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Experience Eastern North Carolina's Best End of Summer Festivals - 2023 Calendar

Experience Eastern North Carolina's Best End of Summer Festivals - 2023 Calendar

As the warm summer sun starts to wane, Eastern North Carolina gears up for an exciting lineup of end-of-summer festivals in the months of August and September. From watermelon delights to fig festivities, pirate adventures to shrimp extravaganzas, and multicultural celebrations, there's something for everyone to savor. These vibrant gatherings showcase the region's rich cultural heritage, offering locals and visitors an unforgettable experience. So, let's embark on a journey through the charming towns of Eastern North Carolina as we explore the delightful Summer Festivals that mark the end of this season in this beautiful corner of the Tar Heel State. 

Outer Banks Watermelon Festival - Nags Head - Aug 3, 2023

The Outer Banks Watermelon Festival is an eagerly anticipated event that will be held on August 3rd, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head, North Carolina. This 17th annual festival promises a fun-filled day for locals and visitors alike, celebrating all things watermelon with a host of exciting activities.

Attendees can look forward to engaging in various watermelon-themed competitions, arts and crafts, face painting, and even a tie-dye station. The festival is free to attend, but to participate in games and enjoy delicious food, tickets will be required. The event's proceeds will go towards supporting the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, a worthy cause dedicated to improving safety in the area.

Mark your calendars for this fun-filled day at Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head. The Outer Banks Watermelon Festival offers a perfect opportunity to savor the last days of summer and indulge in the delightful spirit of community and celebration. Don't miss out on the chance to participate in classic competitions and win awesome prizes while supporting a meaningful cause in the process. Make it a day to remember with friends and family, and be part of the festivities that make Nags Head a beloved vacation destination in North Carolina. Enjoy the warmth of summer and the refreshing taste of watermelon at this vibrant event! Next!

Ocracoke Fig Festival – Ocracoke - Aug 4-5, 2023

The Ocracoke Fig Festival is a delightful celebration of the island's fig traditions, and it will take place from August 4th to August 5th, 2023, on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. This festival pays homage to Margaret Garrish, an Ocracoke housewife who created the famous Ocracoke fig cake by ingeniously substituting fig preserves for dates in her cake recipe. Her culinary innovation has become a cherished tradition on the island.

During the festival, visitors can expect a variety of activities, including exhibits showcasing the island's fig heritage, fun contests, lively music, and even dancing to immerse themselves in the festive spirit. It's an opportunity to experience the town's love for figs through a wide range of engaging and entertaining events.

For those planning to attend, it's advisable to book vacation properties early due to the popularity of this event. The Ocracoke Fig Festival promises to be a memorable experience, full of fig treats and cultural delights, as the island comes alive with joyous festivities and a warm sense of community. So, mark your calendars and get ready to savor the flavors and traditions of Ocracoke during this special occasion! Yummy!

Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival - Sneads Ferry - Sept 8-9, 2023

The 52nd Anniversary of the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival is fast approaching, and it is scheduled to take place on September 8th and 9th, 2023. This highly anticipated festival promises a fantastic weekend of fun, festivities, and, of course, delicious fresh NC Shrimp straight from the boat.

The Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival boasts a diverse range of activities for all ages, making it a perfect event for families and individuals alike. Festival-goers can look forward to enjoying a lively parade, live music performances, engaging craft vendors, entertaining games, and delightful children's activities, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy. The festivities will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display, adding a touch of magic to the already vibrant atmosphere.

For those who relish the flavors of the sea, this festival offers the perfect opportunity to indulge in the succulent taste of fresh NC Shrimp, a culinary delight that's sure to please seafood enthusiasts.

To stay updated on all the exciting details and happenings during the festival, attendees are encouraged to visit the official festival website and follow the event's Facebook page as well. By doing so, they can keep track of upcoming events, participate in the planning committee meetings, and get involved as volunteers, team leaders, vendors, sponsors, and partners.

So, if you're a seafood enthusiast or just looking for a memorable weekend filled with entertainment and community spirit, make sure to mark your calendars for the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival on September 8th and 9th, 2023. It's an event you won't want to miss! Next!

