Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas, here’s a big (and growing) list of fall festivals, Halloween festivals, Halloween movies, trick-or-treat events and more, for 2017. Most of these are free. Some have a nominal charge and some free festivals charge for activities. This list will go from Labor Day Weekend through the middle of November.
Do you know of others? Let me know and I’ll get them on the list. Coming soon is also a list of haunted trails, corn mazes and other ongoing activities throughout the fall. Triangle on the Cheap has a lot of ideas for free and cheap things to do, so make sure to subscribe by email. Your email address will never be shared, sold, or spammed. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter. Tell your friends! And follow each link below for the necessary details.
Tar Heel Downtown Celebration
140 West Franklin Street
Celebrate the beginning of the UNC Tar Heel’s football season with kids’ games, live music, autographs, concessions, inflatables and more.
Bull City Rumble
Social Games and Brews, 1007 W Main St, Durham
Vintage motorcycle and scooter rally. Live music, more.
African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County
Fayetteville Street, from Martin Street to City Plaza in downtown Raleigh
An annual Labor Day Weekend celebration of African American culture as expressed through art, music, dance, food and community.
Raleigh Greek Fest
Jim Graham Building, NC State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh
This festival includes traditional dance performances, cooking demos, vendors and more.
SPARKcon is an interdisciplinary creativity, art & design festival produced by the non-profit creativity incubator, Visual Art Exchange, in Raleigh NC. SPARKcon happens each September in Downtown Raleigh. The annual event includes a huge number of events encompassing creative themes such as art, music, film, fashion, geek, circus and more. Many of the events are free.
Many events are free
NC Style Oktobrüefest at Brüeprint Brewing Company
Brüeprint Brewing Company, 1229 Perry Rd Ste 101, Apex
German-style food for purchase, live music, more.
Hillsborough Hog Day
River Park, 144 East Margaret Lane, Hillsborough
This festival brings the community together to eat BBQ, listen to live music and shop for hand-crafted gifts. It’s Orange County’s longest running festival.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh
Each year more than 35,000 (human) visitors come to BugFest to enjoy over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. The 2017 featured arthropod is the dragonfly.
Centerfest Arts Festival
45+ juried visual artists will showcase and sell their original, handcrafted work in Clay, Drawing, Fibers, Glass, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Wood, Jewelry, Mixed Media, and Sculpture. 65+ performing acts will entertain on 6 stages.
Free but $5 donation is appreciated.
International Food and Music Festival
J. Ashley Wall Towne Square, W. Third St. & W. Cypress St., Wendell
Purchase international foods from many cultures and enjoy live music and dance performances. There will also be kids’ activities.
12th Annual Fall Harvest Celebration at Historic Yates Mill County Park
Historic Yates Mill County Park, 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh
Children’s scavenger hunt, music, dancing, storytelling, food vendors, antique vehicles more.
Free. Tours of the mill are $3-$5.
Rolesville BBQ & Band Festival
Rolesville Community School Park, 121 Redford Pl Dr, Rolesville
Local chefs will be preparing chicken, barbecue, and ribs, and competing for top honors. Live music from local bands and kids’ activities.
6th Annual Durham Oktoberfest
Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham
Little German Band and Dancers, pretzels, schnitzel, brats, beer
PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Rd., Raleigh
Celebrate the beginning of the Carolina Hurricanes season with a Hurricanes scrimmage, autographs, kids’ zone, live music and more.
Oktoberfest Party at Raleigh Brewing Company
Raleigh Brewing Company, 3709 Neil Street, Raleigh
Live German music and dancing. Costume contest, more
Capital City Bikefest
Various locations in Raleigh
Free three-day family-friendly motorcycle rally in downtown Raleigh. It includes live music, stunt shows, a car show, tattoofest and much more.
Octoberfest at Bull City Burgers & Brewery
Live music, dancing, German food, kids’ area
East Meets West Festival
Town Hall Drive in Morrisville
Celebrate the town’s diversity with food, culture and music from around the world.
Feis in the Forest – An Irish Music Festival
South Taylor Street in Wake Forest
Live music and dancing. Gaelic sports demonstrations, kids’ area, more.
Southern Community Park, 100 Sumac Road, Chapel Hill
Meet animals, including adoptable dogs. Also, live music, children’s parade, arts and crafts vendors, more.
Durham Latino Festiva and Soccer Challenge
Rock Quarry Park, 701 Stadium Drive, Durham
Soccer tournament, kids’ zone, Duke Men’s Soccer meet and greet, food trucks, more
National Alpaca Day at Perry Farm
Perry Farm, 2428 Walker Road, Hillsborough
Meet and feed alpacas. Shop for fleece products, enjoy live music.
