After a summer of fun in the sun, you autumn know (get it?) about these cozy fall events and festivals. Stretching from the autumnal equinox in late September to the Winter Solstice at the end of December, autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors by apple picking, leaf peeping, and festival-going. From stargazing to scarecrows to sheepherding and seeking out the best fall foliage on the planet, there’s so much to see and do this autumn. Fall in love with fall festivals from coast to coast celebrating food, nature, music, and more.
Take a stroll through pathways flanked by 7,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. This unique New York fall fall festival can be found at two locations: Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley or at Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Long Island. Running ever September through November since 2005, the family-friendly Halloween-themed event has featured hand-carved lit pumpkins in elaborate displays, from a massive spider web to a dragon to the Statue of Liberty, enhanced with synchronized lighting and original music. Stay tuned for 2023 dates!
Scarecrows, straw-stuffed mannequins dressed in street clothes to scare off birds from feasting on crops, are the main draw at this fall festival. During the 38th annual Scarecrow Festival October 6-8, 2023, visitors can stroll through St. Charles, Illinois. checking out 85 handmade scarecrows and voting for their favorites. Festival-goers can even buy their own scarecrow making kit.
Wine lovers can sip and savor 300-plus wines from Sonoma County wineries during the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair on Saturday, October 14, 2023. Held at the Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, the fair includes the World Championship Grape Stomp competition in which teams compete to stomp the most grapes.
The 14th annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival on October 1st, 2023, is a family-friendly pumpkin tossing competition in Stowe that also includes a chili cook-off, live music, kids’ activities, and, of course, plenty of Vermont fall foliage. Teams use homemade trébuchets, or catapults, to see how far they can hurl pumpkins. Held at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival raises funds for the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, which aims to end domestic and sexual violence in Lamoille County. While in town, make sure to hop on the Vermont Brewery Challenge: Vermont’s famous ale trail.
It’s fitting that the “Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin” hosts an annual cranberry festival celebrating all things related to the evergreen shrub. Since 1973, the Warrens Cranberry Festival has kicked off the cranberry harvest season with proceeds benefiting the village of Warrens. The Warrens Cranberry Festival September 22-24, 2023 includes cranberry marsh tours, 1,300 booths and three miles of shopping, a parade, food, and contests to celebrate Wisconsin‘s state fruit.
For half a century, balloonists have soared above the skies in Albuquerque. The state’s largest city is an ideal place to host the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta thanks to the “Albuquerque Box,” a combination of weather patterns and geographic landscape that allows for balloonists to take off and land in the same place. This year’s fall festival lands between Sat, Oct 7, 2023 – Sun, Oct 15, 2023, and will feature more than 500 hot air and gas-filled balloons, making it the largest ballooning event in the world. Spectators can walk among the balloons, talk with pilots, and see the balloons take flight. This is one of the best things to in New Mexico, folks.
Hosted in the heart of Pennsylvania apple country, the National Apple Harvest Festival celebrates crisp, delicious apples in a way that is fun to the core. The 59th annual National Apple Harvest Festival October 7-8 and October 14-15, 2023 includes apple orchard tours, apple art, apple syrup making, antique cider press and steam engine displays, 300-plus arts and crafts vendors, and entertainment. Proceeds from the festival go to the local community and charitable organizations.
Fall officially begins in North Carolina with the annual North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival on November 3-4, 2023. The festival pays homage to pecans with the Pecan Festival Parade and fall festival favorites like arts and crafts vendors, a car and truck show, and musical performances on three stages.
Admire starry, starry nights at the Acadia Night Sky Festival in Acadia National Park. The 14th annual festival in DownEast Maine is September, 2023 (dates TBD). The park is known as one of the darkest in the U.S., where the Milky Way is easy to spot. Born out of an ordinance that limits light pollution, this festival preserves the night skies and is a wonderland for stargazers. September is also the best time for leaf peepers to visit and enjoy the famous Maine fall foliage.
Each October, thousands of people come to Ketchum, Idaho to witness the herding of 1,500 sheep from the mountains through Downtown Ketchum to their winter grazing grounds. This spectacular fall festival preserves the history of shepherding and sheep ranching in Idaho. The 27th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival October 4-8, 2023 includes a wool festival, championship sheepdog trials, and the Big Sheep Parade, during which shepherds, sheep, and historic sheep wagons “trail” the sheep south for the fall.
Spread out over two weekends, the annual Austin City Limits music fall festival features dozens of music acts performing on nine stages. This year’s line-up of 100-plus performers includes Lil Nas X, Paramore, P!NK, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Brews, tacos, and tunes are on offer at Austin’s Zilker Park October 6-8 and October 13-15, 2023.
Enjoy some good old fashioned family fun at the annual Delta Fair & Music Fall Festival September 1-10, 2023. Livestock shows, car races, baton twirling competitions, and midway rides are part of the nostalgic fun of this Memphis fair. Local, regional, and national musicians perform throughout the 10-day fall festival. Come for the music, stay for the opportunity to taste-test some of Memphis’ best foods!
Foodies can enjoy a tour de feast at the annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival July-November, 2023 (dates TBD). Park-goers can stroll through six continents at EPCOT and enjoy an eat-a-thon with global eats, fine wine, and craft beer. From indulging in warm raclette cheese to flaky spanakopita to sweet Belgian waffles, this top-tier food and wine festival is a feast for the senses. The festival also includes nightly concerts with artists like Joey Fatone & Friends, Hanson, and Boyz II Men.
Camp out and chill out in the Joshua Tree Lake Campground: home to the bi-annual Joshua Tree Festival, on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, and held every October since 2003. The fall family-friendly, camp-out music festival October 5-8, 2023 includes music, yoga, and art. Live music from artists who are not (yet) famous alternate continuously on two stages and concert-goers can enjoy organic food, a world market, and camping.
Since 1970, the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival has celebrated the history and heritage of the area’s six covered bridges. Fall festival-goers can tour the covered bridges, watch the annual antique vehicle and covered bridge festival parade, and participate in old-school activities like an antique tractor ride, a Civil War fashion show, sheep-shearing, wool spinning, and marble shooting during the festival October 14-15, 2023. The retro festivities also include penny candy sales, horse and wagon rides, old-fashioned school lessons, and a Civil War reenactment.
This adults-only event is an outdoor bonanza for bacon and bourbon lovers. Admission to the Memphis Flyer Bacon & Bourbon Festival on October 6, 2023 is from 6-9pm and includes food samples from local restaurants and 15 bourbon samples. Musical performances add to the merriment, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Memphis Farmers Market.
Join 500 top chefs for the 15th annual NYCWFF October 2023 (dates TBD), New York City’s largest wine and food festival. The four-day festival features 80 events, including walk-through tastings, dinners with world-famous chefs, wine tastings, and classes that all benefit God’s Love We Deliver, a nonprofit that provides medically-tailored meals for people living with severe illness.