Hello, fall! Enjoy North Carolina’s state fair in our home city, wine and music festivals and imaginative performances.
by WALTER Staff
Go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival
Hear ye, hear ye: the Carolina Renaissance Festival returns for its 29th year, featuring all the jousting, feasting, falconry and general time-warp fun you can handle. It runs Saturdays and Sundays through November 20 in Huntersville (about two and a half hours from Raleigh). In addition to Renaissance-era activities, performances, beverages and food there will be more imaginative performers on hand, including swimming mermaids, dragons, swordsmen, acrobats and jugglers — and plenty of other costumed characters.
All month | 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; From $20 for children, $32 for adults; 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville; carolina.renfestinfo.com
Head to Spruce Pine For BBQ & Bluegrass
Come chill with the tastiest BBQ in the southeast and the finest bluegrass, country, folk and Americana music! Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit vendors like Tropical Grill, El Ranchero Restaurant and No. 3 Grill to get a true Spruce Pine barbeque experience. Don’t forget to bring your comfiest blankest and lawn chairs for these top-notch, local performances!
Oct. 1 | 10 a.m. – 8 p.m; sprucepinebbqbluegrass.org
Feast at Sassool’s Farm Dinner
You don’t have to travel far to experience a true Mediterranean evening in lush gardens along the water — just to Apex. Sassool will host its inaugural new Fig Mint Farm dinner on Oct. 1 at its event space complete with a verdant herb garden, idyllic pond, nature trails and dense pine forests. Start the evening with mint-infused cocktails (think: mojitos and lemonade) and appetizers like Caprese salad, spanakopita and fried cauliflower while you enjoy jazz music, a belly-dancing performance and yard games. The herb- and vegetable-forward plated dinner features salmon, spiced rice and stewed eggplant, followed by dessert.
Oct. 1 | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. ;$100; 1501 Two Pond Lane, Apex; search eventbrite.com
See Raleigh Little Theatre’s Pride and Prejudice
Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice wraps Jane Austen’s iconic novel into a boisterous two hours of comedy and romance exploring the intricacies of independence and love. Raleigh Little Theatre’s fast-paced and bold retelling of headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and ineffable Mr. Darcy’s slow-burn romance will leave hardcore Austenites and newcomers alike in want of more.
Oct 1- 2 | See website; From $23; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org
Hear the Opera’s Manon Lescaut in Concert
Wouldn’t you love to spend a luxurious afternoon at the opera contemplating love? This fall, the North Carolina Opera returns from their summer break with a two-hour concert presentation of Puccini’s first first big hit, Manon Lescaut. Featuring passionate melodies and one of Puccini’s most famous duets, the opera follows a romance fighting to survive the challenges of materialism. Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson sings the title role, alongside tenor Jonathan Burton as Des Grieux.
Oct. 2 | 2 p.m.; From $23; 2 E.South Street; ncopera.org
Swoon over the Triangle Parade of Homes
Tour dozens of stunning new homes in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Franklin, Harnett and Johnston counties at this year’s Triangle Parade of Homes. From modest houses to spacious estates, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this massive open house event during the first three weekends of the month. “The Parade of Homes is the best place for ideas and inspiration, whether you’re trying to plan your next home or remodel and just decorate,” says Parade of Homes chair member Vanessa Jenkins. This year, the general public is encouraged to take a picture of your favorite feature in the homes that you tour to win prizes.
All month | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.; Free; see website for locations; triangleparade.com
Hear and See the NC Symphony’s Cirque Dances with Troupe Vertigo
In this lofty collaboration, the instrumentalists of the North Carolina Symphony provide live accompaniment for the high-flying dancers of Troupe Vertigo. These elegant aerialists and acrobats will perform a unique circus dance show choreographed to the soaring classical melodies of Mussorgsky, Stravinsky and more.
Oct 7 & 8 | 8 p.m. From $30; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org
Head to Dix Park’s Inter-Tribal Pow Wow
North Carolina is home to eight recognized American Indian tribes: the Coharie, the Haliwa-Saponi, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Meherrin, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and the Sappony. The second annual Inter-Tribal Pow Wow at Dix Park’s Big Field will celebrate the legacy of each of these tribes. The day offers a fun, respectful and educational way to experience the history and culture of our state.