Outer Banks Pirate Festival – Nags Head - Aug 9-10, 2023

Ahoy Mateys! The Outer Banks Pirate Festival is a thrilling event that will be held on August 9th and 10th, 2023, at Jockey's Ridge Crossing in Nags Head, North Carolina. This swashbuckling festival is proudly sponsored by Seaside Vacations and offers an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of pirates!

Hosted by Kitty Hawk Kites, the festival promises an action-packed experience for attendees of all ages. Visitors can learn about the captivating history of pirates through interactive activities, and for those wanting a taste of the pirate life, Scallywag School awaits! Participants can join the school for a small registration fee of $10, where they will receive a certificate as a token of their newly acquired pirate knowledge.

The Scallywag School will be held at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM on both festival days, August 9th and 10th. Additionally, attendees can capture the magic of the sea with walk-up Mermaid pictures available from 12 PM to 2 PM during the festival.

The Outer Banks Pirate Festival offers free entry to all, making it a fantastic family-friendly event that's accessible to everyone. Whether you're a history enthusiast or simply seeking a unique and entertaining experience, this festival is sure to delight as you embark on a thrilling journey into the world of pirates.

For more information about the festival, including details on specific activities and schedule, interested individuals can contact [email protected] or visit the event's official page at https://www.kittyhawk.com/event/outer-banks-pirate-festival/. Prepare to hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail for the Outer Banks Pirate Festival for a memorable experience filled with adventure and excitement! Next!

Winterville Watermelon Festival – Winterville - Aug 24-27, 2023

The Winterville Watermelon Festival is an exciting multi-day event that promises fun and entertainment for all ages. Spanning from August 24th to August 27th, 2023, this festival is a must-visit for anyone looking to savor the sweetness of summer and enjoy a variety of activities centered around everyone's favorite juicy fruit, watermelon.

The festival's program includes an array of thrilling activities, such as live music performances by renowned acts, including the Marshall Tucker Band, Still Shakers, and Crawford & Power. Attendees can groove to the rhythm of these talented musicians and experience the true essence of a Watermelon Jam!

Throughout the festival, visitors will have the chance to partake in a lively Watermelon Parade, compete in a watermelon-eating contest, and enjoy the excitement of carnival rides that add an extra dose of fun to the celebration. Furthermore, the festival grounds will be adorned with flea markets, commercial vendors, and an assortment of food stalls offering delectable watermelon treats and classic fair food options.

For those planning to attend the Watermelon Jam concerts, please note that the concert area allows alcohol consumption, and tickets are required for entry. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and blankets are not permitted. The Pit Area is standing-only, and it's essential to be aware that there are no refunds for tickets purchased. The festival has certain restrictions, and attendees are advised that outside food or drink, pets, video equipment, drugs, weapons, and other prohibited items are not allowed on the festival premises. 

It's also good to keep in mind that each performer may have a different policy regarding fan interactions, so be sure to check for updates and guidelines from the artists' representatives.

The Winterville Watermelon Festival offers an excellent opportunity for locals and visitors alike to come together and celebrate the joy of summer and the refreshing taste of watermelon. Whether you're a fan of live music, carnival fun, or simply looking to enjoy the festival's vibrant atmosphere, this event promises an unforgettable experience for everyone. So, mark your calendars for August 24th to August 27th, 2023, and join in the festivities at the Winterville Watermelon Festival! Next!

Ayden Collard Festival – Ayden - Sept 8-9, 2023

The Ayden Collard Festival is a cherished tradition that has been celebrated annually in Ayden, North Carolina, since its inception in 1975. This exciting festival takes place over two days, from September 8th to September 9th, 2023, and brings together locals and visitors alike to partake in a range of enjoyable activities and entertainment.

The festival's origins trace back to a letter to the editor written by Mrs. Lois Theuring in 1975, where she suggested the idea of a festival for Ayden. Following discussions and a community voting process, the name "Collard Festival" was chosen, and the inaugural event took place on September 13, 1975. The first festival featured a vibrant street dance, a lively parade, amusement rides, and an assortment of activities that quickly became a hit with attendees. Since then, the Ayden Collard Festival has been a cherished tradition held annually during the first week of September, with new events continuously added each year to enhance the experience.

