Carolina in the Fall audience at night

July 31, 2018

WILKESBORO, NC – The fourth annual Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival, slated for September 21-22, 2018, is now accepting entries for the N.C. Banjo Championship, Chad Lovette Memorial Trail Run, Bobby Martin Young Songwriters Competition.

The 2018 North Carolina Banjo Championship, hosted by world-renowned banjoist Jens Kruger of The Kruger Brothers, will take place on Saturday, September 22, at 8:30 a.m. The contest is open to musicians who earn 30 percent or less of their annual income from performing music, and previous winners may enter. Musicians may register until 8 a.m. on the day of competition; however, only 20 pickers may compete in the championship. This will be the first twenty who register and are present when their names are called from the registration list one-half hour before the contest begins.

“I am thrilled to host the competition and look forward to welcoming the country’s best pickers as they compete for the North Carolina Banjo Championship title. Carolina in the Fall in the heart of Appalachia offers a perfect setting for pickers to captivate an international audience,” said Jens.

The North Carolina Banjo Championship is sponsored by Deering Banjos, makers of the world’s finest instruments. Judges for the championship will be respected local and national banjo artists and instructors. More information about contest rules and prizes is offered at and select the “Get Involved” button.

The Chad Lovette Memorial 5k and 10k Trail Run, now in its third year, will be held on Saturday, September 22, to benefit the American Cancer Society. Competitive runners may choose from the 5k timed or 10k timed races. The event is being professionally chip timed by Racing Toes Inc. An untimed 5k is offered for those who want to walk and support the cause. Each participant that registers by September 4 will receive an event t-shirt and patch.

The trail run is named in memory of Wilkes County singer/songwriter Chad Lovette who performed at the inaugural Carolina in the Fall and died of brain cancer in 2016.

“In two years, more than 500 runners have participated in the trail run, raising in excess of $16,000 to help the American Cancer Society fund cancer research,” said Daniel Isom. “The run’s moniker memorializes and honors Chad’s contributions to the community and his love for this region’s music.”

Check-in for the trail run begins at 7 a.m.; the event will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Parking is located at 200 S. Bridge Street in Wilkesboro. For more information about registering for the competition and prizes, visit and select the “Get Involved” button.

The Bobby Martin Young Songwriter Competition (BMYSC), for novice songwriters ages 20 and under, will be held on Saturday, September 22, at 8:30 a.m. All entries for the competition must be postmarked on or before August 24, 2018. Guidelines to enter and a list of prizes is available at; select the “Get Involved” button.

The songwriting competition is named in memory of Bobby Martin, known as the “Bluegrass Drummer” (1957-2016), who performed at the first CITF festival and died in 2016 after battling cancer. He spent his life studying, playing and preserving the music from the Appalachia region. The music grew in young Bobby Martin’s heart after years of traveling to fiddler’s conventions and festivals with his dad, mandolinist Sam Martin. One of Bobby’s greatest joys was spending time with young musicians he met on his musical journey across the U.S. and Europe. Bobby often expressed the importance of spending time and sharing the history of Appalachian music with young musicians.

Carolina in the Fall attracts some of the best food trucks from across the state and region for the Food Truck Championship. Festival goers have the opportunity to try dishes ranging from burgers and barbeque to alligator dogs, Chinese baos and robust Haitian cuisine. All food trucks are encouraged to apply and approximately 10 will be chosen to participate in the competition.

On Saturday morning of the festival, food truck chefs present their best dish to a panel of qualified judges for a chance to win the title of “Carolina in the Fall Food Truck Champion,” an award, a truck decal and $500. Each dish is judged based on presentation, taste, originality and difficulty. Later that day, a representative from each truck goes to the Foothills Stage where the winner and runner-up are announced. This a fun way to get the trucks involved in the festival and creates a little healthy competition!

About Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival

Carolina in the Fall, a pilgrimage for music and food lovers from around the nation, takes place on Main Street in Wilkesboro and celebrates the rich musical history of Wilkes County, the Heart of American Folk Music. Winner of the 2017 IBMA Momentum Event of the Year Award, the festival engages audiences with the best of entertainment, including food, heritage crafts, shopping and children’s activities. The dynamic lineup is available online at

Festival guests enjoy some of North Carolina’s best cuisine as food trucks from across the state bring their amazing recipes to feed the masses and vie for the coveted Carolina in the Fall Food Truck Championship Award. For guests with a grown-up thirst, local vineyards and regional craft breweries provide a taste of the region’s best adult beverages.

Festival gates open on Friday at 11 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. with music starting one hour after gates open. Performances run through 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. VIP ticket holders are invited to the exclusive Carolina Jam hosted by The Kruger Brothers from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. each evening during the festival at the Yadkin Valley Event Center located within the Wilkesboro Holiday Inn Express.

Tickets for Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival 2018 are on sale now and may be purchased at or by calling 336-990-0747. Round 2 ticket sales run June 1 through August 13 and are priced $30 for a one-day general admission, $55 for a two-day general admission, and $130 for a two-day VIP with a reserved seat at the Carolina Stage and a two-night pass to the Carolina Jam.

Festival and competition sponsorships are available for individuals and companies. If you have interest in partnering with the festival, please contact Chad Treadway at sponsorship at

Carolina in the Fall Music and Food Festival is presented through the partnership of Heart of Folk, LLC, the Kruger Brothers and the Town of Wilkesboro. To purchase tickets, see the complete lineup of performances, or get more information about the festival, its activities and competitions, vendors and sponsors, visit or call 336-990-0747.