After what feels like the Longest Summer Ever, the temperatures are finally starting to dip, giving us the chance to celebrate the best season, autumn. We can once again leave the house without worrying about overheating. It’s time to break out the pumpkin spice lattes, light some apple-scented candles, and snuggle up to a scary movie. If you’re looking for the perfect way to kick off the season, I’d love to tell you about the best Charlotte fall festivals. These events will give you all the fall vibes so you can make this one a season to remember.
BayHaven Food & Wine Festival is a unique celebration of Black foodways. The event was started by Gregory Collier, a three-time James Beard nominated chef, alongside his wife/business partner, Subrina Collier. In 2016, Greg and Subrina helped cofound Soul Food Sessions dining events to highlight different people of color within the food industry. The pair opened the restaurant, Leah & Louise, before deciding to set their sights on something larger.
Since 2021, the Colliers have worked to showcase the diverse community that creates Charlotte’s rich food culture. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to raise awareness for Black industry leaders, including chefs, brewers, artisans, farmers, and distillers. Throughout four days in early October, you’ll get the chance to sample delicious food and join in on this important conversation. The organizers’ goal is that by the end, you’re left with a full belly as well as more knowledge regarding the food resulting from the diaspora. The fall festival takes place all across Charlotte’s downtown, and you can buy tickets for whichever experience you’d prefer.
Each year in late October, Flow auto sponsors the Carolina BalloonFest. The event is the second oldest hot air balloon fest in the nation and always takes place over the third weekend in October. The event kicks off on Friday evening with the opening of the Kids’ Zone. Children will get an exclusive walk-in to see the balloons as well as access to tons of inflatables. During this time, the Wine and Craft Beer Garden opens up for older visitors. This area is cash-only, so make sure you come prepared!
Entertainment will kick off on the main stage shortly before it’s time for the balloon’s mass ascension. You’ll get to watch the hot air balloons soar above the festival grounds. After the balloons are grounded, you can view them for the evening balloon glow. The next day features another ascension, more time in the Wine and Beer Garden, the Kid Zone, and different main stage entertainment. You can have a meet-and-greet with the balloon pilots or check out a skydiving demonstration. The night ends with another balloon glow. On Sunday, you’ll get to say farewell with a hot air balloon competition. The festival is located near Statesville Regional Airport at 260 Hangar Drive in Statesville.
For centuries, Black’s Peaches has been a family-owned farm. What once began as a private family estate eventually became a beloved community fixture after it transformed into a retail farm in 1923. Today, the farm is mostly known as an agri-tourism location. Starting in the late 1990s, the property began inviting families to pick their own produce while making memories on the gorgeous farm. Throughout the year, you can pick your own strawberries, apples, tomatoes, and peaches. Once the pumpkin patch springs up, it’s time for the farm to shine!
Each October, the Charlotte farm goes all out for its fall festival. Throughout the entire month, you can hop on a hayride, pick your own pumpkins, and play games such as skeeball. The farm invites you to hang out with their adorable animals. You can try your hand at milking a cow or watch a horse rodeo. Their corn maze invites you to get lost amidst their themed corn maze or take part in some pumpkin chunkin’. When the day is done, you can unwind with some fresh treats from the on-site bakery. Black’s Peaches is located at 1800 Black Hwy in York.
The Statesville Pumpkin Festival is a one-day event that lets you see the very best the city has to offer. Starting in mid-morning, you can check out live performances, tons of activities, and delicious food. The festival sets up a Kids’ Zone on E. Broad St. Kids of all ages will get to climb huge inflatables, navigate obstacle courses, jump in a bounce house, and smash some pumpkins. There are plenty of rides and games to keep them entertained all day long.
Throughout the festival, you can check out demonstrations by martial arts and dance groups. The stages will feature live bands that will get you moving. In between acts, you can walk around and check out local artists or grab a drink at the Corks, Taps, & Barrels Garden. You’ll get to browse the Classic Car Cruise-In before ending the day with an Eagles tribute band on the main stage. The Pumpkin Festival takes place all across downtown Statesville.
The Carowinds Amusement Park is no stranger to delivering guests with nonstop thrills. Throughout warmer months, visitors can experience heart-racing drops, waterslide plunges, and gravity-defying flips. Once the temperature starts to dip in Charlotte, they introduce the Great Pumpkin Fest Fall Festival. For nearly a month and a half, you can visit the park for family-friendly frights. The Charlie Brown-themed festival lets your child play in the foam at Lucy’s Mummy Pit or go trick-or-treating around Camp Snoopy. Their daily parade lets you celebrate alongside some of your favorite characters while their hay maze provides an exciting challenge for younger visitors. You can watch engaging performances within the theater that will have you singing along with Snoopy and friends. The park has tons of premium lodging around the park, and you’ll have access to plenty of delicious food. You can visit Carowinds at 14523 Carowinds Blvd. in Charlotte.
If you’re the type of person who spends all year long waiting for autumn, check out these Charlotte fall festivals. You’ll have the perfect way to celebrate all season long!
If you’re looking for an additional way to make some memories this year, let’s chat! I’m a Charlotte-based family photographer, and I love giving you the chance to press pause on this precious stage in life. I specialize in creating dreamy maternity and newborn portraits as well as celebratory graduation sessions. I would love to schedule a conversation with you so I can tell you more about my process. Contact me today to find out more! Holiday limited edition sessions are now open!