Annual Events 2019

Plan your trip around these events worth a weekend stay! The communities of Orange County show their unique personalities through historical events, music, art & film, cultural heritage plus a little bit of sports and holiday cheer. Click here for lodging options. For a pdf list of the entire year's major annual events, scroll to the bottom of the page.


January 20-24. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. UNC- Chapel Hill Diversity and Inclusion sponsors this week long celebration. 


February 16. Revolutionary War Living History Day.Experience the local history of the American Revolutionary War with live actors, dancers, historic tours, interactive activities and collaborative events throughout town. This is a fun family friendly day.Held at the historic Alexander Dickson House in downtown Hillsborough.10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Sponsored by the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough. (919) 732-7741.

Living History Day

February 24 Light Up Festival The Festival features lantern decorating with local artists, highly interactive art and craft creations, a dragon dance workshop, drumming and dragon dance performances, Peking Opera, games and prizes, exhibitions and workshop, silent auction, Asian food stands and trucks.  When twilight sets in, join your family, neighbors and friends in a thousand-lantern parade to usher in the Chinese New Year. Free Admission, however donations accepted. 140 West & Carolina Square, Downtown Chapel Hill,11 am – 5 pm.

Light Up Lantern Festival


NEW EVENT for 2019! March 29 - 31 Tarheel Antique Festival The festival features antique vendors, auctions and appraisals. Located in the historic  Barn at Lloyd's Dairy centrally located between the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina. The public will have a chance to preview vendors from 2 pm - 6 pm on March 29th. The event officially opens to the public on March 30th at 8 am featuring an Antique Tractor and Cruise-In, appraisals throughout the day and two auctions. The event concludes on March 31, opening at 10 am with appraisals from 1 - 3 pm, and bargain basement deals from 2:30 - 4 pm.

March 31 Rodeo on Rosemary. Bring the family and enjoy an afternoon of great music and more than a dozen of our area's favorite food trucks all while benefiting TABLE, a local non-profit that provides healthy, emergency food aid every week to hungry kids in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. This celebration will be held at the corner of Rosemary and Columbia Streets in downtown Chapel Hill from 1 pm – 4 pm.


April is NC Beer Month.  Stay tuned for details and upcoming events.

April 13.  The 12th Annual Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet 4 Mile Run. Run takes you on a beautiful tour of Chapel HillEvent starts at 7:15 AM on the UNC campus The Tar Heel 10 Miler benefits the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA’s We Build People Campaign.

Rodeo on Rosemary

April 28 Arts on the Market. 1 pm – 6 pm. Arts on Market is a bi-annual celebration and shopping event featuring local and regional artists, artisans, bakers, and makers. Come to the Southern Village Green and enjoy an afternoon of art, entertainment, and shopping. Our vendors create Jewelry, Pottery, Paintings, Textiles, Accessories, Food, Home Accessories. Market Street, Chapel Hill.

April 28 Near & Far: A Local Celebration of Global Cultures! Celebrate the global culture within Chapel Hill at this fun and funky street party! Homegrown cultural groups will offer activities for all ages. Plus, celebrate our vibrant community with heritage music, dance troupes, and spontaneous art performances that will make this afternoon unforgettable. Taste international food offerings from our Tasting Tent. 1-5 pm on the plaza at 140 West Franklin Street.

April 27-28.  Piedmont Farm Tour.  Orange, Chatham, Person and Alamance counties; Tour various farms throughout the area from 2 pm – 6 pm, both days.  Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (919) 542-2402. Cost: $30 per car for ALL FARMS if purchased in advance, $35 per car for ALL FARMS if purchased during the tour, and $10 per car per farm the day of the tour. (All proceeds benefit CFSA)

Copy of Coon Rock Farm


May 4.  Annual Pops in the Park Concert, Cameron Park, downtown Hillsborough.  Sponsor:  Durham Symphony. William Henry Curry, Conductor  leads the popular Spring ‘Pops in the Park’ concert series celebrating the enduring tradition of bringing classical, Broadway, and Hollywood themed music to our communities. They share their love of music with this entertaining program of selections that represent “a bit of Americana”.  (919) 491-6576. Free. 3 pm. Free.

