By Kay Whatley, Editor
This list may include events from North Carolina counties of Edgecombe, Franklin, Nash, Johnston, Wake, Wayne, Wilson, and beyond (Inner Coastal Plains / Five County area of Eastern NC). Piedmont and Coastal events are sometimes included on the weekly list. While the majority of listed events are free happenings, some ticketed events may be included, especially ticketed events by local arts councils or theater groups.
Also check out our 2017 list of attractions — NC agricultural mazes, haunted houses, and more — in this article (by location)
Or, see our 2017 list of NC seasonal, short events in this article (by date).
Contact information or RSVP deadlines, where applicable, have been included. Events may be rescheduled, delayed by weather, canceled, times adjusted, or locations changed, without our knowledge. Events may be added/updated. Feel free to email event notices to the editor.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Food Truck Thursday (October 19, 2017 @ 11:30am & 6pm)
*This date is the third Thursday of the month and includes live music.* Stop by to purchase lunch (11:30am-1:30pm) or dinner (6-8pm) near the Knightdale Station Park Amphitheater, 810 N First Avenue, Knightdale NC. Food trucks arranged weekly at the park. See the full schedule on the town website here. (Next date is October 26, 2017.)
Community Fall Festival (October 19, 2017 @ 6-8pm)
All are welcome at this free, fall event with food, games, prizes, inflatables, a mini hayride, performers, and more. The Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department is holding this event at the baseball field behind the Booker T. Washington Community Center, 727 Pennsylvania Avenue, Rocky Mount NC. Updates may be posted on the City’s Facebook page.
NC State Fair (October 12-22, 2017)
It’s State Fair time again! So much to do at the fairgrounds in Raleigh NC. Check out the details, including food and ride finder, on the NC State Fair website at www.ncstatefair.org/2017.
Fayetteville Dogwood Fall Festival (October 19-21, 2017)
Festival is held in Festival Park, 335 Ray Avenue, Fayetteville NC. Includes hayrides, haunted house, performances, a Saturday food truck festival, free concerts, and much more. Hours are 7-9pm Thursday (soft opening), 6-11pm Friday, 3-11pm Saturday. Fees $5 and up, depending on activities/events. Festival information is online at www.faydogwoodfestival.com or visit this Facebook page.
Friday, October 20, 2017
OkTARberfest (October 20, 2017 @ 6-10pm)
The Town of Louisburg is offering an evening of live music, food trucks, craft beer, inflatables, an obstacle course, face painting, vendors and more. There will be fun for all ages. Held in the amphitheatre at 116 N Main Street, Louisburg NC. See more at townoflouisburg.org.
Rhythm and Brews plus Free Carriage Rides (October 20, 2017 @ 6-9pm)
Carriage rides begin at the corner of Third and Market Streets, Smithfield NC, and are first come, first served. There will be live music at Rhythm & Brews, 100 S Third Street, featuring Liverpool! A Beatles tribute band. Enjoy singing and dancing along. Many local shops will be open for business. See more at www.downtownsmithfield.com.
Smoke on the Water (October 20-21, 2017)
Head to the waterfront in Washington NC for barbecue, chili cook-off, races, music, vendors, and more. Admission is free. Schedule of events may be found at smokeonthewater.info
Havelock Chili Festival (October 20-21, 2017)
Held at the Walter B Jones Park, 1 Governmental Avenue, Havelock NC. Hours are 5-9pm Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday. Festival information, including vendor and cook forms, are at www.chilifestival.org. Organized by the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, and their updates may be found on this Facebook page.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
29th-annual Taylorsville Apple Festival (October 21, 2017 @ 9am-5pm)
Head to downtown Taylorsville NC for a day filled with family fun, entertainment, hundred of vendors, rides, and local apples and cider. Details online at www.alexandercountyonline.com/applefestival. Festival updates may be posted to their Facebook page.
Stepping Into The Past (October 21, 2017 @ 10am-3pm)
This weekly series focuses on demonstrations and displays of traditional / old-time processes. This presentation is included with museum admission. Confirm topic and details at www.tobaccofarmlifemuseum.org/events/stepping-into-the-past. Held at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, 709 N Church Street, Kenly NC. Next date is October 28, 2017. Note that November 10-11, 2017, a BBQ cook-off is scheduled.
Outer Banks Seafood Festival (October 21, 2017 @ 10am-6pm)
Navigate to the area around 6800 S Croatan Hwy, Nags Head NC, for this celebration including lots of fresh, local Outer Banks seafood. Festival admission is $3 and includes kids’ zone, live music, cooking demonstrations, boat exhibits, and storytelling. See more at outerbanksseafoodfestival.org. Note that this festival requires use of “Sea Bucks” (may be purchased for $1 each) for festival food and beverage purchases.
Brown Bag Lunch (October 21, 2017 @ 11am-12:30pm)
Just about every Saturday, Zebulon United Methodist Church provides free “brown bag lunches” to anyone who drives or walks by the church at 121 W Gannon Avenue, Zebulon NC. For more information on food distribution for those in need, or to volunteer, visit www.zumchurch.org.
