There are so many great festivals across the state, including Fayetteville's own Dogwood Festival.

North Carolina? Oh, it’s basically the cool kid everyone can’t help but like—dripping with culture, history, and a vibe that makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a hug. And let me tell you, the festival scene here? It’s the real MVP, shining a big, bright spotlight on what makes this place the heart emoji in real life. Picture it: a year-round bash where each event feels like diving headfirst into the cool pool of everything that’s quintessentially North Carolina. It’s where folks from all over the globe flock to sip on the local brew of flair, talent, and traditions thicker and sweeter than your grandma’s best pound cake.

And these festivals aren’t just your run-of-the-mill weekend affairs. They’re a head-over-heels celebration of all the beautiful things that get this state’s heart beating—think foot-stomping music, movies that glue you to your seat, and folklore that might just have you believing in the tooth fairy again. Oh, and the food? So mouthwatering, it might just tempt you to give mama a playful smack for not feeding you this good (kidding, please keep hands to yourself). It’s the perfect excuse for everyone to band together, show some North Carolina pride, and just have an absolute ball.

So, if your playlist is crying for tunes that make your soul do a little dance, or if movies that keep you guessing are your jam, or maybe you just love getting lost in a story that feels like a vacation for your brain, or heck, if you’re just on the hunt for a good time—North Carolina’s festivals have got your back. Let me give you the details on the must-visit events, the ones that are the very heartbeat of this buzzing place. Trust me, it’s where the cool kids are.

  • 1. LUCKNOW MUSIC FESTIVAL

    Date: April 13, 2024
    Location: Dunn
    Hey, guess what’s turning downtown Dunn into the place you want to be? The Lucknow Music Festival! It’s like the entire town tunes into this giant playlist celebrating Harnett County’s musical magic. Picture this: you, your friends, and a lineup that’s straight-up fire – we’re talking 9daytrip, Caique Vidal & Batuque, the legendary Tito Puente, Jr., and The Landsharks, to name just a few. It’s not just about the music, though. Imagine chilling with some awesome street food from food trucks or checking out cool stuff from local artisans. If you’re all about good vibes, dope music, and making memories, you won’t wanna miss this. Let’s make it a date, shall we?

  • 2. RIVERRUN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    Date: Annually in April

    Location: Winston Salem

    The RiverRun International Film Festival is hitting its 26th year, and it’s seriously one of the coolest film fests in the Southeast, maybe even the whole U.S.! It’s got this Academy Award-qualifying badge which is like a big deal, right? They show all kinds of movies – think everything from those deep story-driven narratives and eye-opening docs to super fun animated stuff across every genre you can imagine.

    With over 150 films on the lineup, there’s literally something for every movie buff out there. Plus, it’s not just about sitting in the dark and watching the screen; there are panels, parties, and even free screenings for the community. So, if you’re as film-crazy as I am, RiverRun is where you wanna be. Trust me, it’s the perfect spot to geek out over movies, meet some cool people, and just enjoy the vibe. See you there?

  • 3. PIRATEFEST

    Date: April 20, 2024

    Location: Greenville

    I love all things Greenville especially the people! Ready to get your pirate on? PirateFest is THE place to be, turning the T-ARRRGH River in downtown Greenville into a haven for pirates young and old. They’re hitting the big 1-7 this year, and it’s going to be epic. Imagine roaming around with artsy treasures to snag, chilling at cool beverage stations, munching on goodies from food trucks, and getting your thrill on with some legit sword fighting and cannon demos. And just when you think it can’t get any better, we’re throwing a concert at the Greenville Toyota Amphitheater as the sun dips – talk about a perfect family night out. Don’t miss out!

  • 4. MEBANE DOGWOOD FESTIVAL

    Date: April 26, 2024

    Location: Mebane

    You ready to dive into Alamance County’s coolest street bash? The Mebane Dogwood Festival is hitting its 36th year! Kicking off with a 5K race to get those legs moving, they’ve got the Mason Lovette Band rocking the main stage, and that’s just the start. Imagine carnival rides that’ll give you the thrills, craft vendors with stuff you didn’t know you needed, food trucks serving up mouth-watering eats, and entertainment that’ll make you want to stay forever. It’s the perfect spot to hang, no matter where you’re from. So, grab your squad and let’s make some memories at a festival that’s more about being together and having a blast than anything else. See you there!

  • 5. FAYETTEVILLE DOGWOOD FESTIVAL

    Date: April 26-28, 2024

    Location: Fayetteville

    I’m biased but this is hands down one of my favorite Festivals in the state next to Dreamville. I said what I said, argue with your mama. Returning for its 42nd year, the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival draws crowds from across the state to enjoy live entertainment, midway carnival rides, activities for the whole family, and a wide range of cultural foods. The three-day celebration is a showcase of that Ville community spirit and fun!

  • 6. SMITHFIELD HAM & YAM FESTIVAL

    Date: May 4, 2024

    Location: Smithfield

    Ready to dive into the ultimate comfort food party? Johnston County is throwing its epic Ham & Yam Festival, and let me tell you, it’s not just about food; it’s a full-on celebration of everything delish. We’re talking mouth-watering ham biscuits, BBQ pork sandwiches that’ll make you weep with joy, and sweet potato goodies that are literally to die for.

    But hey, it’s not all about stuffing our faces (though, let’s be honest, that’s a big part of the fun). There is artsy stuff and vendors for a bit of shopping, activities that’ll keep the kids buzzing, and live music to vibe to.

    This is the ultimate day out for the fam or squad. So, who’s in for some fun and games (and maybe a food coma)? How can you not want to investigate just off of the name alone? See you there!

  • 7. ANNUAL WNC BIGFOOT FESTIVAL

    Date: May 18, 2024

    Location: Marion

    Dive headfirst into the Bigfoot mania at Marion’s Annual WNC Bigfoot Festival right in the heart of downtown. It’s the place to be! Ever wanted to chat with a real Bigfoot hunting squad? Or hang out with some of the top Bigfoot buffs from around the country? You’re in luck! Plus, there’s a ton of fun stuff for the whole fam, from the little ones to the grown-ups. And don’t worry, we’ve got your munchies covered with plenty of food to keep your energy up as we celebrate everything Bigfoot in the most fab way possible.

  • 8. NORTH CAROLINA AZALEA FESTIVAL

    Location: Wilmington

    It’s the ultimate celebration of spring, Southern-style, at the North Carolina Azalea Festival! Imagine strolling through vibrant garden tours, jamming to some big-name acts, munching your way through a waterfront street fair, and catching a grand parade that’ll knock your socks off. It’s your all-access pass to Wilmington’s coolest art, stunning gardens, rich history, and buzzing culture. Trust me, it’s a total blast for visitors of any age and a perfect excuse to let loose and soak in those spring vibes. Don’t miss out!

  • 9. NORTH CAROLINA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL

    Date: October 4-6, 2024

    Location: Morehead City

    The “Sailing Capital of North Carolina” is throwing the biggest bash of the year – the North Carolina Seafood Festival! It’s not just any party; we’re talking a full-on celebration of everything seafood and that chill coastal vibe. Picture this: live tunes that get your feet moving, chefs showing off their magic with seafood, boat shows that’ll make you wish you were a sailor, arts and crafts that scream beach vibes, and, of course, heaps of scrumptious local grub to dig into.

    It’s one of the hugest shindigs in the state, pulling in thousands every year. Why? To get a real taste (literally and figuratively) of North Carolina’s coast. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out. It’s the place to be to soak in all that coastal goodness and, let’s be honest, who can say no to amazing seafood? See you there!

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