Fall in North Carolina is a wonderful time, particularly in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the leaves put on amazing shows and the cooler weather seems to summon us all outside.
For those of us who love festivals and fairs in North Carolina, no season is more alluring than autumn!
North Carolina fairs are at their finest from August to November, and the NC State fairgrounds seem to be constantly humming.
Autumn events in North Carolina are happening every single weekend, and often on weekdays as well.
Besides the fiddlers’ conventions and other North Carolina music festivals, there are an abundance of NC fairs for visitors and locals to enjoy.
There are big regional events, including the NC Mountain State Fair in Fletcher and the NC State Fair in Raleigh. There are also agricultural fairs to showcase local farms, and arts and craft fairs that are perfect for Christmas shopping.
Read on for our guide to 15 great fairs in North Carolina, including info on attractions, dates, hours, parking, and other pertinent details to help make your fair-going experience more than middling.
Fall Fairs in North Carolina Guide
- Macon County Fair (Franklin, August 1-6)
- Mount Mitchell Craft Fair (Burnsville, August 5-6)
- Surry County Agricultural Fair (Mt Airy, August 5-14)
- Blowing Rock Juried Art in the Park (Blowing Rock, August 12, September 9, October 7)
- Iredell County Agricultural Fair (Statesville, September 1-9)
- NC Mountain State Fair (Fletcher, September 8-17)
- Village Art and Craft Fair (Asheville, September 9-10)
- Central Carolina Fair (Greensboro, September 8-17)
- Stokes County Ag Fair (King, September 12-16)
- Madison Country Fair (Marshall, September 29-30)
- Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace (Charlotte, September 30-November 19)
- Haywood County Fair (Waynesville, September 29- October 1)
- NC State Fair (Raleigh, October 12-22)
- Valle Country Fair (Valle Crucis, October 21)
- Tis the Season Holiday Fair (Fletcher, TBD)
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Winston Salem NC
1. Macon County Fair
Franklin NC, August 1-6
The Macon County Fair celebrates four decades of fun, and local farms are front and center in the festivities.
Field crop contests and animal shows are a huge part of this fair, as are pageants.
Live entertainment at the Franklin NC fair includes a 4-wheeler motorcycle rodeo, lawn mower pull, tractor pull, and live music by the Flat Rock Ramblers.
Other events to check out include a talent show, cornhole tournament, iron skillet contests, backyard cook-off, and more.
There are also loads and loads of exhibits here, covering everything from fine art and photography to gardening, home cooking, and needlework.
2. Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
Burnsville NC, August 5-6
The Burnsville fair has unique crafts, art, entertainment and good food from local restaurants in Burnsville NC, and admission to it is free!
There are even shuttles to help guests get to and from the heart of the town.
Celebrating its 65th year, the Mount Mitchell Craft Fair is August 5-6 from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.
This is a great spot to find one-of-a-kind pottery, fine woodwork, jewelry, stained glass, woven baskets, and more.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Burnsville NC
3. Surry County Agricultural Fair
Mount Airy NC, August 5-14
Held at Veterans Memorial Park in Mt Airy NC, the Surry County Agricultural Fair has been around for over 75 years.
This NC fair is held in conjunction with American Legion Post 123 and Veterans of Foreign War Post 2019, and showcases artwork, cooking, crafts, livestock, Appalachian music, and more.
There are serious competitions, educational exhibits, fun contests, craft booths, baked goods, and all sorts of other stuff related to farms and homesteading.
The Surry County Ag Fair schedule is from August 5-14, with hours from 5:00PM – 11:00PM on weekdays and 2:00 PM– 11:00PM on weekends.
General admission is $6, but children under 3 are free with a paying adult, and senior citizens get in for just $3. Note that the carnival-style rides cost an additional fee.
4. Blowing Rock Juried Art In The Park
Blowing Rock NC, August 12, September 9 & October 7
The beloved Blue Ridge Mountain town of Blowing Rock has been having Art In The Park Saturdays for 60 years now, with artists jury-selected and curated to include a broad variety of mediums.
Artist tents spread from Main Street to Wallingford Street on Park Avenue, and there’s a free shuttle and free parking at the Tanger Outlets.
In addition to the art fair, visitors can also enjoy shopping and eating at restaurants in Blowing Rock, and the Sunday after each art fair has a concert in the park.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC
5. Iredell County Ag Fair
Statesville NC, September 1-9
The Kiwanis Club of Statesville puts on this Statesville fair, using proceeds to sponsor lots of community projects.
The Iredell County Ag Fair has a ton of agricultural competitions, including crops, honey, and flowers, as well as canning, butters, jams, and juices.
There are rides and amusements every day, and live entertainment each night, including Moto Motion Stunt Shows, Circus Shane Shows, and Go Kart Racing.
The fair begins on Friday, Sept 2, and continues through Saturday, Sept 10. On Sept 3-5 (Sat-Mon) and September 10 (Sat), gates open at 3 PM. On all other days, the fair opens at 5 PM, and gates close at 11 PM nightly.
6. NC Mountain State Fair
Fletcher NC, September 8-17
Held in the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher NC (9 miles north of Hendersonville), the North Carolina Mountain State Fair is 10 days packed full of competitions, demonstrations, entertainment, and rides.
