The Best Fall Harvest Festivals Across the United States

Ah, fall. A time for changing leaves, cooler temperatures, back to school, and pumpkin spice everything. Even if you graduated school a while ago, there’s just something about autumn that feels like the perfect time to start a new routine. One thing you should definitely put on the agenda? Fall festivals.

There’s more to celebrating fall than visiting a pumpkin patch and getting lost in a corn maze. Depending on where you live in the country, fall is the perfect time of year to find unique, seasonally themed fall festivals that are catered to your interests.

So grab your hot apple cider and your plaid flannel shirt – it’s time to discover the best fall festivals across the United States.

1. National Apple Harvest

Apples

Apples | cweimer4/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 6-7 & 13-14, 2018
  • Where: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

It’s not just pumpkins in the fall – it’s also time to harvest apples. The National Apple Harvest takes place right outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Festival attendees can participate in all kinds of apple-themed activities such as bobbing for apples, noshing on apple dumplings and other treats, and picking their own apples to take home. There’s also entertainment like Native American dancers and live music.

Next: Harvest on the Harbor

2. Harvest on the Harbor

Lobster Roll

Lobster roll | Fudio/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 16-21, 2018
  • Where: Portland, Maine

Driving through New England to do some leaf peeping? Then you’ll want to detour north for Maine’s incredible Harvest on the Harbor. The four-day festival kicks off in mid-October and draws a crowd of 5,000 to Portland. There you’ll find some of the state’s finest foods like locally sourced seafood, beer, and wine. There are even competitions such as “Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant and “Lobster Chef of the Year.”

Next: Bourbon and Brewfest

3. Bourbon and Brewfest

Bowling Green Bourbon and Brewfest

Bowling Green Bourbon and Brewfest | Bowling Green CVB

  • When: October 13, 2018
  • Where: Bowling Green, Kentucky

It’s amazing how well bourbon, beer, and the advent of fall go together. Drive an hour north of Nashville and you’ll find one of Kentucky’s best autumn festivals, where you can enjoy select craft brews from the region, hand-picked Kentucky bourbons, live entertainment, food vendors, free rides and much more. Don’t miss out on Bowling Green’s own White Squirrel Brewery along with way too many other quality vendors to mention.

Next: Leavenworth Oktoberfest

4. Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Leavenworth Oktoberfest | Leavenworth Oktoberfest via Facebook

  • When: October 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20, 2018
  • Where: Leavenworth, Washington

Always wanted to visit an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany? Save yourself a plane ticket and head to an authentic United States version instead. This lively German-themed fall festival offers themed activities, delicious food options, and live music, all in a Bavarian town setting.

Next: Wellfleet OysterFest

5. Wellfleet OysterFest

Man cooking the bbq scallops and seafood on a grill

Seafood | yourbordo/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 13-14
  • Where: Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Celebrate shellfish in Cape Cod! This festival allows fishermen to show off their finest catches such as seafood chowder, clams, and of course delicious oysters. There are also artisans showing off their crafts.

One thing you don’t want to miss? The annual shuck-off. That’s when competitors are given 24 oysters to shuck in the fasted time with the best outcome (no broken shells or sliced fingers). The best shucker so far can perform the task in under two minutes.

Next: Wine and Chile Fiesta

6. Wine and Chile Fiesta

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Chili pepper | iStock.com/Lisovskaya

  • When: September 23-30, 2018
  • Where: Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta isn’t all spicy, but it is a lot of fun. This five-day festival runs on tradition and highlights 75 of the city’s best restaurants in a whirlwind of cooking demos, wine tastings, and special luncheons and dinners. The whole thing ends on a high note at the Santa Fe Opera House where you can sample small bites from 75 local restaurants and 100 national wineries.

Next: Trailing of the Sheep Festival

7. Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Lambs and sheep

Lambs and sheep | iStock.com/heebyj

  • When: October 10-14, 2018
  • Where: Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Hailey, Idaho

It’s not just about pumpkins. It’s also about… sheep?

