4.29.24 2

The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival

Fayetteville is known as the “City of the Dogwoods.” If you’ve ever visited during spring, you know why. The dogwoods bloom so thick around here that, from a distance, they look like thickets of spun sugar.

It’s truly a sight to behold.

Hosting a Dogwood Festival in honor of their beauty is really just good old-fashioned common sense. And for the past 42 years, Fayetteville has done exactly that.

Every April, for three days, Hay Street closes to traffic for the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. Tents line the street, carnival rides go up, and bands perform live music.

Locals descend upon downtown by the thousands to shop, eat, and have a good time.

And this year was the first time I joined them.

Fayetteville Dogwood Festival - Street Fair
Fayetteville Dogwood Fest – Street Fair

So what did I think? I loved it!

And I am not an easy festival critic to please. I spent most of my life in Wilmington. When you grow up with the Azalea Festival and River Fest, it is hard for other festivals to compete.

The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival did a good job, though. It is much smaller – but infinitely more charming.

And the food?! I discovered Off the Hook and gobbled down one of their delicious fried shrimp plates. Seriously, y’all, the Greensboro-based food truck might have served the best street food at the whole festival.

I washed it down with samples from the Locklear Vineyard & Winery tent, where I found some of the sweetest Strawberry wine I’ve ever tasted.

Yeah. I know. Sweet wine is not for everyone. But if you’ve got that Southern palette like me, you will love it!

Bonus points because the wine is produced in Maxton by members of the Lumbee tribe.

Would I go back? Honestly, that depends. If city officials leave the festival as it is, I would 100% return year after year.

Unfortunately, rumors are swirling that future Fayetteville Dogwood Festivals may be hosted at another venue and charge an entry fee.

Am I willing to pay to get in somewhere to spend inflated prices on the same goods and foods I can find at other free NC festivals? No. I am not.

Here’s to hoping Fayetteville doesn’t kill off one of its sweetest traditions. Cheers!

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  1. Hopefully, Fayetteville will not kill off the Dogwood Festival tradition. Were it to, the event would need to be renamed the Dagwood Festival. Dagwood is a shortened form for Daggerwood, as the tree’s very hard, closed-grained wood was used in medieval times to make daggers.

    Published 4.29.24
    • Cassie wrote:

      I didn’t know that! Thank you, Doug!

      Published 5.11.24