The 27 Best Fall Festivals to Experience Across the U.S.
Ah, fall. The crisp smell of leaves, the warming of apple cider, the excitement of Oktoberfest. Autumn is a favorite time for many, in part thanks to the fall festivals and events that pop up across the country throughout the season. From big city events like the Austin Food and Wine Festivals to local festivities like Pennsylvania’s National Apple Harvest Festival, there’s a lot going on from September to November. Some events, like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, are so magnificent that it’s worth planning an entire vacation around the spectacle, while others, like The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in upstate New York, make for a great day trip. Because many of these events were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, some have made a few alterations—but none will be any less fun or celebratory for 2021. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a fall festival for everyone. Here are the 27 best to experience around the U.S. this year.
1. Punkin’ Chunkin’ Festival
When: October 16, 2021
Where: Thousand Islands-Seaway, New York
What to expect: If you’ve ever wondered how far a pumpkin can fly, this is the event for you. The family-friendly festival, which features BBQ and a farmer’s market, has several competitions to see how far competitors can fling their gourd on the shores of the St. Lawrence River using trebuchets and catapults. For more information, visit 1000islands-clayton.com.
2. Austin Food and Wine Festival
When: November 5–7, 2021
Where: Austin, Texas
What to expect: The best of Austin’s restaurants offer small bites and tasting of their beloved dishes at this annual food festival, which also serves up wine and spirits. There are also cooking demonstrations and special events, all set against the Austin skyline at Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park. For more information, visit austinfoodandwinefestival.com.
3. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze
When: September 17–October 31; November 3–7, 10–14, 18–21, 2021
Where: Croton-on-Hudson, New York
What to expect: Celebrate fall with 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns at the annual The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, located at the Van Cortlandt Manor in upstate New York. Visitors can stroll through the many displays, which are paired with synchronized lighting and music. For more information, visit hudsonvalley.org.
4. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
When: October 2–10, 2021
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
What to expect: Spanning nine days, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual hot air balloon festival, with hundreds of hot air balloons taking flight. There are numerous events throughout the festival, from fireworks to music performances to nighttime glowing balloon flights. For more information, visit balloonfiesta.com.
5. Columbus Oktoberfest
When: September 10–12, 2021
Where: Columbus, OH
What to expect: Bring Germany’s Oktoberfest home at Columbus’ annual fall celebration, which takes place at the Ohio Expo Center and the Ohio State Fairgrounds. It’s a massive event, with live music, kid-friendly activities, a craft beer garden and a karaoke contest. Plus, dozens of food vendors and craft booths are available to peruse. For more information, visit columbusoktoberfest.com.
6. Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta
When: September 22–26, 2021
Where: Santa Fe
What to expect: Each fall Santa Fe celebrates the best of local wine and chile with tastings, cooking demos, a Champagne brunch and wine dinners. There’s even a golf classic, for those who want to burn off a few calories. The festival takes place in downtown Santa Fe, making it a great opportunity to see sights as well. For more information, visit santafewineandchile.org.
7. National Apple Harvest Festival
When: October 2–3 and 9–10, 2021
Where: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania
What to expect: Nothing says fall like a crisp apple. Except maybe an entire harvest festival dedicated to the delicious fruit. The double-weekend festival, held at the South Mountain Fairgrounds, is a lively event with lots to see, do and, of course, eat. Expect hay rides, pie baking contests, apple cider and much more. For more information, visit appleharvest.com.
8. Harvest on the Harbor
When: November 4–7, 2021
Where: Portland, Maine
What to expect: Portland’s annual Harvest on the Harbor showcases the best of local eateries and bars, with lots of booths set up to offer delicious bites from restaurants and farmers, as well as drinks from brewers and distillers. It’s a fun way to experience Portland’s culinary scene, especially if it’s your first time visiting the Maine city. For more information, visit harvestontheharbor.com.
