The Grifton Shad Festival has been a keystone event in Eastern North Carolina for 52 years, celebrating the springtime running of the Shad up the Neuse River, then into tributary creeks such as historicContentnea Creek, which runs through Grifton. The longest-running festival in Pitt County, the Grifton Shad Festival prides itself on standing for fun, fellowship, and working together towards a common goal.

Shad Toss

This Shad-tastic event takes place from April 16th-21st 2024, however, most events are held on the weekend, specifically, on Saturday, April 20th. This 5-day festival is the hub of all things Shad, where you can experience true southern hospitality and see exactly why Grifton is recognized as the official Shad Capital of North Carolina. 

Fun Fact:

The festival slogan “Eat Mo Shad” was adopted after graffiti appeared on the drawbridge over Contentnea Creek in 1974.

At the Grifton Shad Festival, you can enjoy over 30 events across 5 days. This family-friendly event will surely have plenty to entertain everyone, from live music, parades, a petting zoo, helicopter rides, dunking booths, and more. For some action, attend the Shad Toss or Protown BMX Stunt Team event. 


Grifton Shad Festival Parade: April 20th, 10:30am

Circus Stella: April 20th, 1:30pm & 3pm

Shad Toss: April 20th, 2-5pm

Fireworks: April 20th, 9pm

Fun Time Amusement and Rides: April 18th 5-9pm, April 19th 5-10pm, & April 20th 10am-10pm (Prices and availability of wristbands vary by day)

Grifton Shad Festival Art Show: April 19th 12-5pm, April 20th 1–4pm


Shad Festival Fair

The festival offers a free shuttle service and additional parking on Main Street.

After the festival, stick around to enjoy some of the local attractions! The NC Museum of Natural Sciences at Contentnea Creek, in an expansive 380-acre area to explore. This museum offers astronomy education at their planetarium and environmental education and outdoor recreation for groups of all ages. While the trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset, the museum is open only to the public from 10am - 2pm on Saturdays, though groups are welcome to book reservations any day! Another attraction to visit while in the area is the Grifton Historical Museum & Indian Village, a place to appreciate the ingenuity of our ancestors in exhibits of the tools and equipment they developed for office, shop, farm and kitchen. You'll also find Civil War exhibits, as well as displays of the area's plants, animals, geology, and other natural history. The museum also features a scaled-down replica of a Tuscarora Native American village located just across the street along the banks of the historic Contentnea Creek. 

Photos Courtesy of Grifton Shad Festival