Here’s a rundown of festivals and events coming to Johnston County this year.
Bentonville Battlefield anniversary: March 18-19 – To mark the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville, visit this state historic site for a day of themed programs. This year, attendees can learn more about the medical history of the Civil War. The program will also feature artillery, infantry and home-front demonstrations. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the event. Because of the graphic nature of this program, parental discretion is advised.
Howell Woodstock: April 22 – Every April, the Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center near Four Oaks celebrates environmental education with live music, hayrides, recreational activities and vendors. This event ends with a campfire, s’mores and astrology activities.
Beach Fest: April 8 – This year’s show marks the fourth year of beach music at The Farm venue near Selma. The 2017 lineup includes Jim Quick & Coastline, The Embers, Band of Oz and Hip Pocket.
Historic Downtown Smithfield Wine Walk: April 21 and Nov. 17 – More than 20 stores in downtown Smithfield take part, with each store offering a different wine to taste. Walkers receive a commemorative wine glass and a wristband to wear as they travel from store to store. All proceeds go to local nonprofits.
Strawberry Festival: April 22 – An all-day celebration in the Cleveland community focused on family fun and entertainment, including a classic car show, face painting, activities for the kids, food and, of course, strawberries from local farms.
Ham & Yam Festival: May 6 – Taking place in downtown Smithfield on the first Saturday in May, the Ham & Yam Festival is packed with ham biscuits, barbecued pork, sweet potatoes, arts, crafts, kids’ activities, live entertainment, a pig-cooking contest and piglet racing.
301 Endless Yard Sale: June 16-17 – Johnston County and its towns along U.S, 301 will host the sixth annual Endless Yard Sale. Vendors will offer yard-sale items, antiques and collectibles.
State Singing Convention: June 23-25 – The oldest Southern gospel convention in the nation includes three days of gospel music competition with amateur duets, trios, quartets, choirs and family groups.
Farm Fest: Sept. 9 – An annual day-long country music concert at The Farm venue near Selma. Previous artists include Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young, Love & Theft, Scotty McCreery and Parmalee.
Clayton Harvest Festival: Sept. 13-17 – Enjoy concerts, karaoke, a dance party, food trucks, a classic car show and more than 200 craft vendors on Main Street in downtown Clayton.
Benson Mule Days: Sept. 21-24 – The fourth weekend in September has been home to Benson’s Mule Days festival for more 60 years. This family-fun festival is packed with mule competition events, rodeos, carnival rides, arts and crafts, street dances and concerts.
Railroad Days Festival: Oct. 7 – Join the fun in Selma as the town celebrates its rail heritage with live entertainment, vendors, food, rides, a parade and 5K run. Also this year, guided historical and architectural tours as Selma celebrates its 150th anniversary.
Historic Downtown Smithfield Ghost Walk: Oct. 26 – Guides will take small groups through Smithfield’s Riverside Cemetery, where costumed reenactors will tell stories about famous (and perhaps infamous) people buried there.
American Music Jubilee Christmas: Shows daily in December – Enjoy gospel favorites and the contemporary beat of hits like “Christmas in Dixie,” all in a Branson-style variety show.
Meadow Lights: Nov. 17-Dec. 31 – The largest and oldest Christmas light display in Eastern North Carolina. Also, the largest candy store with more than 300 varieties of candy.
For more information, go to johnstoncountync.org.