October events 2023: What’s happening in Raleigh this Month?

Another big month in Raleigh celebrating all the fun of Fall. There are so many things happening in Raleigh this October 2023.

We have two of Raleigh’s (and North Carolina’s) biggest events for the year, spooktacular fun for Halloween, the Carolina Hurricanes start playing hockey again, tailgating is in full swing, and we have festivals celebrating cultural diversity, wine, and music.

I just don’t know how I’m going to choose what to do and when!

woman and girl in halloween costumes
It’s Halloween Month!

As there are so many events happening in Raleigh and nearby for Halloween, I have a separate Halloween post here sharing those. I have hand selected a few for this post that I think sound really cool!

We have a Fall bucket list post that will give you a lot more tips on things to do in the Fall in Raleigh and pumpkin patches near Raleigh (and corn mazes to visit). Plus we have suggestions on where to see the Fall colors in Raleigh and road trip ideas for Fall Foliage.

Join our email community below so you don’t miss an update and to get access to our free printable Fall bucket list. It will help you keep on track for planning an awesome Fall.

FREE Fall Bucket List
How to soak up the vibrant FALL FLAVORS in RALEIGH!

Week 1: Oct 1- Oct 8, 2023

35th Annual Thad & Alice Eure Walk for Hope Walk & Festival, Oct 8, 2023

Paid Listing

girls in walk for hope t-shirts in the forest

We’re excited the 35th Annual Walk for Hope is back at Angus Barn. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support a great cause and enjoy a beautiful 5K walk through Umstead State Park with friends. Includes a day long family-friendly festival including a delicious lunch from Angus Barn, music, a petting zoo, games, and prizes!

100% of the money raised by participants directly funds local mental illness research at the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Psychiatry. Walk for Hope helps call attention to the stigma and significance of these often-invisible illnesses, which now due to the pandemic affect as many as 1 in 3 American adults.

Sign up on their website walkforhope.com or call 919-781-WALK and join them for this milestone event.

If you can’t attend, you can make a donation or buy a raffle ticket to win one of the following prizes:

  • Domestic air travel for 2 from Delta
  • $1,500 gift certificate to Patio Pro
  • $1,000 gift certificate to Bailey’s Fine Jewelry
  • $250 gift certificate to Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern

Triangle Oktoberfest, Oct 6- 7, 2023

People standing in a line holding up glasses of beer
Image by TriangleOktoberfest.org
  • Where: Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary
  • Date: Oct 6 & 7
  • Time: Fri: 5pm-10pm | Sat: 12pm-4pm | Sun: 4pm – 8pm
  • Cost: $25 before 4pm, $20 after 4pm | Kids under 15 free
  • Website: TriangleOktoberfest.org

Finally, they’ve changed the dates of the largest Oktoberfest in Central North Carolina, so it no longer conflicts with the World of Bluegrass Festival.

This authentic German festival focused on family fun, traditional Bavarian food and fare; and plenty of local and authentic German beers from Munich.

Of course, rest assured there will be Polka music to ramp up that Oompah vibe. And I can tell you from my Oktoberfest experience in the beer halls of Munich that it is a fun event you’ll never forget. Raise your stein and get prosting!

Read more: 17 Places to celebrate Oktoberfest in Raleigh

Ava Gardner Festival, Oct 6 – 8, 2023

ava gardner museum smithfield 2
  • Where: Ava Gardner Museum, Smithfield, Johnston Co
  • When: Various times.
  • Cost: Various
  • Website:

The Ava Gardner Museum hosts an annual festival in honor of the legendary actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian Ava Gardner, a North Carolina native who grew up just 7-miles east of Smithfield .

The festival will include a multitude of exciting events including unveiling of new exhibits, heritage tours, special film and video presentations, and an opening night concert.

You can read about our previous visit to the Ava Gardner Museum here (well worth a visit!) Craig and I also visited again on a Date experience in Johnston County.

Celebrate Fuquay Varina, Oct 7, 2023

pizza store in Fuquay-Varina, NC

This festival is all about celebrating the vibrant community of Fuquay-Varina. It includes live entertainment, craft beer, the Downtown Chili Cook-off, food trucks, arts & crafts, a free kids zone, and more

Falling for Local, Oct 7, 2023

Falling for Local Festival, Dorothea Dix Park

Falling for Local is a great way to welcome in Fall while still soaking up the last warm rays of summer. This Fall festival features local makers and creators stalls, beer tents, live music from local artists, and activities for the kids, such as hayrides and pumpkin patches.

Buy your drink tickets in advance as the lines can get long. And note, last year the food truck lineup was ridiculous! People were waiting for a long time, and many trucks had run out of certain foods, so it may be a good idea to bring your own picnic lunch!

The 94th Wendell Harvest Festival, Oct 7, 2023

Wendell is celebrating this annual Fall festival with food trucks, a kids village, a parade supporting Hometown Hunger Heroes, and a free concert.

