Weekend Fun: Free Festivals Offer Live Music, Art, Kids Activities


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Get ready for a range of family fun across the Triangle this weekend, from free festivals that feature live music, art, crafts and kids activities to a free antique auto car show. Attend a free family concert, visit a museum for First Friday fun, go on a walk to benefit people with disabilities, celebrate butterflies or visit a farmers' market near your home.

Unless otherwise noted, you'll find details of these events in our new and improved Daily Calendar, now featuring maps!

FRIDAY

It's First Friday in downtown Raleigh, a monthly art celebration when museums, galleries and other venues stay open late for those who want to browse, play, shop and eat.

* Marbles Kids Museum will be from 5 to 8 p.m. for First Friday. Admission if $5, and free for members. Check out "Play with Your Food" a program that explores the whimsical side of veggies and invites you to design creative sculptures..

* The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will also stay open from 5 to 9 p.m. for First Friday fun, and you can catch a free sci-fi movie, Assignment Outer Space, at 7 p.m. and wander through the museum's exhibits. "Destination Station," a free NASA exhibit on the second floor of the Museum highlights the work of NASA's International Space Station and its potential impact on daily life.

The Contemporary Art Museum will also stay open until 10 p.m. for First Friday activities. Admission is $5 and free for members. Enjoy after-hours access to the Chris Bradley–Close One and Dara Friedman–Dancer exhibitions, a presentation of NC State College of Design student projects, a hands-on activity at the creation station, and a North Carolina Master Chorale performance.

SATURDAY

The Lucy Daniels Center's Bookmarked! Festival continues with events for children.  On Saturday, you'll find a free family fun concert from 9 a.m.-noon at The Green at North Hills, in Raleigh. Enjoy music by the Sandbox band, readings by Audrey Penn and Ira David Wood III and other activities for families and kids.

Catch the Magic Wings Butterfly Festival at the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy insect racing, bug eating, crafts and other hands-on activities. How squeamish are you? The museum's Dare Café will be serving up superworms, mealworms, crickets and possibly hissing cockroaches with an assortment of dipping sauces. Or you could take a trip through the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a lush tropical habitat filled with butterflies, including exotic species.  The festival is free with regular museum admission. Learn more about this festival and other upcoming events, in Festivals in Raleigh, Durham Offer Family Fun, Kids Activities.

The Apex Peakfest, in downtown historic Apex, offers arts and crafts, food and a kids zone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. This festival is free.

Head to downtown Smithfield, for the free Ham & Yam Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to soak in live music, contests, races, food and more. See our Daily Calendar for details.

The OutRaleigh Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday on Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh. The festival is a welcoming and safe event for all ages to learn about issues affecting neighbors, friends, family members and others who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Enjoy live music, kids activities, guest speakers and an expo area. The festival is free.

In Durham, the free Strawberry Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old North Durham Park. Central Park School for Children's annual, child-centered Strawberry Festival features live entertainment, face painting, strawberry manicures children's games and treats made with strawberries. Proceeds will be used to enhance the school's outdoor learning environment.

The Cary Baisakhi Festival will kick off at noon Saturday (gates open at 11 a.m.) at Booth Amphitheatre. Baisakhi is a Punjab holiday that represents the beginning of the new solar year and start of the new harvest season. Enjoy local and regional dance and music performances, vendors and ethnic food at this annual festival. See our Daily Calendar for details, including ticket prices.

The Antique Automobile Show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Historic Oak View County Park, in Raleigh. The event is free. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Missed attending your high school prom? Head to the Mom Prom, at the Factory, in Wake Forest, from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy food, a bar, a silent auction, door prizes and more. Proceeds support Beads of Courage, Inc. and a triangle family coping with serious illness. Visit http://beadsofcourage.givezooks.com/events/mom-prom to buy your ticket.

The Easter Seals Walk with Me begins at 10 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m. Saturday on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, in Raleigh. The 1.2-mile fun walk benefits the Easter Seals and people with disabilities. Festivities include games, activities, music and a picnic lunch. All ages and dogs welcome. See our Daily Calendar for details, including how to register online and registration fees.

Looking for a way to teach your child about being a good citizen? Children can step into a polling booth for early voting this Saturday at the downtown Durham Public Library and then join in a free celebration that features a voting-themed story time, crafts and snacks. See my earlier post, Head to Kids Voting, Free Party at Durham Library.

In historic downtown Hillsborough, the Eno River Farmers Market will run from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and will feature free make-and-take crafts for kids. See our Daily Calendar for details.

The Western Wake Farmers Market in Cary will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. You'll find free programs offered each week in the Education Tent plus live music and more than 30 farmers and artisans.

Looking for a farmers market closer to your home? See our resource listing, Farmers Markets Grow in the Triangle. If you enjoy gathering your own local strawberries, see our listing of Triangle-Area Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms.

