Festival for the Eno is a road-trip-worthy way to spend 4th of July week

 By Mitchell Franklin 

July 1, 2018

Every year around the 4th of July, the Eno River Association organizes the Festival for the Eno, a large-scale event filled with music, food, art vendors, and relaxing activities around the Eno River in Durham, North Carolina. This year’s festival takes place on July 4th and 7th, and as usual the festival promotes awareness and raises funds to protect the Eno River, expand access to public parks, and provide high-quality environmental education programs to children and adults. Over the two days, attendees have the opportunity to participate in an enormous amount of activities, from live music, to experiencing a craft show, to learning about conservation activities, while also having plenty of opportunities to relax, eat, and drink.


One of the biggest draws for the Festival for the Eno is the expansive lineup of musical performances. This year’s 39th annual festival features over 70 acts on 5 different stages, including two very exciting bands: Bowerbirds on the 4th and Lucy Dacus on the 7th. Bowerbirds, one of North Carolina’s most treasured and revered folk acts, is taking the stage for the first time in over five years. This highly anticipated set should feature the Raleigh-based band playing some old favorites, as well as new songs from the upcoming album. Dacus is sure to bring some louder, moodier, edgier energy to the folk-heavy festival. Fresh on the heels of her outstanding new album, Historian, the Richmond singer-songwriter will be an act you definitely will not want to miss. Many of the performers are from the Triangle area, so you’ll get to experience a wide range of musical talents.

Festival for the Eno has much more to offer than just the music. There’s always an eclectic mix of food and drinks available, from festival favorites like corn dogs, fries and burgers; to curries, kava, fresh smoothies and home-made ice cream. Local restaurants such as Jamaica Jamaica, Locopops, and Vimila’s Curryblossom Café will be serving their cuisine during the festival, including versatile options for a variety of different dietary preferences. There is also a craft beer and cider tent available for patrons to enjoy a drink during the hot summer days.


Outside of music and food, there are countless things to see and experience at the Eno River. Over 90 artisans are participating in a juried craft show scattered throughout the festival, giving you the opportunity to view a wide variety of local art and converse directly with the artists. Art and dance demonstrations occur during the days, allowing you to split up musical acts with some visual activities. Performances by the Cane Creek Cloggers, African American Dance Ensemble, and the Paperhand Puppet Intervention Parade will get audiences on their feet and experiencing a range of different cultures. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn in a fun environment, including throwing a pot on a clay wheel, watching a water-powered grist mill grinding corn, or playing in the ukulele jam at the High Strung workshop stage. And if things get too hot during the day, the Eno River is always there for a quick dip to cool down.


Festival for the Eno takes place on July 4th and 7th at the West Point on the Eno City Park in Durham, North Carolina and it’s a great way to celebrate the 4th while helping to preserve a truly beautiful area. The music may draw you in, but the wide range of events and food around the festival makes this a road-trip-worthy summer activity. 

Learn more about the Festival for the Eno.

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