Woolly Worms! Fall Festivals In North Carolina

The Latest From Carolina Traveler

Welcome to our weekly dose of Carolina charm, featuring some of our favorite fall festivals in North Carolina! Get ready to dive into the heart of fall with a sneak peek at the Woolly Worm Festival, where fuzzy critters predict cool temperatures. Then, step back in time at the Carolina Renaissance Festival and don your saucy maiden costume for a chance at glory. All aboard for a scenic train ride through the Nantahala Gorge, where nature's hues paint the landscape. Lastly, summon your courage for the Haints in the Holler Haunted Hike, exploring Appalachian mysteries. Join us as we uncover the best events and fall festivals in North Carolina, from whimsical to spine-tingling! 🍂🎭👻 Learn how to join our Carolina Traveler Facebook group and become a subscriber to the Carolina Traveler magazine!

Head to Banner Elk For One Of The Best Fall Festivals In North Carolina

🌟 Get ready to have a WOOLLY good time in Banner Elk, North Carolina! 🐛 The Woolly Worm Festival is back, and it's a guaranteed blast for the whole family. 🎉
📅This beloved event, now in its 46th year, will take place on October 21-22 at the Historic Banner Elk School.
🐛 The legend goes that the 13 fur bands of a woolly bear caterpillar can predict the upcoming winter weather. Brown and lighter bands mean mild weeks, while black bands forecast cold and snowy ones. 🌨️
🏁For the past 45 years, folks have been racing these little critters in the hope that their chosen worm will clinch victory, predict the winter, and even score a cash prize that's now up to a whopping $1,000! Sunday's winner gets $500 but no weather forecasting accolades. ☀️❄️
Leading up to the event, local kids gather worms and sell them for $1 to the Key Club of Avery High School, who sell them for $2 to those who come wormless. These adorable contestants even get amusing names like Hairy Potter, Woolly Nelson, and Dale Wormhardt as they race up strings toward the finish line. 🏁
But the fun doesn't end there! The festival features more than just worm races. Enjoy live bluegrass and country music acts, including incredible tributes to Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. 🏺Local artists showcase their handmade wares, making it a perfect time for early Christmas shopping. 🛍️
And let's not forget the delectable food vendors, offering everything from French pastries to delicious hot dogs courtesy of the Boy Scouts. 🌭
Admission to the Woolly Worm Festival — one of the best fall festivals in North Carolina — is wallet-friendly, with $8 for adults and just $5 for kids aged 6-12. Kids aged 5 and under get in for FREE! If you want to join the woolly worm racing action, it's only $10 to enter your very own woolly worm.
Join us in Banner Elk for a weekend filled with fun, adventure, and woolly worm excitement. 🐛🍁

VIP Subscriber Offers

Contact Susie ([email protected]) to take advantage of these ticket offers…
  1. Renaissance Festival (Sep. 30 – Nov. 19, Huntersville, NC) – Up to 2 adult and 2 child passes
  2. Renaissance Festival VIP parking contest (Sep. 30 – Nov. 19, Huntersville, NC) – see the Carolina Traveler page on Facebook
  3. Dickens Christmas Show and Marketplace (Nov. 9-12, Myrtle Beach, SC) – Two passes
  4. Chistmas Carousel marketplace (Nov. 24-26, Raleigh, NC) – Two passes
Click to learn more about being a VIP subscriber.
The 2023 NC State Fair and 2023 SC State Fair midway at day vs. nighttime.

Top — Midway at the NC State Fair Bottom — Midway at the SC State Fair

The Fair Is Here!

Did you know the North Carolina State Fair is ranked in the top ten state fairsRunning from October 12-22, 2023, the NC State Fair is organizing a host of new events:

  • Tuesday, October 17 — Senior Citizens' Day (seniors age 65+ get free admission)
  • Wednesday, October 18 — Military Appreciation Day (parade at 10 AM)
  • Thursday, October 19 — Smithfield Hunger Relief Day (bring six cans of food in exchange for free admission)

Attend the South Carolina State Fair from October 11-22, 2023. Returning for its fourth year, the CIRCUS at the Fair is free with fair admission and takes place daily at 2 PM, 4:30 PM, and 7:30 PM showings, which run 40 minutes.

Returning for a fourth year at the South Carolina State Fair, the CIRCUS at the Fair is back and better than ever with fresh and exciting entertainment, familiar and new! Experience the breathtaking talents of aerial artists, acrobats, clowns, magicians, and even a laser illumination performer!

We suggest planning your visit on a weekend between two of the best fall festivals in North Carolina — that way you can take part in as much autumn NC fun as you can!

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad steam engine enters a clearing in the mountains

Experience the glory of yesteryear on a fall train ride through the Smoky Mountains on the steam engines of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.

All Aboard The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad's Premier Fall Foliage Excursion

Get ready for a real deal journey through North Carolina's transportation history while soaking in the fall vibes in the Smoky Mountains! If you want the ultimate autumn spectacle, jump on one of the train rides the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has got lined up.

