Fall Into Festival Season in the Bull City

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Durham kicks off the fall season with a bang this August, with an autumn season full of dance and music festivals, events and celebrations, and visits from nationally recognized personalities and performers.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff on Jul 27, 2018

Although the leaves are a-changin' this fall, the Bull City cultural landscape will remain the same, packed with countless reasons to #FallintoDurham.

An Awesome Autumn

Bull City Rumble: August 31

Bull City Rumble is a vintage motorcycle and scooter rally hosted by Ton Up NC on Labor Day Weekend. Downtown Durham fills with the sights and sounds of vintage scooters, motorcycles, and enthusiasts from around the world. The weekend includes a juried bike display, burlesque dancers, rock and roll music, and food and drink.


Sophomore Slumpfest: September 6-7

Created in 2016, this is an alternative summer music festival, designed to draw young fans from diverse backgrounds to enjoy a variety of performances from artists at the forefront of the genre. Enjoy two days of music at Motorco Music Hall.

WellFest: September 7-8

This weekend of rejuvenation of the mind and body in downtown Durham is presented by Durham Magazine, and allows you to define and learn how to incorporate wellness into your everyday. Featured classes and teachers speak to the five elements of health, including: Movement/Fitness/Rest, Sense of Purpose, Environment/Culture, Nutrition and Mental Wellbeing. WellFest will offer a Dinner with Roots at 21c Museum Hotel for 100 people on Saturday night, followed by a silent disco.

Geekcraft Expo: September 7-8

Enjoy a celebration of handmade crafts market specializing in handmade, geek-themed crafts of all kinds, like clothing, accessories, toys, home decoration, furniture, art.

Oktoberfest: September 10

No cover. All the fun.The Little German Band & Dancers will provide the entertainment at Bull McCabes, plus brats and pretzels and beverages for the whole family. Come for the beer, open space, a great patio and fun for all! There's also another Oktoberfest celebration at Motorco on September 14 and one more at Glass Jug Beer Lab on September 21.

45th Annual CenterFest Arts Festival: September 21-22


The Durham Arts Council is bringing the 45th Annual CenterFest, The Art Lover’s Festival to downtown Durham. More than 145 juried visual artists from 17 states will showcase their work and 75 performing arts groups provide continuous music, dance, and entertainment throughout the festival including extended Saturday evening entertainment.

Add in food stands, hands-on activities, and Durham’s inspiring nonprofit and government service sectors and you have the best way to kick off the fall season! Bring the family, bring your friends, bring the neighborhood!

Beer, Blues, and BBQ: September 21

With Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos playing the blues, Al Myers making delicious BBQ, and Harris Beverage providing cold-brewed beverages to enjoy while playing horseshoes or corn hole ... this event will be one to remember.

North Carolina Jerk Festival: September 21

CaribSplash presents The Sixth Annual North Carolina Jerk Festival on Saturday, September 21st from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm at West Point on the Eno Amphitheater.

OctoBullFest: September 21

Burgers, bratwurst, bands, and beer are yours to enjoy with the whole family at Bull City Burger and Brewery (along with a bounce house, hula hoop, and live music). Did we mention the soft pretzels, and OctoBullFest Mustard/ Mushroom Fries, too? There will be wine and beer available, including their​ ​Octoberfest​ ​lager​ ​aptly named​ ​“Stierstadt” (German​ ​for​ ​Bull​ ​City), which is brewed once yearly​ ​for​ ​the​ ​event.​

Barktoberfest: October 26

Durham Parks and Rec has set the stage for an afternoon filled with fun for your pups; meet at Durham Central Park with your best friend in tow

NC Comicon: November 8-10

Durham Convention Center will transform into the epicenter of all things comics as a self-proclaimed prime destination for fans and creators of all walks and passions to learn, celebrate, and share in a wide variety of interests and fandom. Expect comics, cosplay, gaming, film, animation, design, and more for the entire family.

Points of Pride

Brazilian Day NC Festival: September 7

Batalá and Oxente will perform at the Brazilian Day NC Festival at Durham Central Park, with live music, food trucks, capoeira, dance performances, and workshops. Come for the rhythm and refreshment!

Beats N’ Bars Festival: September 14

This festival will again be the epicenter of cadence, rhythm, and grooves as the Beats N’ Bars Festival seeks to build a stronger community through the influence of urban culture and music.

Black Wall Street: Homecoming: September 25–27

Success, business, and culture converge in downtown Durham as we honor the past and future of black founders, investors, industry experts and members of the startup ecosystem. This conference will feature pitches, workshops, stories, and art, all with the option to personalize agendas for an unforgettable experience.

Art of Cool Festival: September 27–29

A Durham born and bred festival, AOCFEST will feature a range of R&B, Neo Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, alternative and spoken word performances and speakers at 6 venues. Art of Cool festival's lineup features three-time GRAMMY® award-winning singer-songwriter, Jill Scott, Ari Lennox, and hip hop legend, RUN DMC. Additional confirmed AOCFEST performers for this year include: NC hip-hop producer, rapper and scholar 9thWonder presenting 95Live; NC native and saxophonist Marcus Anderson; classically-trained string instrumentalists and hip-hop duo Black Violin and British soul singer-songwriter Omar.

PRIDE: Durham, NC: September 28

In its second year, Pride: Durham, NC will bring love and activism back to Durham in the form of costumed marchers alongside decorated floats and vehicles, festival vendors, speeches, and parties ... all to drive stronger connections and further the growth and success of the LGBTQIA community.

Dance, Durham Dance: October 18


This will be a celebration of dance and music in commemoration of Durham's sesquicentennial. The Hayti Heritage Center is planning a festive party experience to celebrate Durham and Hayti's impact on our City's cultural prominence. Stay tuned for another three-day festival of blues, jazz, and gospel, also planned in October at Hayti; the Blues and Roots festival includes vendors and other artists, food, and beverages.

5 reasons you should make Durham your festival destination

World Renowned

Festival of Nations: October 12

Share in the culture of Sister Cities of Durham countries at the Duke Homestead & Tobacco Museum: Tanzania, England, Greece, Russia, Japan, China, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Romania.

World Beer Festival Durham: October 19

The 22nd annual iteration of Durham’s World Beer Festival will bring together more than 250 world-class beers from breweries around the world at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Cheers!

As you can see, the leaves may be beginning to fall, but Durham's profile won't.

Check for more events this fall in Durham...

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