BBQ, Bluegrass, and Pride: 14 Summer Festivals Happening in NC

NC Summer Festivals

Cut loose when the temperature goes up with these summer 2023 festivals in NC. (Shutterstock)

By Leah Sherrell

July 12, 2023

North Carolina is packed with fun and festivals when the temperature goes up. Here’s our pick of the best, from the Outer Banks to Charlotte and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fourth of July might be over, but that doesn’t mean the summer celebration has come to an end.

Here are our picks for the summer festivals ahead in North Carolina:


Wright Kite Festival, Kill Devil Hills: July 14-15

From 10 a.m. – 4p.m. people will be flying 100-foot kites at the Wright Brothers National Memorial! 

Entrance to the park is $10, but activities like kite flying, power kite flying lessons and the kite-making stations are free.  

Hillbilly Jam, Maggie Valley: July 21-22

For $10 a day (children 10 and under are free), you can join in on the Hillbilly Jam music (they’ve got rock’n’roll, bluegrass, and country),, moonshine, crafts, and the car and bike show. 

Gates are open from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. 

BLK Summer Fest, Charlotte: July 29

Six hours of music, food, vendors and fashion! This 21+ event hosted by Black Greek Fest is calling all HBCUs and their alumni to celebrate community and support Black-owned businesses. The festival goes from 2 p.m . – 8 p.m. and tickets range from $0-$45.  

Folkmoot Festival: July 29

This international dance festival has been held in western North Carolina for four decades, and is spotlighting the international communities in North Carolina and the United States. Join them for dancing, music, food, and craft beer! 

Galaxy Con Raleigh: July 27-30

This 4-day fandom celebration is all about cosplay, comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, pop-culture and the chance to meet the writers, creators, panelists, and other fans like you! 

Tickets are selling out fast and start at $15 for children 4-9 years old and $35-$60 for adults. 


AVL Festival, Asheville : August 3-6 

AVL Fest is taking over more than 20 clubs, concert halls, and outdoor venues during a 4-day music festival with artists like The Fritz (psychedelic funk), Nikki Lane (country), and Rebekah Todd (soul rock).  

The $100 pass gives you access to over 100 shows, discounts at restaurants, retailers and more.  

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, Cary: August 4-5

Starting at $39, the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ festival is two days of everything the title indicates and more (i.e. biscuits, bacon and bluegrass). Each visitor gets a sampling glass to try all the beer and bourbon you come across!

OutSouth Queer Film Festival, Durham: August 10-13

This festival has been returning to Durhman for over 25 years. This year will feature documentaries, short-films, and full-length feature films.. 

NC State Bluegrass Festival, Marion : August 17-19

Every day from noon to 8:30 p.m. will be packed with bluegrass musicians from around the country. They’ve come to the right place. Bluegrass hails from the Appalachians, including North Carolina.

You can bring your camper, stay overnight, and find time for a jam session with your neighbors! 

Charlotte Pride Parade & Festival: August 19-20

The Pride parade and festival is back for another year of celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its legacy. It’s an especially apt time in North Carolina, where LGBTQ rights have been a hot topic at the state legislature and in the courts. 

 Entrance is free! There will be vendors, entertainment, drag, and all things Pride. 


Whitewater Center Labor Day Celebration, Concord: September 3

No Labor Day plans? No problem. Spend the day at the Whitewater Center and have fun with outdoor activities like their trail races, stand up paddle boarding, yoga, live music, and day pass activities. Entrance is free but certain activities require registration and a ticket.  

NC Folk Festival, Greensboro: September 8- 10

This free 3-day celebration of cultural heritage features music, dancing, a craft market, food and more! With over 300 artists and continuous performances this is one of the fastest growing festivals in the Southeast. 

La Fiesta del Pueblo, Raleigh: September 17

This is the Triangle’s largest festival of Latin American culture and will have music, dancing, art exhibits, and something for everyone in the family!

Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta: September 22-23 

This free event starts with a kickoff party at local Seawitch Café and Tiki Bar on Friday to prepare for an 8:30 a.m. start time on race day. There will be costumes, music, family fun, and some healthy competition to go around. 


  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.

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