Fall is not the first season that comes to mind when you talk about outdoor festivals, especially in North Carolina, but there is a surprising amount of them just near Wilmington! They range from the family-friendly to the 21+ crowd exclusives, but they all share a strong community feeling and are so varied in their themes that you won’t even miss summer at all. Of course, we wish everyone had enough time to visit and enjoy every single one, but we know that’s not the case, so here are our five favorite events.
These are the best fall festivals near Wilmington in 2019!
Lexington is one of the world’s capitals when it comes to barbecue. After all, the first barbecue restaurant in town opened back in 1919. This annual festival brings not only the tastiest varieties of slow-cooked pork shoulder but a nice mix of entertainment for the whole family like the Highway Speedway, Festival Chop Shop, rock climbing, pig-themed 50-ton sand sculpture, a Corvette display, and much more. This is a festival that has truly grown and diversified beyond its original scope, so even if you’re not there to pig out on mouthwatering barbecue (and why wouldn’t you?), there will be plenty of entertainment for you! Truly one of the best festivals in October for 2019.
County fairs immediately evoke the memory of sticky cotton candy, balloons, Ferris wheels, petting corrals, merry-go-rounds, delicious food, and many other fantastic staples of our childhoods. In that regard, few events compare to the Cape Fear Fair & Expo, the longest-running event in the Port City area which has been going on for decades and is rightfully called by many as one of the most fun celebrations that Wilmington has to offer. The whole event is family-friendly through and through, and you’ll find magic shows, comedy hypnotist shows, pig derbies, dance competitions, and more!
If you’ve never seen a hot air balloon take off, then you’re really in for an amazing show at the Carolina BalloonFest. While the fleet of colorful balloons taking flight in groups twice a day is the main attraction, you also have plenty of other events to look forward to, like riding in one of them (provided you reserve ahead of time), live entertainment on multiple stages, camping opportunities, fly-overs, and food. So grab the whole family, a picnic blanket and a comfy lawn chair, because you’re about to see the sky fill with color.
This single-day event is the best place to be if you fancy yourself a true beer aficionado and are always looking for that next amazing beer that will challenge your tastebuds. Taking place on board an actual battleship, the USS North Carolina, over 45 breweries will be offering their latest and most limited beers (really, you’re never going to taste them out of here) to a small crowd. That’s the main draw of the festival, but you are also entitled to delicious food, an amazing view, and awesome live music with your ticket purchase. Space is very limited, so make sure to get your tickets now!
Do you love bluegrass music? Well, then Historic Downtown Clayton is the place where you want to be this coming November because The Shindig reunites over 10 bands in two different stages. While the event itself is an all-ages festival, you will also find an excellent selection of beers in the vendor area, and plenty of food trucks offering delicious eating options. You can even bring your dog on a leash! This is a very relaxed event with a strong community feeling behind it, so if you want to enjoy a nice show and forget about your problems for a while, The Shindig is the place to be.
And if you think you’re too busy to leave the house long enough to have a great time at a fest? Just leave your chores in the hands of the experts, you’ll see the difference right away!