May 4, 5& 11 The 25th Annual Art in the Garden Sculpture Exhibition is a unique once yearly event and one of the finest outdoor sculpture exhibitions in the triangle region of North Carolina. The event is held at the private residence of artists Tinka Jordy and Mark Donley just six miles away from downtown Hillsborough.  Saturday hours 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm.

Tinka Jordy Sculpture in the Garden

May 2 - 5. VIETRI's Spring Warehouse Sale offers closeout prices on a vast selection of discontinued, slightly flawed, and unique sample products handcrafted in Italy are up to 80% off retail. There is new product daily and daily specials.  Located at 343 Elizabeth Brady Road in Hillsborough, NC, the VIETRI Outlet Store can be reached by telephone at (919) 245-4181. Warehouse Sale Details


June 29 - Annual Cardinal Directions Beer Festival. 6-9 pm on the Carrboro Town Commons at 301 W. Main Street. Steel String Brewery is welcoming 30 of their best buddies in the NC Brewing community to Carrboro to share their delicious brews with all of you. The event is open to the public, family, and dog friendly. Tickets are not required unless you plan on drinking alcohol. You may enjoy the food trucks, N/A beverage vendors and live music without a ticket. Tickets are $20 and include Festival Entry, Tasting Glass, and 5 (4oz pours). Additional samples are available for $1 each. Must be 21 years and over to purchase tickets, everyone will be I.D. checked upon entry. Only 1000 tickets will be sold! Proceeds from the event benefit Farmer Foodshare, which is celebrating 10 years of support for NC farmers and fresh food for all.


NEW LOCATION July 4 - Celebration and Fireworks. Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked Chapel Hill as one of America's "Top Best Towns for July Fourth Celebration"! 6 – 9 pm at Southern Village on Market Street and the Village Green. Feed the family and catch some live entertainment before the fireworks begin. Merchants will have food and drink for sale so you can dine in or grab a bite to go. Enjoy live music on stage from Idlewild South. Activities and face painting in the Kids Zone, Show your Tar Heel pride in the UNC Athletics Zone. Southern Community Park’s sports fields open to the public beginning at 7 pm. Bring a blanket or chair and relax with family and friends in the park before the show. No pets, please. Then fireworks begin at 9:15 pm. Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department (919) 968-2784. Shuttle available from Chatham Park & Ride. Details Town of Chapel Hill.


August 2 -September 29. 20th Annual Forest Theater Giant Puppet Pageant. Each summer, the creative team of Paperhand Puppet Intervention brings a newly themed show with spectacular life sized puppets to the beautiful outdoor Forest Theatre on UNC Campus. Paperhand Puppet Intervention's annual puppet pageant includes giant puppets, rod puppets, mask and dance, shadow puppetry and stilt walking and paper-mache’characters. Paperhand’s yearly spectacle tells stories of the human heart, illuminates and incorporates myths from around the world, and inspires young and old alike. This summer the show is “We Are Here" . Shows Fri-Sun and Labor Day (919) 923-1857.

August 3. Meet the Heels.  Get ready for 2019 UNC Football Season 3 pm – 6 pm at the new Football Practice Complex. Meet The Heels, presented by Bojangle’s, is free to the public and will feature activities including bounce houses, balloon twisting, face painting, Dyehard Fan Supply merchandise, concessions, photo opportunities with Rameses and RJ, and much more. Bojangles' and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will be on-site offering free interactive activities and giveaways to early arriving fans! The football team and head coach Mack Brown will hold an autograph session (limited to one signed item per person to ensure all fans are accommodated) from 4:15-6 p.m. inside the Indoor Practice Facility. In addition, 2019 football posters and schedule cards will be available at no cost. The Carolina Kids Club presented by Lowes Foods kickoff celebration will begin at 3 p.m. with the first 250 active Kids Club members receiving a free kid's meal, a Tar Heel autograph book and other giveaways. Free parking available in various campus locations including Stadium Drive, Raleigh Road Visitors Lot, Boshamer Lot, Cobb Deck, School of Government Deck and the Bell Tower Deck. Parking will also be available at the Rams Head Deck for an hourly fee.


