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- Fun Fall Festivals
- Duluth Fall Festival: Duluth, Georgia
- National Apple Harvest Festival: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania
- Oktoberfest: Leavenworth, Washington
- The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze: Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Trailing of the Sheep: Sun Valley, Ketchum & Hailey, Idaho
- Nantucket Cranberry Festival: Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Warrens Cranberry Festival: Warrens, Wisconsin
- Skelly’s Farm Market Fall Festival: Janesville, Wisconsin
From hot air balloons and giant pumpkins to corn mazes and Oktoberfests, these fall festivals across the USA offer plenty of family fun.
Fun Fall Festivals
The fall foliage dances in the crisp cool breeze. Pumpkins are ready for picking. Amusing scarecrows are popping up everywhere. Wagons loaded with bales of hay standby for hayrides. And family-friendly fall festivals are kicking off around the United States in celebration of one of the most colorful seasons of the year. With summer behind us and fall on the way, we’ve got the scoop on some of the best fall festivals across the country.
Duluth Fall Festival: Duluth, Georgia
Dating back more than 50 years, the Duluth Fall Festival brings live music to two entertainment stages. This town-wide annual event kicks off with a festival parade on Saturday and includes more than 375 vendors showcasing local handicrafts and plenty of delicious local foods. On Sunday, work off some of the calories from the fall fest at the Duluth Donut Dash 5K. September 25-26.
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National Apple Harvest Festival: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania apple country, just a few miles from historic Gettysburg, the National Apple Harvest Festival has been celebrating fall and apples for more than 50 years. Held over two weekends at the South Mountain Fairgrounds, the apple festival includes live music, puppets, face painting, a petting zoo, a classic car show and more. Costumed characters Johnny Appleseed, Mr. Apple, Miss Honeybee and Apple Worm will be strolling the grounds. And if you’re looking for a new craft, check out the chainsaw carving demos. Of course, there are apple pies, candied apples, apple butter and even an apple queen. October 2-3 and 9-10.
Oktoberfest: Leavenworth, Washington
No need to jet off to Germany for a taste of Oktoberfest. This Bavarian-style town in Washington State brings Oktoberfest to the United States. Held over three October weekends, Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest offers a street fair vibe with German food and booths with local vendors, artists and crafters. The festival will also host “Kinderplatz,” a special play area for kids. October 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze: Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York
More than 7,000 pumpkins are ablaze at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in New York’s historic Hudson Valley. Set in an 18th-century landscape, artfully hand-carved jack-o-lanterns are illuminated and displayed throughout the fall. New for 2021 is the New York City skyline made of pumpkins and an immersive river display.
TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf lives close to The Blaze site and is a huge fan. Because the event is rain or shine, you might find yourself trudging through the pumpkins in a storm, if you’ve purchased your tickets in advance. Her tip? Buy midweek tickets at the last minute when the weather forecast is favorable. They’re almost always available. Just remember…all tickets need to be purchased online prior to arrival.
The dazzling jack-o-lantern installations are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The event is sponsored in part by one of the local breweries, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, which will be serving its craft beers, including an Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale and an Oktoberfest-style ale, Stingy Jack. Select nights from September 17 to November 21. Admission is by timed ticket or FLEX anytime ticket sold in advance.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Each October for nine days, Albuquerque is home to the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. More than 500 hot air balloons blanket the skies with thrilling displays of shapes and colors. Pilots take excited riders along the Rio Grande for a close dip called the “Splash and Dash” as well as toward Old Town Albuquerque. In addition to balloon rides, the festival features fly-in competitions, fireworks and a music festival. October 2-10.
Trailing of the Sheep: Sun Valley, Ketchum & Hailey, Idaho
In perhaps one of the most unusual fall festivals, the small towns of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho, turn the annual relocation of livestock from the mountains to winter pastures into a celebration at Trailing of the Sheep. Here, the sheep are the main attraction as sheepherders lead the fluffy parade down Ketchum’s Main Street.
Led by sheep ranching families and herders, this cultural gem includes spinning and weaving demonstrations, music and dancing by traditional performers, local food and beverages and 80 vendors selling unique arts and crafts. At the Folklife Fair in Hailey, kids’ activities include Kids’ Fluff where the youngsters can explore fiber arts at their own level. The Folklife Fair also includes a juried craft show that requires vendors to offer handmade items made of wool, wool blends or items related to sheep, such as soaps and lotions from lanolin and sheep cheeses. October 6-10.
Nantucket Cranberry Festival: Nantucket, Massachusetts
In Nantucket, the fall colors aren’t only in the trees. Cranberry bogs roll out the red carpet for the annual Nantucket Cranberry Festival. The traditional one-day festival has been reimagined for 2021, with a series of cranberry-related events taking place during the month of October. Learn about the history of cranberry farming with guided tours through the Milestone Cranberry Bog.
Warrens Cranberry Festival: Warrens, Wisconsin
The town of Warrens, the “Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin,” celebrates the cranberry harvest at this annual event, which includes a craft show and food vendors. Enjoy live entertainment, take part in a pie-eating contest or take a walking tour of the cranberry marsh. September 24-26.
Skelly’s Farm Market Fall Festival: Janesville, Wisconsin
For more than 100 years, the Skelly family has been farming the land in Janesville, Wisconsin. When fall arrives, they share the farm with the community at a festival that lasts from mid-September through Halloween. Offering all the best fall activities, there’s pumpkin picking, apple cannonballs, hayrides, an a-maze-ing obstacle course and the world’s first corn maze featuring Smartphone GPS.
There are two high-tech mazes to choose from. Ideal for families, the Adventure Maze is home to friendly scarecrows that help guide and share fun stories along the way. Older children and adults looking for the ultimate challenge can attempt the Impossible Maze—and here you just might need that GPS! Be sure to sample the apple cider donuts, pumpkin pies and all the other farmers market goodies on site. Mid-September – October 31.