Annual Events 2020
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 19-23. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. UNC- Chapel Hill Diversity and Inclusion sponsors this week long celebration.
February TBA. 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. 12:30 - 6:00 pm at 140 W. Franklin Street, downtown.
February 15. 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.
April is NC Beer Month. Stay tuned for details and upcoming events.
April 3-5. The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is the presenting sponsor for the second annual "Old North State Nationals" scheduled for April 3-5, 2020 at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont. The Old North State Nationals will be a multi-day Late Model Stock race, paying $30,000 to the winner and $1,250 to start the feature event. The event weekend will kick off with teams and fans traveling in for test day on Friday, April 3, 2020, followed by a great Saturday night of qualifying races, before fans are treated to 200 laps of racing action from the best short track drivers the region has to offer on Sunday afternoon, April 5. Information on tickets to come.
April 18. The 13th Annual Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet 4 Mile Run. Run takes you on a beautiful tour of Chapel Hill. Event 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.
April 18 Art in the Heart of Hillsborough Alexander Dickson House Lawn, Hillsborough, (919) 643-2500. This juried arts show is free and open to the public. Guests will enjoy dozens of art vendors, music, food, and drink. 10am - 4pm. Rain date April 19.
April 19 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 25-26 Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour. Tour seven gardens in all: North Carolina Botanical Garden, Ronald McDonald House, Baddour Garden, Brown/Protzman Garden, McNeel Garden, Pulman Garden, DuBose House. Presented by the Chapel Hill Garden Club
April 25-26. 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)
May 2. 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 2, 3 & 9 The 26th 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.
May 2 &3. 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
May 23-24 JawsFest. Memorial Day Weekend. The annual Chapel Hill JawsFest features a music festival, food trucks, vendors, beer, burlesque show, art and more. Als' Burger, Rumors, Beer Study, Local 506, The Baxter, Syd's Hair Shope and IP3 are all participating.
June TBA - 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.
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. 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 Slushfest 2020 at Botanist Barrel, 105 Persimmion Hill Lane, Cedar Grove. From 2 pm - 5 pm Slushfest is all about the slushy and snow cones. They'll have a dozen cider, beer and wine slushy flavors for the adults (and kids versions too) plus another dozen topping flavors for endless flavor combinations. Local grilled sausage for eats. Tickets $21/adults, $7/kids includes 5 slushies or snow cones. Call 919 644-7777 for tickets on sale date.
August 7 -September 7. 21st 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 theme is TBA . Shows Fri-Sun and Labor Day (919) 923-1857. Rain day weekend if needed Sept 18-20.
August TBD. Meet the Heels. Get ready for 2020 UNC Football Season with Coach Mack Brown, the team, Rameses and RJ. Open to the public and free and will feature activities including bounce houses, balloon twisting, face painting, merchandise, concessions, photo opportunities, autographs and much more.
Begins Late August. Sundays in Hillsborough. 1 pm – 4 pm. The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Hillsborough Tourism Development Authority are pleased to announce the return of “Sundays in Hillsborough” ” a free concert series on the Old Courthouse Square in Downtown Hillsborough. The 2020 is a 10-week series featuring Bluegrass, Jazz, and Country bands. In addition, shops, restaurants, galleries and historic sites will be open so that visitors to enjoy. Look for Sundays in Hillsborough specials.
September 18. 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 18-19. 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. www.hogday.org.
September 24. 9th Annual Harvest Dinner. The Annual Harvest Dinner 6 pm – 9 pm at the Carrboro Farmers' Market has become a cherished tradition. It is a night that brings together chefs, market farmers, and our community for an incredibly delicious locally sourced meal in Town Commons. The event will feature hearty potluck-style dishes from many of the area's finest chefs. Tickets range from $20 - $70. All proceeds go right back to the market. These funds help support our programs, special events, market staff, and so much more.
September 26-27 23rd 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.
October 2-3. 27th 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 14-18. 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. 2020’s film lineup to be announced in the fall. Silverspot in University Place.
October TBA. 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 TBA. 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. Friday- Setup/ Preview Day for Vendors: 10 am - 6:00 pm; Saturday -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. Sunday. 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
October 23-24 "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 www.visithillsboroughnc.com.
November 7-8 & 14-15. 26th 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 TBA. 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 TBA. Salt & Smoke Festival. Acme presents the eighth annual Salt & Smoke Festival at Rock Quarry Farm. Whole heritage hog BBQ and a heaping plate of southern sides, perfect raw oysters, the best local booze, live music all day long, and much more. Back-to-back live music shows and a DJ dance party! 1:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Tickets are $85. 1700 NC HWY 54 W, Chapel Hill
December 1-January 3. 23nd 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 5. Winter in the Garden Holiday Festival. Enjoy the peaceful holiday splendor of the North Carolina Botanical Garden from 5-9 p.m. Enjoy holiday splendor in the Garden as we celebrate the end of the year with lights, kids crafts, holiday music, food trucks and a craft market. And remember, the Garden Shop is the perfect place to find those special gifts on your shopping list! Photos with Santa Rameses Jr. will be available from 5-8 p.m. Ticket Prices: In advance: $12 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under. At the door: $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Timed entry tickets for 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm or 8 pm. Select your preferred time. 100 Old Mason Farm Road. More information and tickets can be found at North Carolina Botanical Garden.
December TBA. 34th 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, horse and carriage rides through Historic Hillsborough district. Pictures with Santa will also be available at the Hillsborough Visitors Center. 1 pm – 7 pm. Homes open 3 pm - 7 pm. Ticket information to come. Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce (919) 732-8156.
Click here for a complete listing of 2020 Major Annual Events