Festival-goers can look forward to an array of enjoyable events during the Ayden Collard Festival. The festivities typically include pageants, parades, art shows, eating and cooking contests, live entertainment, and talent shows, providing an opportunity for participants to showcase their skills and talents. With a focus on celebrating local culture, delicious collard greens often take center stage as a culinary highlight, giving attendees a taste of the region's flavors.

For those planning to attend the festival, nearby hotels and rentals are available to accommodate visitors from out of town, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay during the festivities.

As the Ayden Collard Festival approaches in September, stay tuned for more information about the specific schedule of events, as well as updates on new and exciting activities that will make this year's celebration a memorable one. Whether you're a local or a traveler seeking a taste of North Carolina's vibrant culture, the Ayden Collard Festival is an event not to be missed. Mark your calendars and prepare to immerse yourself in the lively and spirited atmosphere of this beloved community festival!

NC Freedom Fest – Goldsboro - Sept 9, 2023

The NC Freedom Fest is a highly anticipated event that celebrates community, freedom, and camaraderie in Goldsboro, North Carolina. This year, the festival will take place on September 9th, 2023, promising a day filled with exciting performances, activities, and entertainment for all to enjoy.

As part of the larger "Freedom Week 2023" celebration, the NC Freedom Fest is the main highlight and attracts visitors from all around the region. The festival features a diverse lineup of events, including various performances, a car and bike show, a kids zone for young festival-goers, and military awards to honor the service of our brave men and women. The presence of vendors adds a delightful shopping experience, offering a wide array of products to browse and purchase.

One of the highlights of the NC Freedom Fest is the headlining performance by country artist Elvie Shane, who promises to entertain the crowd with his musical talents and charisma. The festival creates a vibrant and lively atmosphere, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the spirit of freedom and unity that defines the event.

Moreover, the NC Freedom Fest collaborates with the United Way's "Taste of Wayne" fundraiser, a street food festival held on September 7th, that aims to benefit the local community by supporting United Way initiatives. Attendees of the "Taste of Wayne" can indulge in a delectable variety of street food delights while contributing to a worthy cause. Tickets for this mouthwatering experience cost $15, and children under six can enter for free.

For those who wish to get involved in the festival as sponsors, there are opportunities available to support and contribute to the success of the NC Freedom Fest. Being a part of this event allows sponsors to showcase their commitment to the community and demonstrate their dedication to the values of freedom and togetherness.

Mark your calendars and join in the festivities at the NC Freedom Fest in Goldsboro on September 9th, 2023. This is a fantastic opportunity to come together, enjoy amazing performances, explore local vendors, and celebrate the rich spirit of freedom and community in Goldsboro.

The International Folk Festival - Fayetteville - Sept 23-25, 2023

The 45th Annual International Folk Festival is an exciting cultural event scheduled to take place in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina, from September 22 to September 24, 2023. This festival, produced by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, aims to celebrate and showcase cultural heritage and diversity through various artistic expressions.

During the festival, attendees can immerse themselves in the richness of different cultures and traditions. One of the highlights is the "Parade of Nations," where over 30 nations will be represented, displaying their unique customs and traditions. It offers a vibrant and colorful spectacle that allows visitors to experience the world's cultural tapestry in one place.

As part of the festivities, artists and vendors have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the celebration. They can apply for performance spots, art market booths, or commercial food and merchandise vending. For those interested in showcasing their artistic talents or offering unique products, contacting the Arts Council at 910-323-1776 or [email protected] is the way to go.

Moreover, the International Folk Festival promises a wonderful experience for visitors, whether they enjoy captivating performances, explore diverse arts and crafts, savor delicious international cuisines, or engage with different cultural exhibits. The festival encourages a spirit of unity, understanding, and appreciation for the world's varied traditions and customs.

Fayetteville's Festival Park and Historic Downtown will be the vibrant setting for this cultural extravaganza, and it will be a rain-or-shine event. It's important to note that once vendors are approved for their respective booths or spots, refunds or exchanges won't be provided.

