A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

North Carolina Peach Festival — Candor July 13-15 Candor’s annual Peach Festival is all about tradition and Southern charm, with a car cruise-in on Thursday, beach music on Friday, and

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

North Carolina Peach Festival — Candor July 13-15 Candor’s annual Peach Festival is all about tradition and Southern charm, with a car cruise-in on Thursday, beach music on Friday, and

14 Homegrown Fruit Festivals

North Carolina Peach Festival — Candor

July 13-15

Candor’s annual Peach Festival is all about tradition and Southern charm, with a car cruise-in on Thursday, beach music on Friday, and a peachy parade on Saturday — plus, meet local growers and try homemade peach ice cream.

214 South Main Street
Candor, NC 27229
(910) 974-4221
ncpeachfestival.com


North Carolina Blackberry Festival — Lenoir

July 14-15

 

This year, downtown Lenoir will celebrate its 20th annual Blackberry Festival. Festivalgoers can buy the fruit directly from a farmer, stain their fingers purple as they participate in blackberry eating competitions, or parade blackberry cobblers through town with the Colossal Cobbler Parade Brigade, which features its own larger-than-life tradition: the world’s biggest blackberry cobbler. There’s no need to worry about food waste in this town, though, as the entire cobbler is handed out for free — so long as people come ready to eat.

801 West Avenue
Lenoir, NC 28645
(828) 726-0616
ncblackberryfestival.com


Ridgeway Cantaloupe Festival — Ridgeway

July 15

Ridgeway melons are known across the country for their thick shells and extra-sweet orange interiors. See for yourself why German farmers who started this small Warren County community shipped thousands of pounds of cantaloupes all across the country in the early 1900s — even to the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and the White House. This festival brings melon fans to Ridgeway to celebrate — and eat lots of — the northern Piedmont’s famous vine-ripened fruit.

Ridgeway Road
Ridgeway, NC 27570
ridgewayhistoricalsociety.com


Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival — Fair Bluff

July 29

The Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival will feature a day of pageants, hat contests, and sweet summer entertainment — and it all started with a friendly watermelon-weighing competition between two friends back in 1979.

Riverside Drive
Fair Bluff, NC 28439
fairbluffwatermelonfestival.org


The Brushy Mountain Peach & Heritage Festival — Wilkesboro

July 29

On the last Saturday of every July, downtown Wilkesboro celebrates its heritage and homegrown peaches. The Brushy Mountain Fruit Growers Association began collecting these special fruits from Brushy Mountain orchards in the 1920s, and the love for them has persisted, even though few of the original orchards remain. Paying homage to the Brushies, this year’s festival marks a day of crafts, food, and history — plus a pre-festival peach party with drinks and music the evening before.

100 East Main Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
brushypeachfest.com


North Carolina Watermelon Festival — Murfreesboro

August 2-5

Murfreesboro’s 38th annual Watermelon Festival features four days of amusement park rides, sweet and savory eats, local bands, and farmer contests and pageants for the younger watermelon-loving crowd.

110 Sycamore Street
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
(252) 398-7695
ncwatermelonfest.com


Ocracoke Fig Festival — Ocracoke

August 4-5

Figs have been an important part of Ocracoke’s culture since the trees were first planted there by English colonists. Today, the fig cake bake-off is the main event at the Ocracoke Fig Festival. Now in its 10th year, the event is hosted by the Ocracoke Preservation Society on the first weekend of August. Visitors can purchase fig trees and food — preserves, cakes, and more — and art featuring the fruit, or dance the Ocracoke square dance. Plus, this year, enjoy a special guest appearance by celebrated Southern chef and author Bill Smith.

999 Irvin Garrish Highway
Ocracoke, NC 27960
(252) 928-6711
visitocracokenc.com


North Carolina Apple Festival — Hendersonville

September 1-4

The North Carolina Apple Festival is back for its 77th year with a four-day event featuring live music, fried apple pies, festival food, the annual Gem & Mineral Spectacular show, a day-long street fair on Main Street, and the grand finale: the King Apple Parade. This family-friendly festival, cleverly themed “The Fruits of Our Labor Day”

318 North Main Street
Hendersonville, NC 28792
(828) 697-4557
ncapplefestival.org


North Carolina Muscadine Festival — Kenansville

September 24

A special celebration for the South’s native grape, the North Carolina Muscadine Festival welcomes a packed day of wine-tasting, live bands, and food vendors in Kenansville.

195 Fairgrounds Drive
Kenansville, NC 28349
(910) 296-2181
ncmuscadinefestival.com


Brushy Mountain Apple Festival — Wilkesboro

October 7

This free festival brings together 425 arts and crafts vendors, 100 food concessions, four different music stages — featuring bluegrass, folk, gospel, and Appalachian heritage music — and over 160,000 visitors. Taking place in downtown North Wilkesboro on October 7, this day-long celebration pays tribute to the hardworking apple orchardists of northwestern North Carolina.

Downtown North Wilkesboro
(336) 921-3499
applefestival.net


Apple Harvest Festival — Waynesville

October 21

The cool autumn air in downtown Waynesville will whisk in the town’s favorite fruit: apples. Known throughout the region for its small-town charm, this street festival is filled with food, art, history, and a grand view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Main Street
Waynesville, NC 28786
(828) 456-3021
business.haywoodchamber.com


The North Carolina Strawberry Festival — Chadbourn

April 30-May 4, 2024

Now in its 92nd year, this festival in Chadbourn is the oldest agricultural festival in the state. The industry’s success is rooted in a combination of fertile soil and committed 19th-century farmers, earning the town the designation of Klondike Strawberry Capital of the World in 1907. Each year, this festival triples the town’s population by bringing in a crowd of 6,000 fruit enthusiasts from across the country, plus 40 food and crafts vendors.

Downtown Chadbourn
ncstrawberryfestival.com


The Carolina Strawberry Festival — Wallace

May 3-4, 2024

This festival returned to Wallace in 2011 after 50 years and has grown steadily ever since, with a stacked lineup of local performers as well as some unique entertainment: a homemade dinosaur exhibit.

100 Northwest Railroad Street
Wallace, NC 28466
carolinastrawberryfestival.com


The North Carolina Blueberry Festival — Burgaw

June 2024

In the blueberry capital of Pender County, June is a berry fun month. Enjoy blueberry recipe contests, a barbecue cook-off, farm tours, live music, craft beer, and the competitive “Tour de Blueberry” bike race and fundraiser.

106 East Wilmington Street
Burgaw, NC 28425
(910) 259-2007
ncblueberryfestival.com

This story was published on Jun 13, 2023

Hannah Kaufman

Hannah is a summer 2023 editorial intern at Our State. She is a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill, and has written for the Daily Tar Heel, INDY Week, Walter magazine, and more.