The best way to avoid spring cleaning is to get out of the house and smell something other than the pile of laundry you need to get done. If you need a drink, a taco, or just some good ol’ fashioned fresh (and humid) air, here’s a list of outdoor festivals you can escape to this year:
- Tacos ‘N Taps Festival. Cary, April 1: If you need something to tacobout, compadres, then it’s time to dust off your sombreros because you’ll find bottomless samples of beer, mezcals, margaritas, and tequila to pair with your tacos.
- Spring South End Wine and Hops Festival. Charlotte, April 1: Get hopped up on the South End vibe with 75 different wines, 20 local craft brews and live tunes by Josh Gallon and the Galloway Band.
- Dreamville Music Festival. Raleigh, April 1-2: Spread NC love with J. Cole, who’s reppin’ his home state with featured artists Usher, Drake, and Burna Boy.
- NC Azalea Festival. Wilmington, April 12-16: Although Iggy won’t be attending (sorry sis), you can still attend a queen’s coronation, participate in a boxing competition, rock out to a few bands, and browse the outdoor street fair.
- All American Tattoo Convention. Fayetteville, April 14-16: Show off your tats, get tatted, and learn the art of tattooing all while raising funds that support soldiers with combat-related injuries.
- Strange Fruit Music Festival. Greensboro, April 15: Get jiggy with it during this celebration of Black cultural music — like R&B, funk, and jazz — and urban culture trailblazers. Artists like Yolanda Rabun and The Polk Duo are on the roster.
- Sandhills Dog Fair. Pinehurst, April 15: Dogs can bring their humans to Pinehurst’s Village Arboretum and meet crafters, groomers and trainers plus enjoy food trucks, raffles, adoptable dogs and more. Leashes are required. The event, formerly known as the Aberdeen Dog Fair, moved to the Arboretum after outgrowing downtown Aberdeen.
- Piratefest. Greenville, April 15: Hit the banks of Tar River for sword fighting, beer drinking, performances at the pirate encampment, mermaid watching, and other tomfoolery for the whole family.
- Loch Norman Highland Games. Huntersville, April 15-16: Grab your kilt and bagpipes … and longbow and battle axe? You’ll need ’em for various competitions, highland dancing, races for the kiddos, and drinking whiskey like you’re William Wallace.
- Brewgaloo. Raleigh, April 21-22: Feeling thirsty? Grab brews from 110 NC craft breweries as well as a sampler of limited releases, barrel aged beers, and sours at North Carolina’s biggest craft beer festival.
- Tuck Fest. Charlotte, April 21-23: Get out and smell the competition at the U.S. National Whitewater Centers weekend of climbing, biking, SUPing, rafting, kayaking, swimming, and trail-running competitions. Kiddos can also test their skills with outdoor obstacles and races. Afterward learn something new with clinics from insect exploration to key log rolling and raft guiding.
- Piedmont Triad Water Lantern Festival. Reidsville, April 22: Let down your hair and live out your Rapunzel dreams by decorating your own lantern and setting it afloat on Lake Reidsville.
- Dogwood Festival. Fayetteville, April 27-30: Winter may be dog eat dog, but spring doesn’t have to be. Treet yourself to a glass of wine and shopping at the street fair, and the family to a climbing wall, an airborne aerials display, fireworks, a BMX show, and a ring wars wrestling tournament among other activities.
- Springfest. Southern Pines, April 29: If you’d prefer the smell of funnel cake and popcorn to roses then gather the fam and make your way to downtown Southern Pines for carnival rides, vendors, bike races and your favorite snacks.
- NC Pickle Fest. Mount Olive, April 29: If you think you’re kinda of a big dill, test your confidence at the Tour De Pickle bike race, pickle eating contest, pickleball tournament, recipe contest, and more.
- Island Arts Festival. Carolina Beach, May 5-6: Feast your eyes on creations by over 100 visual, performing and culinary artists.
- Carolina BBQ Festival. Charlotte, May 7: Are you a tomato, vinegar, or mustard BBQ sauce kind of girl? Let 14 different Southeast pitmasters help you decide with samples of the whole hog, ribs, chicken, brisket, and more.
- Carthage Buggy Festival. Carthage, May 13: Take a time machine back to mid-1800 to 1920s Carthage with rows of buggies, tractors, and other classic vehicles. Book=worms can enjoy a book bargain sale; kids can take a turn in the foam pit or on the bungee trampoline.
- Ritmo Latino Festival. Cary, May 13: Señorita, feel the conga, let me see you move like you come from … Moore County? Delve into Latino culture with dance lessons, authentic food, live music, and Latin American art vendors.