13 Must-Attend Events in North Carolina for 2022

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13 Must-Attend Events in North Carolina for 2022

North Carolina's diverse landscape, rich history, and culture make it a great place to explore. The state hosts some of the best events in the country. It's no surprise that people are already planning their 2022 around what will happen in the state. 

What kinds of events can you attend in North Carolina? Find food festivals dedicated to all kinds of cuisine, from gourmet burgers to oysters. Visit the mountains to attend live bluegrass music festivals or head to Charlotte for a professional sporting match. Whether you're a music buff, sports enthusiast, antique hunter, or fair enthusiast, North Carolina has it all!

Enjoy browsing our list of 13 can't-miss events in North Carolina for 2022. Start planning your 2022 getaways or find a new adventure to expand your horizons!

#1- Blowing Rock Winterfest

Give yourself a few weeks to recover from the holiday rush, but don't get too cozy. Drive to a favorite North Carolina small town for the Blowing Rock Winterfest. This event runs January 27-30, 2022, and embraces the frosty air. The cold-hearty join in the Polar Plunge, while the warmly dressed stroll the Artisan Ice Sculptures crafted by master artists. 

Inspire your creative side on Friday, January 28, 4–6 pm at Winterfest's Cork & Canvas. In addition to wine, beer, and snacks, you'll participate in a guided painting experience and take your finished piece home. The cost is $45.

At the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, enjoy Storyland, a traveling exhibit geared toward kids ages 2-8. All exhibitions at the museum are free.

The Polar Bear Plunge at Chetola Lake happens on Saturday, January 29, from 10–11:30 am for those brave individuals who enjoy cold water. If you're not adventurous enough to take the plunge, it's a free event. Otherwise, the cost is $35.

#2- Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, April

Say "hello" to spring in the Carolinas with the iconic Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. Dates for 2022 are April 21-23. Officially, the festival begins on Friday, April 22, with live music, carnival rides, and food from a wide variety of vendors. April 21 is the Annual Cork & Fork, a ticketed food and wine event with local chefs.

Saturday features the Fayetteville downtown street fair, activities in the KidZone, and the BMX Bike Show. Sunday wraps up the Dogwood Festival with a car and motorcycle show, more midway rides, and an array of tasty treats. 

Admission to the Dogwood Festival is free. However, if you visit KidZone, you will need to pay for a wristband.

Fun Fact: If you can't attend the event in April, there's usually a festival in the fall with similar activities. Go to the event website to find more information on the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

#3- Outer Banks Flying Pirate Half-Marathon

Runners from around the country come to Kitty Hawk, NC, for the Flying Pirate Half Marathon. The race is a point-to-point course that takes runners through 13.1 miles of a diverse coastal environment with mainly flat terrain. A stretch of the race does travel through rolling and hilly ground. Expect beach sand, mulch, and dirt road turf.

The race starts in historic Kitty Hawk. Aviation buffs will enjoy mile eight, where the course runs along the Wright Brothers National Monument.

If your feet aren't race-ready, you still have a few months to prepare. The half marathon takes place April 23-24, 2022. If you register before January 1, 2022, registration is $65. The fee increases after January 1. If you're not quite ready for a solo half marathon, register with a partner and run the Two-Person Relay.

Participate in pirate gear, and you could win a prize for the best-dressed pirate!

#4- North Carolina Azalea Festival

Whether you're new to North Carolina or you've lived here your entire life, you've seen plenty of the South's leading must-have flowering plant. Azaleas grow wild everywhere, from the Blue Ridge Mountains right up to the start of the state's seashores. 

The North Carolina Azalea Festival celebrates its 75th year starting Wednesday, April 6, 2022, and runs through Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Wilmington, NC. Festivities include the Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade, Queen Azalea coronation, vendors and refreshments at the Waterfront Street Fair, a parade, and more entertainment for the entire family. Most events are free, although some charge a fee, like the Duck Dash 5k or the 2022 World Premiere of the Azalea Suite by composer Steven Errante. 

#5- Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games

Even if you don't have a Scottish or Scots-Irish heritage, you'll fit in at the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games set in McDowell County, NC. Set on one of the state's most stunning peaks, Grandfather Mountain, activities include sheepdog demonstrations, a Gaelic language class, Highland dance competitions, bagpipes, and Celtic craft workshops. Highland athletic competitions include the Hammer Throw, Weight Toss for Height, Sheaf Toss, and the Caber Toss. You can also run The Bear (5K) or the Grandfather Mountain Marathon — one of the nation's most challenging marathons.

This year's games open July 7 at 4 pm and end with closing ceremonies on July 10 at 4 pm. Ticket prices for the 2021 games ran $15 -$30 for guests age 13 and older, and children 5-12 years old cost $5. 

#6- Folkmoot International Festival

Visit the mountain town of Waynesville this July for an international celebration of music and dance. The Folkmoot International Festival draws performers from 200 countries. Last year, the festival took place July 22-25 at Lake Junaluska and the Folkmoot Friendship Center.

