By: Sarah Stone
Ahh….autumn. There’s so much to look forward to with the arrival of this season!
Temperatures are finally comfortable, we get to unpack all of our cute fall clothing, and everyone snuggles up and prepares for winter. And let’s not even talk about the pumpkin spice offerings everywhere from restaurants and coffee shops to personal care boutiques and perfumeries. Thanks to the beautiful bounty of fall colors, we use it as an excuse to really get our festivals started. If you are looking for an amazing adventure to share with your friends and family, check out these top-rated fall festivals across the United States.
Don your fall jacket, buckle the kids in the car, and get ready to savor all the flavors of fall!
Fall Festival #1–Oktoberfest Zinnzinati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Known also as “America’s Oktoberfest”, this fall extravaganza gets you closer to Munich than any other fall party in the USA. Held each year at the end of September, over 500,000 fans flock Cincinnati streets to celebrate their German heritage and to sample the best schnitzel and beer that money can buy. If food is not what you came for, then it is likely the lively polka music and dancing that accompanies almost every activity during this fest. You’ll see some top-notch lederhosen and the “running of the wieners”, a race featuring over 100 dachshunds wearing hot dog costumes. This race alone is worth the trip—make sure you put this on your weekend getaway list come fall.
Fall Festival #2–Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Sonoma, California
This harvest fair is unique in that it showcases the best of the region’s harvest bounty in an authentic farm-to-table experience. For the adults in the crowd, they have premier wine and beer tasting, and for those under 21, all can take part in the World Championship Grape Stomp, where participants compete to see who can squeeze the most juice from between their toes. Sorry, mom and dad, the stomp is reserved for kids age 13 and under—you’ll have to be content taking pictures! Look for this festival to crank it up on the first week of October each year.
Fall Festival #3–National Apple Harvest Festival, Adams County, Pennsylvania
Next up on our list of fall festivals is the National Apple Harvest Festival in Pennsylvania! Two delicious flavors of fall are pumpkins and apples—this harvest festival highlights those crisp, crunchy, mouthwatering apples that dangle so temptingly from trees during the season. For more than 50 years, Adams county has been the hub of all things sweet and sour as thousands gather the first two weeks in October to hail their favorite fall fruit. Hundreds of artists and antique dealers peddle their wares, while food offerings and games are ripe for the picking. Other attractions that you simply must see while at the Apple Harvest festival include craftsman demonstrations, a petting zoo, orchard tours, and appearances by the Pennsylvania Apple Queen, to name a few. Who are we kidding? The food is really what draws us—apple pizza, apple dumplings, apple butter, and even apple sausage are available for the tasting! Yum!
Fall Festival #4–Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
This colorful fiesta started in 1972 with only 13 balloons in attendance. By 2019, it is estimated that there will be over 600 balloons and 1000 pilots in attendance, making it the fastest growing festival of its kind in the United States. With a stunning 25 million pictures taken annually of all the balloon splendor, it is the most photographed event in the wide world at this point. Not only does a Mass Ascension take place, where all balloons are launched simultaneously for dramatic effect, but there are also other events taking place during this festival as well, including:
- Balloon Glow
- Night Magic Glow
- Special Shape Rodeo
- Breathtaking Fireworks Displays
Bring your most comfortable lawn chair, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful festivities!
Fall Festival #5–Floresville Peanut Festival, Floresville, Texas
Pack up those peanut butter sandwiches—it’s time to celebrate where they came from! This festival is proof that just about everything is bigger in Texas; enjoying activities like the Kiddie Parade, the Goober Games, and partaking in all the delicious food are just some of the fun things you and your family can do at this festival. Heading south for a little taste of warmer weather in early October is good for the soul too–stock up on homemade peanut brittle, all kinds of nut butters, and the like for taking home.
Fall Festival #6–Trailing Of The Sheep Festival
We are coming up on the 24th annual Trailing Of The Sheep Festival, and it promises to be a great time! Animal lovers everywhere will go crazy for the sheep parade, where over 1500 fluffy animals trail down the main street. Traditional song and dance, fluff-inspired crafts, and all kinds of decadent foods mark this festival as one of the best in the nation. You can find all of this fluffy stuff happening at the beginning of October in Hailey, Idaho.
Regardless of the festival you and your family choose to hail this great season, savor all the beautiful color and traditions that surround us, and take advantage of what these fantastic fall festivals have to offer.