Oct 8 | 11:30 – 6:30 p.m.; Free; 101 Blair Drive; dixpark.org
See A Modern Vision to Celebrate NCMA’s Grand Re-opening
The North Carolina Museum of Art’s West Building will reopen the first weekend of October. “We are thrilled to welcome visitors to a completely reimagined presentation of the People’s Collection,” says Valerie Hillings, CEO and director of the NCMA. “The updated collection galleries showcase broader representation and fresh perspectives through new works of art, interactive installations and thematic galleries.” To celebrate, the museum will offer free admission to its new exhibition, A Modern Vision: European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection. In addition, there’ll be a NC Artists Party Friday night, block party on Saturday and performances on Sunday. “We look forward to celebrating with North Carolina residents as their state art collection is rededicated to them,” says Kari Stoltz, president of Bank of America of the Triangle, which is the weekend’s opening partner.
October 7- 9 | Free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org
Meet Some New NC Artists
The Raleigh Fine Arts Society will present its annual North Carolina Artists Exhibition during four open houses at the Women’s Club of Raleigh. This exhibition is the largest annual all-media juried exhibition in the state. This year marks the Artist’s Exhibition’s 43rd anniversary, and the pieces on display were juried by Dorothy Moss, Ph.D., curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery and coordinating curator of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. The artwork will be available for purchase during these times, which are the only opportunities for the public to view this exhibition.
October 11-20; see website for open house times | Free; 3300 Woman’s Club Drive; ralfinearts.org
Experience NC Theatre’s Sister Act
North Carolina Theatre will take you to heaven with their long-awaited production of Sister Act, a stage-musical comedy adapted from the 1990s hit film of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg. When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a mobster murder, she’s forced to hide out in a convent with a spiritless choir of nuns. Making the most of her new venue, Delores teaches the nuns to rock out, raise their voices and embrace the power of sisterhood. “I can’t wait for our NCT audiences to experience Robert Hartwell’s roof-raising rendition of Sister Act. Featuring some of our most incredible local performers in leading roles, we have an unbelievably talented cast from Broadway and the Triangle,” says producing artistic director Eric Woodall. “Come celebrate the fact that music ties us all together!”
Oct. 11 – 16 | 7:30 p.m.; From $32; 2 E. South Street.; nctheatre.com
Enjoy a Feast at Taste of the Wild
Join WALTER at the Merrimon-Wynne house for a farm-to-table dinner honoring the outdoors. Enjoy a collaborative menu of dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients from chef Dean Neff of Seabird in Wilmington, pit master Wyatt Dickson of PICNIC in Durham and Sean Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham. Guests will meet this talented trio over hors d’oeuvres, libations and a three-course meal, and hear from the Triangle Land Conservancy about its new conservation projects.
Oct. 12 | 6 p.m. – 9p.m.$65; 500 N. Blount Street; waltermagazine.com
Watch Ghostbusters: Answer the Call at Fenton
Who you gonna call? How about your friends and family, to watch Ghostbusters: Answer The Call for Spooky Movie night in Fenton Square, sponsored by Paragon Theaters. Bring a blanket or comfy portable chair to watch an all-star cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Jones and Dan Aykroyd show off in this 2016 reboot of the classic sci-fi comedy. Pack a picnic, or make an early reservation at a nearby restaurant like Colletta or M Sushi.
Oct 12 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.; Free; 21 Fenton Main Street, Cary; fentonnc.com
Go to the North Carolina State Fair
North Carolina’s farmers and artisans provide us with so much of what makes our state special — from the fresh greens we prepare for dinner to the beautiful pottery we serve it in. Celebrate these folks at the N.C. State Fair, where for 11 days you can find carnival rides, interactive educational displays, live music and more. Grab a bite of classic fair fare (turkey legs! Fried Oreos!) while you enjoy a folk dance show or a garden display. Or catch the awards ceremonies for competitions in everything from needlecraft to winemaking to calf rearing — not to mention the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off, just in time for Halloween!