In addition to a full selection of fair games, there are 40+ carnival rides, and the entertainment line-up includes live music, magic, dancing, and acrobatics.
The heart of the NC Mountain State Fair is Western North Carolina’s livestock, crops, farm products, and crafts, with lots of demonstrations to showcase them all.
The fair runs from Sept 8 to 17, and the gates open at 9 AM on Friday and Saturday and 3 PM Monday through Thursday.
7. Village Art and Craft Fair
Asheville NC, September 9-10
The fair is a weekend event on Saturday, Sept 9 (10 AM–6 PM), and Sunday, Sept 110 (Noon–5 PM). Admission is free.
Local artists design a super poster and t-shirts to memorialize each year’s fair, and there are over 100 exhibitors from just about every art media imaginable.
The fairground is located between the Cathedral of All Souls and historic Biltmore Village, and the church provides concessions and donates all proceeds to community outreach programs.
READ MORE: The 35 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC
8. Central Carolina Fair
Greensboro NC, September 8-17
A big-time North Carolina fair, the Central Carolina Fair takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in mid-September.
One of our favorite fall activities, the fair will have a number of rides, including the “Drop Tower” and “Zero Gravity,” as well as a merry-go-round and other classic carnival rides.
Vendors will be selling traditional fair foods like corn dogs, funnel cakes, and turkey legs.
Entrance into the Greensboro fair is just $6, and there are unlimited ride bands available for purchase.
9. Stokes County Ag Fair
King NC, September 12-16
Stokes County Agricultural Fair is hosted by the King American Legion, and has been around for over 70 years now.
It takes place from September 12-16, opening at 5 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Friday the gates open at 4 PM, and on Saturday they open at 2 PM.
The fair has live entertainment, exhibits from community leaders, educational and commercial booths, as well as plenty of delicious food.
Events will include local farms showing goats, horses, and other livestock; nightly Bingo; and a ceremony for recognition of all Veterans.
10. Madison County Fair
Marshall NC, September 29-30
Not to be confused with the Iowa county made famous by Robert James Waller’s novel, The Bridges of Madison County, this fair is held in Marshall NC, about 12 miles northwest of Weaverville.
The Madison County Fair is another great North Carolina agricultural fair, this one hosted by the non-profit Madison County Fairgrounds Board.
The Madison County Cooperative Extension Center helps to host competitions for crafts and agricultural products (including ginormous pumpkins).
The fair also features Youth Livestock Shows.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Weaverville NC
11. Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace
Charlotte NC, Saturdays & Sundays from September 30-November 19
There is nothing quite like a Renaissance Fair for getting silly and a bit medieval. This festival is filled with hundreds of costumed enthusiasts recreating a 16th-century Europe marketplace.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is held on a 25-acre, open-air village in the forest, and includes castles, pubs, vendors, and stage shows.
Shows at the fair include comedy acts, musical performances, artisan demonstrations, and theatrical productions.
Day passes are limited and cost $32 for adults and $20 for children ages 5-12. Season passes are also available, and parking for the festival is free.
12. Haywood County Fair
Waynesville NC, September 29- October 1
Presented by the Haywood County Fair Committee, this annual fair is held to promote Haywood County agriculture, manufacturing, and Appalachian culture.
This year’s fair is being held at the Smoky Mountain Event Center in Waynesville NC .
In addition to the standard ag fair livestock competitions, local heritage artisans will be selling their handcrafted wares and demonstrating their skills.
There will also be live shows, dancing, rides, and games, as well as music from the area that gave us bluegrass legends like Raymond Fairchild and Don Reno.
13. NC State Fair
Raleigh NC, October 12-22
The North Carolina State Fair is held annually at the Raleigh Fairgrounds. The event opens at noon on October 12, and at 9 AM every day after that until October 22.
This fair includes a horse and livestock competition, and there are lots of rides, musical performances, and educational demonstrations for visitors to enjoy.
Other popular attractions include Antique Farm Machinery, Heritage Circle, Flower and Garden Show, Field of Dreams, Village of Yesteryear, and the State Fair Ark.
READ MORE: The 15 Best NC Wineries to Visit
14. Valle Country Fair
Valle Crucis NC, October 21
Located 12 miles from some of the best restaurants in Banner Elk NC, this fair is a one-day event held annually in the middle of October.
The Valle Country Fair takes place from 9 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, October 21.
This fair has lots of local flavors, including Brunswick stew, North Carolina BBQ, and homemade jams, jellies, and butters.
The Valle Country Fair has exhibits and vendors of local crafts, and plenty of Appalachian storytellers, musicians, and dancers providing entertainment.
The kids can enjoy animal encounters, face painting, fair games, and even bowling with pumpkins!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC
15. Tis the Season Holiday Fair
Fletcher NC, TBD
The Tis the Season Holiday Fair is great a way to kick off your Western North Carolina Christmas Events.
The entrance fee is just $6 (children under 12 are free), and the fair takes place at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher NC.
This is a great place to support local artists and crafters by buying unique holiday gifts for family and friends. There will also be a banquet of gourmet foods and NC wines.
The Tis the Season Holiday Fair is a fantastic way start to the holiday season, and it’s only a short drive away from the Biltmore Estate if you want more Christmas magic. –Jonathon Engels, featured image via Canva