"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall." -Oscar Wilde

 

How well we know, especially in North Carolina, the quickness with which the dog days of summer give way to autumn's chill. Some of our residents and visitors mourn the turning of the season - saying goodbye to beach chairs, sunscreen, warm water, and ice cream cones. Others hail the first fallen leaf as the harbinger of cool weather, football, bonfires, and hot toddies. Unlike the great East vs. West BBQ debate, there is no right answer here.

However, fall is one of my favorite times to be in JoCo and it's not just about the fantastic weather... there's also so much to do. Best of all, most of these events are family-friendly/for all ages and all of them take place outdoors!

Autumn is an excellent time of year to explore Johnston County. Starting in September visitors and locals will find many unique festivals to enjoy, and several that honor JoCo’s agricultural heritage. Placement at the juncture of I-95 and I-40 makes JoCo a convenient location to visit on the East Coast.

A small train carrying passengers down the streets of Selma, NC, for the annual Selma Railroad Days.
One of the more popular and unique festivals in JoCo is Benson Mule Days, which 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. This festival boosts mule competitions, rodeos, concerts, and carnival rides. This year's Mule Days will take place the 23rd through the 26th of September.

Other September events include the Four Oaks Acorn Festival on the 11th, Bentonville Battlefield's Life on Campaign Infantry Program on the 18th, the NC Grape Stomp Festival at Gregory Vineyards on the 19th, as well as pick your own grapes at Myrick Vineyards throughout the month. New to the area and also on the 19th of the month, a Family Fun Fest out at Flower's Plantation.

GALOT Monster Truck event held near Benson, NC.

The Selma Railroad Days Festival is always the first weekend in October, which is the 1st and 2nd this year. 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. Later in the month make sure to attend the Clayton Harvest Festival, happening the 27th through the 31st. This event incorporates a midway full of carnival rides, a classic car show, a Latin American Festival, the Squealin' on the Square BBQ cook-off, a huge vendor fair, and other community-focused events, food, music, and fun.

Other October events include Saturdays at Sonlight Farms, evenings at Clayton Fear Farm (not for the faint of heart), and a Monster Truck Throwdown at GALOT on the 8th and 9th.

Look ahead to early November even and put one more Bentonville event on your calendar... the annual Fall Festival. Bring the family and celebrate fall at Bentonville Battlefield on Saturday the 6th. Planned activities include wagon rides, old-timey kids games, music, townball (19th century baseball), antique tractors, historic demonstrations and more! Bring a blanket or chair and listen to live music.

Other weekly events to look for in the fall season include live music, outdoor movie nights, corn mazes, and community markets. Find it all on our calendar this fall!

Enjoy a trip around the corn maze at Sonlight Farms in Kenly NC.