Your ultimate fall festival guide, from pumpkin fests to Christmas shows

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Courtesy of Festival in the Park

As the leaves change, fall-inspired festivals pop up around Charlotte to celebrate art, history, food and culture.

The Labor Day celebration at the U.S. National Whitewater Center will initiate the autumn festivals, culminating in a Christmas craft fair in late November. 

Grab your plaid and celebrate the fall festivals in style.

September

Grandiflora: Gamrath Glass

When: Now through Sept. 29, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: This spectacular botanical glass exhibit will mesmerize guests by day with vibrant sculptures by artist Jason Gamrath and illuminate in the evenings. Look for 10-foot orchids, Venus flytraps and colorful pitcher plants.
Cost: $14.95 for adults, $7.95 for children (free for children 2 and under)

Labor Day Celebration and Trail Race

When: Sept. 1, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
What to expect: Start the morning with a trail race, then enjoy live music from Durand Jones and the Indications, participate in outdoor activities including yoga, and end the evening with fireworks.
Cost: Free

Yiasou Greek Festival

When: Sept. 5 – 8: Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
Where: 600 East Blvd.
What to expect: A tradition since 1978, the Greek festival is one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events featuring authentic Greek cuisine, entertainment, live music, dancing, wine tastings, art and more.
Cost: $3 for adults; free for children 12 and younger 

Cornelius Food Truck Invitational

When: Sept. 7, noon 8 p.m.
Where: Oak Street Mill, 19725 Oak St., Cornelius
What to expect: Fifteen of Charlotte’s best food truck will compete to be crowned “Champions of Old Town.” Categories include Best-Looking Truck, Most Creative Menu, Most Nutritious and People’s Choice. A celebrity guest panel of judges will decide the winner, and guests can enjoy local brews, street vendors and kids’ activities.
Cost: Free

Queen City Back To School Festival

When: Sept. 7, 1 – 5 p.m.
Where: The Carole Hoefener Center, 615 E. 6th St.
What to expect: Start the school year right with dance performances, a bounce house, face painting, bake sale, games and a school supply drive. 
Cost: Free

WorldLIT Street Food Festival

When: Sept. 7, 4-10 p.m.
Where: Camp North End, 1824 Statesville Ave.
What to expect: Sample authentic cuisines from the streets of Brazil, India, Mexico and Vietnam while listening to live music and learning dance moves. There will also be a marketplace filled with art and crafts.
Cost: Free

Pumpkin Fest 2019

CharlotteFive archives

When: Sept. 14, noon-11 p.m.
Where: Sycamore Brewing, 2161 Hawkins St. 
What to expect: Two stages of live music will take over Sycamore, complete with outdoor pouring stations, food trucks, local vendors and special edition merchandise. 
Cost: Free

Mid-Autumn Fest

When: Sept. 14, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: Gather friends and family to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival, an Asian tradition giving thanks for a successful harvest and watching the moon, which represents harmony and unity.
Cost: Grandiflora admission applies. $14.95 for adults, $7.95 for children (free for children 2 and under)

The Great Pumpkin Fest

Courtesy of Carowinds

When: Select days from Sept. 14 – Oct. 27
Where: Carowinds, 300 Carowinds Blvd.
What to expect: Celebrate the season with a Great Pumpkin Fest Activity Trail featuring a challenge course, corn maze, hay bale maze, games, crafts and more. 
Cost: Free with park admission ($48+)

Festival in the Park

When: Sept. 20-22: Friday, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m – 5 p.m.
Where: Freedom Park, 1900 East Blvd.
What to expect: A tradition since 1964, this festival combines live entertainment, food, art and shopping around the lake in Freedom Park.
Cost: Free

Flow Fest

Courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center

When: Sept. 21 – 22, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
What to expect: Head to the WWC for two days filled with 50+ yoga classes and 13 workshops dedicated to blending the elements of mindfulness and wellness in a natural, outdoor setting. Workshops include Energy Healing 101, Yogastrology and The Science of Meditation, and you can also peruse the Vendor Village and enjoy bites and brews.
Cost: Free to attend. Workshops are an extra cost. More info here.

