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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Best Spring Festivals in the Carolinas

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As winter slowly fades into the background and warm afternoons beckon, we naturally want to head outdoors. This year, you could visit the same local spots, or you could do something new and memorable. Leave winter behind and have some fun at these exciting spring festivals:


Held in Camden, South Carolina since 1963, the Carolina Cup is an annual steeplechase horse race that brings upwards of 70,000 people each year to its event. The Carolina Cup will be held April 1st at the Springdale Race Course and raises thousands of dollars for the local Hershaw County Medical Center. This event is an excellent opportunity to wear your Southern best, with colorful cocktail dresses and hats being the most popular attire for ladies and sport coats and printed trousers for the gentlemen. 


Nothing says springtime in the South like The Hat Ladies Easter Promenade. Held in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, April 15th, the Hat Ladies dress to impress during their annual stroll down Broad Street to East Bay and ending at Washington Park. This hundred-year tradition honors Easter, grace, tradition and, of course, the biggest and brightest hats around!


The Come-See-Me Festival in Rock Hill, South Carolina is a nine-day festival April 20th through 29th featuring beautiful gardens, delicious food, road races, a parade and, of course, Glen the Frog, the festival's ever-present mascot. With over 100,000 participants every year, the Come-See-Me Festival is an annual salute to spring and has been named one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Spring festivals for more than a decade. 


Held the weekend of April 21st & 22nd in Raleigh, North Carolina, Brewgaloo is the largest craft beer festival in the state. Brewgaloo is sponsored by Shop Local Raleigh, encouraging consumers and businesses to buy, think, and act locally. From a Friday night block party to tasting events, live bands, food trucks, and more, Brewgaloo is the beer connoisseur's paradise. 


Merlefest is a Carolina festival that needs no introduction. Merlefest was founded in memory of Eddy Merle Waston (son of the legendary "Doc" Waston) as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and to celebrate traditional, local music. Since then, Merlefest has grown into a nationally known premier music festival with bluegrass, country, blues, folk, and many other styles. The four-day event will be held April 27th through 30th this year in Wilkesboro, North Carolina and promises shopping, a family area, nature walks, an unparalleled music lineup, and much more. 


If you love cucumbers marinated in vinegar and spices, then the North Carolina Pickle Festival is for you! Head to pickle capital Mount Olive, North Carolina the weekend of April 29th to enjoy this pickle-themed event. This festival features live entertainment, an antique car show, carnival rides, a petting zoo and, of course, all kinds of pickles to try!


Held May 5th & 6th of this year, the Allendale County Cooter Fest in Allendale, South Carolina celebrates the local cooter turtle, a giant freshwater turtle found mostly in the southeastern United States. The Cooter Fest features live bands, food, crafts, professional fireworks and of course, the famous "Carolina Cooter Race." With a softball tournament, a 5K run or walk, and the Miss Spring Fest Pageant, the Cooter Fest has something fun for everyone. 


The South Carolina Strawberry Festival in Fort Mill begins with the Festival's Pageant on April 29th and ends Saturday, May 6th with the Strawberry Jam Concerts. This award-winning festival is Fort Mill's signature salute to spring with arts, crafts, amusements, a car show, live entertainment, and a fantastic fireworks display. Make sure to enter the strawberry cupcake eating contest while you're there. 


Head to Hudson, North Carolina on May 6th for Caldwell County's annual North Carolina Butterfly Festival. The Butterfly Festival features local artisans, enticing food, kids rides, live music, dance, and hundreds of beautiful butterflies that adorn local flowers.  The Friday night car cruise through downtown is not to be missed. 


Headed to Charlotte, North Carolina on May 13th, the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival offers great live music, BBQ galore, and all the beer and bourbon you care to taste. This festival features 40 bourbons and 60 beers on tap to choose from. AAA Carolinas helps sponsor the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Sprit of Hope Children's Foundation, which provides support and promotes education for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities.  


Since 1989, Carthage, North Carolina's Buggy Festival has celebrated the rich history of the Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory. From the mid-1800s to the 1920s, the Carthage Buggy Factory produced the carriages that made life in rural North Carolina possible. This year on Saturday, May 13th, celebrate the Buggy Festival's 29th year with local food, children's rides, live entertainment, and an impressive array of authentic buggies and historic tractors. 


If you love live waterfront music, look no further than the Beaufort Music Festival. Held May 19th & 20th, the Beaufort Music Festival has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for 28 years. Enjoy a spectacular lineup of performers as well as food trucks, a fun-filled kid area, and the beautiful backdrop of historic downtown Beaufort, North Carolina. 


Tall Ships Charleston brings together the largest collection of classic maritime treasures of the past, present, and future for three days of sailing fun. Enjoy the wooden boat show, family boat building, great music, and the best of Charleston's cuisine. Head to Charleston, South Carolina the weekend of May 19th through 21st for this grand waterfront celebration. 

Before packing up the car for your trip, visit your local AAA Car Care location for all of your vehicle maintenance needs, including battery checks and a free pre-road trip inspection. Visit your local AAA travel agent, and they can seamlessly help plan your journey with hotel discounts, reservations, and TripTiks, AAA's exclusive travel planner. Make sure you download our easy-to-use AAA mobile app for help along your route. You can easily manage your AAA membership online, or call 1-866-593-8626 while on the road.

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