The Nantahala Gorge Excursion is like the holy grail of fall foliage trips. Picture this: a 4.5-hour round trip starting from Bryson City, covering a solid 44 miles in the mountains. You'll be cruising alongside the cute Nantahala River and through the Nantahala Gorge. Oh, and don't miss the historic Fontana Trestle – a cool bridge over Fontana Lake.

Now, if you're craving that authentic small mountain town vibe, the Tuckasegee River Excursion is your go-to. It's a 32-mile roundtrip adventure lasting around four hours. Trust me, this is the way to experience North Carolina's fall colors – straight from the cozy seat of a train! 🚂🍂

The Carolina Renaissance Fest is one of the best fall festivals in North Carolina

Step into a world of medieval wonder and whimsy at the Carolina Renaissance Festival!

Do You Have What It Takes To Claim The Title Of “Sauciest Maiden?”!

There's always something fun going on over the eight weekends of the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival — easily one of the best fall festivals in North Carolina! October 14-15 is dedicated to the time-honored craft of brewing beer!
Sample a selection of fine micro-brewed ale!  Play a series of RenFest Beer Games! Adventurous costumed ladies are invited to flirtatiously strut their stuff in the Saucy Maiden Costume Contest! All in good, clean fun of course!
Carolina Traveler VIPs: Check your email for instructions on claiming your tickets! While supplies last, we're giving VIPs up to 4 tickets the the festival (2 adult and 2 child tickets) valued at $104! If you don't see the email in your inbox, check your spam or promotions tab. Want to get in on all the fun stuff as a Carolina Traveler VIP, like free tickets to some of the best fall festivals in North Carolina? It's easy, here's what you do:
  1. Click subscribe
  2. Select the VIP package
  3. Check out
  4. Get tickets to fun stuff!
Haunted hike in the Appalachian woods

Gather at dusk in the Appalachian woods for a Haints in the Holler haunted hike, where the most diabolical and conniving spirits of western NC may lurk around every spindly tree…

Double, Double, Toil And Trouble: Two Spooky Tours in North Carolina

If fall festivals in North Carolina are not quite up your alley, and you prefer more of an intimate gathering to celebrate the Halloween season, we've got two exceptional tours for you and your close friends and family.

Prepare yourself for a chilling journey into the unknown with this eerie trek – not meant for the faint-hearted. As darkness descends, your odyssey commences, guided only by the feeble glow of lanterns that cast ghostly, flickering shadows. The trail meanders through ancient trees, revealing mischievous apparitions from our Appalachian past.

Amidst the ominous atmosphere, storytellers will weave tales of local legends and spectral folklore, intensifying the suspense that cloaks the adventure. Their words breathe life into the forest, leaving you to ponder the lurking mysteries just beyond the tree line.

This Halloween hike guarantees an unforgettable and bewitching experience suitable for adults and children aged ten years and up. Brace yourself to confront the eerie tales deeply embedded within the Appalachian woods, departing with memories destined to haunt your dreams! 🌲👻 Book a haunted hike in the woods.

Embark upon a foreboding journey through Raleigh, NC, delving into an architectural tour that unravels the secrets of the city's oldest and most enigmatic downtown residences. The eerie exploration includes sites such as 1 E Edenton St, 206 New Bern Pl, the hauntingly historic Haywood Hall House and Gardens, and 200 N Blount St.

Among them, the Heck-Andrews House stands as an ominous relic, constructed in the aftermath of the Civil War and earning its distinction as one of Raleigh's inaugural post-war dwellings. As you navigate these spectral edifices, prepare to confront the shadows of the past and glean insights into the mysterious tapestry of Raleigh's architectural history.

This haunted tour seamlessly combines education with an unsettling glimpse into the enduring mysteries that cloak these time-honored residences. Book a haunted architectural tour.

yacht basin in southport

Yacht Basin is home to many of Southport's seafood restaurants

Take The Southport Ferry To See “Old Baldy”

Kick back and soak in the coastal vibes in Southport, your gateway to a laid-back family weekend. Nestled close to the famed beach towns of NC, it's the ideal spot for an autumn retreat.

A quick jaunt worth considering is a ferry ride to Bald Head Island, just a breezy 20 minutes away. Adults (12+) snag round-trip tickets for $23, while the little ones (3-12) ride for $12, and the tiny tots under 2 catch a free wave.

Bald Head Island, a gem of a destination, has a unique charm – no cars allowed. Cruise around on rented bikes or golf carts, and just go with the flow. With 14 miles of pristine beaches, it's a paradise for sun-soaking, swimming, and crafting the perfect sandcastle. Meander through the marina, explore quirky boutiques, or paddle through the island's serene creeks.

And here's a tip: don't skip Old Baldy, North Carolina's OG lighthouse. Climb its 108 stairs for panoramic views that'll sweep you off your beachcombing feet! 🏖️🚲

Looking for more information on fall festivals in North Carolina? Visit our Carolina Traveler Facebook page and website for all things seasonal in NC and SC.

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