The 5 Best Fall Festivals in All of North Carolina

Written by Theresa Pogach
Published: October 13, 2023
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Fall is a beautiful time to visit North Carolina, with its crisp air, changing leaves, and abundant harvest. And what better way to celebrate the season than at one of the state’s many fall festivals? From apple festivals to cheese and folk festivals, there‚Äôs something for everyone to enjoy in North Carolina. These autumn celebrations offer a chance to sample fresh produce, browse arts and crafts booths, and listen to live music. There are also activities to entertain the entire family, from toddlers to grandparents!

Here is a list of the top fall festivals in North Carolina based on popularity, visitor reviews, and unique offerings:

1. North Carolina Apple Festival (Hendersonville)

Apples at Allenholm Orchards in South Hero, Vermont USA.

Everything you want to know about apples can be learned at the festival.

©Robophoto1/Shutterstock.com

This festival celebrates the state’s apple industry, with over 200 vendors selling fresh apples, apple pies, cider, and other apple-themed treats. Music performances, arts and crafts booths, and children’s activities attract happy crowds.

Things to do:

  • Sample fresh apples and apple products, including apple cider, dumplings, and butter.
  • Enjoy live musical performances from local and regional bands.
  • Browse and purchase unique arts and crafts as well as North Carolina originals.
  • Participate in family-friendly activities like apple picking, hayrides, and a petting zoo.
  • Take in the stunning fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

2. Autumn Leaves Festival (Mount Airy)

Autumn, Falling, Forest, Tree, Backgrounds

The Blue Ridge Mountains offer a beautiful background for this autumn festival.

©iStock.com/Preto_perola

This festival is one of the largest in North Carolina, and it features arts and crafts vendors, live music, a food court, and various family-friendly activities. The festival is also known for its stunning fall foliage, held in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Things to do:

  • Browse and purchase unique arts and crafts from over 200 vendors, including jewelry, pottery, and woodworking.
  • Enjoy live music performances and other local entertainment.
  • Sample delicious food from the festival’s food court, including barbecue, funnel cakes, and roasted corn.
  • Participate in family-friendly activities like face painting, pony rides, and a maze.
  • Take in the stunning fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

3. Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival (Black Mountain)

Two young woman drinking beer and having fun at Beach party together. Happy girlfriends having fun at music festival. Summer holiday, vacation concept.

Cooking demonstrations and cheesy snacks fuel the fun at this festival.

©maxbelchenko/Shutterstock.com

This festival celebrates all things cheese, with over 20 vendors selling artisan cheese from all over North Carolina. There are also cooking demonstrations, live music, and various other activities.

Things to do:

  • Sample artisan cheese from over 20 vendors, including goat, cheddar, and blue cheese.
  • Watch cooking demonstrations by local chefs showing you how to incorporate cheese into your cooking.
  • Enjoy live music performances from a variety of local and regional bands.
  • Participate in other activities like a cheese-tasting competition and a silent auction.

4. Brushy Mountain Apple Festival (Yadkinville)

kids on a harvest festival at farm. children pick pumpkins at the farmers market

Hayrides and fall-themed activities take center stage at the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival.

©EvgeniiAnd/Shutterstock.com

This festival is another great place to sample fresh apples and apple products. It also features a variety of other activities, such as live music, arts and crafts booths, and a children’s play area.

Things to do:

  • Sample fresh apple products from various vendors, including apple cider, donuts, and pies.
  • Enjoy live music performances while you feast on apple-themed treats.
  • Browse and purchase unique arts and crafts from over 200 vendors.
  • Participate in family-friendly activities, such as apple picking, hayrides, and a children’s play area.
  • Visit the festival’s food court for various food options, including barbecue, fried chicken, and ice cream.

5. Smoky Mountain Folk Festival (Maggie Valley)

Banjo player in a band

The number of performers at the folk festival ensures something for everyone.

©PT Hamilton/Shutterstock.com

This festival celebrates the traditional music and culture of the Appalachian Mountains. It features over 200 performers, as well as arts and crafts booths, food vendors, and a variety of other activities.

Things to do:

  • Enjoy live music performances, including unique bluegrass bands, folk singers, and mountain dancers.
  • Browse and purchase unique arts and crafts from over 100 vendors.
  • Sample delicious food from the festival’s food court, including barbecue, fried chicken, and funnel cakes.
  • Participate in family-friendly activities like face painting, pony rides, and a maze.
  • Take in the stunning fall foliage of the Smoky Mountains.

North Carolina’s fall festivals are a vibrant celebration of the season’s beauty and the state’s rich cultural heritage. As the air turns crisp and the leaves transform into a brilliant tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows, the people of North Carolina come together to revel in the joys of autumn. 

From the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains to the coastal plains, there’s a festival for everyone to enjoy. The aroma of freshly baked apple pies and pumpkin spice lattes fills the air, while lively music and the laughter of families and friends create a sense of warmth and togetherness. 

You’ll find that these fall festivals encapsulate the essence of community and the simple pleasures of the season, making them a cherished tradition for locals and a delightful experience for visitors. North Carolina’s fall festivals are a beautiful reminder of the simple joys that come with autumn. Beyond these five fabulous events, North Carolina has abundant fall options for fun! 

Here are some additional tips for planning your trip to a fall festival in North Carolina:

  • Check the festival’s website for a detailed schedule of events and activities.
  • Purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the gate.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring cash, as many vendors may not accept credit cards.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, and water, especially if you’re visiting a festival on a sunny day.
  • Be prepared for crowds, especially at the most popular festivals.

With its beautiful scenery, mild weather, and abundant fall festivals, North Carolina is the perfect place to celebrate autumn!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com


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