September 6. Tar Heel Downtown. Friday 6 pm – 9 pm on the Friday night before the first home football game. A family-friendly event, centered around 140 West Plaza on West Franklin Street, highlighting the University and downtown business district. Tar Heel Town will still take place in Polk Place on UNC Campus on gameday. Food, face painting, UNC band and cheerleaders, other live music.  Tar Heel Downtown

September 20-21. Hog Day. Friday 6 pm – 10 pm and Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.  River Park, 114 E. Margaret Lane, Downtown Hillsborough.  Live music, local handmade crafts and gifts; local food vendors, dessert contest, classic car show, children’s area, 5K Run, Pigs on Parade Art Project and BBQ cookoff contest with lots of BBQ to enjoy.  

September 28-29  22nd Carrboro Music Festival.   On Saturday, music begins at 2 pm at the Carrboro Town Commons with evening performance at Cat’s Cradle from 7 pm – 10 pm.  On Sunday, September 29 there is free music beginning at 1:00 PM until midnight. All types of music!  Event features two dozen venues throughout downtown Carrboro with over 180 musical acts as well as food, craft and non-profit vendors. Free shuttle bus from Carrboro Plaza Park & Ride from noon -9:00 PM. Sponsor, Carrboro Arts Commission; (919) 918-7367.

Dancing Bruce


October 4-5.  25th Annual Efland Ruritan Rodeo.   Gates opens 6 pm, rodeo starts at 8 pm both nights. Featuring all the classic events of rodeo such as Ranch Style Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Cowgirls Break-Away Roping, Calf Roping, Cowgirl Barrel Racing and of course Bull Riding, clowns, special entertainment, good food and more.  Efland Ruritan Club, Efland (919) 971-1129. Hwy 70,  I-40/85 Exit 160.  Adults  $12, children 5-12  $7, age 4 and under free.  Military members in uniform are admitted for $7 and those showing a military ID (active, reserve or retired receive a $1 discount). Parking is free. No pets, coolers or smoking allowed inside the gate. 

October 9 – 13. Film Fest 919. The Chapel Hill, NC based festival returns with an early look at some of the most anticipated films of awards season and the chance to meet the artists behind them. Last year’s opening and closing night honorees went on to receive Academy-Awards nominations for their roles, including actresses Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira (Roma) and writer-producer Nick Vallelonga (Green Book).  2019’s film lineup to be announced in the fall. Silverspot in University Place.

October 11-13. Outlandish Hillsborough. The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and Ayr Mount Historic Site in collaboration with the Hillsborough Tourism Board will present Outlandish Hillsborough, a weekend of activities centered around Scottish heritage, colonial history and the wildly popular Outlander series. Activities are 10 am – 4 pm each day.  In-town walking tours, a movie night at the Library, discussion on William Wallace, Scottish Colonial food, an exhibit on the history of Scots in early North Carolina, and other themed programs are a few of the activities planned. Many of Hillsborough’s merchants, artists, restaurants, bars, businesses, and historic sites will participate. The weekend will also include family friendly festivals at Ayr Mount Historic Site with a Cèilidh at Ayr on Saturday, October 12th and Outlandish Ayr on Sunday, October 13th. Cèilidh at Ayr honors Scottish Heritage and Culture in a nod to the Kirkland Family that built the historic home of Ayr Mount named in honor of William Kirkland’s birthplace: Ayr, Scotland. It will celebrate Scottish entertainment through performances by the NCSU Pipes and Drums Band, Celtic bands, Scottish Country Dancing, demonstrations, storytelling, plus a Wee Bairns area, Scottish food and vendors. Outlandish Ayr will continue to celebrate Scottish Heritage while focusing on the culture of life in Colonial North Carolina and add a fun twist with the Outlander series. Performances by Piobadh na Triantan, Celtic Music, food and lifestyle demonstrations, British and Highlander regiment reenactors, history talks, demonstrations, Marketplace Stalls, readings from the Outlander books, and much more. For information, visit

October 12.  Festifall Arts Festival. Street fair with music, arts and crafts, children’s area and food. Held on West Franklin Street, downtown Chapel Hill. For details contact the Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department (919) 968-2784.  11 am-3 pm. Free. Moved to Saturday from Sunday.

