RALEIGH N.C. – For the first time since pre-pandemic times, multiple festivals are making a full return to central North Carolina this weekend. 

That includes Brewgaloo, that brings tens of thousands of beer lovers to downtown Raleigh. 

Brewgaloo is the state’s largest beer festival.

Last year, the festival organizers, Shop Local Raleigh, said they had half the original number of attendees and only 70 breweries. 

“This is a labor of love for small business,” Shop Local Raleigh director Jennifer Martin said. “We want local businesses, people to think about shopping local, drinking local (and) eating local.”

But now, the event is at full capacity with around 110 North Carolina breweries and vendors.

“It was a tough time and I’m so glad for us to be able to be back out here, serving people,” Tonya Baskerville with Tap Truck NC said. “We couldn’t have gatherings (and) everything we do is based on a gathering.”

Martin said she expects 40-45,000 attendees this year.

“That is huge for downtown hotels, for restaurants, for places to go out and eat, places to shop,” Martin said. “Again, just a spotlight on what Raleigh has to offer.”

At the same time in Chapel Hill, the new Hip Hop South festival is kicking off. 

“We’re dedicating this hip-hop festival to the south,” director Chris Massenburg said. “I think that’s also something to note and to be really proud of and celebrate.” 

It’s a project through the Carolina Performing Arts that highlights social justice and southern culture. 

“Music, number one, brings people together and we’ve been separated and isolated from each other for so long so to have an opportunity to gather is beautiful,” Massenburg said.

Finally, this weekend in Mount Olive, the North Carolina Pickle Festival is making its return at full capacity with ten of thousands of visitors for the first time in two years. 

“We are dill-lighted to be back for 2022,” Julie Beck, the festival co-chairman said in a statement. “It feels good to be planning a live event for April again.”