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Grifton, North Carolina facts for kids

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Grifton, North Carolina
Commercial buildings along Queen Street
Commercial buildings along Queen Street
Official seal of Grifton, North Carolina
"The 'Shad' Capital of North Carolina"
"Come Home To...The Family Town!"
Location of Grifton, North Carolina
Location of Grifton, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Lenoir, Pitt
 • Total 2.73 sq mi (7.07 km2)
 • Land 2.73 sq mi (7.07 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
26 ft (8 m)
 • Total 2,617
 • Estimate 
 • Density 982.78/sq mi (379.50/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 252
FIPS code 37-28200
GNIS feature ID 1024010

Grifton is a town in Pitt and Lenoir counties, North Carolina, United States. The population was 2,617 at the 2010 census. The Pitt County portion of the town is a part of the Greenville Metropolitan Area located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.


The town was named after C.M.A. Griffin.


Grifton is located at 35°22′30″N 77°26′2″W / 35.37500°N 77.43389°W / 35.37500; -77.43389 (35.375129, -77.433860).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km²). Contentnea Creek bisects the town and divides the Pitt County section from the Lenoir County section.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 121
1900 229 89.3%
1910 291 27.1%
1920 375 28.9%
1930 403 7.5%
1940 456 13.2%
1950 510 11.8%
1960 1,816 256.1%
1970 1,860 2.4%
1980 2,179 17.2%
1990 2,393 9.8%
2000 2,073 −13.4%
2010 2,617 26.2%
2019 (est.) 2,682 2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,073 people, 812 households, and 583 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,209.4 people per square mile (468.1/km2). There were 1,092 housing units at an average density of 637.1 per square mile (246.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 63.24% White, 33.19% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 2.32% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. 4.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.


The WITN tower is a guyed TV mast with a height of 1,985 feet (605 m) located in the town.

Local events

Shad Festival

In 1971, citizens in the town of Grifton established the annual Grifton Shad Festival as a way to increase interest in the town and to provide family-oriented fun for all ages working together. The Shad Festival was suggested by then North Carolina extension agent Ed Comer. Most events are free and outdoors. There are now 40 events, ranging from parade and pony rides to art show, clogging, Hispanic dances, lying contest, historical museum and athletic competitions, including the Shad Toss (throwing real fish).

The annual celebration includes:

  • Hickory Shad fishing contest starting January 1
  • SHAD-O (Grifton's version of Bingo)
  • The "Miss Grifton" pageant, a competition for high-school aged girls
  • Carnival rides and games
  • Craft show
  • Food prepared by local churches and civic organizations
  • Saturday night street dance featuring local bands

John Lawson Legacy Days

John Lawson Legacy Days is an annual event held at the Grifton Historical Museum and Indian Village, focusing on reenactors, historic interpreters, and historical technology demonstrations. The event was first held in 2010 and is named after John Lawson, an English explorer, naturalist and surveyor who traveled through the Carolinas in 1701 and published a book about his travels in 1709. Lawson was killed by a group of Tuscarora near Grifton in 1711.

Back-N-Time Book Club

Back-N-Time Book Club is a book club organized by the Grifton Historical Museum in combination with North Carolina Literacy to introduce children and adults to reading.


Grifton is served by Grifton School with grades Pre-K through 8. It is administered by the Pitt County Public School system. High school students attend nearby Ayden-Grifton High School, which is located between Ayden and Grifton. Just south of Grifton is the private K-12 school Arendell Parrott Academy.

Higher education is provided through Pitt Community College in Winterville and Lenoir Community College in Kinston. East Carolina University is located north of Grifton in Greenville.

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