Family Friendly Summer Festivals

By Heather Gordy |

We’ve compiled a list of popular family-friendly summer festivals in the Cape fear region, ready to fill out your calendar of summertime activities. Check the festival websites for updated information, times and dates, and be sure to check the weather report, too.

Enjoy your summer! Remember to take photos along the way, and share them to social media with the tag #capefearlivingmoment … we always love to see what you are up to!

31st Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival

Date: June 4

Location: Cape Fear Blvd. & Carolina Beach Ave. S. Carolina Beach, NC

Gates Open: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This annual event is one of the longest running Beach Music festivals in the United States still actually held on the beach. Enjoy a full day of live entertainment and music with beach music bands such as North Tower, The Band of Oz, and Kim Quick and Coastline. Bring your SPF, chairs, towels, and coolers and settle in the sand for a grand day by the ocean!


Cape Fear BBQ Festival

Location: Old River Farms, 8711 Old River Rd., Burgaw, NC

June 4: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

June 5: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Still a fairly young festival, this year marks the 3rd Annual Cape Fear BBQ Festival held in Burgaw, NC. Expect to see live music from bands The Big Kahuna, the Coco Loco Party Band, and The Imitations. There will also be art and craft vendors, as well as, flower and plant sales. With tons of events and entertainment, such as a competitive BBQ cook-off, an antique truck and tractor show, and plenty of games and activities, the whole family is bound to have a great time.


Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green Festival

Location: Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

Shadows of Shakespeare: May 24 – June 13 (Various Dates)

Measure for Measure: June 7 – 30 (Various Dates)

Gates Open: 6:30 p.m., performances begin at 8 p.m.

Come watch two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays be performed at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. This year, Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green presents Shadows of Shakespeare and Measure for Measure. Celebrating the 24th Season of free outdoor theater, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Greenfield Lake while also experiencing a sure-to-be-incredible theater performance.


North Carolina Blueberry Festival

June 17: Burgaw Community Building, 102 East Wilmington St., Burgaw, NC; 8:30 a.m.

June 18: Historic Downtown Burgaw, NC; 7 a.m.

Blueberry summer festivalThe North Carolina Blueberry Festival is Burgaw’s annual community gathering celebrating the historic, economic, and cultural impact blueberries have had in the southeastern region of North Carolina. Enjoy two full days of family entertainment with over 20 events including a car show, a street fair, a recipe contest, a barbeque cook-off, a 5K run, an antique show and sale, and more. You can also expect various festival vendors Saturday starting at 9 a.m., and live music to close out the festival that evening.

For a detailed list of events and times, visit


Cape Fear Blues Festival

June 17: Cape Fear Riverfront, Wilmington, NC; 6 p.m.

June 18: Finkelstein Music, 6 S. Front St., Wilmington, NC; 11 a.m.

June 19: The Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave., Wilmington, NC; Noon

The Cape Fear Blues Festival starts on Friday, June 17th as part of The Downtown Sundown Concert Series, featuring live blues from Southern Avenue with Snake Malone and The Black Cat Bone. Saturday at 11 a.m. at Finkelstein Music, festivities will begin with a Cape Fear Blues Workshop lead by Louisiana singer/songwriter and Wilmington pianist, Jim Nelson. Beginning at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday night, The Rusty Nail will be hosting a Blues Party with The Fat Bastard Blues Band and The Rusted Rails. The festival ends with an all-day Blues Jam on Sunday starting at noon, and a Martin Guitar Giveaway immediately after.

North Carolina 4th of July Festival

July 1: Middleton Park Extension, Oak Island, NC; 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

July 2: Historic Downtown, Southport, NC; 9 a.m.

July 3–4: Historic Downtown, Southport, NC; 10 a.m.

Express your patriotism and celebrate Fourth of July alongside family, friends, and the community at the North Carolina 4th of July Festival in Historic Downtown Southport. Join together in celebrating your country’s freedom and birth while enjoying entertainment, food, games, ceremonies, and more. This year’s celebration involves children’s games and entertainment, a freedom 5K run/walk, a classic car show, and over 100 handmade arts and crafts on display from various vendors. Entertainment and music will be held on the Waterfront Stage, while food vendors will be located adjacent to the stage serving all the best festival foods. A parade will be held on July 4th starting at 11 a.m. at the corner of Atlantic and Moore Streets, and fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. that night along the waterfront.

You can download a detailed list of the events and times from their website at


Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion

Location: Denton Farmpark, 1072 Cranford Rd., Denton, NC

July 1: Opening ceremony begins at noon

July 2-5: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Known as the largest steam, gas, and antique farm machinery show in the Southeastern United States, this year marks the 46th Annual Southeast Old Thrashers’ Reunion. Enjoy seeing hundreds of antique tractors and gas engines on display, as well as, antique farm machinery demonstrations. This great event for the whole family includes tractor pulls for each day, musical artists providing entertainment, a variety of vendors offering their crafts for purchase, and a firework show the evening of July 5th. Some crafters will be offering demonstrations of their work, and there will also be sewing demos held in the craft barn each day.

For more information on what is being held each day visit


Uncle Sam Jam

Date: July 4

Location: Oak Hollow Festival Park, High Point, NC

Gates Open: 4:30 p.m.