Note that the Church’s website lists an Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Mobile Market as happening at the Zebulon Boys and Girls Club on this date, starting around lunchtime.
CLAWS, Inc. (October 21, 2017 @ noon)
Head over to Wild Birds Unlimited of Chapel Hill, 1806 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill NC, for this “HAPPY OWLOWEEN” event. The birds will be there to say “Hello!” Bring a camera to grab a selfie with Grip the African Raven. See more about this event on their Facebook page.
Spook-Fest at the Drive-in (October 21, 2017 @ open 5pm; movies 7:30pm)
Miss the drive-in? Well, then you don’t know about the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre. This drive-in is offering three movies, plus trunk-or-treating, a car costume contest, and more. This triple-feature night at Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre, 3336 Raleigh Road, Henderson NC, includes showings of The Addams Family, Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween, and Christine. Plus, a costume contest, car costume contest, and trunk-or-treat. See flyer at www.raleighroaddrivein.com/what-s-next/upcoming-events. At $7 per person, this drive-in offers multiple movies at less than the average theatre’s ticket price.
Fall 2017 Movies-on-the-Barn (October 21, 2017 @ 7pm/dusk)
Vollmer Farm, located at 677 NC Hwy 98 E, Bunn NC, shows outdoor movies on Saturday nights. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and settle in to watch movies with family, friends, neighbors, and farm visitors. Movie admission is included in Back Forty pass fees (approximately $10). To see scheduled movies and pass information, see www.vollmerfarm.com/movies.html. (Next date is October 28, 2017).
Black Light Mine Tour (October 21, 2017 @ 7:30pm)
Emerald Village offers night-time underground mine tours that unlock vibrant hidden colors under black light (ultraviolet light). The effect, underground at night, is stunning. Held at Emerald Village, 331 McKinney Mine Road, Spruce Pine NC (Mitchell County). See more here.
Carolina Renaissance Festival (October 21-22, 2017)
This annual Festival is held on Saturdays and Sundays through November 19, 2017 at 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville NC. For details, see the festival website. This medieval amusement park includes a 12 stage theater, a 25-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast. Note that this festival will offer special Halloween happenings on October 28-29, 2017, 10am-5:30pm.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Halloween Fundraising and Adoption Event (October 22, 2017 @ 1-4pm)
Head to the Kosmic Kittens Cat Lounge, 101 S Raiford Street, Selma NC, for this special events with a “spooktacular group of felines looking for furever homes” There will be 24 Cats and Kittens ready to go to their new home for a $50 adoption fee. For human enjoyment, there will be refreshments, prizes, and a human-animal costume and Instagram photo contest. Email or call 919.337.5345 to get pre-approved for adoption. Updates on Facebook here.
Act For Youth presents Back to the 80’s (October 20-21, 27-28, 2017, 7:30-9:30pm)
See this nostalgia-filled musical by Act For Youth performed at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center, 108 Nash Street NE, Wilson NC. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. Also being performed on two Sundays, October 22 and 29, 2017, at 3pm. See more on the Wilson Arts Council of Wilson website at www.wilsonarts.com/act-current-season.
Halloween International Film Festival (October 26-28, 2017)
The second-annual Halloween International Film Festival returns to R/C Kill Devil Hills Movies 10, 1803 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills NC. Tickets are $12-$30, available here. (Note that this independent film festival is followed by a separate local event, the Outer Banks Halloween Parade of Costumes on Sunday, October 29, 2017.)
Clayton Free Friday Night Movie (October 27, 2017 @ 6pm)
When it starts getting dark early, Clayton offers free, Friday night movies. Bring a blankets, drinks, and food and enjoy a free film outdoors at Clayton Town Square, 110 W Main Street, Clayton NC. Movie begins when the sun goes down. See www.townofclaytonnc.org/…/movie-night. Movie title and updates available via the Facebook event.
Halloween Party (October 27, 2017 @ 7-9pm)
Join this special Halloween party presented by the Rhine (paranormal research center). There will be spooky stories from their recent Mysterious Short Story Contest, refreshments, and more. Wear a costume if you would like to be a part of the Best Costume Contest. Held at The Episcopal Center at Duke University, 505 Alexander Avenue, Durham NC. Tickets are $20, discounted for Rhine members, students, and senior citizens. Call 919.309.4600 or register online.
Fall FunFest (October 28, 2017 @ 10am-4pm)
Head over to Main Street Park, Rolesville NC, for this annual street festival held along the front of the park. There will be food trucks, live music, arts and crafts vendors, other vendors, information booths, and holitday shopping options. Kids costume contest (10 and under) happens at noon. See updates and other events on the Town of Rolesville Facebook page.
