Kinston

photo of 'The Dude Abides Party'
Ashley Sue Bullers/North Carolina Museum of Art

Summer is here and so are summer festivals. While big events like MerleFest or the National Folk Festival get much of the attention, many smaller festivals scattered throughout the state highlight the varied cultural communities in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with festival organizers about this summer’s lineup, from the Highland Games in the west to the Yam Festival in the east.


Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Kinston is the heart of Lenoir County in eastern North Carolina.  Longtime residents say it was heart-breaking to see their hometown fall apart as traditional industries like textiles and tobacco disappeared.  But during the past decade a new, more diverse economic landscape has developed. 

One person who is getting a lot of credit for helping to transform her hometown of  Kinston is Chef Vivian Howard.

Nothing brings Kinston residents together like the annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

Vivian Howard in the WUNC studios with engineer Robin Copley.
Hady Mawajdeh

Vivian Howard originally made a name for herself in the Manhattan restaurant world by starting as an onion peeler and working her way up to chef. 

Remains of the CSS Neuse being moved by truck through Downtown Kinston.
NC Dept. of Cultural Resources

A Civil War ironclad ship used by the Confederacy has a new home in eastern North Carolina.  The CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center, now open in Kinston, displays what’s left of the ship.

The Neuse was launched near there in 1863 and was meant to help the Confederate Army along the coast of the Carolinas, but the ship ran aground in the Neuse River, and the army used it as support during an inland skirmish in 1865.