Triangle Fall Activities

state fair historic

Looking for some fun stuff to do around the Triangle in the coming months? Check out these events! They’re spread throughout the area and appeal to a wide range of interests and ages.


La Fiesta Del Pueblo

Where: Fayetteville Street, Raleigh

When: Sunday, September 24th 12-7pm

La Fiesta del Pueblo is a daylong celebration of Latin food, music, art and culture that takes place on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Of course you can’t have a Latin festival without music and dancing. There is a full slate of musical performances, from a range of different Latin music genres and several performances from dance groups representing Brazil, Panama and more. Performances are all free and will be held on Fayetteville Street.

Food vendors will be serving up mouthwatering cuisine from throughout Latin America. There will be Venezuelan, Cuban, Mexican, and Salvadorian dishes as well as Tex-Mex and more.
Lastly, there will be a large number of crafts from local shops such as the Peruvian Market, Atitlan Arts and World Accessories. This is the perfect opportunity to get unique and special gifts for your loved ones.

The festival is put on by El Pueblo, an organization that aims to facilitate community and bridge-building within Hispanic/Latino communities as well as with other communities in North Carolina. This is accomplished through advocacy, education, communication, empowerment and promoting the interests and meeting the needs of the Hispanic/Latino Community.

Wide Open Bluegrass 2017

Where: Downtown Raleigh

When: Friday, Saturday, September 29, 30

With 200,000 attending, Wide Open Bluegrass is the Triangle’s biggest free festival. Billed as the “largest urban bluegrass festival in the world,” the official festival of the International Bluegrass Music Association returns to Raleigh for its 5th anniversary. While bluegrass is definitely the focus, the festival also has food, dancing and more, for all ages.

The two day festival features ticketed performances at Red Hat Amphitheater and 5 free stages along Fayetteville Street with more than 100 bands! There will also be a dance tent, presenting clogging performances, participatory square dances and late-night open dancing Friday and Saturday nights. Check out the WOB Art Market, a juried showcase displaying North Carolina artists as well as other artists from around the country. Local restaurants will be offering specials for the event and some of the best food trucks in the area will be ready to serve the masses. There will also be amazing artists and vendors selling their wares.

I’m no bluegrass expert, but I do know that you can’t have bluegrass without banjos. If you’ve never seen a 20-foot tall sculpture made of over 600 banjo parts, surrounding the likeness of Raleigh’s namesake, then now is your chance. The Banjostand was created by Wyoming artists Bland Hoke and is constructed behind the sculpture of Sir Walter Raleigh located in front of the convention center.

Not a fan of bluegrass? That’s okay, come check out the Whole Hog Barbeque Championship. Not a fan of barbeque? Have you tasted the best? The Whole Hog Championship features some of the best master barbecuers in the state. The public can buy the barbecue after judging, with all proceeds going to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.


Festifall Arts Festival

Where: West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill

When: Sunday, October 1, 2017, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

The 45th annual Festifall Arts Festival will provide the community and artists with a way to come together and interact. Every year West Franklin Street is shut down and taken over by a sea of artists and crafters selling their wares and demonstrating their talents. There will be live music and plenty of the area’s best food trucks. The festival facilitates interaction between the local arts community and the broader Chapel Hill community. A “mega mural” will be created that all can help to paint. Several of the musicians are from the area and play a wide variety of genres. There will be several interactive events including face painting, a solar education trailer, “make your own flower crown,” and the circulator, UNC’s “food truck” version of Davis Library, bringing books on the go, a photo booth, and more. Baxter, local “barcade,” will even be bringing some of its arcade games outdoors for patrons to use. Check the link for performance times, vendors and more.

Triangle Oktoberfest

Where: Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary

When: Friday, October 6, 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., Saturday October 7, 1:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.

Oktoberfest began in 1810 with the celebration surrounding the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12. The following year the celebration was repeated and thus Oktoberfest was born. These days Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest festival in the world, with attendees from every corner of the globe.

Claiming to be the biggest Oktoberfest in North Carolina, the 4th Annual Triangle Oktoberfest, will take place at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre, raising money to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Live entertainment will be provided by Peak City Sound and the Polka Brothers. There will be traditional Bavarian food, wiener dog races, entertaining events, contests and of course beer, both local and authentically German. Tickets run from $10 to $20 depending on days and times, and everyone 16 and under gets in free.

All Beers cost $6 in a 16 oz. cup, and you can bring your own stein, tankards, mugs, boots (depending on size, 2 tickets may be required)!

NC State Fair

Where: NC State Fairgrounds

When: Oct 12-22

First started in 1853, this will be the 150th anniversary (they skipped a couple years) of the NC State Fair. The original idea was to allow the agricultural community a venue to showcase its crops, livestock and new technology, while at the same time giving those that may not know much about agriculture (us city folk), a chance to learn about and experience it. While the State Fair has not strayed from this core mission, it has grown considerably in other aspects, namely food, rides, games and madness. The first fair was a four day event that saw 4,000 visitors on its busiest day. These days the fair lasts 11 days and sees over 800,000 visitors in total.