Union County Heritage Festival

Courtesy of Union County Heritage Festival

When: Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Union County Agricultural Center, 3230 Presson Rd., Monroe
What to expect: Celebrating the natural, cultural and historic history of Union County, this festival will feature vendors, kids’ activities, food trucks, raffle prizes and cooking demos.
Cost: Free

International Festival

When: Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd. 
What to expect: Booths arranged in a colorful marketplace style will represent the cultures of over 50 nations featuring art, crafts and costumes from each participating country.
Cost: Free

Woofstock 2019

When: Sept. 21, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: NoDa Brewing Company, 2921 N. Tryon St. 
What to expect: Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love and Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue will team up to showcase vendors, rescues, a silent auction, food trucks, craft beer and adoptable pups.
Cost: $5 donation gets you your first craft brew on the house

Carolina Irish Fest

When: Sept. 21, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Intersection of 7th St. and Caldwell St. 
What to expect: Held in the heart of Charlotte, this festival celebrates the Irish-American community and funds will be used to develop the Charlotte Irish-American Center.
Cost: Free

Festa Italiana

When: Sept. 21, 11 a.m – 5 p.m.
Where: Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, 450 Groce Rd.
What to expect: Celebrate Italian culture with food, art, music and wine. Tickets include a Festa Italiana wine glass and either a tasting of three Raffaldini wines or a glass of wine.
Cost: $20+

Oktoberfest at Eleven Lakes

When: Sept. 21, 1-10 p.m.
Where: Eleven Lakes Brewing, 10228 Bailey Rd., Suite 201, Cornelius
What to expect: More details coming soon. Check back on its Facebook page
Cost: Free

Lakefront Hops Fest

When: Sept. 21, 3-9 p.m. 
Where: The Kilted Buffalo Langtree, 119 Landings Dr. STE 101, Mooresville
What to expect: This festival will benefit Ace & TJ’s Grin Kids with live music, 12 regional breweries, local cider and wine tents, style truck and a kids’ zone.
Cost: Free

El Grito Latin Festival

When: Sept. 22, noon-6 p.m.
Where: 3800 Shamrock Dr.
What to expect: North Carolina’s largest free Mexican Independence Day celebration, also known as “Fiestas Patrias,” will include musical entertainment, cultural dances, sponsor activations and an appearance by the Consul of Mexico, elected officials and dignitaries from the area.
Cost: Free

Taste of Birkdale

CharlotteFive archives

When: Sept. 22, 3-7 p.m.
Where: Birkdale Village, 8712 Lindholm Dr.
What to expect: This annual food festival will include samples from local eateries, food trucks, beer tents, live music and a silent auction benefiting Lake Norman Hospice and Palliative Care. Note: Most event vendors are cash only.
Cost: Free 

GO FEST

When: Sept. 26, 6:30-9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Gastonia
What to expect: This celebration will kick off October’s GO MONTH in Gastonia. The streets of downtown will be closed, featuring a live band, food trucks and special brews from local breweries. Ideas shared at the festival will contribute to Gaston County’s next “instagrammable” mural in downtown.
Cost: Free

iMAGINE STEAM Festival

When: Sept. 28, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Fountain Park in Old Town Rock Hill. 300 E Main St., Rock Hill
What to expect: This festival is designed to showcase preK-12 education and career pathways in Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Math (STEAM) through fun, hands-on learning. Look for interactive exhibits, activities, demonstrations, and family-oriented STEAM entertainment.
Cost: Free

Riverfest

When: Sept. 28, 1-6 p.m.
Where: Kevin Lofton Riverfront Park. 1400 E. Catawba St., Belmont
What to expect: With a goal to highlight the importance of the Catawba River, this festival will include kayaking and log rolling as well as vendor booths and food trucks.
Cost: Free 

