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JCVB Blog

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau BLOG is published weekly with news and feature articles on visiting the county.

67th Annual Benson Mule Days® Celebration set for September 21-25

67th Annual Benson Mule Days® Celebration set for September 21-25

Last week we did a round-up of Fall festivals and activities coming to JoCo as the weather gets cooler. This week we'll be focusing in on one of those events that is just a few weeks away.

The town of Benson, North Carolina celebrates Benson Mule Days® the 4th Saturday of September each year. This year it will take place September 21st through the 25th.  Mule Days was also recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society this year as a September 2016 Top 20 Event. The festival is considered one of the largest festivals in North Carolina and will kick-off with a carnival, trolley rides, and concert Thursday night.

This festival, which draws approximately 50,000 people, is full of family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, street dances, carnival rides, camping, parades, bluegrass shows and more.

The parade alone attracts about 20,000 people and takes place Saturday, September 24th at 10:00a.m. The parade will feature bands, floats, antique tractors, and hundreds of horses, mules, and buggies. Following the parade visitors can make their way to the Singing Grove Park where a Bluegrass show is being presented.

Visit the arts and crafts vendors as well as food and commercial vendors.  It is always fun to walk into the local businesses which offer a variety of products in our area.  There are three rodeos, the first of which begins on Friday night followed by a Saturday night performance.  On Sunday there is a Youth Rodeo.

As a rural community, Benson, North Carolina has long been known for its farm heritage.  The trading of mules was one of the town’s main occupations. The memories and a love for tradition led Nowell Smith and Willis McLamb to discuss with Lewis Lawrence, the first manager of the newly formed Benson Chamber of Commerce, the possibility of setting aside a day to celebrate the mule. In 1950, the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce agreed to sponsor the first Mule Days. The festival continues to be a spectacle that garners international attention. Visitors come from as far away as Alaska, Germany, and California to see and also participate in Mule Days.

For a complete schedule of this 67-year-old event visit www.bensonmuledays.com, call (919) 894-3825, or e-mail the Benson Chamber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Fall into Festivals in Johnston County

It's the end of the summer travel season and all the wonderful fresh farm foods are canned or frozen, kids are back in school, and we begin to look forward to football weekends and  Fall festivals.  Traditional post summer activities are about celebrating the farm harvest time...pecans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins are the fall staples and throughout Johnston County our communities strike up the bands, set up the fair-like booths and invite friends, family and visitors to have some fun.

We invite you to mark your calendars for some of our most popular and attended festivals this fall...see you at the dunking booth!

Harvest Festival, Sept. 18-22,2013 Harvest Festival, Sept. 18-22,2013

Join downtown Clayton September 18-22 for its biggest festival of the year, the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival. This Town of Clayton time-honored tradition spans over the course of five days and includes something for everyone, including a Clayton Idol competition, carnival rides, and a variety of concerts. This festival, which draws approximately 30,000 people, is full of family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with games, arts and crafts, over 200 vendors, dancing, and music.

For a complete schedule of events or more information on the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival including vendor and entertainment information, visit www.claytonchamber.com or call the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at (919) 553-6352.

 



Kids Having Fun at Mule Days! Kids Having Fun at Mule Days!

The town of Benson, North Carolina celebrates Benson Mule Days® September 26-29.  This festival is considered one of the largest festivals in North Carolina and will kickoff with a Barrel Exhibition and Open Barrel Race Thursday night.

This festival, which draws approximately 50,000 people, is full of family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, street dances, carnival rides, camping, parades, bluegrass shows and more. The parade takes place Saturday, September 28 at 10am. The parade will feature bands, floats, antique tractors and hundreds of horses, mules, and buggies. Visitors come from as far away as Alaska, Germany and California.

For a complete schedule of events or more information on Benson Mule Days®, including vendor, golf, and camping information, visit www.bensonmuledays.com, or call the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce at (919) 894-3825.

 

 

 

Ava Gardner stars with Richard Burton in "The Night of the Iguana"

 

 

Ava Gardner stars with Richard Burton in The Night of the Iguana

The Ava Gardner Museum will commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Night of the Iguana at its 2013 Ava Gardner Festival, October 4-6.

Highlights include a "Mad About Ava" Cocktail Party on Friday, October 4. There will be specialty drinks at nearby wineries, breweries and area restaurants, where visitors can show off their 60s costume to win cash prizes. The museum will have new exhibits related to the film, specialty drinks and hors d'oeuvres, door prizes and a raffle for a three-night, all-inclusive trip for two to the Vamar Vallarta Marina and Beach Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

On Saturday, the museum will be open for tours of the new exhibits, heritage tours to Ava's birthplace, the teacherage and other points of interest along the Ava Gardner Heritage Trail, and there will be free showings of The Night of the Iguana in the museum's theatre.  For tickets and info visit www.avagardner.org or all the museum, 919-934-5830.

Family fun in Selma for a train ride! Family fun in Selma for a train ride!

The Town of Selma has a full slate of activities planned for the 38th Annual Selma Railroad Days, October 4-5. Saturday, October 5th will again be the full day of activities for the entire family to enjoy beginning at 8am with the Railroad 5K Run and the Caboose Run.  The day’s events include the Parade at 10am featuring Miss North Carolina Johna Edmonds, the Selma Cornhole Classic at 11am, and the East Coast Muscle Car Club Display at 11am. All day activities include arts, crafts, food vendors, Children’s Crossing inflatable and games, Model Train Displays and music on three stages.  Check their website for more details, www.selma-nc.com or call 919-975-1411.

We invite you to join our email list for our Calendar of Events blast -- we send out just one a month to those friends, family, and visitors looking for fun things to do.  It's easy to sign up and we won't re-blast you with information you didn't want or share our list with anyone else!  We promise -- sign up and don't miss out on a Fun Fall Festival!

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Beer Wine & Shine Trail

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Travel around the county to four award-winning wineries, two breweries and get a taste of brandy along the way!  Receive a Free $30 coupon book when you complete the trail.

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Meeting Planners

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Johnston County offers conveniently located and affordable conference facilities for meetings, reunions, and unique destination weddings sites.  Why not select a historic home or horse farm for your next event?

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Group Tour Operators

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Groups have discovered exits along I-40 and I-95 for outlet shopping, music theatre, museums and heritage sites.  Call today for custom itinerary planning.

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Hotel Packages

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We have created several special hotel packages including a Girlfriends Getaway for outlet shopping, we know you need a break and great deals on shoes!  Click here to book your getaway today.

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Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
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