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A Gourd Time Awaits All at the North Carolina Gourd Festival

A booming Southern metropolis awaits in Raleigh, North Carolina!  Everyone from foodies to lovers of history will find something to do in this charming city. The North Carolina Museum of Art offers plenty of amazing exhibits, including hosting works from Georgia O’Keeffe. Check out Chef Ashley Christensen’s amazing eateries for a truly unique restaurant experience. With Raleigh being known as the third sportiest city in America, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy golf courses like 401 Par Golf as well as some amazing greenway trails and kayaking.


A unique celebration takes place on November 3rd - 4th, the 77th Annual North Carolina Gourd Arts and Crafts Festival! This festival celebrates everything about the cousin of squash, and there’s a wide variety of gourd products, such as dried gourds, gourd books, and plenty of crafting supplies and seeds. had a chance to sit down with event representative Stan Atwood for more information on this unique celebration.


RAL: Tell us a little bit about the festival.

SA: The Festival was first held in Cary, North Carolina, in 1937 and has been held annually every year since then except for years during World War II as well as a few years due to bad weather.  The North Carolina Gourd Society is the oldest chapter of the American Gourd Society.


RAL: How many annual attendees are there?

SA: Our attendees range from 800 to 1,100!


RAL: What demographic does your event attract?

SA: Families, couples, and anyone interested in arts and crafts all attend.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

SA: This event is unique due to its focus on gourds.  All vendors must offer only gourd-related items for sale such as gourd crafting tools and supplies, raw gourds, and crafted gourds. We have gourd displays representing gourd craft from around the world and juried competitions for raw and crafted gourds for all ages and skill levels.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event.

SA: The club table offers gourd seeds, gourd crafting books and tee shirts for sale. Gourd crafting workshops are held throughout the day where an instructor will guide each participant to complete a gourd craft. There will also be silent auctions, a kids table where children may paint a gourd and take it home, photo booth to pose with a gourd hat, gourd competition involving five divisions and 71 categories. All attendees may vote for their favorite crafted gourd and the winner will receive the “People’s Choice Award”. There is also a make it – take it table where anyone can complete a simple gourd craft project, a large display table including gourd craft from around the world, and tips for growing gourds.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

SA: The NC Gourd Festival does not drive business to the local economy but it is a primary source of revenue for the North Carolina Gourd Society that allows us to continue to hold the festival each year.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

SA: As indicated above, this event offers a unique opportunity to view, learn, and participate in gourd craft.  Gourds have been used by many civilizations around the world since antiquity. Attendees are always amazed by the variety of gourds, the versatility they offer for the artist/craftsman, and the quality of artwork-- it’s not just birdhouses and containers. Crafted gourds make excellent gifts and many holiday gourds are available, especially Christmas and Halloween. Gourds range in size from a few ounces to over 200 pounds before curing and in most every shape imaginable.


More information about the festival is available on the website.