Oct. 13 – 23 | From $5; 4285 Trinity Road; ncstatefair.org
See Carolina Ballet’s Dracula
If you’re looking for a fall tradition, you can “count” on Carolina Ballet to deliver some happy haunts; the company’s annual Halloween show — dance retellings of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death presented in a spine-tingling double feature — emerges from the (bat) wings and returns to center stage just in time for spooky season.
Oct. 13 – 30; from $27; 2 E South St; carolinaballet.com
Relax at Jazz in the Square
Led by longtime Raleigh jazz musician, composer and teacher Dr. Gregg Gelb, the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble is offering a free performance at Moore Square this month, part of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and City of Raleigh’s Jazz in the Square series. “Our team was blown away by the positive reception Jazz in the Square had last year, and we’re proud and excited to bring it back,” says DRA president and CEO Bill King. “The legacy of jazz in North Carolina is one we are truly honored to invest in for generations to come.” Grab a bite from Square Burger, a glass of vino from Short Walk Wines or take advantage of the on-site food and beverage options to complete this very classy evening out on the town.
Oct. 13 | 6 – 8 p.m.; Free; 201 S. Blount Street; downtownraleigh.org
Sip Your Way Through the North Carolina Wine Festival
A 20-year tradition and the largest of its kind in the state, the North Carolina Wine Festival at the Koka Booth Amphitheater is a chance to sample wine and other crafted beverages from more than 20 local growers. Find offerings from the vineyards of Biltmore Estates, Duplin Winery and Shelton Vineyards and others, plus whiskey from Old Nick Williams Co. Farm & Distillery, mead from Honeygirl Meadery and cider from Bull City Ciderworks. While you sip, enjoy performances from Greensboro’s Patrick Rock Band and soul group Chairmen of the Board. Food vendors will also be on site and VIP packages are available.
Oct. 15 | 12 – 5 p.m.; From $40; 8003 Regency Parkway Cary; ncwinefestival.com
Sample Champagne with Friends
Did you know the bubbly you’ve long enjoyed over Sunday brunch or at wedding toasts might not actually be considered champagne? Only the Champagne region of France can claim that name — but there’s a breadth of effervescent wine drinks from the likes of Slovenia, Greece and Argentina that are just as delicious, according to Doreen Colondres, a chef, wine educator and owner of Vitis House Wine School. Colondres, who spent 20 years studying the world of food and wine while living in three different countries and visiting over 40 others, will be teaching a class on how to select, pour, pair and cook with this classic celebratory wine. “It’s so beautiful to learn the story behind food and wine — the family, the history, the tradition. You gain more appreciation for what you are tasting or eating,” says Colondres.
Oct. 27 | 6:30 – 8 p.m. $99; 1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road; vitishouse.com
Head to Cary for the Pumpkin Flotilla
In late October, pumpkins will set sail at twilight. Carved by community members and accompanied by local musicians, dozens of jack-o-lanterns sit atop trains of floats as kayakers row them across Cary’s Bond Park Lake. To add a pumpkin to the parade, carve one up and drop it off at the Bond Park Boathouse on Oct. 27. The evening also includes snacks and family-friendly Halloween activities.
Oct. 28 | Free; 801 High House Road, Cary; townofcary.org
Run a 5 K for the Day of the Dead
Restaurateur Angela Salamanca, owner of Centro, started the Day of the Dead 5K in 2012. Part race, part cultural celebration, this tradition began when some of her staffers asked to create an ofrenda, an altar to honor deceased loved ones for Dia de Los Muertos. It has grown into a race that benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs, starting at Centro on S. Wilmington Street and ending at a large ofrenda in the Historic Oakwood Cemetery. For the race’s 10th year, Salamanca has partnered with Brentwood Boys & Girls Club to receive donations and sponsor runners. The day will also include a kids’ race, costume contest, face painting, arts and crafts, and beer from Trophy Brewing.
From $35 to run; 106 S.
Oct. 29 | 10 a.m. Wilmington Street; dayofthedeadrun.com
A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of WALTER magazine.