"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!

Mule Days Cowboy, Benson, NC.
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.

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 73rd annual Mule Days will take place from the 22nd through the 25th of September.

Other September events include the Four Oaks Acorn Festival, Bentonville Battlefield's Life on Campaign Infantry Program, and the Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival at Hinnant Vineyards. New to the area in September is Micro's first-ever Town Day celebration.

Aerial drone shot of Hinnant Vineyards in Pine Level, NC.

The Selma Railroad Days Festival is always the first full weekend in October, which is the 7th through the 9th this year. Railroad Days includes a 5K run, parade, crafts, food, a 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 from the 27th through the 30th. 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 Motorsports Park. You can also learn about all the area farms offering pumpkins and Fall fun activities for families by exploring our JoCo Grows u-pick page. 

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 5th. 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!

Model train display at the annual Selma Railroad Festival held in October, Selma, NC.