Fall Fun: Annual Autumn With Topsail Festival
Autumn with Topsail is the event where you get some sand in your shoes, salt in your hair, and groove in your step. In its 30th year, the Autumn with Topsail festival is a fundraiser for the Historical Society of Topsail Island (HSTI) who are “dedicated to the collection, preservation and promotion of the history of the Greater Topsail Island area.” As a nonprofit organization, the HSTI rely on these fundraisers to maintain historical landmarks and continue to learn about this place we’re lucky enough to call home.
You might be asking yourself, “So what makes this such a special event?” While you’re there talking to yourself, making sure to ask these questions, too:
- How many fall festivals have you been to that are centered around a building where anti-aircraft technology was developed and built in the 1940s?
- Or how many festivals are situated where pirates used to lie in wait for unsuspecting ships to loot?
- What about the fall festivals held in the same place where sea turtles make a visit every year as they have for hundreds of years to lay their eggs?
As far as we know, there is only one festival in the universe like this. The Autumn with Topsail festival is unique because there is nowhere on earth quite like Topsail Island.
Topsail Island has only been a place for people to call home since the early 1950’s. Before that it belonged to the US military and was home to Operation Bumblebee’s WWII anti-aircraft defense. Although it has since passed into civilian hands, with Camp Lejeune only 16 miles away there is still a strong military presence and deep, resounding pride and support for our troops.
Since the Autumn with Topsail festival began in 1988, it has been an event to bring together our community and also show off how great of a place this is to visitors. All the vendors specialize in handcrafts; you’ll never find a big retailer here. The bands that are invited to play are local favorites who know how to put a soundtrack to beachside fall fun.
The food is delicious. The beer is cold. The history is rich. But it is the people and community commitment that keep Autumn with Topsail on the top of our list of best fall festivals around. The people here are one of a kind.