Attendees enjoyed authentic Irish dance, Cherokee Hoop Dancers, Latin American dance, clogging, and traditional and contemporary African dance. A variety of musical performers attended and showcased their talent. Musical stylings ranged from Cajun, Zydeco, and Tejano Conjunto.

Visit the event website for updates. Tickets usually go on sale in May. 

#7- Carolina Beach Music Festival 

The sand beneath your feet, the sound of waves crashing onshore, and the best beach music bands in the South playing their hearts out. This is what visitors experience at one of North Carolina's longest-running music festivals - the Carolina Beach Music Festival

Scheduled for June 4, 2022, plan to spend the day at the beach being thoroughly entertained. You can bring coolers, food, and beverages, but no glass containers or pets. Tickets go on sale closer to the event. In 2021, ticket prices were $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Access to the festival is through the Carolina Beach Boardwalk at Cape Fear Blvd and Carolina Beach

#8- Monster Truck Bash

It's just not summer without the sound of 2,000-horsepower monster trucks growling on the dirt track. Saturday, August 20, 2022, at 6:30 pm, the Circle K Monster Truck Bash returns to The Dirt Track at Charlotte for an evening of action-packed motorsports.

Purchasing a ticket ($10 to $25) gets you into the pre-race pit party, where you'll meet the drivers and get up close and personal with the monster trucks. Bigfoot, Stone Crusher, and Hooked are a few of the big-name drivers who you could run into at the pre-race party.

#9- North Carolina Seafood Festival 

Mark your calendars for September 30 - October 2, 2022, for the 36th Annual North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City. What better way to celebrate the delicious seafood and its impact on the citizens of Eastern North Carolina than with a weekend-long party? Over 200,00 visitors agree; that's the number this festival has drawn in the past. 

Enjoy live music performed by local and international bands. Taste a range of fresh-caught seafood prepared for you by award-winning chefs. Other activities include amusement park rides, a 5K and 10K road race, and a sailing regatta. You can even try your hand at oyster shucking. If you're good, you could win a prize. Admission to the festival is free.

#10- Lexington BBQ Festival

Did you know Lexington, North Carolina, is considered the Barbeque Capital of the World? If you've never attended the Lexington BBQ Festival, make 2022 your year! The festival is a one-day event on October 22, 2022, from 8:30 am–6 pm. Don't miss the Finale Concert and Fireworks from 6–9 pm.

Not only will you taste world-famous Lexington-style BBQ, but you'll also have opportunities to hear some fantastic music performances, relax with a drink in the wine garden, and if it's brought back for 2022, purchase a bottle of Swine Wine. It's specially made to commemorate the BBQ festival.

The Barbecue Festival, set in historic Uptown Lexington, will be located on Main Street and adjoining side streets between 4th Street and 5th Avenue. Admission is free.

#11- Wilmington Riverfest

Riverfest in the beautiful city of Wilmington, North Carolina, features live music on the river performed by local musicians and bands and a street where you can eat turkey legs and waffle cones to your heart's content. Bring the kiddos to Kidz Zone, where they can jump, ride, and play until they're worn out.

A family favorite is the Saturday night fireworks show. Stand on the boardwalk to watch the show while looking out over the Cape Fear River. Riverfest also sponsors an antique and classic car display. 

Wilmington Riverfest starts October 7 and runs through October 9, 2022. Admission is free.

#12- Carolina Renaissance Festival

Take a trip back in time at the 16th Century European open-air village in Huntersville. The Carolina Renaissance Festival is a favorite of people from all over North Carolina. The festival is a full-day event where you'll laugh at dancing pigs and watch in awe as the Queen's Knight's joust. Play games like Vegetable Justice (throw a tomato) and ride the Pirate's Catapult. 

As with most festivals in North Carolina, there's something fun for everyone, from music to comedy to artisan demonstrations and more. Parking is ample and free onsite.

Generally, the Renaissance Festival takes place Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend in October through the last weekend in November. Ticket prices in 2021 were $17 for children ages 5-12 and $27 for adults, and children under 5 are free!

#13- Christmas at Biltmore

You cannot end your year without experiencing Christmas at Biltmore! Biltmore House and Antler Hill village dress up in holiday finery, creating a truly magical experience. You'll have your choice of either a daytime or evening visit. Both offer a view of sparkling lights, graciously adorned trees, and glittering ornaments.

Located at 1 Lodge Street, Asheville, Biltmore offers times for you to visit every day. Tickets during the Christmas season start at $106. Reservations are required. Christmas at Biltmore is open through January 8, 2022. 

Things to Do in North Carolina for 2022

There's a reason why so many visitors come to North Carolina year-round. Part of it is the variety of activities offered all over the state. Use our sampling of 2022 North Carolina events as a jumping-off point for discovering more about the place we call home. For more information on these fantastic festivals and more on North Carolina living, you can also visit our EZ Home Search blog.

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