photograph by Brian Gomsak

Feature Image: Dragon Boat Race & Asian Festival • Cornelius • May 18

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month during two events: a boat race on Lake Norman, featuring more than 1,200 community and professional rowers, and a festival at Ramsey Creek Park. Festivalgoers will learn about the history and heritage of countries including China, India, Korea, and Thailand in performances and exhibits while tasting cuisine from Asian food vendors.

Learn more: (866) 937-2742 or


Trace Adkins • Franklin • May 1

Enjoy an evening with country music icon Trace Adkins at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Adkins has sold 11 million albums.

Learn more: (828) 524-1598 or

Savor • Blowing Rock • May 2-5

Indulge in culinary artistry in downtown Blowing Rock by tasting dishes and wines from local vinters and restaurants across the state.

Learn more: (828) 295-7851 or

Nature Exploration Weekend • Little Switzerland • May 3-5

Join Discovery Place’s outdoor professionals at Wildacres Retreat for a family-friendly weekend of hiking and adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Learn more: (704) 372-6261 or

Oleanna • Hendersonville • May 3-5, 10-12

This play will examine the power struggle between a professor and Carol, his female student, at the Hendersonville Community Theatre. This show is a commentary on society’s perceptions of gender dynamics.

Learn more: (828) 692-1082 or

TGIF: Summer Concert Series • Morganton • May 3,10, 17, 24, 31

Grab a chair or a blanket and spend your Friday nights listening to local musicians on the Historic Burke County Courthouse lawn for free.

Learn more: (828) 438-5252 or

North Carolina Butterfly Festival • Hudson • May 4

Learn about butterflies, enjoy food, and play games on Central Street. This event will educate the public about butterfly conservation.

Learn more: (828) 728-8272 or

Watauga County Farmer’s Market • Boone • May 4

Browse produce and crafts from more than 65 vendors at this event in Boone’s town square. Attendees can enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities.

Learn more: (828) 355-4918, or

Rainbow Kids Ride & Run • Statesville • May 4

Ride a bike around town or run a 10K, 5K, or one-mile fun run to raise money for the Rainbow Kidz program. Children in this program are given the tools and support to navigate the death of a loved one.

Learn more: (704) 873-4719

Combat Vets Motorcycle Ride • Wilkesboro • May 4

Honor combat veteran rider Ronald “Smiley” Wilson in a police-escorted, 55-mile ride. The route starts at the CrossRoads Harley-Davidson shop in Wilkesboro and ends at Shoals Grille in Mooresville.

Learn more:

Plein Air Festival • Blowing Rock • May 16-18

Set up your easel and paint a beautiful High Country scene. Artists are invited to paint, show, and sell their work at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum for the day.

Learn more: (828) 295-9099 or

“A Garden of Quilts” Show • Flat Rock • May 17-18

The Western North Carolina Quilters Guild will display modern art, traditional quilts, and wall hangings at the Bonclarken Conference Center.

Learn more: (305) 799-5772 or

Foothills Antique Power Show • Newton • May 17-18

Browse antique tractors, cars, motorcycles, and trucks at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds.

Learn more: (828) 302-5327 or

Garden Show and Sale • Black Mountain • May 17-18

The grounds of the Monte Vista Hotel will become a one-stop garden jubilee for attendees looking for the perfect plants and vegetable starts for their garden.

Learn more: (404) 697-9246 or

Montford Music & Arts Festival • Asheville • May 18

Listen to live music, eat local cuisine, and visit local artisans on Montford Avenue. This event is Asheville’s longest-running single-day street festival.

Learn more: (828) 230-9474 or

Barn Day • Mars Hill • May 18

Attend a guided bus tour of Madison County’s historic barns. Afterward, enjoy a meal, live music, works by local artists, and a silent auction. Reservations are required.

Learn more: (828) 380-9146 or

Candid Camera Live: “Eight Decades of Smiles” • Franklin • May 18

Prepare for a night of laughs with comedian Peter Funt at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. The night will be filled with audience participation, a mash-up of “Candid Camera episodes,” and special surprises.

Learn more: (828) 524-1598 or

Arts Festival • Saluda • May 18

Visit historic downtown Saluda to meet more than 80 artists and view their work. Attendees can listen to live music and sample dishes served by local restaurants at this 16th annual festival.

