North Carolina has numerous opportunities for family fun – featuring food, music, water sports, competitions, fireworks, aand so much more. Here are five great local autumn festivals you shouldn’t miss:

The Beak Week Poultry Festival, on September 12th in downtown Goldsboro, is the city’s signature event. 30 professional cooking teams will travel from all over the east coast in hopes of winning a $20,000 prize. 4 categories of meat will be judged – ribs, chicken, pork, aand brisket. Under the People’s Choice category, for $1, you can taste a team’s chicken wing aand vote for your favorite. Baands, performing on two stages, will provide a variety of country, dance, jazz, beach, aand blues music. Kids will enjoy booths, rides, aand attractions, including bounce houses, a climbing wall, slide, aand bungee trampoline.

The Riverwalk Palooza will take place September 18-19, in downtown Jacksonville. This popular destination event is a celebration of the historic New River, aand features water attractions such as kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, aand a ferry. Enjoy the live music, food, dancing, comedy, aand magic acts. Relax aboard the Moonlight New River Cruise, departing from the Kerr Street Marina. The cruise costs $20 per person, reservations are required, aand hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The North Carolina Seafood Festival, October 2-4 in Morehead City, is now in its 29th year. Festivities include a road race, family fishing championship, fireworks display, aand boat races. The festival was created to encourage recognition of the importance of seafood to eastern North Carolina, aand publicize the wide variety of seafood indigenous to the region. Enjoy watching those beautiful boats sailing along the Morehead City waterfront while you stroll through the festival. Free parking is available at the North Carolina State Port, with free shuttle service to aand from the Festival grounds.

The 61st Annual Swansboro Mullet Festival will be held October 10th-11th in downtown Swansboro. The second oldest festival in the state, it originated with a fish fry to observe the premiere of the new bridge in town. Enjoy the parade, crafts, foods, aand activities for kids, along with live music throughout the celebration. If you get the opportunity, try some smoked mullet. Admission is free.

Celebrate the fall season at the Onslow Oktoberfest, October 22-24, in Jacksonville. Look forward to traditional German food such as beer, brats aand potato salad, aand enjoy the Stein & Shine Glow Run at 6 p.m. on the 23rd. The first of its type in Onslow County, it’s a 3-mile run/walk through the charming downtown area. At the end of the race, you’ll receive a celebratory glow mug filled with your choice of beer or soft drink. Costumes are encouraged.

From the mountains to the shore – aand at every point in between – there’s always something on the calendar in North Carolina. Enjoy this fall with these great local opportunities to bring your family closer together – with fun, food, aand festivities celebrating everything our great state has to offer.