According to Wikipedia, the NC State Fair has the largest midway of any state fair. The first midway ride, called the “Switchback Railway,” was created in 1894. Food booths weren’t a part of the fair until 1900 and even then they were to raise money for church groups and civic organizations. Once started as novelties, distracting from the main event, food and rides have become the focus for many attendees. The rides, food and games are impossible to miss. They’re covered in bright lights, cheerful music and eye-popping colors. Things have changed since the simple “Switchback Railway.” Now we have rides with names like “Ring of Fire,” “Toxic Shock,” and “Zipper.” These are not for the faint of heart but luckily for young children (and everybody) there are plenty of slower, more relaxing rides like Ferris Wheels, merry-go-rounds, and bumper cars. The food at the fair is also across the board. There are monstrosities like deep fried candy bars, hamburgers with donuts for buns, and fried bacon, which also aren’t for the faint of heart (or good for it). For those not wanting to consume these Frankensteins of gastronomy there are several other amazing options, many of which reflect North Carolina’s culinary heritage and culture. Think homemade ice cream, barbecue (ever present) and fudge.

The core goal of the fair is still very much alive. Farmers, crafters, agriculturists and everyone in between come from all corners of the state to compete and exhibit their trades. There are contests and exhibits for all sorts of livestock and produce. Winners are on display, and are truly amazing. The biggest pumpkin on record was over 1,400 pounds!

There are several activities and exhibits to help get the public interested in agriculture. You can even try your hand at milking a cow! The one thing that really can’t be missed, that can melt even the coldest soul, is holding the baby chicks. They’re as soft as it gets and just so, so cute. Besides this there are several petting zoos and similar attractions. Don’t miss the pig races.

The fair also holds nightly performances in Dorton Arena, a list of which can be found here.
Feel free to bring your own food and drinks though alcohol will be confiscated at the gate. However, for the first year, beer and wine will be available for purchase inside the fairgrounds.

Halloween Spooktacular with Paperhand Puppet Intervention

Where: Northgate mall, Durham

When: Sunday, October 22, 4 pm – 7 pm

If you haven’t seen Paperhand Puppet Intervention then you’re missing out. A truly unique and magical experience, the Paperhand crew is extremely talented, creative, and professional. They put on full performances, using larger than life puppets to tell beautiful stories. The afternoon event will also include a costume contest and parade, live music, local food trucks, beer and wine, additional area vendors, community partners and children’s activities. The event is free to the public.

Pumpkin Flotilla

Where: Bond Park, Cary

When: Friday, October 27, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Want to mix it up? Have you ever participated in a pumpkin flotilla? That’s right pumpkins will “set sail” across Bond Park at around 6:30 p.m. Those that bring a carved pumpkin or come dressed up (highly encourage) can enjoy a discounted boat ride on the lake and a snack from the concession stand while waiting for the launch of the pumpkin armada. Pumpkins you bring must weigh around 8 pounds when carved, approximately the size of a soccer ball. This flotilla cannot accept pumpkins that are too small or too large. All pumpkins must come with tops and be carved and gutted at home. Jack-o-lanterns with artificial decorations like lights, paint, paper, glitter, etc. cannot be accepted so keep it traditional please. But don’t be afraid to get creative with your carvings, just make sure you don’t cut it up so much so that it can’t float. For more information check out their website.


Where: The Cary Theater, Cary

When: Friday, October 27, 7:00 p.m.

Want to get more into local film? Like zombies? Just want to mix it up? Perfect! Come check out the free event in downtown Cary. The theater will be screening short zombie films by local film as well as classic undead flicks. You can even submit your own 3-5 minute zombie film!


Where: Jefferson L. Sugg Farm Park at Bass Lake, Holly Springs

When: Saturday, October 28, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Town of Holly Springs joins with churches, civic organizations and businesses for this annual community celebration. Admission is free. The festival takes place on the shores of picturesque Bass Lake. There will be live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, an inflatable, rides, the Cornhole Cup ’17, plenty of food and fire and police vehicles on display. If your children (and you) can handle a more thrilling time, check out the haunted hayride starting at 7 p.m. The hayride, which leaves from Bass Lake, costs $5 per person and tickets can be purchased in advance. It’s advertised as “not being for the faint of heart.”

Haunted Mordecai Festival

Where: Mordecai Historic Park, Raleigh

When: Saturday, October 28, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Come out to Mordecai Historic Park for the annual Haunted Mordecai Festival on the lawn. This family-friendly event will have crafts and games, a face painter, bounce house, music and costume contests. The Haunted Mordecai Festival will be held rain or shine.


Where: Durham Central Park

When: Sunday, October 29, Noon – 4 p.m.

Durham Parks and Recreation, and Beyond Fences are teaming up to bring you and your dog an afternoon of fun. Beyond Fences is a non-profit organization that strives to bring basic pet care resources to area neighborhoods. The organization provides free services, supplies, information and support and proactively reaches out to the community to build relationships with families and help keep pets healthy and happy. There will be several fun events including an interactive trick dog show presented by Purina’s Dare Devil Dogs. The show will take place between 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm and will be “action packed.” If you’re looking for something a little more seasonal, there will be a costume contest featuring multiple categories and judged by local celebrities. If you want a picture with your dressed up pup or one of your dog with no costume, there will be a photo booth available for pictures. There will also be a market, which will be selling pet-related items from local canine businesses, a raffle to win dog related prizes (all money goes to help local dogs), local canine foster and adoption organizations and food and beer.