Learn more: (828) 817-2876 or

Hook, Line & Drinker • Sylva • May 18

Celebrate the Trout Capital of North Carolina, Jackson County, at Bridge Park. From 3-7 p.m., talk to fishing industry and outdoor gear vendors, while sipping craft beer and eating snacks from food trucks.

Learn more: (828) 586-2155 or

“Stones & Dreams, Shadows & Streams” • Asheville • May 18-June 30

Attend the opening reception of this solo exhibition at the Grovewood Gallery featuring landscape paintings from North Carolina artist Cynthia Wilson, whose work can be found in multiple permanent collections.

Learn more: (828) 253-7651 or

Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational • Burnsville • May 24-26

Meet fellow luthiers at the Burnsville Town Center, learn about fine stringed instruments, and listen to a performance by guitarist Kaki King at the Parkway Playhouse.

Learn more: (706) 424-2700 or

Art in the Park • Blowing Rock • May 25

More than 90 juried artisans will display their work in downtown Blowing Rock at this event, which is the first in a series of six.

Learn more: (828) 295-7851 or

Dailey & Vincent • Franklin • May 25

Watch bluegrass duo Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent play at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. The pair won Entertainer of the Year at the Bluegrass Music Awards in 2008.

Learn more: (828) 524-1598 or

The Music Man • Hayesville • May 24-26, 31, June 1-2

This Tony and Grammy award-winning musical follows Harold Hill, a con man posing as a boys’ band organizer who offers music lessons. Catch this classic at the Peacock Performing Arts Center.

Learn more:  (828) 389-2787 or

Things That Go Bump in The Night • Brevard • May 29

Every Wednesday night until July 31, local naturalist Bryan Suson will talk about nocturnal species like back bears and tree frogs in Pisgah National Forest.

Learn more: (828) 884-3443 or

Bright Star: A Bluegrass Musical • Mars Hill • May 30-31, June 1-2, 6-9, 13-16

Inspired by true events, this musical touches on themes of love and redemption in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1920s and ’40s at the Owen Theatre.

Learn more: (828) 689-1239 or

NC Trail Days Screening • Elkin • May 31

Sit back and relax at The Reeves Theater and Café to watch the short adventure movies that were presented at the 5Point Adventure Film Festival.

Learn more: (336) 258-8240 or

Nature Photography Weekend • Grandfather Mountain • May 31-June 2

Attend presentations by nature photographers and capture images of beautiful scenery and animals before, during, and after the park’s regular business hours.

Learn more: (828) 733-2013 or

August: Osage County • Hendersonville • May 31, June 1-2, 7-9

Watch this award-winning dark comedy about a tense family reunion in a small Oklahoma town at the Hendersonville Community Theatre.

Learn more: (828) 692-1082 or



The Sunset Signature Series Presents: Jerry Bledsoe • Asheboro • May 2

Listen to New York Times best-selling author Jerry Bledsoe talk about his new memoir, Do-Good Boy: An Unlikely Writer Confronts the ’60s and Other Indignities, at the Sunset Theatre.

Learn more: (800) 626-2672 or

Sally Nuamah and How Girls Achieve • Winston-Salem • May 2

This author will use her latest book to discuss feminist education and fostering achievement-oriented identities for girls. Nuamah is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship and was named a Change-Maker by the White House.

Learn more: (336) 747-1471 or

The Embers featuring: Craig Woolard • Mount Airy • May 2

Blues and beach music band The Embers will serenade audience members in a night of live music at the Blackmon Amphitheatre. The group has been nicknamed North Carolina’s official ambassadors of music.

Learn more: (336) 786-7998 or

Used Book Sale • Winston-Salem • May 2-4

Find your next literary adventure in the Education Building at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. Proceeds will benefit the Shepherd’s Center programs for elderly adults.

Learn more: (336) 748-0217 or

Jiggy with the Piggy • Kannapolis • May 2-5

Visit downtown Kannapolis for a weekend full of events, including live music, an outdoor movie night, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, rides, and a barbecue competition.

Learn more: (704) 920-4343 or

3rd Annual Bark at Noah’s Ark • Goldston • May 2-5

This is an annual dockdogs event that occurs at Indian Creek K9 Aquatics to help raise money for Noah Harris. Watch the pups compete, participate in the silent auction, or enjoy the Saturday night social.

