Fall Festival Fun
The start of fall signals the beginning of many changes but also the arrival arguably the year’s best festival season, regardless of your passion. Capture autumn and all of its best traits in one of these can’t-beat places in 2018.
Portland plays host to a slew of fun-filled autumn festivals each year, including the highly anticipated Harvest on the Harbor, a multi-day event celebrating the city’s culinary culture with mouthwatering food and drinks.
Adams County, Pennsylvania
The National Apple Harvest Festival takes place near Arendtsville and Biglerville just north of Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Taking place during the first two full weekends in October, the festival showcases, of course, apples, other food, music, arts and crafts and features demonstrations, orchard tours, a petting zoo and more.
The nation’s capital is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family this fall whether you’re looking for a memorable Oktoberfest gathering, hoping to celebrate seafood, craft beer and wine or simply take in some incredible live music. Beer fans especially won’t want to miss the Snallygaster 2018 October 13.
Mirroring a Bavarian village, Leavenworth is as charming as American cities come during the fall and it also helps that it hosts one of the country’s premier Oktoberfest celebrations. The lively event spans four venues over the first three weekends of October, giving visitors to the Pacific Northwest plenty of time to experience it for themselves.
There’s a ton of fall fun to look forward to in Louisville this season but perhaps no event more exciting than the city’s annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. Now in its sixth year, the Iroquois Park showcase features 5,000 illuminated carved pumpkins lining a one-quarter-mile walking trail that comes to life at night. The Spectacular kicks off October 9
Sun Valley/Ketchum, Idaho
Easily one of the most unique fall festivals anywhere in the country, the climax of Idaho’s Trailing of the Sheep Festival (October 10-14) is the sheep parade down Ketchum’s Main Street as the animals make their annual migration to winter pastures. However, there’s a whole lot more to the five-day event, including concerts, workshops, delicious food and other animals.
New York, New York
While there’s a ton happening in and around New York City year-round the Big Apple is a special place to visit come fall as it hosts festivals centered on everything from pumpkins and haunted spirits to German culture and colorful flowers.
Wareham’s annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration is incredibly family-friendly, offering live entertainment, helicopter rides, paddleboat rides, cooking demonstrations and even the opportunity to wade through a bog full of cranberries. There’s also plenty of autumn fun to be had in nearby Plymouth.
Head to Winterset, Iowa during the second weekend in October to celebrate the region’s most unique landmarks at the annual Madison County Covered Bridge Festival. In addition to live music, arts and crafts and food, visitors can look forward to a parade, a car show, a quilt show and even a spelling bee.
Hood River, Oregon
The Hood River region grows some of the world’s best hops so it’s fitting it hosts the Hood River Hops Fest (September 22) featuring more than 50 breweries offering more than 60 fresh-hop beers. That event is followed by the three-day Hood River Valley Harvest Fest (October 12-14) at Waterfront Park showcasing a variety of arts and crafts, including wood sculptures to photography.
Regardless of whether you’re passionate about art, food, music, movies or books, Austin is the place to be this autumn and the next. Texas’ capital city is renowned for its live music scene and October’s Austin City Limits Music Festival is perhaps the season’s marquee event. This year’s two-weekend event at Zilker Park will feature the likes of Paul McCartney, Metallica and Childish Gambino, among other beloved acts.
Heading west this fall? Set your sights on Sonoma, California and you’ll be glad you did. This region does wine better than almost everywhere else and its spectacular festivals celebrate not only vino but amazing music, food and more.
Another popular fall destination for cranberry lovers, Warrens dedicates the entire last full weekend of September to its annual Cranberry Festival. Even better, visitors gain free admission to this memorable event, which features food, contests, shopping and a parade complete with a marching band.
It can be hard to find a good pumpkin chuckin’ festival these days but you definitely can’t go wrong in Stowe, Vermont, which will host the 10th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival September 30. The event challenges competitors to launch pumpkins the farthest distance via DIY trebuchets or gravity-powered catapults.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy does parties better than any other city in the U.S. so it’s no surprise it makes its way onto this list. Fall festivals in New Orleans celebrate everything from fried chicken, BBQ and burlesque to jazz music and po-boys. Visitors definitely won’t want to miss the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience during the last weekend in October.
Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville celebrates fall better than most. This scenic South Carolina city hosts a weekend-long Oktoberfest celebration in early October along with a handful of other seasonal festivals showcasing everything from arts and crafts to Halloween candy.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque may lack the fall climate coveted by many American travelers this time of year. Nonetheless, it doesn’t lack in spirit, hosting the annual International Balloon Fiesta during the second week of October. Now in its 47th year, the festival will feature more than 500 hot air balloons manned by pilots from all over the world.
Columbus is one of the country’s must-visit college football towns but also a can’t-miss stop for an unforgettable fall festival. October visitors can take part in the annual Halloween Pet Parade and Fall Festival as well as the nearby Circleville Pumpkin Show, one of the nation’s top celebrations dedicated to the beloved squash plant.
The Music City puts on one of the country’s top annual Oktoberfests in addition to many other exciting fall festivals, including the annual Fall Fest at The Hermitage (October 6) and the Fall Tennessee Craft Fair (October 12-14) a week later.
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you’re searching for a lively city to revel in the season, look no further than the Entertainment Capital of the World. Las Vegas may lack the colorful leaves and crisp air but it has something to offer everyone, including art, music and loads of comedy.
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