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Written by:  Compiled by Myra Wright
Date: October 1, 2011

As the air turns chilly, the fall festival season is in full swing in North Carolina with a variety of harvest festivals, family-friendly fun, music, and arts and crafts for all ages. Consider a weekend getaway to the mountains to admire the beautiful foliage, or a day trip to one of the many festivals in the Piedmont. Here’s a sampling of the many family-friendly activities taking place across the state. The festivals listed below take place outside the Triangle. For fall fun closer to home, see our extensive roundup Explore Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Farms, Halloween Fun in the Triangle!


IN THE MOUNTAINS


Brushy Mountain Apple Festival (North Wilkesboro)
Oct. 1
Admission is free for this celebration of mountain heritage with exhibits, music, food and crafts. Pre-Festival Apple Jam with live music will be held Friday at 6 p.m. Downtown North Wilkesboro. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. www.applefestival.net.

Autumn at Oz Party (Beech Mountain)
Oct. 1-2
Take a tour along the Yellow Brick Road, and meet Dorothy and her friends. Kids will also enjoy face-painting, music, dancing and small petting zoo. $16.50 in advance or $20 at gate. Session times are 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. 2669 S. Beech Mountain Parkway. www.autumnatoz.com.

Cherokee Indian Fair
Oct. 4-8
The 99th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair includes a carnival with games, rides, music, fireworks, art and crafts. Admission is $10. Children 6 and under, free. Gates open at 10 a.m. Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, 512 Tsali Blvd. www.cherokee-nc.com.

Boone Heritage Festival
Oct. 8
A celebration of Appalachian heritage with living history demonstrations, crafts, music and dance. Free. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. www.booneheritage.blogspot.com.

Sugar Mountain Oktoberfest
Oct. 8-9
Children’s activity area, Bavarian cuisine, and arts and crafts. Free. Sugar Mountain Resort
Main Lodge, 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. http://oktoberfest.skisugar.com.

Stingy Jack’s Pumpkin Patch Annual Fall Festival (Pisgah Forest)
Oct. 14-16, Oct. 21-23, Oct. 28-30
Enjoy hayrides, music, corn maze and Stingy’s Twilight Trails. $15 for ages 15 and up; ages 6-12, $10; 5 and under free. 4-10 p.m. 324 McGuire Road. http://stingyjackspumpkinpatch.com.

Maggie Valley Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Festival
Oct. 15-16
Local and regional craftsmen come together for this two-day event. Free. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Maggie Valley Festival Grounds on U.S. 19. www.maggievalley.org.

October Flumefest (Little Switzerland)
Oct. 15
Gem-mining competition, music, mine tours and treasure hunt. Most events are free during day, but participants are also encouraged to return at 7:30 p.m. for the Black Light Mine Tour, which is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors/students. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Emerald Village, 331 McKinney Mine Road.

HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival (Asheville)
Oct. 16
Traditional Jewish food, dancing, crafts, a kids’ zone and more. Free. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Pack Square Park. www.hardloxjewishfestival.org.

Lake Eden Arts Festival (Black Mountain)
Oct. 20-23
A celebration of world folk arts with music concerts, dancing, crafts, healing arts, poetry, “kidventures” and workshops. Advance tickets only. Ages 10 and under, free. Visit website for ticket information. Camp Rockmont, 375 Lake Eden Road. www.theleaf.com.

15th Annual Pumpkin Fest (Franklin)
Oct. 21-22
On Friday, enjoy free hayrides from East Franklin Shopping Center from 3 to 6 p.m. and after-school trick-or-treating from 3 to 5 p.m. On Saturday, there will be a street festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street featuring crafts, pumpkin roll, music, pie-eating contest, games, costume contest, parade and more. www.pumpkinfestfranklin.com.

6th Annual Valle Crucis Punkin Festival (Sugar Grove)
Oct. 22
A kid-friendly festival featuring “punkin” carving, old-fashioned games such as sack races, “punkin” bowling and apple-bobbing, and crafts and music. Free. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Valle Crucis Elementary School, 2998 Broadstone Road. www.PunkinFestival.com.