Learn more:

Man of La Mancha • Winston-Salem • May 3-5, 9-12

This musical, at the McChesney Scott Dunn Auditorium, follows Miguel de Cervantes as he attempts to fight evil, restore chivalry, and right all wrongs after being imprisoned for an offense against the church.

Learn more: (336) 725-4001 or

All Breed Dog Show • Pinehurst • May 4-5

Watch 800 dogs compete for Best of Their Breed and Best in Moore County at Pinehurst Polo Fields.

Learn more:

Music, Dance, ’n’ Que • Pineville • May 4

Stack your plate high with local barbecue, sip beer from a local brewery, and listen to live bluegrass music at the President James K. Polk State Historic Site.

Learn more: (704) 889-7145 or

Spring Daze • Thomasville • May 4

Welcome the spring season by shopping for plants, antiques, garden decor, and crafts downtown while eating snacks from food trucks and listening to music.

Learn more: (336) 491-4170 or

Beyond the Garden Gate • Hillsborough • May 4

Take advantage of a rare opportunity and explore the gardens in Hillsborough’s historic district. This self-guided tour will start at the Visitor’s Center.

Learn more: (919) 732-7741 or

Dulcimer Festival • Winston-Salem • May 4

Enroll in a class with dulcimer instructors Aaron O’Rourke, Lorinda Jones, Melanie Johnston, and more at the Hope Presbyterian Church. The instruction is for players of all skill levels and a free public concert take place in the evening.

Learn more: (336) 994-2211 or

Summer Salute • Raleigh • May 4

Spend an evening filled with food, fun, and dancing at the North Ridge Country Club. Proceeds will benefit Transitions LifeCare, a hospice and palliative care provider.

Learn more: (919) 645-3295 or

Aviators Rendezvous • Lexington • May 4-5

Watch aircrafts fly into Davidson County Airport while eating snacks from food trucks, listening to live music, and chatting with local vendors in a tent serving beer.

Learn more: (336) 330-1001 or

Spring Sing • Lexington • May 5

Watch the Lexington Choral Society close its 47th season with this concert at the First United Methodist Church. The winner of the choral society’s scholarship competition will also perform.

Learn more: (336) 250-0475 or

Adult Painting Workshop • Greensboro • May 9

Explore your creative side for an afternoon using different techniques and alcohol-based paint at the GreenHill Art Gallery. Participants are encouraged to bring images for inspiration and food and drinks to enjoy.

Learn more: (336) 333-7460 or

St. Francis Book Sale • Greensboro • May 9-11

Stock up on your summer reading at St. Francis Episcopal Church. Proceeds support local charities like Rise Against Hunger and Wheels4Hope.

Learn more: (336) 288-4721 or

Passalong Plant Sale • Greensboro • May 10-11

Spring is here, and the extension master gardeners are ready to give you a green thumb. Stop by the Guilford County Cooperative Extension to purchase a plant that will thrive in your garden or on your windowsill.

Learn more: (336) 641-2400 or

NC Brewers and Music Festival • Huntersville • May 10-11

Try beers from more than 40 craft breweries at Historic Rural Hill. Eleven bands will play live music, including Grammy Award-winners The Stringdusters.

Learn more: (704) 875-3113 or

Spring into Arts Festival • Concord • May 11

Watch a showcase of visual and performing arts and musical entertainment, while enjoying locally-crafted food and drinks in downtown Concord.

Learn more: (704) 784-4208 or

Pig Pickin’ & Open House • Raleigh • May 11

Fill your plate with barbecue, listen to bluegrass music, and purchase a bake sale item at this event hosted by the Catholic Parish Outreach Food Pantry. Proceeds will benefit CPO’s clients.

Learn more: (919) 873-0245 or

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Garden/Art Tour • Wake Forest • May 11

Enjoy high tea, explore 10 gardens, visit with artists and vendors, and attend a vintage auto show at the Wake Forest Historical Museum. Tickets for the tour and tea are sold separately.

Learn more: (919) 961-3769 or

Cemetery Walking Tour • Wake Forest • May 11

Walk through Wake Forest Cemetery and listen to interesting stories about generations of past residents from docents stationed at various family plots.

Learn more: (919) 435-9570 or

Mother’s Day Celebration • Winston-Salem • May 12

Visit Wise Man Brewing to spend a special day with all the mothers in your life. More than 40 vendors will sell handcrafted items and flower bouquets.