October 25-26 "Spirits of Hillsborough" Hillsborough, the oldest town in the Triangle, is haunted! Join the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough and The Orange Community Players for the annual Haunted Tour through the historic district to encounter these ghostly residents! This fun and dramatic tour will bring you face-to-face with Hillsborough’s past. Tours last approximately one hour. The ghost performances are family-friendly, but please be aware that this is a walking tour over several blocks, and may include hills and uneven ground.  Tickets are timed and groups depart from the Hillsborough Visitors Center (150 E. King St.). Friday tours every 20 min: 7:40 pm – 9 pm and Saturday every 20 minutes, 5 pm – 9 pm. Tickets: Adult – $15, Senior/Student – $12. Children 5-12 – $5. Call (919) 732-7741 or

Hillsborough Spiritis Tour


November 2-3 & 9-10. 25th Annual Orange County Open Studio Tour.   Orange County; Over 70 artists invite you into their studios to see where and how they work.  Sponsor: Orange County Artists Guild (919) 933-7880.  First two weekends in November.

November 15-17. 14th Annual Carrboro Film Festival.  Three-day festival which this year focuses on the South, films shot in the South, about the South or with Southern characters.  Festival is at The ArtsCenter.  Times and ticket costs TBA.   

November 16-17. Tarheel Antiques Festival & Christmas Craft Show. Admission $5. The festival features antique vendors, auctions and appraisals. Located at the historic Barn at Lloyd’s Dairy centrally located between the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina at the merge of Interstate 40 & 85.  November 15 - Setup/ Preview Day for Vendors: 10 am - 6:00 pm;  November 16  Main Day: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm - Festival opens to the public featuring antique and craft vendors, auctions, appraisal and Christmas themed activities and entertainment. November 17 Grande Finale Day: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Final day final day for wonderful deals and to take advantage of the collection of the finest antiques, vintage vendors and crafters in America. 226 N. Lloyds Dairy Rd, Efland (919) 732-7322  


December 1-January 1.  22nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas. The Carolina Inn will be festively adorned for the holidays with elaborate decorations based on the traditional song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  There will be self-guided tours and a number of holiday activities, including festive meals, breakfast with Santa, cookie decorating, holiday teas, holiday markets and much more.  Some events free.  Please call (919) 918-2715 for reservations to special events.

December 7. Winter in the Garden Holiday Festival. Enjoy the peaceful holiday splendor of the North Carolina Botanical Garden from 5-9 p.m. Decorated with luminaries, lights and native plant greenery, the Garden will be filled with holiday music, food for purchase and good cheer. Children will have an opportunity to make a holiday ornament, and Rameses Jr. will stop by for a visit. The Garden will collect non-perishable food donations to support the Carolina Cupboard, a food pantry for UNC students. And remember, the Garden Shop is the perfect place to find those special gifts on your shopping list! Tickets cost $10 per person, $5 for children age 12 and under. More information and tickets can be found at North Carolina Botanical Garden.

December 8. 33rd Annual Hillsborough Candlelight Home Tour Downtown Hillsborough.  Tour homes decorated for the holidays. Historic buildings and churches will also be open and decorated. Readings from local authors. Music at various sites and refreshments at some. Features a miniature train ride through Historic Hillsborough's neighborhoods, stops along the way. Pictures with Santa will also be available at the Hillsborough Visitors Center. 1 pm – 7 pm. Ticket information to come.  Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce (919) 732-8156.

Hillsborough Candlelight Tour

Click here for a complete listing of 2019 Major Annual Events