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RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2016) ― As the palette turns warm and the temperatures cool, the autumn spotlight trains on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The vivid displays that frame waterfalls, ridges and valleys set the standard for the #NCFallOfFame, and destinations all the way to the sea rise to meet it in ways that make the season endlessly vibrant.
Starting Thursday, Visit North Carolina invites travelers to celebrate the season by posting pictures and videos on Twitter and Instagram with the #NCFallOfFame tag. Weekly themes will elaborate on the pleasures found in the state’s natural beauty, the harvest of flavors, toast-worthy drink and outdoor adventure. Winning posts will be inducted into the North Carolina Fall of Fame.
“Fall seems to be touched by wonder,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “Trees change color as if it were magic. The skies are their bluest and also their rosiest at sunrise and sunset. Winemakers transform grapes into wine, and pumpkins are turned into jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin pie and pumpkin ale. The fresh air makes us crave the outdoors and step to the beat of some of our best-known festivals. There’s no end to the marvels in the #NCFallOfFame.”
VisitNC.com makes the ideal first stop for planning a fall trip. Travelers will find inspiration by interest, region or special event with lodging and dining options to round out the plan. Park rangers and other local sources will provide real-time reports on foliage colors and fishing. Travel Deals will direct hikers, golfers, wine lovers and beer lovers toward savings, and luck will reward a beach-loving couple in the Fall Escape in the Outer Banks Sweepstakes.
Below are highlights and ideas from VisitNC.com.
Find your parkIn the final months of their centennial celebrations, North Carolina State Parks and the National Park Service continue to showcase their assets. More than 50 span the state, from Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Cape Hatteras National Seashore to Gorges State Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The fall spectrum renders unmatched beauty across nature’s vast canvas.
Feast at festivalsThe endless celebration of North Carolina’s most famous heritage food reaches its pinnacle at Lexington's Barbecue Festival (Oct. 22), where more than 15,000 pounds of pit-cooked pig will be served. Other signature food festivals include the 30th annual NC Seafood Festival in Morehead City (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) and the North Carolina Oyster Festival at Ocean Isle Beach (Oct. 15-16).
Tune into bluegrassThe International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass, returning to Raleigh Sept. 27-Oct. 1, culminates with Wide Open Bluegrass (Sept. 30-Oct. 1). Banjos and fiddles will also be heard at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Manteo (Sept. 21-24) and the Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival, presented by the Kruger Brothers, in Wilkesboro (Sept. 23-24).
Brush up on who’s whoSince 1990, Mount Airy has honored native son Andy Griffith with Mayberry Days, this year set for Sept. 21-25. Pinehurst flashes back to Annie Oakley Boom Days (Oct. 8) with a "Sporting Life" festival celebrating the sharpshooter's time in residence from 1915 to 1922. And whimsical whirligigs created by the late Vollis Simpson turn in the breeze at the Wilson Whirligig Festival (Nov. 5-6), held at the work-in-progress Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park.
Confront your fearFrom Sept. 30 to Nov. 5, scare seekers will get what they come for at Spookywoods, a top-rated haunts-and-horror experience at the Kersey Valley adventure park. Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train Halloween Festival in Blowing Rock (Sept. 23-Oct. 29) and Clayton Fear Farm (Sept. 30-Oct. 31) do the trick for kids. Hauntings from history can be found near Wilmington at Poplar Grove Plantation's Paranormal Ghost Tour (Fridays in October), in Winston-Salem on the Legends and Lanterns Halloween Tours (Oct. 28-29) and in Edenton on the Historic Edenton Ghost Walk (Oct. 14-15).
Watch color in motionColor fills the sky at Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville (Oct. 21-23), where mass ascensions, competitions and tethered rides are the centerpiece, surrounded by a rainbow of activities. The coast responds with the Carolina Kite Festival in Atlantic Beach (Oct. 29-30). And in the High Country town of Banner Elk, intense competition features bi-colored caterpillars that race up strings at the Woolly Worm Festival (Oct. 15-16).
See stars in carsOct. 6-8 is prime time in Concord, where Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and other Sprint Cup leaders rev up for the Bank of American 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And in another part of the racing world, Henderson gets ready to host Roy Johnson and honorees at the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame & Reunion (Oct. 14-16) for a weekend of activities.
Go wildLike hundreds of species of birds that flock to the North Carolina coast in the fall, wildlife lovers return each year for Wings Over Water (Oct. 18-23 and Dec. 9-11). Outings on land and water may also include the chance to spot black bear, river otter, alligators and other animals. Paddlers departing Weldon for the Roanoke River Ramble (Oct. 22) can also catch an eyeful and celebrate afterward.
“The #NCFallOfFame is truly spectacular,” Tuttell said. “It’s something to savor and share, to remember and then look forward to returning in all its beauty and magic.”
Malcolm Griffiths212-444-7112 firstname.lastname@example.org
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
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