Swansboro Mullet Festival
Over 60 years running
The Swansboro Mullet Festival, the oldest festival in the Crystal Coast, began in 1954.
The weekend centers around the small, bony fish that appears as having a purplish-blue tint when found in Eastern North Carolina waters. Swansboro natives remember days long ago when mullets were hauled to shore in nets hooked to tractors along the beach.
In 1954, mullet fed the workers building the White Oak River Bridge that later became a vital link between Onslow and Carteret counties. Upon its completion, the conception of the Mullet Festival began. It was a way to celebrate the arrival of the modern era in bridge form.
The event started as a potluck-type event with the town coming together and contributing to the celebration.
Today, the Swansboro Mullet Festival has expanded into a two-day festival that offers locals and visitors a glimpse into history combined with a modern celebration of all things mullet. The festival is free and visitors may enjoy a parade, entertainment featuring beach music and live bands, children’s activities and a lot of food, especially fried mullet.
The festivities begin with the closing of Highway 24 in order for the parade to lead the way along downtown Swansboro streets starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
In the children’s activity area, a number of inflatable rides are available for the kids to climb, bounce and slide on. Additional fun activities include the popular mullet toss and face painting.
Music and entertainment is at the Town’s Harry C. Pugliese Pavilion and is always the cornerstone of the festival. The lineup always includes numerous beach music favorites. The evening will end at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday will feature hits from more beach music favorites. Craft and food vendors will line the streets of downtown Swansboro with the famous Rotary fish fry to offer everyone a mullet treat.
Downtown streets will be closed to traffic both days and no pets are allowed. Parking available at Ward Farm and Park facilities with shuttle services provided.