Celebrate ARTS-tober in Sanford, NC

While the arts are certainly alive and well in Sanford all year round, the month of October is particularly bursting at the seams with all manner of creative expression. From murals to musicals, jam sessions to scavenger hunts, ARTS-tober is one of those special times that calls for a visit or two.


Caterpillar and Wings

On the south-facing wall of 121 S. Steele St., inside Charlie Watson Lane, you’ll find one of the most whimsical murals in downtown Sanford. Marvel at the hungry, 3-D caterpillar that appears to be munching on a plant growing straight out of the concrete. From there, wander over to a beautiful set of butterfly wings and snap a pic in front of this 15-ft. interactive piece. Your Instagram feed will thank you.


Dr. Mary Margaret McLeod

This inspiring tribute to the founder of the first pediatric medical practice in Sanford graces the south-facing wall of 530 Carthage St. Dr. Mary Margaret McLeod, born in Lee County, went on to graduate with honors from Sanford High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After moving back to Sanford in 1946, she started her pediatric medical practice which, at its peak, served 21,290 children.


J. D. McDuffie

With 653 cup starts and 106 top-10 finishes during his career, J. D. McDuffie is a bona fide NASCAR legend. Racing as No. 70, he has raced in cities all across North Carolina and beyond. McDuffie’s mural graces the west-facing wall of 329 Carthage St. Catch a glimpse of artistic renderings of the man himself and his legendary race car.


And Even More Murals!

The murals above are just part of the Sanford Mural Arts Trail that boasts many other inspiring examples of outdoor art. Keen observers will even spot a few “ghost murals” around town – original hand-painted advertisements and signs preserved forever in time.



Sanford Brush & Palette Annual Art Show

Oct 1 – 8

Visual art lovers will truly enjoy the Sanford Brush & Palette Club’s 57th Annual Art Show. Running throughout the first week of ARTS-tober, this show features original artwork by local, member artists. The club anticipates about 1000 works to be displayed at the Bob E. Hales Center. Mark your calendar and meet with artists while savoring the opportunity to appreciate beautiful artwork. Best of all, this event is absolutely free.


Paint Battle

Oct. 1

Find out what happens when local artists go head to head creating masterpieces in 30 minutes in any style of their choice. Make your way over to Paint Battle at The Eyelight – Coffee, Comics and Houseplants. Painters will be competing live for cash prizes while a live DJ spins a variety of tunes. What’s more, eventgoers will have the chance to vote for their favorites. Get your tickets now and support the local arts as all proceeds go directly to the artists who compete and win.



Temple Theatre

The Temple Theatre is known for hosting stellar plays and performances, and its ARTS-tober lineup doesn’t disappoint. Grab tickets now for Murder for Two, a hilarious whodunit starring two performers who sing, play the piano, and act out 13 different parts. While you’re enjoying that show, you might as well plan your return visit this December for the theatre’s original musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Trust us, you won’t regret it!


Lee County Orchestra

Sanford’s hometown orchestra brings the house down with their free concerts of classical and popular music. This group of volunteer musicians has been hard at work prepping American Jazz Masters for two showings on Oct. 8. The program will feature music from the greatest jazz and big band composers of the 20th century. Think Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, and more. In addition, this 2022 season premiere sets the stage for their next amazing concert, Overture for Christmas.


Local Music & Bands

There’s always a band set or two gracing small stages at several downtown spots. You can always count on Hugger Mugger Brewing and Smoke and Barrel to showcase local talent on the regular. Round out your trip with a few drinks, a bite to eat, and musical stylings that are sure to please.



Train Scavenger Hunt

Get to know downtown Sanford while on an ARTS-tober hunt for 12 miniature bronze train replicas of the Number 12 Locomotive in Depot Park. This family-friendly activity begins with a stop at 115 Chatham St. to pick up a passport book to use as a guide. You can also download a passport in advance and hit the ground running when you arrive. Once completed, they can be returned for a prize!


Panic at the Disco Murder Mystery Dinner

Oct. 1

Can you think of a more perfect evening than one that combines dinner, dancing, and solving a murder mystery? Panic at the Disco puts you right in the center of their whodunit show that includes games, prizes, music trivia, a dance contest, and a costume contest. Grab your tickets and come dance the night away 1970s style!

Here’s hoping you enjoy a creative, inspiring, and fun ARTS-tober!