South End Oktoberfest

When: September 28. 12 – 6 p.m.
Where: Norfolk Hall, 2905 Griffith St.
What to expect: Sample beers from 30+ local and regional breweries and shop local vendors to the tunes of live music. The festival will benefit Safe Alliance, a nonprofit that provides hope and healing to those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Cost: $35+

Charlotte Pizza Crawl

When: Sept. 28, 2-8 p.m.
Where: Whisky River, 210 E. Trade St.
What to expect: Pair drinks with pizza at 10 participating bars and restaurants for the “cheesiest” crawl of the year. 
Cost: $20+

Tawba Walk Arts & Music Festival

When: Sep. 28, 2-8 p.m. 
Where: Oak Street Mill. 19725 Oak St., Cornelius
What to expect: Over 100 local artists and craftsmen will offer handmade goods, coupled with food trucks, local craft brews, street art, a kids’ zone and live music.
Cost: Free 

Oyster & Shrimp Festival

When: Sept. 28, 5-10 p.m.
Where: Langtree Lake Norman. 401 Langtree Rd.
What to expect: Enjoy oysters, shrimp, and BBQ from Hudson’s Classic Catering and local craft brews from D9 Brewing Company, as well as wine, live music by Rockie Lynne and an auction. 
Cost: $60+

October 

Breakaway Carolina

When: Oct. 4-5. Doors at 4 p.m.
Where: Avidxchange Music Factory. 1000 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd.
What to expect: Listen to hip-hop artists, pop stars and international DJs at this multi-city music festival.
Cost: $50+

Queen Charlotte Fair

When: Oct. 4-13: Monday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday, 4-11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
Where: Route 29 Pavilion, 5650 Sandusky Blvd. 
What to expect: Look for family-friendly entertainment, carnival rides, food and shows at this week-long fair.
Cost: $10 adults. $5 ages 12 and under.

Fall Festival

Courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center

When: Oct. 5, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
What to expect: Celebrate the change of season with fall-themed yoga classes and cider sampling, The Scrambler Obstacle Trail Race and the signature Build Your Own Boat Competition.
Cost: Free

Carolina Renaissance Festival

CharlotteFive archives

When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 24: Saturdays-Sundays, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: 16445 Poplar Tent Rd., Huntersville
What to expect: Watch history come alive with entertainment, including jousting knights on horseback, feasting, crafts, games, rides and more.
Cost: $25+

20th Anniversary Celebration

When: Oct. 5, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: A musical petting zoo, cake decorating contest, and crafts for the family will kick off the Garden’s 20th anniversary party.
Cost: Free for members or with Retro Garden Admission ($8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for children ages 2 through 12)

Great Grapes! Wine & Food Festival

When: Oct. 5, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Rd.
What to expect: Sip wine while enjoying live music, culinary delights, arts and crafts and a kids’ area. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass, unlimited wine samples and all performances.
Cost: $29+

Hops and Hogs Festival

When: Oct. 5, 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Where: Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Rd., Huntersville
What to expect: Enjoy beer, BBQ, and live music from Collective Soul, Lifehouse, Puddle of Mudd, Fuel, Tonic, Paper Tongues, Sister Hazel and more.
Cost: $40+

Belmont Oktoberfest – Tails & Ales Celebration

When: Oct. 5, noon – 7 p.m.
Where: Stowe Park, 24 S. Main St., Belmont
What to expect: Bands, vendors, and contests will highlight this canine-friendly celebration, which will double as a fundraiser for a future dog park in Belmont.
Cost: Free, but donations are recommended

Outdoor Market

Courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center

When: Oct. 11 at 7 a.m. to Oct. 13 at 10 p.m.
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
What to expect: Enjoy hands-on experiences from top brands in the industry including demo bikes, trail running shoes, stand-up paddleboards, climbing gear and more. The center will also host group rides and yoga practices throughout the weekend. 
Cost: Free