FREE DEAL: Saturday is also Cinco de Mayo, and Moe's Southwest grill is offering free kid's meals to customers under 12 all day (limit one per guest) with the purchase of an entrée valued $5 or more. To keep the family-fun festivities booming all day, Moe's 15 Triangle locations will also be offering Cinco de Mayo themed activities such as games, coloring sheets and piñatas for the kids. The first 100 people in line when the Moe's locations open at 11 a.m. also get a free limited edition 2012 Cinco de Moe's t-shirt.

SUNDAY

Don't miss Carrboro Day, a free fun event, from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Carrboro Town Commons. Enjoy stories and photos about Carrboro, readings by local poets, live music and dancing, interactive field games, crafts, family activities and more. For a schedule of events, visit Bands who will be playing at the Town Hall Front Lawn include the McDougal Middle School Band, Saludo (Latin), the Gmish-Klezmer band and Selah Dubb (Reggae). For a schedule of events, see this link. The Carrboro Garden Club will also be sponsoring a plant exchange from 1-6 p.m. You're invited to pack a picnic dinner to celebrate the "end to a perfect day: at 6 p.m. See our Daily Calendar for details, including the rain location.

Kidsfest, a free event at Dreamsports Center, in Apex, invites you to celebrate kids and sports from noon to 3 p.m. and a line-up of fun that includes inflatables, rock climbing, in-line skating, face painting and more. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Duke Gardens, in Durham, is offering Spring Family Fun, a free drop-in event, from noon-3 p.m. at the Doris Duke Center. Enjoy activity stations and displays. Make a craft to take home.

If you want to learn more wildflowers, creeks, pond critters, snakes and other native creatures, visit our Daily Calendar and check out the nature programs for children offered there. Some require registration.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can watch a performance of The Wind in the Willows by the North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, in Raleigh. The plot revolves around the wealthy, spoiled and wildly enthusiastic Mr. Toad of Toad Hall who takes up a new hobby—motorcars—and terrorizes the once-peaceful English countryside along the Thames. For ticket prices and more information, visit our Daily Calendar.

Are you set for Mother's Day? Find easy inexpensive gift ideas, children's crafts, and garden excursions to take with Mom in our Mother's Day Guide to the Triangle. Attend Triangle-area events that celebrate Moms and Mother's Day, also featured in our guide.

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Calendar

September 2019

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy local bands, arts and crafts vendors, car show, kids' area, fun contests and games, plus a barbecue cook-off contest featuring veteran cooking teams.

Cost: Free

Where:
River Park
114 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborouh, NC  27278
View map »


Website »

More information

Visual artists from near and far will showcase their work, and 75 performing arts groups provide continuous music, dance and entertainment throughout the festival including extended Saturday...

Cost: $5 suggested donation; free for children under 12

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

Take the family for a showcase of popular and folk music and art, dance performances, educational booths, children's activities and food from different regions of Latin America.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Fayetteville St. City Plaza
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Did you know that beavers are actually large rodents? Join us at the park and discover the parts of a beaver and what they like to eat. Test your knowledge in a round of trivia and take a walk in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This cultural exp features live entertainment, a kids zone, food vendors, games and much more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Knightdale Station Park
494 Knightdale Station Run
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

It's 50% off ALMOST EVERYTHING! The word GREEN or BLACK will be written under the price on tags and you won't believe what's left!!! Check us out on facebook at Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
Website »

More information

Take the family for a balloon artists, face painting, carnival games, obstacle courses, arts and crafts and a magician. This event celebrates the grand opening of the David R. Kahn Community Campus...

Cost: Free

Where:
David R. Kahn Community Campus
12804 Norwood Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy all things pepper, kids crafts, live music, artisans, local farmers and much more.

Cost: $5 – $25

Where:
Downtown Pittsboro
Pittsboro, NC


Website »

More information

PepperFest is a celebration of sustainable agriculture, farmers, and the creativity of the Piedmont’s top chefs, brewers and artisans. This outdoor event is held in NC’s...

Cost: $5-$30

Where:
Downtown Pittsboro
205 Lorax Lane #5
Pittsboro, NC  27312
View map »


Sponsor: Abundance NC
Telephone: 919-444-9300
Contact Name: Tami Schwerin
Website »

More information

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The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Grab your magnifying glass and help solve the many mysteries along the Old Beech Nature Trail. Who left the pile of acorns by the rotten log? Whose scat is that? Use your senses and detective...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The autumnal equinox signals the beginning of fall. It is the point when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness at the equator. Mark the change of seasons by heading to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Let’s celebrate the arrival of fall! Make a craft inspired by the leaves’ changing colors. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult accompaniment...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Rags to Riches Theatre for Young Audiences presents the classic tale for all ages. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Let’s celebrate the arrival of fall! Make a craft inspired by the leaves’ changing colors. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult accompaniment required...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Learn about the annual, long-distance movement of the migratory birds in our park. We will learn the difference between summer migrants, winter migrants, and permanent residents and then go on a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

The library invites you to celebrate and enjoy poetry with a series of events for all ages hosted by Hillsborough’s Poet Laureate, Dee Stribling! On the last Wednesdays of the month throughout...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

In honor of Chicanx and Latinx Heritage Month, we’ll enjoy poetry written in English and in Spanish written by Chicanx and Latinx poets.  Following questions and discussion, those attending will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

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Apple Day features fresh North Carolina apples, an apple dessert and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days. See website for hours.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
View map »


Website »

More information

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 “Shinrin-yoku” is a Japanese healing technique which means "taking in the forest atmosphere." Developed in the 1980s, it has become a cornerstone of preventive health...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This family-friendly urban bluegrass festival features a dance tent, workshops and exhibit hall with instruments and gear in the Raleigh Convention Center, food vendors, a youth stage, juried...

