Malcolm Blue Festival 18.jpg

Chad Evans with his team Momma and Smoke uses a walking plow to show how it was done in the early 1900's, at the Malcolm Blue Farm in Aberdeen. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

From hearing the calls of endangered birds in a sanctuary in eastern North Carolina to seeing a mountain sunrise in the west, our state has unlimited rural treasures awaiting discovery.

We are a rural state, with 80 of 100 counties beyond the hustle and bustle of major cities. Without a doubt, the state’s most beautiful natural resources can be found in rural North Carolina.

In 2020, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is launching a new initiative to celebrate North Carolina's rural counties.

Hello NC will explore rural culture across the state, focusing on hometown heroes and histories, highlighting rural heritage, foods, crafts, festivals and traditions. Hello NC is a platform for rural communities to tell their stories in their voices. These stories will be told through rich photography and video that represents the unique natural beauty and cherished culture from each community.

“North Carolina’s rural population is larger than that of any other state, except Texas,” said Susi Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “With Hello NC, we want to highlight and uplift our rural communities, provide resources for education and outreach, and explore grant funding opportunities to help these counties thrive.”

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources staff will engage with local partners in seeking local programming and events for sponsorship opportunities. These events will be supplemented with DNCR traveling exhibits and educational resources to highlight the state’s extraordinary rural vibrancy and cultural diversity. In addition, historical information from the State Archives will be collected and shared with local communities.

Hello NC initially will focus on four counties: Halifax, Madison, Columbus and Ashe. Our goal is to share and promote authentic and compelling stories about North Carolina’s rural counties starting with this mix from the eastern and western parts of the state.

All N.C. rural communities can connect with Hello NC through our online Partner Resources and Toolkit.

To learn more, visit

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