Discover Unusual Festivals and Attractions

Discover Unusual Festivals and Attractions

Benson Mule Days takes place the fourth Saturday of September

From motorcycles and woolly worms to fossils and collards, there’s always something interesting to see and celebrate in North Carolina’s eclectic small towns.

American Classic Motorcycle Museum
Come celebrate your love for motorcycles with this collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles from 1936 to the present. Before you hit the highway again, you can fuel up with some road food at the Heritage Diner.

Annual Woolly Worm Festival
Banner Elk
For generations, High Country residents have been studying the black and brown bands on these fuzzy caterpillars to determine what kind of winter to expect. A race is held up three-foot strings to determine which crazy crawler will be crowned the official woolly worm. There’s also a 10K “Woolly Worm Woad Wace.”

Aurora Fossil Museum
Fifteen million years ago, much of North Carolina’s coastal plain was underwater. The Aurora Fossil Museum has hundreds of whale and shark fossils, mostly from the waters off North Carolina. Sifting through local fossil beds and digging for shark’s teeth is always fun.

Ayden Collard Festival
More than three decades ago, the local newspaper held a contest and collards won out over cucumbers to become the centerpiece of a new festival in this town outside Greenville. In addition to a parade and more, you can see the newly crowned Miss Ayden and watch guys eat collards fast and furiously.

Backing Up Classics Motor Car Museum
Located next to Charlotte Motor Speedway, this 18,000-square-foot treasure features nearly 50 classic cars, muscle cars and even a Camaro once owned by Roy Orbison. You can also stock up on NASCAR and auto-related souvenirs right on site.

Benson Mule Days
This popular event annually draws some 70,000 people from all over the country and around the world. Activities include pageants, parades, rodeos, food, arts and, of course, the mule events: pulling contests, halter classes and pleasure riding. And for fun there’s the human braying contest and raccoon jumping.

Bostic Lincoln Center
There is substantial evidence that Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was not born in Kentucky, but on Puzzle Creek near Bostic in Rutherford County. The Bostic Lincoln Center tells this alternate story.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Exhibits combine computer-generated imagery, special effects, and audio with an extensive artifact collection. Your self-guided tour begins 12,000 years ago in the "Story Lodge," and continues through four other periods of Cherokee history.

Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts
The historic Shelton House, home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, displays folk art and collections of pottery, woodcarving, basketry, metalwork, weaving, quilting, marquetry and other fine crafts. Some items date back to the mid-1700s.

National Hollerin’ Contest
Spivey’s Corner
Winners from this September event have been featured on many late-night talk shows, as well as in Sports Illustrated and documentary films. In addition to the namesake event, contestants compete in such contests as the Whistlin’ Contest, the Conch Shell and Fox Horn Blowin’ Contest.

New Year’s Eve Lowering of the Possum
New York may have its descending Times Square ball to ring in the New Year, but Brasstown prefers to lower a possum. You can also partake of music, homemade cider and a pageant to elect Miss Possum at this family-friendly event.

Operation Bumblebee Missiles and More Museum
Topsail Island
Topsail Island was the third of three widespread test sites established along the Atlantic seaboard in the closing years of World War II, and the first permanent ground for missile testing. Operation Bumblebee led to the maturing of supersonic aircraft and shipboard missile design in the mid-20th century.

Scottish Tartans Museum
North Carolina is said to have more residents of Scottish extraction than any other state, so the Scottish Tartan Society in Edinburgh authorized the opening of an extension museum in Franklin. The museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing, specifically the development of the tartan and the kilt. Come discover your clan or family tartan.

Underwater Bicycle Race
The annual Underwater Bike Race draws contestants who decorate their bikes, don scuba gear and decorate themselves, and then race to the finish – underwater. Spectators can view the action by charter boat or by snorkeling or scuba diving.

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