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 our attractions are an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Autumn is an excellent time of year to explore the area weather-wise as well. Starting in September visitors and locals will find many unique festivals to enjoy, and several that honor JoCo’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 21st through the 24th of September.
Other September events include the Four Oaks Acorn Festival on the 9th and Farm Fest with superstar headliner Justin Moore on the 15th. The Clayton Harvest & Music Festival is September 13th through 17th with local food, beer, vendors, and even carnival rides. For a celebration of international cuisine attend the St. Ann International Food Festival on the 23rd; food vendors will be representing Brazil, Germany, Jamaica, Poland, Vietnam, and more. This event draws attendees from Raleigh and the Triangle region just a short distance from us.
Looking into October for things to do consider the 42nd Annual Selma Railroad Days Festival, always the first weekend in October (Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th). Railroad Days includes a 5K run, parade, crafts, food, children's area, and even a large model train display at the Selma Train Depot, along with a variety of entertainment.
Other October events include Bentonville Battlefield’s Fall Festival & Living History Program on the 28th. 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. For fun on the farm, pick your own pumpkin at Smith’s Farm Annual Fall Festival which takes place the third Saturday in October. With a bounce house and farm animals this is an especially great festival for kids.
For beer and bluegrass enthusiasts Saturday the 4th of November will have you sipping and singing along. The 6th Annual Shindig Music Festival features all-day Americana and Bluegrass genre bands performing on 2 stages. You can read the band line-up when it is announced and get tickets on their website when they go on sale. Previous bands have included The Steeldrivers, The Black Lillies, and American Aquarium.
You can find these annual festivals, plus more events and activities on the Johnston County Visitors Bureau calendar of events as well at johnstoncountync.org/events.