This highly unique festival seeks to preserve sheep ranching and herding tradition by providing an amazing event unlike any you’ve seen before. At Trailing of the Sheep, you’ll find delicious culinary creations, wool wares for purchase, cooking classes, a sheep parade, and live music. Watch in wonder as the hills fill with sheep during this tight-knit, extraordinary event.

Next: New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival

8. New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival

New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival

Pumpkin tower | New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival via Facebook

  • When: October 12-13, 2018
  • Where: Laconia, New Hampshire

No list of fall festivals would be complete without a pumpkin-centric one. This October weekend extravaganza attracts more than 40,000 visitors who come for the breathtaking 34-foot jack-o’-lantern tower. There’s also food and craft vendors, live bands, a beer garden, horse-drawn hay rides, pumpkin carving, kiddie rides, pumpkin bowling, and so much more to see and do.

Next: Adirondack Balloon Festival

9. Adirondack Balloon Festival

Hot air balloons

Hot air balloons | artpritsadee/iStock/Getty Imagea

  • When: September 20-23, 2018
  • Where: Glen Falls, New York

Whether you have the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon or not, watching them all ascend is truly a sight to behold. This not-for-profit event is celebrating its 46th year and is free for all to enjoy. It’s great for kids of all ages who want to experience a bit of magic in the air.

Next: Sonoma County Harvest Fair

10. Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Friends hands toasting red wine glass and having fun outdoors cheering with winetasting - Young people enjoying harvest time together at farmhouse vineyard countryside - Youth and friendship concept

Wine tasting | ViewApart/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 6-7, 2018
  • Where: Sonoma, California

Did someone say wine? This festival highlights some of the best with winery competitions, a World Championship Grape Stomp, cow-milking contests, and so many other fall-themed events. People come from all over for the food, wine, and world-class entertainment.

Next: North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival

11. North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival

Pecan pies

Pecan pie | Kursad/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 26-November 3, 2018
  • Where: Whiteville, North Carolina

Do you know where your pecans come from? Autumn isn’t just for pumpkins and squash – it’s also harvest time for pecans, and Whiteville is one of the top producers in the state. Take part in the festivities with parades, musical entertainment, and house tours along with plenty of scrumptious pecan-themed food sampling.

Next: Warrens Cranberry Festival

12. Warrens Cranberry Festival

Warrens Cranberry Festival

Festival | Warrens Cranberry Festival via Facebook

  • When: September 28-30, 2018
  • Where: Warrens, Wisconsin

You’ve found it: the world’s largest cranberry festival happens every year in Warrens, drawing crowds exceeding 100,000 visitors. While you’re there, experience marsh tours, shopping, crafts, contests, a parade, and plenty of cranberry seasonal treats.

Next: Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello

13. Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello

Monticello | JuniperCreek/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: September 22, 2018
  • Where: Monticello, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson was considered the nation’s first foodie, and this festival at his former residence fully honors that distinction. Enjoy garden tours, gourmet tastings, chef demos, gardening lessons, a petting zoo, and much more while you’re there.

Next: Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

14. Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Watching a launch | Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival via Facebook

  • When: September 30, 2018
  • Where: Stowe, Vermont

The fine art of chucking pumpkins has skyrocketed in popularity during recent years. At this event, there are three rounds of competitive pumpkin chucking, which involves contestants launching the pumpkins using trebuchets. There’s also music, a chili cook-off, a cornhole tournament, and kids activities.

Next: Scarecrow Festival

15. Scarecrow Festival

Scarecrows

Scarecrows | luis roldan/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 5-7, 2018
  • Where: St. Charles, Illinois

You and the kids can enjoy live music, homemade artisan dishes, a craft show, carnival, and a petting zoo all while walking around and picking your favorite hand-painted scarecrow. The event offers free admission and is a treat for all ages.

Next: Madison County Covered Bridge Festival

16. Madison County Covered Bridge Festival

Covered bridge

Hogback Covered Bridge | Bob Weston/iStock/Getty Images

  • When: October 14-15, 2018
  • Where: Winterset, Iowa

This festival pays homage to the famed bridges of Madison County with a parade, quilt show, arts and crafts vendors, games, and live entertainment. It’s like a history lesson with a generous side of fun.