and festivals you’ll be attending? 

Also, are there more things to do in North Carolina in September 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 in September (and Beyond)

 

2 thoughts on “40+ Things to Do in North Carolina in September”

  1. I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy reading your newsletter every time it lands in my mail. I miss being in North Carolina & hope to be moving to New Bern in the next couple of years. Thanks for your efforts to provide us with things to do & sight see there.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Bobbie. I hope you can move to New Bern and enjoy that wonderful small town and its surroundings.

      Reply

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