"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, college 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. Seriously, there's even more events in this round-up than last year. Best of all, it's all family-friendly!

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.

Clayton Harvest Festival Sunset
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.  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. This year's Mule Days will take place the 26th through the 29th of September.

The Selma Railroad Days Festival is always the first weekend in October, which is the 5th 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.

For a celebration of international cuisine attend the St. Ann International Food Festival on the 5th of October; food vendors will be representing Cuba, Greece, Poland, Haiti, and more. This event draws attendees from Raleigh and the Triangle region just a short distance from JoCo.  

Other October events include the Four Oaks Acorn Festival on the 12th and the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival is October 30th through November 3rd with local food, beer, vendors, and even carnival rides.

Four Oaks Acorn Festival

For beer and bluegrass enthusiasts, Saturday the 2nd of November will have you sipping and singing along. The 8th 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.

Also, Hinnant Vineyards is doing you-pick grapes right now! Plus art exhibits, fall beer releases, community markets, food and wellness tours, live music and local theatre, corn mazes, and more on our calendar this fall!

Shindig Stage