Cost: Free-$60

Where:
, NC

More information

Enjoy down time in nature, or take part in guided art making, herbalism, outdoor yoga, storytelling, or basic women’s camping skills. Dinner and breakfast included, but take camping...

Cost: $50/member, $55/nonmember.

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Come out to the 5th Annual Wolfpack Games at Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center on Friday, September 27th at 6 PM. Enjoy a fun atmosphere and get an exclusive sneak peek at the 2019-2020 NC State...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center
2611 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
View map »

More information

Enjoy free bowl cuts by Arrow, Worm Farms; a Most Annoying Sound Off; and Costume Contest. Wear a best orange or blue tuxes. Gates and food trucks will open and begin at 6pm with the movie starting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Raleigh Meadows
Campus Shore Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: VisitCentennial
Telephone: 704-651-3179
Contact Name: Jude DesNoyer
Website »

More information

Mums and pumpkins take center stage at this festival featuring live music and food trucks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Knightdale Station Park
810 N. First Ave.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days. See website for hours.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
View map »


Website »

More information

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Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Welcome fall's arrival with a food truck rodeo, car show, face painting, a craft show and more.  

Cost: Free

Where:
125 U.S. 1-A
Youngsville, NC  27596
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the Fall Harvest with the Cary Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, September 28 along West Chatham Street in Cary! There will be contests and games, craft booths and food trucks lining...

Cost: Free

Where:
West Chatham Street
Cary, NC  27511


Sponsor: Cary Downtown Farmers Market
Telephone: 919-244-6463
Contact Name: Lindsey Chester
Website »

More information

Take part in a 1.4-mile walk for inclusiveness. Registration and activities begin at 10 a.m.; walk begins at 10:30 a.m. Enjoy refreshments, games, raffle and a decorating station. All ages and...

Cost: $15/family, $5/individual

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Campbell Law School will host a bike ride from “The Creek to the Capital” the morning of Saturday, September 28 as part of its yearlong anniversary celebration. Riders of all skill...

Cost: $40 fee includes T-shirt/lunch

Where:
Finish line @ Campbell Law School
225 Hillsborough St
Raleigh , NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Campbell Law School
Telephone: 919-865-5978
Contact Name: Lisa Snedeker
Website »

More information

Enjoy a day at the park and listen to stories from professional storytellers in this event presented by Wake County Public Libraries and Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Website »

More information

Live Entertainment all day, including a Talent Contest. Win the Raffle. Enjoy at least a dozen international options prepared by parishioners-- Mexican, Irish, Filipino just to name a few. ...

Cost: Free festival admission. Food and raffle incur fees

Where:
J. Ashley Wall Towne Square
J. Ashley Wall Towne Square W. Third St. & W. Cypress St.
Wendell, NC  27591
View map »


Sponsor: St Eugene Catholic Church
Telephone: 919-449-5234
Contact Name: Susan Welsh
Website »

More information

Enjoy live performances, cultural exhibits, children's activities, dragon boat racing and more. Taste a wide collection of ethnic foods and delicacies created by local chefs.

Cost: $5 advance tickets; $8 at the door. Free for ages 12 and younger

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are provided,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Travel to Germany without leaving the Triangle at this German-inspired festival featuring live music and food, as well as the ever-popular wiener dog races.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Website »

More information

This family-friendly urban bluegrass festival features a dance tent, workshops and exhibit hall with instruments and gear in the Raleigh Convention Center, food vendors, a youth stage, juried...

Cost: Free-$60

Where:
, NC

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 & 3:00 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

In 1979, the NC Legislature designated the Eastern Box Turtle as our state reptile. Learn how you can help conserve this valuable state symbol. Meet Lake Crabtree's adopted turtle, Shel...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Take the family for live music, crafts and food. See website for hours.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Town Hall
301 W. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Mums and pumpkins take center stage at this festival featuring food trucks and great music. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Knightdale Station Park
810 N. First Ave.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

Railroad Days' 44th consecutive year features the Railroad Days pageant at 7 p.m., where a queen in five age divisions will be crowned. The festival continues Oct. 4-5 in downtown Selma.

Cost: $12/person for pageant admission

Where:
Selma Elementary School
311 W. Richardson St.
Selma, NC  27576
View map »


Website »

More information

Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days. See website for hours.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
View map »


Website »

More information

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