Halloweenfest in Transylvania County (Brevard)
Oct. 29
Enter the Proper Pot Apple/Pumpkin Bake-off and enjoy the bicycle rodeo, Tiny Tot Pumpkin Bowl, cookie decorating, The Little Blue Choo, inflatables, climbing wall, Ghoulish Golf and the Spooky Hay Maze. Families can also compete in a costume parade and enjoy downtown trick-or-treating. The Brevard Rotary Club’s annual “Flight of the Vampire” 5K Race ends the day at dusk. Main and Broad streets. www.brevardnc.org.

IN THE PIEDMONT

39th Annual Asheboro Fall Festival
Oct. 1-2

Asheboro’s fall celebration with arts, crafts, food and fun. Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m. Downtown Asheboro. www.randolphartsguild.com. Autumn Jubilee (Salisbury)
Oct. 1-2
Crafts, food, live entertainment, games, children’s puppet theater, magician, log sawing, clogging barn, pumpkin painting and more. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dan Nicholas Park, 6800 Bringle Ferry Road. www.dannicholas.net.

Goldston Old-Fashion Day
Oct. 8
Crafts, music, food, children’s activities, homemade ice cream, hot dogs, Philly cheesesteaks, barbecue and more. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 374 Bellevue Ave. http://visitpittsboro.com.

3rd Annual Family Day @ the Jetport (Sanford)
Oct. 8
Free plane rides for children ages 8 -17. The event also features historic and military aircraft, medical helicopters, and special exhibits. Free activities, admission and parking. http://raleighexec.com. 700 Rod Sullivan Road. http://raleighexec.com

6th Annual Uwharrie Mountain Festival (Eldorado)
Oct. 8
Arts and crafts, food, kids’ zone, gold panning, disc golf, paddle games, lumberjack demonstrations, horseback riding, local bluegrass and more. Free. Eldorado Outpost, N.C. Highway 109 North. Parking and shuttle bus rides are free. Buses will run from the Eldorado Outpost starting at 9 a.m., and the event ends at 5 p.m. www.uwharriemountainfestival.com.

18th Annual Renaissance Festival (Huntersville)
Oct. 8-Nov. 20 (weekends only)
16th-century European style art and entertainment festival with outdoor theater, circus entertainment, arts and crafts, marketplace, and jousting tournament. Advance tickets available at Harris Teeter. Adults, $19; ages 5-12, $9; under 5, free. At the gate: adults, $20; ages 5-12, $10; under 5, free. Parking is free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 16445 Poplar Tent Road. www.royalfaires.com.

The Gateway Festival (Kings Mountain)
Oct. 8
This annual Kings Mountain fall festival is celebrated throughout town with a classic car show, Cute Critters Competition, rodeo and a variety of music. Re-enactors will depict life during the Revolutionary War with living history demonstrations and invite everyone to visit the encampment. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown Kings Mountain. www.cityofkm.com.

Harvest Festival (Dobson)
Oct. 15-16
Live music, grape stomping, face-painting, hay rides and antique tractor competition. Food, crafts, pumpkins and locally grown produce available for purchase. Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday noon-6 p.m. Free. Shelton Vineyards, 286 Cabernet Lane. www.sheltonvineyards.com.

28th Annual Barbecue Festival
Oct. 22
Crafts, food, rides, music, and famous Lexington barbecue. Shuttle services will be available from Davidson County Governmental Center on Main Street, Walmart and Childress Vineyards. Free. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Uptown Lexington. www.barbecuefestival.com.

Downtown Albemarle Fall Festival
Oct. 27
Festival and ghost walk with costume parade and trick-or-treating. Downtown Albemarle. Free. 4-7 p.m. www.albemarledowntown.com.

23rd Annual NASCAR Day Festival (Randleman)
Oct. 29
More than 40,000 people are expected to attend this festival, held in conjunction with the Richard Petty Fan Club Convention. Crafts, food, games, music, NASCAR show cars, drag cars, vintage autos and more. Richard Petty will sign autographs from 5 to 7 p.m. in front of the Security Savings Bank. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. www.randlemanchamber.com.

Grover Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 29
Festival activities include pumpkin carving, pie-eating contest, live music, costume contest, corn and hay maze, headless horseman carriage rides, ghost tour, trick-or-treat trail, pumpkin chunkin’, and more. The grand finale will be the lighting of the jack o’ lantern wall built from approximately 700 pumpkins carved by the community and local schools. Noon-8 p.m. Free. Main Street. groverpumpkinfestival.com.



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