For more details and the latest updates about the International Folk Festival, interested individuals can visit the festival's official website or get in touch with the Arts Council directly. With free admission from 12 PM to 7 PM, the festival welcomes everyone to join in and celebrate the diverse heritage that makes our world so fascinating.

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion – Beaufort - Sept 22-24, 2023

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion is an exciting event scheduled to take place from September 22 to September 24, 2023, in Beaufort. This lively festival promises a weekend filled with pirate-themed activities and entertainment, offering a unique experience for attendees of all ages.

The schedule of events for the Beaufort Pirate Invasion is packed with thrilling activities that immerse visitors in the world of pirates and their daring adventures. Throughout the weekend, attendees can witness exciting pirate attacks, participate in a masquerade ball, and enjoy a special breakfast with none other than the infamous pirate, Blackbeard himself.

As part of the festival, there will be various demonstrations, shows, and reenactments, including a reenactment of the Spanish pirate invasion of 1747. The event also features costume contests, a pirate trial, and a public execution of convicted pirates, adding a touch of historical authenticity to the proceedings.

Evening events during the Beaufort Pirate Invasion are equally engaging, with a talent show and dinner provided by Fat Fella's. The festivities culminate with a captivating reenactment of the Battle of Ocracoke, featuring the notorious Blackbeard.

To enhance the immersive experience, visitors can also join the Pirate Flotilla invasion of Beaufort, adding an exciting maritime element to the festivities. Alongside the sea battles, attendees can explore various vendors, and food trucks, and enjoy a wide array of performances throughout the weekend.

For those interested in attending the evening events, separate tickets may be required, allowing participants to make the most of their pirate-themed adventure.

The Beaufort Pirate Invasion is a fantastic opportunity for families and history enthusiasts alike to enjoy a weekend filled with fun, entertainment, and a touch of historical reenactment. With updated information available on the event's website, attendees can stay informed and plan their visit accordingly to make the most of this thrilling pirate-themed festival.

Cape Fear Latinos Festival – Wilmington - Sept 23, 2023

The Cape Fear Latinos Festival is an annual event in Wilmington, NC, celebrating the rich culture and heritage of the local Latino and Hispanic community during Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival aims to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to enjoy a day filled with free entertainment, music, dancing, and various cultural activities.

This year's Cape Fear Latinos Festival is set to take place on September 23 from 2 PM to 8 PM at Live Oak Pavilion. The event promises to be a lively and vibrant celebration of Latino culture, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Festival-goers can look forward to exciting performances, traditional music, colorful dances, and engaging activities for children.

One of the highlights of the festival is a small parade that showcases the beauty and diversity of Latino cultures. Through music, dance, and other cultural displays, attendees can learn and appreciate the contributions of the Latino community to the region's cultural landscape.

The Cape Fear Latinos Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together, embrace diversity, and celebrate the rich heritage of the Latino and Hispanic residents in the area. Whether you are part of the community or just interested in experiencing a day of fun and cultural exploration, the festival welcomes all to join in the festivities.

Mark your calendar for September 23 and head to Live Oak Pavilion in Wilmington, NC, to experience the vibrant and festive atmosphere of the Cape Fear Latinos Festival. It promises to be an unforgettable day of celebration and cultural appreciation for everyone involved.

Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival – Emerald Isle - Sept 23

The Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival is a lively and entertaining event that will take place on September 23, 2023, at the Western Ocean Regional Access (WORA) in Emerald Isle, NC. This festival promises a fantastic day of beach music, delicious food from various food trucks, and a whole lot of fun for attendees of all ages.

One of the highlights of the festival is the live music, featuring beach music that will surely get everyone dancing and singing along. As the festival is held at WORA, attendees can enjoy the beautiful beach setting while grooving to the tunes.

Admission to the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival is free, making it an accessible and enjoyable event for all to attend. However, there will be delectable food available for purchase from food trucks on-site. T-shirts related to the event will also be available for sale, allowing festival-goers to take home some souvenirs.