9. Breckenridge Oktoberfest
When: September 24–26, 2021
Where: Breckenridge, Colorado
What to expect: The Colorado mountain town of Breckenridge is the ideal spot for an Oktoberfest celebration, with local restaurants and breweries getting in on the action. This year will be a slightly smaller scale version, but visitors can get excited for the 2nd Annual OktoberFEAST, a series of German-themed beer, wine and food pairings at restaurants throughout town. For more information, visit gobreck.com.
10. The Natchez Balloon Festival
When: October 15–17, 2021
Where: Natchez, Mississippi
What to expect: Ever wanted to spend a weekend surrounded by hot-air balloons and live music? Those are just a couple of the many attractions at the annual Sonoma Natchez Balloon Festival, which features food vendors, arts and crafts and more. For more information, visit natchezballoonfestival.com
11. Warrens Cranberry Festival
When: September 24–26, 2021
Where: Warrens, Wisconsin
What to expect: Each year Warrens holds one of the biggest cranberry celebrations in the U.S., featuring a parade, contests, shopping and tons of food vendors. Visitors can even embark on walking tours of the cranberry marsh—a new offering for 2021. Don’t miss the crowning of the cranberry Queen, a highlight of the festival. For more information, visit cranfest.com.
12. Leavenworth Oktoberfest Markt
When: October 1–2, 8–9, and 15–16, 2021
Where: Leavenworth, Washington
What to expect: Enjoy the best of Washington beer selections at Leavenworth Oktoberfest Markt, which takes place over several weekends in October. This year is slightly different, with a street fair market replacing the usual parties, and visitors will be able to find more than 100 vendors selling crafts, beer, food and more. For more information, visit leavenworthoktoberfest.com.
13. Circleville Pumpkin Show
When: October 20–23, 2021
Where: Circleville, Ohio
What to expect: Circleville is known for its pumpkins, which take over the town every year for the annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. It features competitions, parades, live music, arts and crafts activities and a pie eating contest. The festival is especially family-friendly, with lots for kids to do, and there’s even an adorable baby parade to show off your little one. For more information, visit pumpkinshow.com.
14. The Trailing Of The Sheep
When: October 6–10, 2021
Where: Ketchum, Idaho
What to expect: For something a bit different, head to the Trailing Of The Sheep in Ketchum, an event that centers on the history and culture of sheep ranching and herding in Idaho. There’s a sheep parade, performances, a Folklife Fair, sheepdog trials, dinners and much more. The festival also includes several special activities for kids, including special Kids' Fluff booths for sheep-related crafts. For more information, visit trailingofthesheep.org.
15. AppleJack Harvest Festival
When: September 18–19, 25–26, October 2–3
Where: Nebraska City, Nebraska
What to expect: Anticipate everything apple, from pie to cider to doughnuts to fritters, at the AppleJack Harvest Festival. Beyond the obvious, the annual event also includes the AppleJack Fun Run, a classic car show, a parade and a food truck extravaganza. The festival celebrates Nebraska City as much as it does the harvest, so be sure to spend some time exploring the local sights. For more information, visit nebraskacity.com.
16. North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival
When: November 5–6, 2021
Where: Whiteville, North Carolina
What to expect: Watch the Pecan Parade or taste the local pecan dishes from dozens of food vendors at the North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival, which takes place annually in Whiteville. There’s also a 5K walk, a car show and live music, as well as a kid’s area. A must for anyone who loves pecans (and even those who don’t). For more information, visit ncpecanfestival.com.
17. Downtown Boulder Fall Fest
When: September 17–19, 2021
Where: Boulder, Colorado
What to expect: Head to Colorado’s coolest city for the annual Fall Fest, which takes place on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. It features live music, food and wine vendors, kids activities and a crafts marketplace. Because it’s in the heart of town you can also hang out in Boulder’s favorite restaurants or go on a nearby mountain hike. For more information, visit boulderdowntown.com.
18. Autumn on Parade
When: October 2–3, 2021
Where: Oregon, Illinois
What to expect: This year marks the 50th annual Autumn on Parade in Oregon, a small town in Illinois. The festive parade brings together tons of locals, from dancers to musicians to Santa Claus, all of whom celebrate the arrival of fall. There’s a crafts show, live music, a kid’s zone, pub crawl and more, all of which brings lots of visitors to the town each year. For more information, visit autumnonparade.com.
