LONDON - OCTOBER 22: A work of art by Paul McCarthy is displayed during the VIP opening party for McCarthy?s new exhibition ?LaLa Land Parody Paradise? at the Whitechapel Art Gallery October 22, 205 in London, England.

Shiver me timbers, the pirates are coming! That’s right a pirate invasion is coming to the North Carolina coast this weekend. But no need to beware. They are friendly pirates! They will make their way to Beaufort, NC for the Beaufort Pirate Invasion Festival on September 23rd-25th. The festival celebrates the rich history of pirates in eastern North Carolina. The festival begins with the pirates attacking the Beaufort Hotel at 6pm Friday. Following the attack will be the Blackbeard’s Masquerade Ball. Some of the weekends over events include other attacks, a Pirate Trial and public execution, breakfast with Blackbeard, and a Buccaneers’ Revue and dinner.

Tickets are $10 for general admission with some activities requiring an additional ticket. The Pirate Invasion Festival is the largest annual event in Beaufort North Carolina. Its roots date back to 1960 when Grayden Paul and the Beaufort Fire Department reenacted the invasion of  1747. That’s when the Spanish Attack on Beaufort began. and lasted several months. Today the festival is run by a 501c3 organization with the mission of helping to preserve the local coastal history and heritage.

If you’re looking for a fun road trip this weekend this could be the one! Everyone loves pirates both kids and adults alike. Get more info on the festival here.

List: 22 North Carolina Festivals To Check Out In 2022

Events are finally back and many festivals will be held in person for the first time since 2019. Whether you’re looking for small-town fun celebrating some of what makes our state great, or huge festivals we’ve got something for you. Many North Carolina festivals celebrate foods that are important to their local area. One celebrates everything North Carolina has to offer. You’ve got arts and crafts vendors, lots and lots of food, beer and wine, rides and other activities for kids, 5Ks, and more.

Events are spread all throughout the state so you’re sure to find one that’s near you. Or if you want an excuse to travel (do you ever really need one?) plan a trip! North Carolina has so much to offer and many of these small towns might be overlooked by you without the draw of these events. So plan a visit this year and experience something new!


22 North Carolina Festivals To Experience In 2022

  • North Carolina Pickle Festival

    Dates: April 22-23

    Location: Mt. Olive, NC

    What To Expect: Events such as Cuke Patch 5K, Pickle Eating Contest, Recipe Contest, Tour de Pickle


  • North Carolina Cotton Festival

    Dates: November 5th

    Location: Dunn, NC

    What To Expect:  Two stages of entertainment featuring a variety of music, a classic car show featuring more than 100 cars, more than 100 vendors offering commercial products, food and crafts.


  • Jiggy With The Piggy

    Dates: May 13-15

    Location: Kannapolis, NC

    What To Expect: Jiggy with the Piggy includes a Kansas City Barbeque Society Competition, Kid’s Zone and rides, 5k Walk/Run, over 100 artisans, concerts, a Saturday outdoor family movie, a People’s Choice Pork Competition, and more!


  • Matthews Alive

    Dates: September 2nd-5th

    Location: Matthews, NC

    What To Expect: Rides, games, food, a parade, free entertainment, arts & crafts, a petting zoo – just to name a few activities!


  • Smithfield Ham & Yam Fesival

    Location: Smithfield, NC

    Dates: May 22nd

    What To Expect: With pig races, inflatables, vendors, entertainment, and ham and yam foods, craft and commercial vendors , food vendors featuring country ham and sweet potatoes, and entertainment, a barbecue cook-off, rubber duck race, and the always popular “What’s That Yam Thing?” contest. 


  • Black Mountain Sourwood Festival

    Dates: August 13th-14th

    Location: Black Mountain, NC

    What To Expect: Artisans and Craftsmen as well as Kid-Friendly Activities 


  • Mullet Festival

    Dates: October 8th and 9th

    Location: Swansboro, NC

    What To Expect: A parade Saturday at 9am, street vendors, kids’ area, live music, fish fry, food vendors, and more.


  • Cheerwine Festival

    Date: May 21st

    Location: Salisbury, NC

    What To Expect: The event will feature live entertainment from local, regional, and national musical acts; delicious Cheerwine-inspired food, drinks, and crafts from Carolinian vendors; kid-friendly activities; and plenty of ice-cold effervescent Cheerwine.


  • Blue, Brew, & Cue

    Date: March 26th

    Location: Kenansville, NC

    What To Expect: Bluegrass bands, local NC Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries and of course NC Barbeque!


