‘Fall’ into Johnston County events

Johnston County’s placement at the juncture of I-95 and I-40 makes it a convenient location to visit on the East Coast. With a rural landscape and a history of farming many of Johnston County’s attractions are an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Autumn is an excellent time of year to visit weather-wise as well. Visitors and residents alike will find many unique events to enjoy and several that honor the county’s agricultural heritage.


42nd-annual Selma Railroad Days Festival — Set for Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, Railroad Days includes a 5K run, parade, crafts, food, children’s area and even a large model train display at the Selma Train Depot, along with a variety of entertainment.

Wilson’s Mills Pumpkin Festival — Slated for Saturday, Oct. 14, the Pumpkin Festival features live music from Triangle Blues Project, crafts, games, food vendors and inflatables.

Smith’s Farm Annual Fall Festival — On Saturday, Oct. 21, you can pick your own pumpkin at the Fall Festival. With a bounce house and farm animals, this is an especially great festival for kids.

Bentonville Battlefield’s Fall Festival & Living History Program — There will be demonstrations regarding life on a late 19th century farm and what women and children had to do to maintain the homestead with men away at war on Saturday, Oct. 28.

6th-annual Shindig Music Festival — For beer and bluegrass enthusiasts, Saturday, Nov. 4 will have you sipping and singing along all-day with Americana and Bluegrass genre bands performing on two stages.

Glendale-Kenly Fall Festival — Join our friends in Kenly for an evening of food, family and friends on Friday, Nov. 3.

Find these annual festivals, plus more events and activities, on the Johnston County Visitors Bureau calendar of events as well at johnstoncountync.org/events.

Fall venues

Clayton Fear Farm (Daytime) — For a bit of non-haunted fun, you can visit this facility on Loop Road near Clayton. Check out hayrides, the pumpkin patch and a 3D adventure in Seymour’s House of Dreams. For more, visit claytonfearfarm.com/daytime.

Clayton Fear Farm — When the sun goes down, things get a bit more scary. There’s a haunted hayride, Fear Farm Academy, a haunted cotton maze and much more. To learn more, visit claytonfearfarm.com/home.

Sonlight Farms — Head on over to Kenly to check out a corn maze, hayride, playground, bounce house, corn crib, 80-foot slide, pedal carts, games and concessions.
Farm Daze is set for Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there will be farm equipment on display as well as giveaways and crafts for the kids.
The Black Out Challenge is from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. This event ($5 admission) gives you the chance to conquer the corn maze at night. For more information, email sonlightfarmsnc@gmail.com or call 252-205-5280.

Lazy O Farm — Just outside of Smithfield, you can find a Fairy Tail Trail, a crop circle maze and a Buzy Barnyard filled with animals. Also, on Saturday, Oct. 28, there will be Trick or Treating in the Maze from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (cost is $10 per person). For more, find them on Facebook or call 919-934-1132.

Things to do

Carriage rides, Smithfield — Take a free carriage ride on Friday, Oct. 20 in Smithfield on the corner of Third and Market from 6-9 p.m.

Rhythm & Brews, Downtown Smithfield — The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation presents Rhythm & Brews on Friday, Oct. 20 from 7-9 p.m.. Come out for a fun night of singing and dancing in the street to the tunes of Liverpool, Carolina’s Beatles experience, games and activities for all ages and craft beer and wine.
Bring a lawn chair and your family and friends for this free concert.

Frank & Ava Weekend — On Oct. 21-22, view Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner films in the Ava Gardner Museum devoted to Smithfield’s most famous daughter. The museum will be showing “Pal Joey” and “The Little Hut.”

Tony Sands: It Was a Very Good Year — Catch two shows at 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Howell Theatre. This show is a must-see for any Frank Sinatra fan. Tony Sands has incorporated stunning graphics that entice you the moment the stage lights dim and the music begins. The show starts with Sinatra’s early days with Tommy Dorsey in the bright lights of New York City, and brings us to his comeback at Madison Square Garden. Sands will be performing such hits as “That’s Life,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Luck Be A Lady,” “My Way,” “New York, New York” and many more.

13th Annual Historical Ghost Walk, Downtown Smithfield — Five characters from Johnston County’s past will be brought back to life on Thursday, Oct. 26, during the Johnston County Heritage Center’s 13th annual Ghost Walk in historic Riverside Cemetery. This unique event, sponsored by the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and presented in conjunction with the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation, will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Church and Second streets beside St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
The line-up includes several fascinating Johnston County personalities — Clayton native Hubert Banks, a member of the famous Harlem Hellfighters in World War I; Mrs. B. B. Adams of Four Oaks, a World War I Red Cross worker; a naval stores producer; Blanche Mitchener, Selma’s pioneering telephone operator and Dr. Calvin Jones, a Smithfield physician who pioneered the use of the small pox vaccine in North Carolina.
Visitors will be given guided tours through the cemetery where they will meet each ghost character. The tour concludes with refreshments at the Hastings House.
Admission charge is $3 for adults and $2 for students, payable at the event. No advance tickets will be sold. For further information, call the Heritage Center at 919-934-2836.

Halloween Hayride, Clayton Community Park — Meet Halloween characters, play games and win prizes as you ride around the spooky trail at Clayton Community Park from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27.
The cost is $5 per child over the age of 2. Adults ride for free. Wear your costumes!

Halloween Special Needs Dance, Clayton Community Center —
A special Halloween-edition of our popular free dance for special needs participants in middle school, high school and adults is set for 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Wear a costume along with soft-soled shoes so we don’t scuff up the gym floor. Fun includes games, such as limbo.

Junior Women’s League of Smithfield’s Second Annual Touch-A-Truck — The Touch-A-Truck, set for Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a unique and interactive fundraiser that allows children to see, touch and safely explore their favorite big trucks and heavy machinery, as well as to meet the personnel who protect, serve and build Johnston County communities.
Trucks on display will include emergency vehicles, tractors, machinery, construction equipment, farm equipment, service and delivery trucks. This event will also include food trucks, inflatables, special guests, face painting and so much more.
Admission is free, and tickets will be available to purchase for inflatables, face painting, etc. There will also be a large selection of food trucks, so come hungry. Proceeds from Touch-A-Truck will benefit the Me Fine Foundation.

Football weather

October is tough to beat in terms of football weather. It’s cool enough to not have to worry about players (or fans) falling out because of heat exhaustion, but not so cold that you’ll need to find a plug for your electric blanket.
Here are a few chances to catch a high school football game in October (all games start at 7:30 p.m.):

Oct. 6
Clayton at South Johnston
Heritage at Corinth Holders
Beddingfield at North Johnston
Union at Princeton
Smithfield-Selma at West Johnston

Oct. 13
Smithfield-Selma at Cleveland
Wake Forest at Corinth Holders
Farmville Central at North Johnston
West Johnston at South Johnston

Oct. 20
Cleveland at Clayton
North Duplin at Princeton
South Johnston at Smithfield-Selma
East Wake at North Johnston

Oct. 27
Clayton at Smithfield-Selma
Cleveland at West Johnston
Knightdale at Corinth Holders
SouthWest Edgecombe at North Johnston

Halloween observances

Princeton — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. for kids ages 12 and under.

Smithfield — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 5-8 p.m.

Kenly — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m.

Four Oaks — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m.

Clayton — Downtown Clayton Trick or Treat: Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2:30-4 p.m. on Main Street and Town Square.
Costumed preschoolers and their parents take over Main Street, where they’re greeted by local business owners waiting to hand out treats. Once you’ve filled your bags, head to Town Square for games and more goodies.

Selma — Trunk or Treat, Raiford Street, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 6 p.m.