Learn more: (919) 961-3769 or

School of Music • Winston-Salem • May 14

The Salem Band will perform music by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and pieces from The Sound of Music and the Motown era in the Salem Square. Bring a blanket or lawn chair for this free concert.

Learn more: (336) 413-2180 or

Intuitive Painting & Yoga • Greensboro • May 16

Connect with your body and calm your mind during a yoga session at the GreenHill art gallery. After the session, explore your creative side with some painting.

Learn more: (336) 333-7460 or

Got to Be NC Festival • Raleigh • May 17-19

Celebrate North Carolina’s agricultural heritage at the State Fairgrounds. Sample and purchase from more than 100 food vendors, take a spin on a carnival ride, and tour one of the largest tractor displays in the Southeast. Admission and parking are free.

Learn more:

Dearly Departed • Wadesboro • May 17-19, 24-26

In this play at the Ansonia Theatre, the Turpin family struggles to cope in the wake of their father’s funeral. Ray-Bud, Junior, and Sister find comfort in their friends and neighbors.

Learn more: (704) 694-4950 or

Blues & Brews Festival • Durham • May 18

Sample beers from more than 20 North Carolina breweries, enjoy snacks from food trucks, and listen to national blues musicians at Central Park. Proceeds will benefit Durham charities and programs.

Learn more: (919) 696-7733 or

Whitetop Mountain Band • Mount Airy • May 18

Kick off the weekend with a blend of old-time country music played by The Whitetop Mountain Band at the Historic Earle Theatre.

Learn more: (336) 786-7998 or

Craft Fair • Warrenton • May 18

Enjoy a day filled with miniature-horse cart rides, live Celtic music, and delicious food during this family-friendly event at the historic Old Cotton Gin.

Learn more: (252) 879-0022

NC Wine Festival • Clemmons • May 25

Take your pick from more than 100 dry and sweet wine at the largest and longest-running wine festival in the state. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase commemorative glasses and discounted wines at Tanglewood Park.

Learn more:

Carolina Fear Fest • Raleigh • May 25-26

Commemorate the city’s first horror convention at the State Fairgrounds with a film festival, celebrity guest panels, vendor shopping, and more.

Learn more:&nbsp (984) 205-3845, or

“Be in Touch” • Hillsborough • May 27-June 23

Browse this new exhibit that features paintings by Jude Lobe and Pat Merriman and pottery by Garry Childs.

Learn more: (919) 732-5001, or

“Feed the Soul” • Winston-Salem • May 28

Pick out a spot at Salem Square and enjoy a tribute to Aretha Franklin from the Salem Band. The group will also play a variety of big-band, polka, and opera music.

Learn more: (336) 413-2180, or

“A Sick Day for Amos McGee” • Charlotte • May 29-June 2,8-9

Most of Amos McGee’s friends live at the zoo. Learn about the joy of friendship in this play as Amos plays chess with an elephant, reads stories to an owl, and cares for a shy penguin at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Learn more: (704) 973-2828, or

“Concert on the Lawn” • Kernersville • May 30

Take a seat in a lawn chair or on a blanket at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden for an evening of live music, food trucks, and local beer and wine.

Learn more: (336) 996-7888, or



Oklahoma! • Goldsboro • May 3-5

Witness Curly, a handsome cowboy, attempt to win over Laurey, a winsome farm girl, in this award-winning musical at Paramount Theatre.

Learn more: (919) 583-8432 or

Master Gardeners’ Spring Show • Hertford • May 4

Browse plants, gardening items, and crafts at the Perquimans County Recreational Center. This event is free; all donations will benefit annual scholarships awarded to students pursuing horticulture and related fields.

Learn more: (252) 482-6585 or

Ride the Tide • Oak Island • May 4

Gather your friends for this 5.2-mile kayak float from the recreation center to the Blue Water Point Marina. Beginner kayakers will enjoy this calm ride.

Learn more: (910) 278-5518 or

Derby Day • Red Oak • May 4

Don your best seersucker suit and bow tie for this fund-raiser outside the Red Oak Teacherage. Compete to win awards, place a bid in a silent auction, and listen to live music by the Brake Tyme Band. Proceeds will benefit the Red Oak Area Historic Society.

