Visit Elizabeth City | Insider Guide | Dig into the North Carolina Potato Festival Arrivalist
Search Elizabeth City Search Elizabeth City HarborCam HarborCam Subscribe Today Email Sign-Up

Dig into the North Carolina Potato Festival

Posted on 04/04/2019 by Visit Elizabeth City

people on swing ride at North Carolina Potato Festival

Hungry for a weekend of homegrown fun and free fries? Head to Elizabeth City for the North Carolina Potato Festival, May 17 – 19, 2019, which will please both your taste buds and your desire to have a good time! The farmlands along the Albemarle Sound are among the state’s major potato-growing areas. This family-friendly festival, founded in 1940, started as a tribute to local farmers and has grown into a three-day event. Offering stellar entertainment, potato-based games, and delicious food that attracts over 30,000 celebrants annually to Elizabeth City, the Potato Festival is non-stop action, activity and entertainment from the first minute to the last. Bring the whole family and Stay for the Weekend.


happy woman holding shopping bags Downtown Elizabeth City ShoppingEach year, the festival organizers select a different festival theme.  “Our theme this year is, ‘Eat, Shop, Play Downtown,’ in celebration of all the amazing growth and progress happening in Downtown Elizabeth City," says Deborah Malenfant, Executive Director of Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. (ECDI). “There are so many opportunities to learn about our downtown while attending the festival, since the entire event is held IN downtown.”   While at the festival, stop in at Museum of the Albemarle and take a look around the gift shop.  If it's your first visit to Elizabeth City, pop in and visit the friendly store and restaurant owners in the downtown area.


people listening to live music and band on stage at potato festivalThe Main Stage at the corner of Main & Water Streets is always a happening place full of musical excitement at the NC Potato Festival.  We have scoured the potato fields and dug up some great music for you! Live music is a signature aspect of the festival as the event organizers pride themselves on signing emerging bands. You can enjoy live music of all musical genres during almost every moment of the festival. Elizabeth City is known for its large pool of talented local musical performers, so you can be sure the stage will be filled with some of your local faves, in addition to the popular national and regional performers, many of whom are on the rise.  Some of the headlining performers over the three-day event include, Americana Rock Band Delta Son of central NC;  Nashville's James Ethan Clark & the Renegades,  SJ McDonald, a country favorite fresh off her American Idol journey; and indie folk singer/songwriter, Single Lock Records Redcording Artist, Erin Rae.

There will be hundreds of vendors set up with their wares and offering interactive experiences, including arts, crafts, face-painting, games, and more.


collage of people having fun at north carolina potato festivalIn addition to nibbling on freshly-cooked french fries and enjoying the action-packed midway rides and games, festival-goers can participate in (or watch) the wildly popular National Potato Peeling Competition and cheer on their favorite teams. The ‘Little Miss Tater Tot’ Contest is always a crowd favorite with bushes of cuteness. For the game-lover in you, the Cornhole Tournament is a fun activity to participate in, with cash prizes. There will be hundreds of vendors set up with their wares and offering interactive experiences, including face-painting, henna tattoos, games, and more. Not to mention to variety of different festival food options to choose from (or dine in one of our local restaurants). Stop by the antique tractor and potato equipment exhibit and a blocks-long auto and bike show. When the sun sets, the fun doesn’t. Stay out for the Evening Street Fair and Dance and continue with midway, vendor, and concessions experiences.   


US Coast Guard Demonstration with helicopter at north carolina Potato FestivalThe United States Coast Guard also plays a big role in the festival. The Coast Guard Enlisted Association coordinates a 5K run/walk on May 20, and the USCG will have their popular ‘Search and Rescue’ demonstration, and patrol boat tours. Elizabeth City is proud to be a Coast Guard City!  

Mark your calendars and bring your appetite for fun to Downtown Elizabeth City.

The festival is open:


For more information and a complete lineup of live entertainment, visit the festival’s Facebook page or visit It's all things potato—all weekend long.

We want to see your NC Potato Festival pics!  Share them with us at #VisitECity

Visit Elizabeth City Logo


Check out these related articles...

Celebrate North Carolina Craft Beers!

It's time to lift your glass in honor of local brews as April is North Carolina Beer month. With more than 250 breweries, more than any other state in the South, North Carolinians have ample opportunities for sampling libations at special beer inspired celebrations. In Elizabeth City, you can join in the celebration at these special events.... READ MORE

Make it a Hometown Holiday in Elizabeth City, NC

If you’re longing for the warmth of a homespun holiday, put Elizabeth City on your wish list. Now through December, our city offers a stocking full of family-friendly events and experiences.... READ MORE

33rd annual Holly Days Festival of Gifts and Crafts


Email Us