May Events in North Carolina


Don’t miss these fun events happening this May across the state:

Ham & Yam Festival

Facebook/Ham & Yam Festival

Smithfield Ham & Yam Festival

May 5, Smithfield

What originally began as a friendly competition between the ham producers of Smithville, N.C., and those across the state line in Smithfield, Va., has evolved into a North Carolina tradition. Johnston County isn’t just known for its pork, but it ranks top in the nation for sweet potatoes (which may be called “yams,” though technically the two are very different).

The annual Smithfield Ham & Yam Festival features a variety of fair food and local entertainment, as well as festival mainstays, like a sweet potato pie-eating contest, the 4-H barbecue cook-off and “What’s That Yam Thing?” contest, in which kids turn sweet potatoes into creative works of art.

This year’s activities kick off the morning of May 5 in downtown Smithfield.

To learn more, visit; or, call (919) 934-0887.

Ramp Festival

May 6, Waynesville

Ever heard of ramps? Waynesville has been celebrating these wild onions that sprout up each spring in the Carolina mountainside for 86 years. Ramps are known for having a unique aroma and bold, distinctive taste. The native vegetable may be consumed raw or cooked, and the family-friendly festival highlights the many ways in which they can be enjoyed.

In addition to ramp-filled recipes, the free event at Haywood County Fairgrounds also features live music, clogging, arts and crafts, and much more. For more information about this year’s festival, call (828) 456-8691.

The Buggy Festival

Facebook/The Buggy Festival

Buggy Festival

May 12, Carthage

For 30 years, the town of Carthage has gathered to celebrate its rich history and to commemorate the famous Tyson & Jones Buggy Factory. One of the largest buggy factories for more than half a century, it put the rural Moore County town on the map during its mid-1800s heyday.

Though much of the original factory was destroyed in a fire, the festival keeps Carthage’s production spirit alive, drawing more than 20,000 attendees.

The Buggy Festival includes more than 125 food and craft vendors, cloggers, live country, pop, rock and gospel music, and an old-fashioned buggy and car show.

To learn more about this unique celebration, visit; or, call (910) 947-2331.

Mayo River State Park Family Fishing Day

May 26, Mayodan

Spend the day fishing, playing games and enjoying live entertainment at the 7th Annual Family Fishing Day at Mayo River State Park. The fishing derby is the day’s main attraction, and all kids ages 17 and under are invited to participate. Prizes will be handed out throughout the day, including heaviest, longest and shortest fish categories. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the May Mountain Access picnic shelter. This event is free and open to the public, but donations to the state park will gladly be accepted.

For more information, please visit; or, call the Mayo River State Park office at (336) 427-2530.

Garden Jubilee Festival

May 26-27, Hendersonville

Hendersonville’s premier spring event is the annual Garden Jubilee Festival, one of the largest lawn and gardening shows in Western North Carolina.

Held each year over Memorial Day weekend, the Jubilee welcomes more than 200 plant and flower vendors from across the country to showcase their varietals and newest garden gadgets. The festival also features hands-on gardening projects for kids, making it a truly family-friendly event.

Learn more at

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