Gizmo’s Oktoberfest Party
Gizmo Brew Fest, 5907 Triangle Drive, Raleigh
Live music, food trucks
Fall Festival in Holly Springs
Sunrise United Methodist Church, 5420 Sunset Lake Road, Holly Springs
Live music, free food, fire pit, fire truck, bouncy house, face painting, games, more
La Fiesta del Pueblo
Fayetteville Street and City Plaza, Raleigh
A day-long celebration of Latinx food, music, art and culture.
Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest
Fayetteville Street, Raleigh
Wide Open Bluegrass’ main event is ticketed, in Red Hat Amphitheater. StreetFest is free and takes place on seven stages on Fayetteville Street.
35th Annual Storytelling Festival
Historic Oak View County Park, 4028 Carya Drive, Raleigh
Nationally celebrated storytellers and a musical artist will perform.
Festifall Arts Festival
Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
Music, dance, performance art, as well as works for sale by artists and artisans.
Durham’s Monarch Festival
Sandy Creek Park, 3510 Sandy Creek Dr, Durham
Butterfly themed crafts, yard games, butterfly parade, more
Creepy Crabtree Celebration
Lake Crabtree County Park, 1400 Aviation Parkway, Morrisville
Scary scavenger hunts, creepy crafts and gruesome games. Wear a costume if you like
Halloween Double Feature
Dix Park, 2105 Umstead Drive, Raleigh
Hocus Pocus and Shawn of the Dead. Food trucks will be on site
Halloween Spooktacular with Paperhand Puppet Intervention
Northgate Mall, 1058 West Club Boulevard, Durham
Costume contest, performance by Paperhand Puppet Intervention, food trucks.
The Cary Theater, 122 East Chatham Street, Cary
Free zombie film festival, featuring films made by community members, plus “Dawn of the Dead.” Come in costume. Follow above link to learn how you can submit your own zombie film to be screened at the festival.
Bond Park Boathouse, 801 High House Road, Cary
Carved pumpkins will set sail at twilight.
Duke Homestead’s Halloween Phantasmagoria
Duke Homestead, 2828 Duke Homestead Road, Durham
Explore historical concepts of Spiritualism, awe, and wonder from the 19th century as you wander the property.
$10 in advance. $15 at the at the door. (plus tax)
Cary Town Band Presents Spooky Music
Cary Arts Center
Herbert’s Haunted House
October 27 and 28
Herbert C. Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave, Cary
The Cary Teen Council will take you on a spooky walk through their house of horrors. Navigate through the building to experience all of the thrills that Cary’s teens have dreamed-up.
Costume Dance Party
Cary Arts Center
Age 3-10, with caregiver. Dress up in your favorite costume creation for our Costume Dance Party! Party includes light refreshments, an art activity, dancing and costume awards.
Hillsborough Spirit Tours
October 27 and 28
Hillsborough Visitors Center, 150 E. King Street
Alliance for Historic Hillsborough’s annual Haunted Tour through the historic district
$12. Age 11 and under are free.
Haunted Mordecai Festival
Mordecai Historic Park, 1 Mimosa Street, Raleigh
Music, games, crafts, costume costume. Paranormal investigation group the Ghost Guild will be on site to reveal their findings from the Mordecai House and answer your questions.
Cary’s Great Pumpkin Carve
Cary Downtown Park
Stop by the Pumpkin Patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve at one of the carving stations or bring your own. Pumpkins will be lit for display and judged in a variety of categories. Stay for family friendly Halloween specials shown outdoors, including “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”! Pumpkins are for sale at low cost; all other activities are free.
Ghost Walk in Downtown Cary
Page Walker Arts & History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary
Spooky stories and ghostly legends sure to send chills up your spine are dramatized by Cary Players.
Halloween Mall Crawl
Cary Towne Center, 1105 Walnut St, Cary
Dress in your best Halloween costume and join us for an afternoon of trick-or-treating, storytelling, and a magic show.
Haunted Mordecai Lantern Tour
Mordecai Historic Park, 1 Mimosa Street, Raleigh
This spooky tour of what some people consider the most haunted place in Raleigh is offered just one night a year. Reservations are recommended. Tours leave every 15 minutes from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Durham Central Park, 501 Foster Street, Durham
Trick dog show, dog costume contest, photo booth, more
Free. Charge for some activities.