Kids explore an antique fire engine at the annual Wilson’s Mills Pumpkin Festival.
Johnston County’s placement at the juncture of I-95 and I-40 makes it a convenient location to visit on the East Coast. With a rural landscape and a history of farming many of Johnston County’s attractions are an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Autumn is an excellent time of year to visit weather-wise as well. Starting in September visitors will find many unique festivals to enjoy, and several that honor the county’s agricultural heritage.
Benson Mule Days began in 1949 in the charming farming community of Benson whose leaders wanted to honor the hard-working mule and the importance of agriculture in the region. With a yearly attendance of over 50,000 people this festival boosts mule competitions, rodeos, art festivals, midways and carnival rides, and one of the largest parades in the state of North Carolina. Learn more on the event website. This year's Mule Days will take place the 20th through the 23rd of September.
Other September events include the Four Oaks Acorn Festival on the 8th and Farm Fest with Clay Walker, Lonestar, and Deana Carter on the 15th. The Clayton Harvest & Music Festival is September 12th through 16th with local food, beer, vendors, and even carnival rides. For a celebration of international cuisine attend the St. Ann International Food Festival on the 22nd; food vendors will be representing Cuba, Haiti, Greece, Poland, and more!
New to the Kenly area this year is the Sonlight Farms Good ‘Ole Daze event on September 29th with old-fashion corn shelling, quilting, blacksmithing, butter making, tobacco tying, antique farm equipment, and homemade ice cream.
Looking into October for things to do consider the 43rd Annual Selma Railroad Days Festival, always the first weekend in October, this year falls on the 6th. Railroad Days includes a 5K run, parade, crafts, food, children's area, a large model train display at the Selma Train Depot, and even an opening event on Friday night the 5th called the Chew Chew Food Truck Rodeo.
Other October events include the Monster Truck Throwdown at GALOT Motorsports Park on the 5th, the Wilson’s Mills Pumpkin Festival on the 13th, and Bentonville Battlefield’s Fall Festival & Living History Program on the 20th. There will be demonstrations regarding life on a late 19th century farm and what women and children had to do to maintain the homestead with men away at war. On October 27th the Clayton Center had the Roots & Boots Tour with Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, and Collin Raye.
For beer and bluegrass enthusiasts Saturday the 3rd of November will have you sipping and singing along. The 7th Annual Shindig Music Festival features all-day Americana and Bluegrass genre bands performing on 2 stages; this year’s line-up includes Scythian, Yarn, Fireside Collective, and Twisted Pine.
Find these annual festivals, plus more events and activities, on the Johnston County Visitors Bureau calendar of events at johnstoncountync.org/events.
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