19. Springville Fall Festival
When: October 16, 2021
Where: Springville, California
What to expect: Springville’s yearly Apple Festival is being replaced by the Springville Fall Festival for 2021, where visitors will enjoy a street fest with food vendors, special events and lots of craft sellers. The historic small town makes for a fun destination beyond the festival, as well. Be sure to stop by the Patton House Gift and Thrift Shop and the nearby Giant Sequoia National Monument. For more information, visit springvilleapplefestival.com.
20. Sever’s Fall Festival
When: September 10—October 31, 2021
Where: Shakopee, Minnesota
What to expect: You’ve probably never experienced something quite like Sever’s Fall Festival, which is the Midwest’s original fall festival and home to its first and largest corn maze. The whimsical festivities also include obstacle courses, an exotic petting zoo and zip lines. For more information, visit seversfestivals.com.
21. Bedford Fall Foliage Festival
When: October 2–3, 9–10, 2021
Where: Bedford, Pennsylvania
What to expect: Soak up the best of the fall colors at the Bedford Fall Foliage Festival, one of Pennsylvania’s favorite events. It features crafts from over 400 vendors, live music, delicious food, kids’ activities and, of course, vistas of the beautiful autumn leaves. The festival has been going on for over 50 years, so it’s definitely one you don’t want to miss. For more information, visit bedfordfallfoliagefestival.com.
22. Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival
When: October 2021
Where: Miami, Florida
What to expect: After canceling their 2020 event, Miami’s Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival is back for 2021. Grab a pumpkin from the patch, enjoy the kids’ carnival, stroll through scarecrow village or test your skills at the cornstalk maze—it’s all fall-appropriate fun for the whole family. Adults shouldn’t miss the Pumpkin Beer Bars, which serve up offerings from Samuel Adams, Traveler Beer Company and Angry Orchard. For more information, visit coconutgrovepumpkinpatch.com.
23. Duluth Fall Festival
When: September 25–26, 2021
Where: Duluth, Georgia
What to expect: Duluth’s annual fall festival is a big event, with a parade, 5K race, live performances, arts and crafts booths and dozens of food offerings. This year’s festival will even feature a concert from Elton John impersonator, Elton Live The Ultimate Tribute. For more information, visit duluthfallfestival.org.
24. Autumn at the Arboretum
When: September 19–November 1, 2021
Where: Dallas, Texas
What to expect: The Dallas Arboretum knows how to celebrate the end of summer. The annual Autumn at the Arboretum showcases an impressive pumpkin display, featuring 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. There are also events and activities, like a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch, cooking demonstrations and Mommy and Me Mondays, for those with kids. It runs for over a month, giving you lots of opportunities to book tickets. For more information, visit dallasarboretum.org.
25. Scarecrow Festival
When: October 8–10, 2021
Where: St. Charles, Illinois
What to expect: Scarecrow Festival is all about scarecrows, with the Scarecrow Stroll taking place throughout downtown St. Charles, as well as a family zone and the opportunity to buy a Scarecrow in a Box, which you build yourself. Many of the local businesses get involved, so give yourself some time to explore St. Charles. You can even enter the scarecrow contest yourself if you’d like. For more information, visit scarecrowfest.com.
26. Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
When: November 4–7, 2021
Where: Kailua, Hawaii
What to expect: Per the website, the annual festival promotes Hawaii’s unique culture and diversity and supports the mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique coffee heritage. And if you can’t make it all the way to the Hawaiian islands, there are even some events being held virtually. For more information, visit konacoffeefest.com.
27. International Rice Festival
When: October 14-17, 2021
Where: Crowley, Louisiana
What to expect: The International Rice Festival is all about (you guessed it) rice and centers around the importance of farming and agriculture. It’s one of Louisiana's oldest and largest agricultural festivals. Festival-goers can also participate in many activities and events such as The Classic Car Show, the Crowley High 5k Run Walk and the Fiddle and Accordion Contest.
For more information, visit ricefestival.com.