To ensure the safety and comfort of all attendees, there are a few guidelines to follow. Tents or umbrellas are not allowed within 100 feet of the stage, and only individuals aged 21 or older are allowed to have beer and wine on the beach. However, liquor will not be permitted, and there won't be beer or wine sold at the festival site.

For parking convenience, attendees can park along the grassy Highway 58 right-of-way, with handicapped parking available at the Western Ocean Regional Access. This makes it easy for everyone to access the festival grounds and enjoy the festivities.

The Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival promises a day of good vibes, great music, and beachside enjoyment. It's an excellent opportunity to celebrate the beauty of Emerald Isle and enjoy the company of fellow music enthusiasts. Whether you're a local resident or visiting the area, this festival is not to be missed. Mark your calendars and get ready for a memorable day at the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival!

North Carolina Muscadine Festival | Kenansville | Sept 30, 2023

The NC Muscadine Festival is an annual event held at the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville, North Carolina. It is scheduled to take place on September 30, 2023. The festival celebrates the Muscadine Grape heritage and offers a variety of grape-based products, including wines, food, health products, and cultivation-related exhibits.

Visitors from South Carolina are among those who attend the festival and enjoy its offerings, and many plan to return for future editions. The unique flavor of Muscadine grapes attracts wine enthusiasts, making the festival a delightful experience for those interested in wine tasting and grape-based products.

Throughout the festival, attendees can expect a vibrant atmosphere with a turnout estimated to be between 1000 to 5000 visitors and 100 to 500 exhibitors. It provides a great opportunity to explore the rich history and significance of Muscadine grapes and discover various grape-related offerings available at the event.

For specific details about the festival's schedule, ticketing, and other information, visitors can refer to the official website of the NC Muscadine Festival. It will provide up-to-date information on the date, timings, and activities planned for the festival.

If you plan to attend the NC Muscadine Festival, make sure to check the festival's website for any updates or changes closer to the event date. Enjoy the unique and diverse experience offered by the Muscadine Festival in Kenansville!

Eastern North Carolina hosts a vibrant and diverse array of festivals and events in August / September 2023, offering something for everyone to enjoy. From celebrating local traditions and cultural heritage to enjoying live music performances and indulging in delicious food and drinks, these events showcase the unique spirit of different communities across the state.

The festivals provide opportunities for people to come together, create cherished memories, and experience the richness of North Carolina's arts, music, cuisine, and history. Whether it's the Ayden Collard Festival, NC Freedom Fest, International Folk Festival, The Beaufort Pirate Invasion, Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival, or the North Carolina Muscadine Festival, each event adds its own charm and flavor to the cultural tapestry of the region.

These gatherings not only entertain attendees but also contribute to the local economies and showcase the pride and creativity of the communities involved. The festivals are a testament to the warmth and hospitality of Eastern North Carolinians, as they welcome visitors from near and far to experience the joys of these special events.

For locals and visitors alike, these festivals offer an excellent opportunity to explore the state's diverse heritage, indulge in unique experiences, and create lasting memories with family and friends. Whether enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of a lively street festival or being transported to a different time through historical reenactments, these events capture the essence of what makes Eastern North Carolina a special place to live and visit.

As we look forward to August/September 2023, the festivals listed above promise to deliver unforgettable experiences and celebrations, reminding us of the vibrant and dynamic nature of North Carolina's cultural landscape. Whether attending a lively music festival, experiencing the magic of a pirate invasion, or savoring the delights of Greek cuisine, there's no shortage of exciting and enriching events to enjoy throughout the state.

ENC Explorer
Author: ENC Explorer

After getting accepted to ECU, I started looking for things to do in and around Greenville, NC. However, my searches kept taking me to places in South Carolina! There must be things to do around ECU, so I started asking other students. They kept telling me to graduate and move away! This inspired me to begin exploring eastern North Carolina and build this website as a showcase of the places to go, sights to see, and things to do all over eastern NC. I have fallen in love with this region and started taking up roots here. After graduating, I didn't move away - I bought a house here and continue to explore eastern North Carolina.

This place is for Publicity

This place is for Publicity

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