Annual Fall Festival

When: Oct. 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Moose Lodge 2012, 2162 Charlotte Hwy., Mooresville 
What to expect: Look for a Corn Hole tournament, car show, vendors, food, and more benefiting Moose Charities: Moosehaven and Mooseheart.
Cost: Free

Fall Pottery Festival

When: Oct. 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Carolina Clay Matters, 8300 Monroe Rd.
What to expect: This festival will feature work from over 50 talented members and is held rain or shine.
Cost: Free

Harvest Festival

When: Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 13 at noon
Where: Shelton Vineyards, 286 Cabernet Ln. 
What to expect: Stroll throughout the vineyards and enjoy hand-crafted items from local vendors, face painting, hay rides, and live music. The vineyard will offer half-price winery tours and tastings.
Cost: Free

Huntersville Fall Festival

When: October 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: 13659 Beatties Rd., Huntersville
What to expect: All-day entertainment will include craft booths, inflatables, food trucks, a pumpkin patch and local art.
Cost: Free

Festival of India

When: Oct. 12-13, noon – 6 p.m.
Where: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 
What to expect: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Festival of India with performances, exhibits, a kid’s art pavilion, a souvenir bazaar and Indian food court.
Cost: $6+

Music Fest

When: Oct. 12, noon – 5 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: Listen to tunes played by talented musicians with roots in bluegrass and enjoy food trucks and the Garden scenery.
Cost: Free for members or with Retro Garden Admission ($8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for children ages 2 through 12)

Hola Charlotte Festival

When: Oct. 12, noon – 7 p.m.
Where: Uptown Charlotte
What to expect: The largest organized Hispanic heritage event in Charlotte will highlight Latin American culture with nationally-recognized entertainers and a cultural village representing 15 Latin American countries.
Cost: Free

Laketoberfest Music & Brew Festival

When: Oct. 12, 4-9 p.m.
Where: Bailey Road Park Amphitheater, 11536 Bailey Rd., Cornelius 
What to expect: Join the Cornelius PARC Department for this annual family-friendly event with local craft brews, food trucks, a kids’ zone and live music. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists.
Cost: Free

Seafood & Beer Fest

When: Oct. 12, noon – 11 p.m.
Where: Sycamore Brewing, 2161 Hawkins St.
What to expect: In partnership with CCA North Carolina, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving coastal resources, Sycamore Brewing will host live music, craft beer and food trucks.
Cost: Free

Fall Charlotte Auto Fair

When: October 17-19. 8 a.m.
Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy., South
What to expect: Car enthusiasts will gather at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for a classic car show and a collector vehicle flea market.
Cost: $13 for adult. Children 12 and under are free.

Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival

When: Oct. 18-20: Friday, 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon – 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 8 p.m.
Where: Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.
What to expect: The largest tattoo festival in North Carolina will host an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed event this year, featuring local artists and live tattooing.
Cost: $15+

Taste of the Lake

When: Oct. 18, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Historic Langtree Plantation, 554 Langtree Rd. 
What to expect: Silent and live auctions will benefit the Lowe’s YMCA and Lake Norman YMCA. Enjoy food and beverages from Lake Norman restaurants, as well.
Cost: $60

Fairy Fest

When: Oct. 19-20, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: This mystical festival will bring a smile to children’s faces with fairy stories, fairy wand creation and crafts in Lost Hollow.
Cost: $49 per child. Free for Members or with General Garden Admission

Stallings Fest

When: Oct. 19, 1-9 p.m.
Where: Stallings Municipal Park, 164-398 State Rd. 1365
What to expect: Enjoy amusement rides, live entertainment and local craft and business booths culminating in a fireworks display. 
Cost: Free

