Fall festival season in Charlotte is here. As the weather cools, prepare to load up on fried food, carnival rides and local art. If you’re a power festival-goer, October 21 is your day to circle in red on your calendar.
Dates: September 7-10
Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Blvd.
Details: Tickets are $3, but kids 12 and under are free. One of Charlotte’s premier festivals for good reason. Step inside for choral performances, lectures and cathedral tours or stay outdoors for food, entertainment, rides and games.
Pro tip: Ride the light rail and show your ticket for free admission.
Dates: September 8-16
Location: Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, 4751 N.C. Highway 49 North
Details: Tickets range from $3.25 to $7.50, and children 5 years old and younger are free. Rides, fair food, petting zoo, a youth horse show and chainsaw art are among the attractions.
Pro tip: Check for daily ticket specials, including free admission Sunday September 10 with four canned food items per adult or two per child.
Date: September 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Downtown Lincoln, 115 W. Main St.
Details: Events include a 5K, musical entertainment and the annual apple recipe contest.
Pro tip: Visit the Kids’ Orchard.
Dates: September 9-10
Location: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St.
Details: Children younger than 10 are free. Tickets are $6 in advance or $7 at the door. Sponsored by the India Association of Charlotte, it features performances, art and cultural and historical resources.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Charlotte Idol singing competition.
Dates: September 22-24
Location: Freedom Park
Details: Admission is free. A can’t-miss festival that includes work from local artists, performances, children’s rides and festival food.
Pro tip: Take the free shuttle to avoid parking headaches in Dilworth/Myers Park.
Dates: September 22-23
Location: Rescue Squad Park, Denver, N.C.
Details: Free. Rides, entertainment, food, local craft and artisan vendors.
Pro tip: Check out the free Special Needs Fun Day on Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or compete in a disc golf tournament Saturday.
Date: September 23, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Chestnut Square Park, 320 Chestnut Parkway
Details: Free. Artists, food and family activities.
Date: September 30 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Downtown Davidson
Details: Free. Browse work by local artists, sample beer/wine, enjoy live music. Kids art area included.
Dates: September 30-November 19
Location: 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville
Details: Grab a turkey leg and head to this popular festival north of Charlotte. Mingle with costumed cast members and enjoy entertainment, jousting battles and more.
Date: October 7
Location: North Tryon from Trade Street to 8th Street
Details: Free. Charlotte’s official Hispanic Heritage Festival. Cultural exhibits, food and other displays.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Latin America Cultural Village.
Date: October 14
Location: Free. UNC Charlotte Student Activity Center, 9201 University City Blvd.
Details: Browse booths that represent cultures from more than 50 nations. Arts, crafts and costumes are featured.
Dates: October 20-21
Location: Pineville Lake Park
Details: Music, craft vendors, rides, food, games and a pie eating contest are all featured.
Dates: October 20-22
Location: 260 Hangar Drive, Statesville, N.C.
Details: Tickets range from $5 to $25, and packages are also available. Celebrate and watch hot air balloons, browse vendors and eat festival food.
Pro tip: Children 12 years old and younger are free.
Date: October 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Windy Hill Orchard, 1860 Black Highway, York, S.C.
Details: Tickets are $8. This 24rd annual festival includes hard and regular cider, hayrides and apple doughnuts.
Pro tip: Your admission ticket will either get you a hard cider or hay ride.
Date: October 21
Location: The White Barn, 3202 River Road, Midland, N.C.
Details: Popular blogger Myquillyn Smith will open her Midland farm for a day filled with more than 50 vendors, book signings from several authors, music (think banjos) and food trucks.
Pro tip: Check out Smith’s Nesting Place blog to get a feel for her “cozy minimalist” style.
Date: October 21, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: 308 W. Carson Blvd.
Details: General admission is $35 for four hours. (Designated drivers are $10.) Wine samplings from 25 vineyards, food trucks and live music.
Pro tip: Proceeds benefit Classroom Central, so you can feel good while you get boozy.
Feature photo via Cabarrus County Fair