  • NC Black Bear Festival

    Date: June 4th

    Location: Plymouth, NC

    What To Expect: Located on the banks of the Roanoke River, Bear Fest is part river festival and part bear festival with over 30 ever-changing activities each year including live music, pontoon boat rides, refuge black bear tours, a 5K, contests, and more!


  • Benson Mule Days

    Date: September

    Location: Benson, NC

    What To Expect: A rodeo, music, golf tournament, parade and more!


  • NC Oyster Festival

    Dates: October 15th & 16th

    Location: Ocean Isle, NC

    What To Expect: Celebrate everything Oyster as OIB Town Center Park transforms into a walking district offering a variety of foods, crafts, contests and musical performances.


  • North Carolina Whirligig Festival

    Date: November 5th & 6th

    Location: Wilson, NC

    What To Expect: The North Carolina Whirligig Festival is an all-inclusive, two-day arts festival that showcases the arts of the region, including the NC Folk art – Whirligigs – created by local artist, Vollis Simpson. The Whirligigs are 20-50 feet in height and they incorporate highway and road signs, HVAC fans, bicycles, ceiling fans, various woods, steel rods, milkshake mixers, and many more such materials form the support and moving parts. 


  • Southport Spring Festival

    Dates: April 15th &16th

    Location: South Port, NC

    What To Expect: The Spring Festival has over 100 crafters, an exciting variety of food, live entertainment, flower and plant sale, and children’s activities including a tracklist train.


  • Carolina Strawberry Festival

    Dates: April 29th & 30th

    Location: Wallace, NC

    What To Expect: The Miss Strawberry pageant, music, a dinosaur show, model train exhibit, car show, and a tractor show!


  • NC Butterfly Festival

    Date: May 7th

    Location: Hudson, NC

    What To Expect: The Town of Hudson hosts the Hudson Butterfly Festival, featuring food, arts, antiques, music, and a beer garden.


  • Got To Be NC Festival

    Dates: May 20th-22nd

    Location: Raleigh, NC

    What To Expect: Three great days of down-home celebration North Carolina-style at the Got to Be NC Festival at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Activities include Carnival Rides and Games, Food from Independent Vendors, the Food Lion Local Goodness Marketplace (Local food, wine & beer vendors), Pony Rides, the State Fair Flyer, and the Masonic Carolina Pig Jig


  • Lexington BBQ Festival

    Date: October 22nd

    Location: Lexington,  NC

    What To Expect: The festival is held in Uptown Lexington on a ten-block stretch of Main Street. Over four hundred exhibitors sell everything from handmade crafts to handmade fudge. Also, a juried competition includes artists and craftsmen from across the country.  Seven stages of entertainment showcase local and national artists. The festival is for people of all ages and includes a special section of rides and games for children, the Barbecue Carnival & Family Area. Other special attractions this year will include an antique car show, the “Hogway Speedway”- Racing Pigs, Bicycle Stunt Show, 50-ton pig-themed sand sculpture, Corvette display, “Festival Chop Shop”- Lumberjack Sports show, rock climbing wall, and much more! And of course BBQ!


  • North Carolina Seafood Festival

    Dates: September 30th -October 2nd

    Location: Morehead City, NC

    What To Expect: Created to recognize the importance of Seafood to eastern North Carolina, this annual festival features an Oyster Shucking Contest, musical performances, road races, beer sampling, rides, and wine!


  • NC Apple Festival

    Dates: September 2nd-5th

    Location: Hendersonville, NC

    What To Expect: The North Carolina Apple Festival is held annually over Labor Day Weekend in Hendersonville, North Carolina. It has been Western North Carolina’s Premier Family Festival for over 60 years. Enjoy 4 days of fun including one of the best-known Street Fairs in the Carolinas with Freshly Picked Apples, Arts & Crafts, Festival Food, and FREE Entertainment at the Historic Courthouse on Hendersonville’s beautiful Main Street.


  • Pimento Cheese Festival

    Date: June 11th

    Location: Cary, NC

    What To Expect: Food trucks will line Academy Street to serve their regular menus, along with new dishes featuring a southern delicacy: pimento cheese! Enjoy live music at Downtown Park, grab a drink from local breweries, and taste some of the best pimento cheese samples from local restaurants. You can even test your skills in the pimento cheese sculpting contest.


  • NC Blueberry Festival

    Date: June 17-18th

    Location: Burgaw, NC

    What To Expect: Over 20 events ranging from live entertainment to car show, a street fair, recipe contest, barbecue cook-off, a 5K run, kids’ activities, special exhibits, and a variety of other events.


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