Annual Events

There is always something fun going on in Orange County. Plan your visit around these major events happening this Fall!


September 18- December 9.  Sculpture in the Garden. Preview party September 17. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. Annual display of nearly 50 one-of-a kind sculptures placed amid the native wildflowers and shrubs to delight garden visitors.  (919) 962-0522. 

September 24-October 30 - Fall Corn Mazes at McKee Farms in Rougemont.   $11 corn maze admission. Age 2 and Under Free.  Fridays 3-8pm, Saturday 10-8pm, Sunday 1-7pm.  2 mazes – 12 acre cornfield maze and 2 acre fun, interactive adventurous maze for children.  Haunted Maze ($12) on October 22, 28 and 29 from 6 pm – 10 pm. Regular maze closes at 6 pm on Haunted Nights.  Cedar Creek Farm, 5011 Kiger Rd, Rougemont, (919) 732-8065.

September 28 – October 1. 7th Annual TerraVITA Food & Drink Festival Chapel Hill.  4-day festival (Wed – Sat) dedicated to excellence and sustainability in the South, showcasing the very best in food and beverage.   Multiple events and tastings and dinners leading up to the finale, The Grand Tasting on the Green on the lawn at Southern Village on Saturday from 2 pm - 5 pm (early entry 1:30 pm).  With more than 40 outstanding chefs and food artisans from the Triangle and North Carolina, you will not leave hungry! Grand tasting will feature more than 100 different beverages to choose from - wine, craft beer, coffee, specialty cocktails, and more! This event should not be missed by any serious foodie! Visit website for event calendar and ticket information. 

September 30 - October 1  23rd Annual Efland Ruritan Rodeo. Ticket booth and gates open at 6 pm rodeo begins at 8 pm. Featuring all the classic events of rodeo such as Bullriding, bareback bronc riding/saddlebronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, girls break-away roping, calf roping, mechanical bull, pony rides, clowns, special entertainment, good food and more.  (919) 971-1129. 3009 Hwy 70 W,  I-40/85 Exit 160.  Adults  $14, children 5-12  $7, under 5 free. No pets, coolers or smoking allowed inside the gate. 


October 1. 10th Annual Celebration of the Automobile Racers Reunion and Car Show on Saturday at the historic Occoneechee – Orange Speedway on 320 Elizabeth Brady Road.  Free Admission. 7 am – 4 pm., hosted by the Historic Speedway Group. Proceeds from items at the show will be used to restore and preserve the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway. Event features Parade laps of classic race cars around the historic dirt track, VIPs include celebrated drivers, mechanics, crew members, family members, Classic Car Show, Food & Souvenirs, 50/50 Drawing, Autographs & More.  Event is rain or shine. New this year - Trading Paint/Occoneechee Banquet  honoring Curtis Turner and Ned Jarrett. From 6pm - 10pm (after the Car Show) at The Big Barn - 388 Ja-Max Dr - Hillsborough, NC 27278.  (919) 779-7820. 

October 2.  Festifall  Street fair with music, arts and crafts, children’s area and food. West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department (919) 968-2784.  Noon-6 pm. Free.  

October 14-15.  West End Poetry Festival.  Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.  An opening reception and readings by five poets.  Saturday, noon to 8:30 pm at the Century Center in Carrboro. Poetry readings, Panel sessions, an open workshop, an open mic, evening reception, and a final reading. Sponsored by the Town of Carrboro. Free. Schedule on website. (919) 918-7364.

October 15.  The popular Hillsborough Handmade Parade returns this fall at 2:30 pm through downtown Churton Street. Presented by the Hillsborough Arts Council.

October 28-29 "Spirits of Hillsborough" will appear during the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough's annual ghost walks through the historic district.  This fun and dramatic tour will bring you face-to-face with Hillsborough's past. With help from the Orange Community Players, the spirits of fierce Elizabeth Scamp, William Hooper (a signer of the Declaration of Independence), and the Haint of Stillhouse Branch will rise from the grave to educate and entertain. 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: 8pm, 8:20pm, and 8:40 and Saturday tours every 20 min: 5 - 8:40. Tickets: $5 for children 12 and under; $12 for adults. Call (919) 732-7741.

October 21. Voices from the Grave. 6 PM – 9 PM. Haunted Tours of the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by candlelight and be visited by spirits from beyond the grave! General Admission $15 per person. Reservations required. Flashlight and walking shoes recommended. Presented by the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill.(919) 942-7818 for tickets.

October 31  Halloween Carnival. Carnival games for all agesCarrboro Town Commons. 6 pm – 8:30 pm.  (919) 918-7364.

October 31.  Homegrown Halloween, Chapel Hill.  (919) 968-2760. (25,000 people in Halloween costumes flock to downtown Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street.)


November 5-6 & 12-13. 22nd 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. 


2016 Major Annual Events