Discover more Fall Festivals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes here

Week 2: Oct 09- 15, 2023

SAS Championship, Oct 9-15, 2023

  • Where: Prestonwood Country Club, 2022
  • Time: (no times announced yet)
  • Cost: $30 Daily Grounds Passes. FREE public parking at Bond Park with shuttle to the tournament main entrance
  • Website: www.saschampionship.com

One of the biggest golf events in Wake County is this month’s annual PGA Tour Champions event. Some of golf’s best attend the SAS Championship. This golf event includes:

  • Pro-Am event
  • Food Truck Friday: some of the area’s best Food Trucks, plus live music, and youth entertainment
  • 5K Saturday race: Enjoy the unique experience of running, jogging or walking along the official tournament course prior to the second round of play.

N.C. State Fair, Oct. 12-22, 2023

Swinging chairs ride at the state fair
Fun at the Fair
  • Where: NC. State Fairgrounds
  • Time: 9am – 11pm with some nights closing at midnight
  • Cost: $10 adult, $5 youth entrance fee
  • Website: NCStateFair.org

The largest event in North Carolina happens this month in October in the heart of Raleigh at the State Fairgrounds, attended by a million visitors across the 11-day fair. 

It is a lot of fun with high-flying rides, deep-fried foods, live music, stunt shows and other entertainment (including nightly fireworks).

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to the North Carolina State Fair

VIDEO: NC State Fair

Cary Diwali Festival, Oct 14, 2023

  • Where: Koka Booth Amphitheatre
  • Time: 10am to late (Fireworks at 9.30pm)
  • Cost: Free + $5 parking lots
  • Website: TownOfCary.org

The Cary Diwali festival includes music, dance, theater performances, a handicraft bazaar, Indian food vendors, sponsor booths, an exhibition of Indian art and culture, and activities for children.

It’s a celebration that marks the victory of good over evil, light over dark and the beginning of the New Year. It is one of the most widely celebrated religious and cultural events in Raleigh. 

Week 3: Oct 16 – 22, 2023

Raleigh’s International Wine Festival, Oct 21, 2023

  • Where: City Plaza Fayetteville St, Downtown Raleigh
  • Time: 12pm-9pm
  • Cost: Free to attend, but wine samples cost $$
  • Website

Wine tasting in Raleigh again!! Is October Wine Month?

This wine festival will feature over 25 international wine suppliers from countries such as Chile, Portugal, Italy, France and Australia. There will also be food trucks and live music performances.

Week 4: Oct 23 – 31st, 2023

Clayton Harvest Festival, Oct 26 – 29, 2023

girls walking through pumpkin field
Boyette Family Farm, Clayton

As Johnston County is home to many farms, it makes sense that their Fall harvest festivals are worth visiting. The Clayton Harvest Festival features carnival rides and games, a Latin American festival, trunk or treat and movie night. 

Speaking of JoCo, we recently experienced a fantastic day trip to Johnston County you need to check that out.

Zombiepalooza, Cary, October 20, 2023

outside a theater buliding
Cary Theater

We were quite surprised by the dedicated turn out for Zombiepalooza when we visited pre-COVID. The Cary Theater hosts a free event showcasing locally created zombie short films on a huge outdoor screen. Plenty of people dressed in their best zombie gear! 

NC Wine Festival, Oct 28, 2023

Did somebody say wine tasting? You may be surprised at the state of wine in North Carolina. For over 20 years, the NC Wine festival has been sharing NC wineries goodness with us all.

Paired with your chardonnay will be music, food and live entertainment from Chairmen of the Board, The Shakedown and The Patrick Rock Band. 

Pumpkin Flotilla, October 27, 2023

woman looking out over Bond Park, Cary, NC
Bond Lake, Cary

Each October, pumpkins set sail across the Bond Park Lake at twilight accompanied by local music, snacks, and Halloween activities!

Floats are limited and first come first served. If you want to show off your carved pumpkin, drop it off at the Bond Park boathouse in the days leading up to the event.

If you miss the flotilla evening, the pumpkins are typically left on the lake and they relight them for the next couple of nights.

READ MORE: 27 hair raising Halloween attractions and experiences in Raleigh (and nearby)

HollyFest, October 28, 2023

HollyFest is a celebration of the local community. This free annual event features local artists, food vendors, kids activities and entertainment. 

Oktoberfest Clouds Brewing, Oct 28, 2023

  • Where: 1233 Front St, Downtown Raleigh
  • Time: 2-9pm p.m
  • Cost: $10 now | $15 at door (includes first beer and Marchtoberfest glass!)
  • Oktoberfest Tickets

The Little German Band & Dancers is back at this German inspired Raleigh brewery!

I love how Clouds is prolonging Oktoberfest with an end of October event. We’ll see you under their big tent! The party will host traditional contests, food trucks, and special beer releases including their Signature Oktoberfest beer from Clouds Brewing is Cloudstoberfest. 

There’ll also be a keg ceremony and stein holding contests.

Comment below: Tell me what October event are you most excited for? Are there any other great ones I left off the list?

Raleigh Fall Bucket List
How to soak up the vibrant Fall flavors!
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