The Top 14 Annual Events in the Raleigh-Durham Area

If you missed or know you'll miss one of these events, fear not—it'll be back next year.

What makes the Triangle so appealing? In addition to its delightful climate and abundance of hometown charm, the Raleigh-Durham region boasts hundreds of family-friendly events all year long. From arts and crafts festivals and cultural celebrations, to town-sponsored holiday festivities and parades, this list showcases some of the best this area has to offer.


WINTER 

FIRST NIGHT RALEIGH
Raleigh; New Year's Eve

This family-oriented New Year's Eve event celebrates the arts with live performances, a children's celebration, a countdown to midnight and grand finale fireworks.

IPREO RALEIGH WINTERFEST
Raleigh; December-January

Raleigh's two-month long winter extravaganza in City Plaza features an outdoor skating rink with natural ice, and kicks off the holiday season with live performances, kids activities, sledding ramps, Santa's Village and more.

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest is a two-month long winter extravaganza in City Plaza. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Scott Photography)
Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest is a two-month long winter extravaganza in City Plaza. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Scott Photography)

 

ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE AND WEARIN' O' THE GREEN FESTIVAL
Raleigh; March

Cultural groups, live performers and other participants march the streets of downtown Raleigh in this St. Patrick's Day Parade that ends with a festival in Moore Square.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in Raleigh
The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Raleigh attracts visitors from all over the Triangle. (Courtesy Shutterstock/Euro Photo Grapics)


SPRING

N.C. SCIENCE FESTIVAL
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and elsewhere throughout North Carolina; April

This statewide science festival features hundreds of science and technology-events, many of which occur in the Triangle.

ARTSPLOSURE
Raleigh; May

This spring celebration of art includes more than 170 visual artists, award-winning musicians, large-scale art installations, crafts and performances for kids.

Artsplosure in Raleigh is an annual spring arts festival. (Courtesy Artsplosure)
Artsplosure in Raleigh is an annual spring arts festival. (Courtesy Artsplosure)

APEX PEAKFEST
Apex; May

Arts and crafts, live music, food stands and kids activities highlight this spring festival in historic downtown Apex.

Peakfest is an annual festival that takes place in Apex each May. (Courtesy Jennifer Bell)
Peakfest is an annual festival that takes place in Apex each May. (Courtesy Jennifer Bell)

GOT TO BE N.C. FEST
Raleigh; May

Three days of celebrating North Carolina's down-home style includes live bluegrass music, antique farm equipment, rides, wine judging, arts and crafts, pig races and a draft horse pull competition. 


SUMMER

AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL 
Durham; June-July

Choreographers, dancers, teachers, musicians and critics learn, collaborate and create during this annual gathering of international dancers. ADF Kids features matinee performances by three acclaimed dance companies as well as Kids' Night Out events during evening shows.

The American Dance Festival in Durham brings ensembles of international dancers together every June.
The American Dance Festival in Durham brings ensembles of international dancers together every June. (Courtesy Christopher Duggan)

FESTIVAL FOR THE ENO RIVER
Durham; July

This river festival in Durham features a variety of activities—all with an environmental or cultural connection to the river—and more than 100 performers, craft exhibitors, river activities, workshops and more.

The Festival for the Eno River takes place annually in Durham every July. (Courtesy Challe Hudson)
The Festival for the Eno River takes place annually in Durham every July. (Courtesy Challe Hudson)

BUGFEST
Raleigh; September

This North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual event features insect-infested educational and entertaining displays, exhibits and activities.

Bugfest is an annual event hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. (Courtesy NC Museum of Natural Sciences)
Bugfest is an annual event hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. (Courtesy NC Museum of Natural Sciences)

CENTERFEST
Durham; September

This weekend-long arts festival in downtown Durham hosts visual artists, performing acts, kids entertainment and activities.

CenterFest in Durham features visual art annually in September.
CenterFest in Durham features visual art annually in September.


FALL
 

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
Raleigh; October

This multi-day international celebration features culture, music and food from around the globe.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR
Raleigh; October

North Carolina's 10-day annual state fair and agricultural exposition showcases carnival rides and food, a kids fun park, exhibits, competitions and live entertainment.

The North Carolina State Fair attracts thousands from across the state every October. (Photo courtesy N.C. State Fair)
The North Carolina State Fair attracts thousands from across the state every October. (Photo courtesy N.C. State Fair)

RALEIGH CHRISTMAS PARADE
Raleigh; November

Floats, marching bands, performing groups and specialty vehicles usher in the holiday season during this downtown Raleigh parade.