Well, summer is winding down, but you’d hardly think so with the blistery heat we’ve experienced this year. Never fear! To cool things down a bit, we’ve assembled a sampling of fall festivals that will usher in the season and provide for a fun-filled time across the Carolinas.


Yiasou Greek Festival

Sept. 5-8

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

600 East Blvd., Charlotte

Times Vary

Take a step into the Grecian world for this long-running festival that began in 1978 that brings tasty food, entertainment, dance competitions and exhibitions, church tours, lectures, cooking demonstrations, shopping, kids playland and more. For months prior to the event, Charlotte area cooks and restaurants prepare desserts and plated meal components that are staple for festival goers. (Personally, I don’t know how they do it! The lines for plates are long, but so worth it!) They even have a drive-up food service for those on the go. Tickets are $3 and are available in advance or at the gate. yiasoufestival.org

Festival in the Park

Sept. 16-18

1908 East Blvd, Charlotte

Times Vary

In its 55th season, attendees can stroll around the park’s lake and get a glimpse of the work of artisans from across numerous mediums. Entertainment is provided on a number of stages across the festival footprint. And, there’s a plethora of food choices, too! festivalinthepark.org

International Festival

Sept. 16 – Oct. 2

University of North Carolina Charlotte

Barnhardt Student Activity Center

9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte

10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

This one-day festival honors the culture of over 50 nations and began in 1975. Enjoy music, dance and other activities that showcase international flavors. Admission and parking for the event are free. Check the website for directions to parking. ifest.uncc.edu

Carolina Balloon Fest

Oct. 14-16

Statesville, N.C.

(Check the website for directions to parking and transportation to launch site)

Gates open at 3 p.m., opening day; 7 a.m. following days

It’s up and away with hot air balloon flights scheduled twice daily — early morning and late afternoon. All ballooning activities including static display, tethered rides and balloon flights are weather-dependent. Kick back and watch the flights and sights, live music, Artisan Village, food and craft beer and wine and more. Check the website for the full list of events during the festival. carolinaballoonfest.com

Apple Harvest Festival

Oct. 15

Main St., Waynesville

Hailed as one of the 10 Best Fall Harvest Festivals in the Nation, this festival is a celebration of the autumn harvest. Countless booths of fresh apple pies, tarts, caramel apples, ciders, jewelry, pottery and yard art will be present. Try your hand at hand-cranking ice cream or pressing apple cider, then taste the fruit of your labor. Live music, dancing, crafts and old-fashioned games abound! bit.ly/2ZfhMWL

The Barbecue Festival

Oct. 22

Various locations, Lexington, N.C.

Pig out at this festival held in the town famous for its pit-cooked pork. After you sample the barbecue, enjoy music, craft vendors, a car show and more. thebarbecuefestival.com

Celebration of Seagrove Potters

Nov. 19-20

Luck’s Cannery

798 Pottery Hwy. NC-705, Seagrove, N.C.

This festival showcases the works of more than 100 potters in what is considered to be the Pottery Capital of the U.S. Meet potters and other local artisans and see them at work on their creative pieces. discoverseagrove.com.


Fall Colors

Take a jaunt to the North Carolina mountains in October and early November to see the brilliant fall colors while relaxing at one of numerous bed and breakfast locations, as well as other accommodations. Check locations for websites for more information. Or, enjoy a camping, canoe, kayaking or other outdoor adventure before the weather turns cold! There’s always something fun to do.

Pride Festivals

South Carolina Black Pride

Aug. 25-28

Columbia, S.C.


Catawba Valley Pride Festival

Sept. 10

Hickory, S.C.


Outer Banks (OBX) Pridefest

Sept. 16-18

Nags Head, N.C.


Union County Pride

Sept. 18

Monroe, N.C.


Greensboro Pride Festival

Sept. 18

Greensboro, N.C.


Blue Ridge Pride Festival

Sept. 24

Asheville, N.C.


Pride Durham

Sept. 24

Durham, N.C.


Pride Myrtle Beach

Sept. 26 – Oct. 1

Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Alamance Pride Festival

Oct. 1

Burlington, N.C.


Famously Hot South Carolina Pride

Oct. 14-15

Columbia, S.C.


Upstate Pride

Oct. 30 – Nov. 5

Spartanburg, S.C.


Charleston Pride Week

Nov. 13

Charleston, S.C.


Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.