Celebrate Fourth of July at the Uncle Sam Jam! Bring coolers, chairs, and blankets and settle in to watch live music entertainment, and fireworks for the evening. A kid’s zone will be available with free games and crafts, and access to inflatables with a small fee. There will also be a variety of vendors selling food, beverages, and novelty items. This is a family-friendly event, so please no alcohol or pets are allowed.


NC Blackberry Festival

Location: Downtown Lenoir, NC

July 8: 7 p.m.

July 9: 10 a.m.

The 14th Annual NC Blackberry Festival will begin on Friday, July 8th with the Blackberry Recipe Contest and the Front Porch Pickin’ Contest. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 9th starting with the Blackberry Princess Pageant. Saturday will consist of a Blackberry Eating Contest, a Colossal Cobbler Parade Brigade, various children activities, and live music starting at 12:30 p.m. There will also be a variety of art and craft vendors, multiple food vendors, and local breweries that will be featured in the BlackBEERY Garden.


Beach Blast

Date: July 23

Location: Patriots Park, Kings Mountain, NC

Time: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Join in on all the beach fun for a Grand Strand Myrtle Beach beach party at this year’s Beach Blast! Live it up on the beach with an all-day free concert featuring

Beach music bands such as Lakeside Drive, Hip Pocket, and The Entertainers. Have fun in the splash pool or on the amusement rides. Participate in a watermelon eating contest or join the beach volleyball tournament. There will also be a beach ball drop, and multiple craft and food vendors. Admission is free, so bring the whole family and soak up the sun at Beach Blast.


Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival

Location: Town of Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre, NC

August 5: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

August 6: Noon – 6 p.m. (VIP Session); 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. (Regular Session)

Come out to the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival for a day full of all the live music, BBQ, bourbon, and beer you can enjoy. Choose from a great barbeque selection which includes pulled pork from whole hogs, ribs, brisket, chicken, and sausage. With 40 bourbons and 60 beers on tap, savor all-you-care-to-taste samplings of beer and bourbon while drinking responsibly. Also enjoy seminars in the Tasting Theater, view neat exhibits of Brewerania, hot sauces, and BBQ accessories, and check out the cigar tent for all guests. Don’t miss out on some of the best flavors of the south!

For more information and pricing on tickets visit


Port City Rib Fest

Location: North Waterfront Park, Wilmington, NC

August 5: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

August 6: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

August 7: Noon – 6 p.m.

Come out and taste the nation’s best BBQ at the Port City Rib Fest! National BBQ teams from around the country gather in Wilmington to cook and sell their best BBQ styles. Enjoy ribs, beef brisket, chopped and sliced pork, chicken, sausages, and various side items and desserts. Ribs styles include St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis Chicago, and Texas. There is enough to satisfy BBQ fans of all tastes.


The Beaufort Pirate Invasion

pirate festivalDates: August 12–13

Location: Waterfront of Downtown Beaufort, NC

Time: 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Gather the family and step into the past as Beaufort transforms back to the 17th century at this year’s Beaufort Pirate Invasion. As pirates flood the streets, witness historical demonstrations such as sword fighting, canon firing, and a mock trial.  With musical entertainment, magic shows, storytelling, and various vendors, there is plenty for all ages to enjoy. The Beaufort Pirate invasion is free to the public, but there will be a few signature events with tickets available for purchase.

For more information or to purchase tickets for signature events, visit their website


Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival

Location: Sneads Ferry, NC

August 13: 9 a.m.

August 14: 11 a.m.

This year Sneads Ferry celebrates their 46th Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival—an event traditionally held to honor the local fishing community. The festival begins with a parade on Saturday, August 13th at 9 a.m. and gates open at 9:30 a.m. You can expect live music entertainment, specialty food and craft vendors, and a beer and wine garden. There will also be a children’s art area with face painting, many games, inflatables and rides, and education displays. With activities for all ages to enjoy, the whole family can come out and join in on the fun.


Hot Nights Cool Rides Car Show

Date: August 20

Location: Downtown Forest City, NC

Time: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Hot Nights Cool Rides Car Show held in downtown Forest City, NC. Each year is a big turnout, averaging around 400 cars each show! There will be hundreds of classic cars, live music throughout the event, and various art and food vendors for your enjoyment. On Friday, August 19th there will be a cruise-in from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the parking lot behind Smith’s Drug Store and Butler’s Pawn.


Winterville Watermelon Festival

Location: Winterville Recreation Park, 324 Sylvania Street, Winterville, NC

Gates Open: 5 p.m.

August 25– 26: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

August 27: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

The Winterville Watermelon Festival has a lot to offer this year for every member of the family. There will be multiple art and craft vendors available to browse, carnival rides for children and adults, a flea market, a car show, and more. Come watch local and nationally known musicians, or participate in a fun watermelon eating contest.


Umoja Festival

Date: August 27

Location: Seabrook Park, Fayetteville, NC

Time: Noon– 7 p.m.

The Umoja Festival is a celebration of art, culture, and history of African-Americans, Africans, and Caribbeans. Sponsored by the Umoja Group, Inc., this event encourages family and community unity, while emphasizing positive aspects of African Heritage.  You can expect art and craft vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, and an educational, cultural experience. Come support a festival of unity with your family and community.


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