Christmas Made in the South

When: October 25 – 27: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sun.)
Where: Cabarrus Arena & Events Center. 4551 Old Airport Rd., Concord. 
What to expect: Over 300 artists from 28 states will exhibit photography, jewelry, sculpture, woodworking, ornaments, pottery and more.
Cost: $8

Halloween Spooktacular

When: Oct. 25, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Chestnut Square Park, 320 Chestnut Pkwy., Indian Trail
What to expect: Pleasant Plains Dental will throw a family friendly bash with a trunk treat line, activities, contests and DJs.
Cost: Free

Bootanical

When: Oct. 26, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: Participate in fall activities like s’mores around the campfire and listen to live music at the Beer Garden. Kids can even participate in the costume parade.
Cost: Free for Members, kids in costume or with General Garden Admission ($14.95 for adults, $7.95 for children. Free for children 2 and under.)

Queen City Oktoberfest

When: Oct. 26, 1-5 p.m. 
Where: The Carole Hoefener Center, 615 E. 6th St.
What to expect: Food, performances, games and arts and crafts will decorate this festival, complete with a Halloween bake sale, bounce house and family costume pictures.
Cost: Free

BooFest & Nightmare on Main Street

When: Oct. 26, 2-10 p.m. 
Where: Stowe Park, 24 S. Main St., Belmont
What to expect: Look for spooky entertainment at this annual Halloween festival and concert.
Cost: Free

CCBC Fall Festival

When: Oct. 26, 5-8 p.m.
Where: Clear Creek Baptist Church. 
What to expect: More details to come on its Facebook page.
Cost: Free

Fall Harvest Festival

When: Oct. 26, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Mint Hill Town Hall, 4430 Mint Hill Village Ln.
What to expect: Welcome fall to Mint Hill with a family night filled with pumpkin patch photos, pumpkin bowling, face painting, a scarecrow decorating contest and inflatables.
Cost: Free

November

Dia de los Muertos

When: Nov. 2, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd.
What to expect: The beloved “Day of the Dead” tradition will be celebrated in the Garden with entertainment, live music, food and crafts.
Cost: Free for Members or with General Garden Admission ($14.95 for adults, $7.95 for children. Free for children 2 and under.)

CLTs’ MACdown: A Mac N’ Cheese Competition & Craft Beer Tasting

When: Nov. 9, 1-5 p.m.
Where: 2530 Whitehall Park 
What to expect: Enjoy craft beer and all-you-can-eat mac n’ cheese prepared by Charlotte Chefs, including truffle-braised duck mac to white cheddar and chorizo. 
Cost: $30+ ($20 designated driver ticket)

Southern Christmas Show

When: Nov. 14 – 24: Monday-Wednesday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: The Park Expo and Conference Center. 800 Briar Creek Rd.
What to expect: Over 450 holiday merchants will gather for holiday cheer, combined with crafts, food, local wines, festive music and appearances by Santa.
Cost: $13+

CharlotteFive archives

Boutique Belmont Christmas Market

When: Nov. 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Where: 217 S. Central Ave., Belmond
What to expect: Set in the charming Stowe Manor, this pop-up shop will offer handmade and vintage gift and decor selections. Look for tea and fudge samples as well.
Cost: Free

Queen City Fall Festival

When: Nov. 16, 1-5 p.m. 
Where: The Carole Hoefener Center, 615 E. 6th St.
What to expect: This wholesome festival celebrates the season with homemade crafts, local vendors, food trucks, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a donut-eating race and more. 
Cost: Free

Christmas Craft Fair at the Mill

When: Nov. 30, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Double Shoals Cotton Mill, 199 Old Mill Rd.
What to expect: Enjoy Christmas craft projects, family photo opportunities, a fire pit and local vendors.
Cost: Free

5 COMMENTS

  1. The Greek Festival is not free for adults. Per their website: “Festival admission $3.00. Children 12 and under are admitted free, accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

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