In the fall, once temperatures in Fayetteville have cooled and people are beginning to don sweaters and boots, there are excellent opportunities to get out and enjoy the cultural life of this vibrant and inviting community. Although the Dogwood Festival in spring may be Fayetteville’s most famous annual celebration, the fall season also has its share of treasures. These include Lafayette’s birthday, the Arts Council’s International Folk Festival, the Indigo Moon Film Festival, and a couple of annual Halloween treats.
On September 8-9, Fayetteville celebrates the birthday of its namesake, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette — but you can just call him Lafayette. Related happenings include a display of 18th-century Lafayette collectibles and a concert of French music at Methodist University, a “Festival of Yesteryear” at the Museum of the Cape Fear, and a walking tour retracing Lafayette’s visit to Fayetteville (then known as Cross Creek) in 1825. Details are at lafayettesociety.org.
Next, the 39th International Folk Festival takes place from September 22-24. This is among the most multi-cultural displays of city pride, as it brings music and dance groups representing communities from around the world; Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Vendors will be selling various types of ethnic foods as well as cool arts and crafts. A parade on Saturday, September 23rd, is the centerpiece of this annual free event, which is put on by the very active local Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
For fans of facial hair, Beardtoberfest is on October 7 at Huske Hardware House. This is a charitable event to support cancer patients and their families. Prizes will be given out in 10 different categories, including for ladies and children, which is something we probably have to see to believe!
Until last year, Fayetteville did not have an annual film festival at all, but now that Indigo Moon is being put on by the non-profit group GroundSwell Pictures with the collaboration of allies like Sustainable Sandhills and the Cameo Art House Theater, we are finally on the cinephile map! This October 13-15 event is back and better than ever after (last year it was rained out by Hurricane Matthew), showcasing dozens of films from the region and the world. Don’t miss the launch party on Friday, a full day of independent films on Saturday, and an awards ceremony on Sunday. Filmmakers from NC and around the country will be participating, so grab your tickets or VIP passes and meet them. Particularly recommended is the NC premiere of the documentary Hondros, about the late war photographer and former Fayetteville Observer employee Chris Hondros.
On Halloween, kids and adults can enjoy Downtown Trick or Treat, a chance to dress up in their costumes and spook local businesses and homes in Fayetteville’s Historic Downtown. This is a safe and well-lit trick-or-treating option for all ages.
Will the Zombie Walk be brought back to life for a seventh year? That’s a question being debated around town, as the usual organizer was a rock music venue that recently closed. If last year’s massive turnout for this haunted happening was any indication, though, it will probably take place on the Friday before Halloween as usual. Watch out for walkers!
One more thing — for running enthusiasts, there are a few races this fall to point out: the Glow Fest 5K Fun Run on September 16, the Southern Pines Autumnfest 5K Road Race on October 7, and the NC Halloween Half Marathon 5K on October 29. And don’t forget to train for Ryan’s Reindeer Run on December 16 — this is your chance to run alongside dogs in reindeer costumes!
More information about upcoming local events and festivals can be found at visitdowntownfayetteville.com