Learn more: (252) 443-1239

Derby4Dogs • Wilmington • May 4

What could be cuter than watching puppies race in a derby? Cheer on your favorite pooch, watch the Kentucky Derby, enter a bid in a silent auction, and enjoy dessert at The Terrances on Sir Tyler. Proceeds will benefit the Paws4People Foundation.

Learn more: (910) 617-1157 or

Paddle for the Border • South Mills • May 4

Paddle nearly eight miles in a canoe or kayak along the historic Dismal Swamp Canal. This route takes paddlers from the canal bridge in South Mills to the Ballahack Road Boat Ramp in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Learn more: (252) 771-6593 or

The Symphony Masterworks Concert presents: Russian Classics • Wilmington • May 4

Violin player Steven Bjella will perform a variety of work written by Russian Composers at the Wilson Center. Bjella has performed across the country as a soloist and in a variety of chamber ensembles.

Learn more: (910) 362-7999 or

Garden Party and Hat Contest • Farmville • May 5

Listen to live music from Steady Drive, an eastern North Carolina bluegrass band, sip cold beer, watch a traditional Maypole dance, and compete in the “best hat” contest at the May Museum and Park.

Learn more: (252) 753-6725.

Showboat Systems and Design • Wilmington • May 11

Enjoy a presentation of Battleship North Carolina’s weapons and electrical and propulsion systems. Participants are welcome to explore the ship for two hours after the presentation.

Learn more: (910) 399-9113 or

Music Festival • Beaufort • May 17-18

Listen to a diverse lineup of new musical acts at Gallants Channel. This festival is sponsored by Beaufort Arts and Music, a nonprofit that brings tourism and music to the Crystal Coast.

Learn more: (252) 342-9801 or

Pirates on the Pungo Sailing Regatta • Belhaven • May 17-19

Bring your fastest dinghy or keelboat to Wynee’s Gut Town Dock and enjoy a weekend full of food, dancing, and lots of sailboat racing.

Learn more: (919) 880-1183 or

Music and Water Festival • Edenton • May 17-18

Paddle on the water during sunset, enjoy a smorgasbord of food and drinks, visit with local artisans, and take a free boat ride at Colonial Waterfront Park.

Learn more: (252) 482-0300 or

North Carolina Potato Festival • Elizabeth City • May 17-19

Take part in one of the largest festivals in northeastern North Carolina, with three days of midway rides, fair food, and live entertainment in downtown Elizabeth City.

Learn more: (252) 338-4104 or

Master Gardener Volunteers Plant Sale • Greenville • May 18

Freshen up your garden this spring by purchasing perennials, vegetables, and fruits from the Pitt County Arboretum.

Learn more: (252) 902-1700 or

Hidden Battleship • Wilmington • May 18

Take a four-hour behind-the-scenes tour of the Battleship North Carolina and explore the ship’s boatswain locker, brig, ammunition magazines, engineering spaces, and more.

Learn more: (910) 399-9113 or

Coastal Gardening Festival • Kill Devil Hills • May 19

Celebrate warm weather with handcrafted goods, garden art, plants, and refreshments from more than 70 vendors. Proceeds will benefit the Dare County master gardeners’ outreach programs.

Learn more: (252) 473-4290 or

Flashlight Tour • Wilmington • May 18

Bring your flashlight for this walking tour through Oakdale Cemetery, North Carolina’s oldest rural cemetery, with Dr. Chris Fonvielle, Robin Triplett, and Eric Kozen. The trio will discuss history and Civil War veterans.

Learn more:  (910) 762-5682 or

Jazz Gala • Wilmington • May 24

The New Hanover High School jazz band, The Jazz Cats, will perform an evening of music at the Coastline Convention Center. Participants can enjoy dinner and will have the opportunity to win raffle prizes. Proceeds will help the band purchase new instruments.

Learn more:  (910) 297-1380 or

Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival • Rocky Mount • May 31-June 1

This event will commemorate the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. Celebrate this historic moment with live music, food, kids’ activities, and guest speakers in downtown Rocky Mount.

Learn more: (252) 972-1159 or

Blount-Bridger’s Arboretum Symposium • Tarboro • May 31-June 1

After attending a Friday evening book signing at Tarboro Brewing Company. Spend your Saturday at Calvary Episcopal Church learning about gardening with Mark Wethington, the director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NCSU, and Brie Arthur, an advocate for the suburban foodscape movement. This model of community development incorporates sustainable, local food production.

Learn more: (252) 326-9334

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