Fall festival season is underway in Wilmington, NC and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Mild temperatures and fewer crowds make it the perfect time for a coastal getaway.With warm days and pleasantly cool nights during October and well into November, the weather is ideal for outdoor fun. Whether you’re into live music, craft beer, art, theatre, independent film, watersports, races or Halloween festivities, there’s something to suit every interest.

Here’s a sampling of fall festivals and competitive events taking place from the river to the sea. View our complete calendar for more arts, cultural and food events, Halloween and holiday festivities. 

Oktoberfest Under the Bridge (Oct. 2): Enjoy traditional German fare like brats, schnitzels and Bavarian pretzels while listening to tunes from The Harbour Towne Fest Band at the 6th Annual Oktoberfest Under the Bridge. Waterline Brewing Company, 7324 Market St.721 Surry St., Wilmington. 

Voracious & Rare Beer Festival (Oct. 29): An event for the true beer aficionado, 50+ breweries will pour limited release beers and rare voracious brews, with appetizers and live music. Admission/tickets required. Riverfront Park, 10-B Cowan St., Wilmington. 

Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival (Oct. 30):  Explore the world of hops, grapes and grain with over 100 craft brewery & winery vendors. Admission includes a glass for sampling. Tickets required. Riverfront Park, 10-B Cowan St., Wilmington. Admission charge. 

Taste of Wrightsville Beach Festival (Nov. 6): Savor island flavors at 30 food, wine/beer tasting booths. Admission/tickets required. Bluewater Waterfront Grill, Wrightsville Beach. 

Cape Fear Kite Festival (Nov. 6-7): Flyers will paint the sky by the sea with incredible shapes, sizes, styles and colors of kites. Food trucks will be on-site. Free. Ft. Fisher State Rec. Area, Kure Beach. 

Cucalorus Festival *Film*Stage*Connect: (Nov. 10-14). Now in its 27th year, Cucalorus is a laid-back, non-competitive festival screening hundreds of independent films, a diverse selection of bold Stage performances (dance, music, comedy, theater), and 50+ Connect Conference events (entrepreneurship-focused panels, speakers, and workshops). Passes and individual tickets available. Various venues. Wilmington. 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival (Nov. 13): Get ready for a great day of beer sippin', beer and bourbon tastin', music listenin' and barbecue eatin' at Riverfront Park in historic downtown Wilmington. 10-B Cowan St., Wilmington.


Ironman 70.3 North Carolina (Oct. 23): The IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina triathlon will feature a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. This "point-to-point-to-point-to-point" event begins in Wrightsville Beach and takes athletes along a fast channel swim. The bike course runs through the coastal countryside outside Wilmington, and the run traverses Greenfield Lake before athletes finish at Riverfront Park in historic downtown Wilmington. The 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina will offer 30 qualifying slots to the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Wilmington.

Carolina Cup (Nov. 4-7): Offering several days of SUP (stand up paddleboard) clinics, Friday and Saturday Expos and Sunday Kids Race and Demos including five weekend races. You do not have to race to take a clinic or take a clinic to race. Blockade Runner Beach Resort, 275 Waynick Blvd, Wrightsville Beach. 

Battleship Half Marathon – 10K & 5K (Nov 14): Race through historic downtown Wilmington, around the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, over two bridges and through the picturesque Greenfield Park on this USTA certified course. 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington.

Carolina Pro-Am SUP Surf (Nov 12-14): Enjoy three days of exciting watersports at Wrightsville Beach for this annual competition. Beach Access 38-40, Wrightsville Beach.


Upcoming festivals & events