Tim and Betty Bunn Variety Show (October 28, 2017 @ 7:30pm)
This show features a collection of country and pop hits and an Elvis Tribute show. Held at Small Town USA, 8928 Main Street, Castalia NC. Admission is $10, with kids 12 and under free. Refreshments are sold at the site. Call 252.462.0408 to reserve tickets. Updates may be found on Facebook here.
Grand Opening of Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park (November 2, 2017 @ 4-10pm)
Come and join the celebration at Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, 301 Goldsboro Street S, Wilson NC. “Be there when history is made as the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park holds its grand opening! This park will very soon attract thousands of visitors to Historic Downtown Wilson. Witness the ribbon cutting, hear comments from Secretary of Cultural Resources and other dignitaries, and enjoy live music from Fireside Collective.” The grand opening includes food trucks, beverages, family fun, and lighting of the whirligigs. Bring a blanket/chair for comfort. See details on this Facebook event. And, don’t forget that the Whirligig Festival is November 4-5 (see below).
First Friday Flix (November 3, 2017 @ 7pm)
Free, public movie showing at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, 405 S Brooks Street, Wake Forest NC. To obtain movie title, call the Special Events Hotline at 919.435.9428. The Renaissance Centre hosts First Friday Flix on the first Friday evening of each month. Concessions available for purchase. For more information, visit www.wakeforestnc.gov.
Seeing the Big Picture (November 4, 2017 @ 2-4pm)
Hear speaker Michael Strickland, of Stained Glass Associates Inc. (Knightdale NC), on their restoration of the historic stained-glass windows of Raleigh’s first African-American church. The presentation will take place at the North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E Edenton Street, Raleigh NC. Following the talk, all will walk four blocks down Edenton Street to the church, where members will provide a tour of the beautiful windows. Fee is $7 per person, $5 for Museum members, with a portion of proceeds going to help continue window preservation at St. Paul AME Church. For more details or to purchase tickets, go to this EventBrite page.
North Carolina Whirligig Festival (November 4-5, 2017)
Join the fun at the 13th-annual NC Whirligig Festival. Hours are Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday noon-5pm. This festival showcases the arts of the region, including the giant Whirligigs created by local artist, Vollis Simpson. Come and check out the Whirligigs, shop from 200+ vendors, enjoy the live entertainment (3 stages), the Whirli-Kidz Zone, Cake Dive contest, delicious food, and more in downtown Wilson NC. See details at whirligigfestivalnc.org.
Cucalorus Film Festival (November 8-12, 2017)
The 23rd-annual festival returns, with screenings at more than a half-dozen venues around Wilmington NC. The non-competitive Cucalorus Film Festival showcases more than 300 films from all over the world. Watch www.cucalorus.org for details, or their Facebook page for updates.
10 Plants That Have Ornamental Berries (November 10, 2017 @ noon)
Part of the 10 Plant Tour series in the Nash County Arboretum, located at the Nash County Agriculture Center, 1006 Eastern Avenue, Nashville NC. Tours are free; call call 252.459.9810 with questions. See all dates at nash.ces.ncsu.edu/2017/03/2017-ten-plant-tours.
The Lantern Fest (November 11, 2017 @ 1pm-until)
Usually held in Fayetteville, due to a new local law in that city, the fest has been moved to Goldsboro NC. Tickets range from $7 to $60. “At The Lantern Fest, thousands of revelers join together armed with lanterns for one unforgettable spectacle. Before sundown friends and families can enjoy food, live music, a stage show, familiar princesses, face painters, s’mores, balloon artists and more. Then, when the time is just right, we will light the sky with our highest hopes and fondest dreams.” See more on EventBrite.
Dan Finch Pottery Open House (November 12, 2017 @ 10am-5pm)
This annual event is held at the Dan Finch Pottery, 5526 Finch Nursery Lane, Bailey NC. Come for a day of pottery demonstrations, music, shopping, fun, and food. Finch Studio Potters display and sell their many functional creations in stoneware and porcelain, plus jewelry, sculpture, Homes for Bluebirds nesting boxes, and more. Children 12 and under may glaze their own Raku Vase by Dan Finch Santa’s Workshop or get their face painted. For more information, visit www.danfinch.com/events.htm.
Holiday Market (November 18, 2017 @ 9am-3pm)
The Zebulon Farm Fresh Market (ZFFM) celebrates the holiday season with this special one-day market at the Zebulon Community Center, 301 S Arendell Avenue, Zebulon NC. From their early event description: “Shop local and find that perfect gift with one of our many vendors. Grab breakfast or lunch at Brown Bag Bagel Food truck and enjoy dance performance by Massey School of Dance and Expressions of Worship. Lastly, round out the day by visiting with Santa!”
Ed. Note: Event information gathered from various sources. While attempts are made to verify data, for most events contact details are included. If you’re planning to attend an event, use contact information or event links to confirm, check for updates or changes, or verify space is available. These events are publicized by The Grey Area News, but are not events overseen by this news site or staff.
Highlighted events are selected by staff, generally due to prior experience with the event or knowledge of offerings.