October is the perfect month for a food festival in North Carolina. The weather finally breaks from the sweltering temperatures of summer so it's a wonderful time to spend all day outside, and some of our favorite foods are in season, like apples, tomatoes, root vegetables and oysters. Lucky for you, there are plenty of food festivals across the state where you can sample all of this seasons bounty.
Photo credit: Stacey Sprenz
The Terra Vita festival has quickly become one of the premiere food festivals in the south, drawing both national media and celebrity chefs to celebrate culinary excellence and southern traditions. This year's festival features an East meets West dinner with chefs from across North Carolina creating a family-style meal highlighting local products and purveyors, a wellness workshop with yoga and meditation as well as culinary workshops and food and beverage demonstrations. Ticket cost: varies by event.
Celebrate all things apple in Waynesville at the one-day Apple Harvest Festival. Arguably the most anticipated produce of the fall season, not only are all types of locally grown apples for sale at the festival, you can also find apple cider, apple butter, pies, tarts, candy apples and even apple-themed pottery and jewelry. You can even try your hand at ice cream making, while enjoying music, dancing and crafts. Ticket cost: free.
Did you know that North Carolina has a wine region? Home to more than three dozen wineries, Yadkin Valley is the heart of North Carolina wine country and is located in the Piedmont area near Winston-Salem. Bring the entire family to the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival where parents can sample wines from multiple vineyards, while kids enjoy food, craft vendors and live music. Ticket cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of festival.
Photo credit: All Events
Spend two full days slurping down briny oysters at the 37th annual North Carolina Oyster Festival in the beautiful coastal town of Ocean Isle. In addition to oysters on the half shell, enjoy them fried and in oyster stew, then watch the oyster eating contest, oyster shucking contest or the shag dance competition. At the vendor booths, get a jump on Christmas shopping with handmade jewelry, painted glassware, natural soaps and candles. Ticket cost: $5, cash only.
When Chef Kevin Callaghan of Acme Food & Beverage Company threw an impromptu outdoor party five years ago of oysters, collard greens and cornbread, he had no idea it would evolve into a celebration of fall in North Carolina. There's whole-hog barbecue; oysters on the half shell; sides like bourbon mashed sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and hoppin’ John; dessert at the “Smores”gasbord; wine, beer and local whiskey cocktails; and live music all around a roaring fire. Ticket cost: $60 (the entertainment, two drinks, some swag and a shuttle from Carrboro) or $85 for adults (for everything including food); $20 for children age 6 to 12; and free for children 5 and younger.