Bucket List September 14, 2021
19 Fall Festivals In America That You Need To Add To Your Fall Bucket List
There’s a reason everyone loves fall, and it’s not simply because of the
amazing and vibrant fall foliage coloring the American landscape. Fall means cooler temperatures and cozy sweaters, nights around a bonfire and days at a pumpkin patch. And weekends full of delightful and charming fall festivals. These popular fests happen all around the country, and celebrate the season in the most joyful of ways. Hayrides, corn mazes, barrel trains, classic games, live music, and tons of pumpkin-spiced treats; fall festivals are good, old-fashioned fun, and they’re something we all love and look forward to each year. Over the next several weeks, fall festivals will be happening all over the country, in the smallest towns and the biggest cities. Today we’re sharing some of the most spectacular and superlative fall festivals in America — fests that include 800-pound pumpkin regattas and thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. As you’re planning your autumn bucket list, be sure to add some of the following festivals to your lineup; these events really showcase the fall autumnal spirit we all have here in America!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Fall Harvest on the Farm - Moorpark, California
Underwood Family Farms, 3370 Sunset Valley Rd, Moorpark, CA 93021, USA
Fall Harvest on the Farm at Underwood Family Farms is your classic fall festival, but in sunny Southern California. Every fall, farmers at this
picture-perfect farm in SoCal
transform the expansive 30-acre property into an autumnal wonderland, complete with wagon rides, pumpkin fields, u-pick adventures, themed weekends, and festive fun all around (two words: pig races!). This year's
Fall Harvest on the Farm
runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 31, so there's plenty of time to plan a trip to this incredible fall festival in SoCal.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest - Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth, WA 98826, USA
is one of the most postcard-perfect places in Washington. Each holiday season, the entire town is transformed into a veritable winter wonderland, so it should come as no surprise to find the town decked out in fall spirit once September rolls around. Leavenworth's Oktoberfest is a perennial favorite in the Evergreen State; this charming little Bavarian village goes all out for this annual event. Live music, delicious brats and sauerkraut, arts and crafts, family-friendly activities, and an everlasting supply of quality beer... once you experience Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, you'll see why so many return year after year. After a hiatus in 2020, Leavenworth's
is slated for Oct. 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17.
West Coast Pumpkin Regatta - Tualatin, Oregon
8325 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062, USA
There’s fall festivals, and then there’s
. We’re not talking about a few sorry pumpkins and tractor rides; we’re talking about
costumed contestants racing inside hollowed-out, thousand-pound pumpkins
. Started in 2004 by the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers who wanted to do a small paddle with a handful of gigantic gourds, the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin, Oregon, now attracts thousands of spectators each year, and is easily one of the most fabulous fall festivals in the country. Trying to describe this wholly unique event simply cannot do it justice; the
West Coast Pumpkin Regatta
on Oct. 16 is simply something you must experience.
Trailing of the Sheep Festival - Ketchum, Idaho
There are some things you can only experience in Idaho, and the
Trailing of the Sheep Festival
in Ketchum is one of them. Each October, the history and culture of shepherding are commemorated in this small Idaho town during the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. This event began in 1997 as a way to pay tribute to the arts, history, and culture of sheep ranching in Idaho. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary,
this year's festival runs Oct. 6-10
and features an array of sheep-centric events, including a city-wide parade, sheep dog demonstrations, wool knitting workshops, and more. This is truly a one-of-a-kind festival, and it all culminates with an event known as the Big Sheep Parade. Watch as over 1,000 sheep make their way down Main Street as part of their annual migration... it’s an amazing sight to see, and something you can only experience in Idaho.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
is the largest hot air balloon event in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people attend this once-a-year event, which features two separate balloon floats showcasing over 600 hot air balloons each day. The nighttime glows are positively enchanting, with these massive balloons becoming larger-than-life luminaries in the dark New Mexico desert. If you really want to take your experience to the next level, opt for a balloon ride during the event. Hovering high above the world's largest balloon float is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your bucket list. The
2021 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
happens Oct. 2-10, with presale tickets available now on the website.
Autumn at the Arboretum - Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218, USA
Known for its "go big" mantra, Autumn at the Arboretum is everything you'd expect from a fall festival in Texas... and more. Each fall, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is transformed into a fall fantasy, filled with 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash from the Lone Star State's pumpkin capital, Floydada. This year's event promises to be bigger and better than ever, with a new pumpkin village and "Bugtopia"-- a giant display with larger-than-life insect topiaries, bugged-out pumpkin houses, and an epic maze for younger visitors to enjoy.
Autumn at the Arboretum
runs Sept. 18-Oct. 31, with presale tickets available now through the Dallas Arboretum website.
Natchez Balloon Festival - Natchez, Mississippi
100 Orleans St, Natchez, MS 39120, USA
one of the best fall festivals in the South
, the Natchez Balloon Festival is one weekend filled with larger-than-life hot air balloons, live music, a massive artisan market, and more. Now celebrating its 36th year, the festival is held over the course of three days on the grounds of Mississippi's lovely Rosalie Mansion.
This year's event
is slated for Oct. 15-17, and it really is a delight of a fall festival everyone should experience at least once.
Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival - Miami, Florida
Regatta Park, 3500 Pan American Dr, Miami, FL 33133, USA
Coconuts and pumpkins -- this is fall in Miami, Florida. And the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival is *the* best place to celebrate the season in the Sunshine State. A full-scale carnival, pumpkin patch, scarecrow village, pumpkin food court, cornstalk maze, and lots of opportunities for photo opps make this Florida festival a must-visit for families. Dates for the
2021 Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival
are still TBA, and tickets will be available through the website soon.
Georgia Apple Festival - Ellijay, Georgia
Ellijay Lions Club, 1729 S Main St, Ellijay, GA 30540, USA
Known as North Georgia's biggest festival, the eponymous Georgia Apple Festival is an exuberant celebration of fall's official fruit. Spanning two weekends each October, this small-town arts and crafts festival features over 300 local vendors, live music, an antique car show, parade, and fresh-picked apples in every size, shape, variety, dish, and dessert. While Georgia is known for its peaches, the northern region of the state is actually prime apple-growing territory -- and nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Ellijay is located the heart of Georgia's apple country. From late August until December, roadside stands abound with the tastiest, tree-ripened mountain apples in the country. Come and celebrate the harvest at the
2021 Georgia Apple Festival
, which happens Oct. 9-10 and 16-17 at the Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds.
Louisville Jack O' Lantern Spectacular - Louisville, Kentucky
Iroquois Park, Louisville, KY, USA
There are many places across Kentucky that go all out when it comes to celebrating fall, but nothing compares to the pumpkin-palooza that happens in Louisville. The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is a glowing pumpkin trail in Kentucky that features 5,000 of the most beautiful, hand-carved creations you'll ever see, for a totally enchanting experience that's nothing short of magical. Artists devote hundreds of hours over several weeks to design the most intricate jack-o'-lanterns; past pumpkins have been carved into spectacular Harry Potter and E.T.-inspired designs. Once lit, these amazing works of art last only a few days before having to be replaced. Their beauty is as fleeting as the season, so be sure to come and soak it all up before fall gets away from you. The 2021 Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular happens nightly from Sept. 30-Oct. 31, and tickets are available now on the
Madison County Covered Bridge Festival - Winterset, Iowa
There's something inherently charming about old, covered bridges. Once found all over the country, these winsome structures are now few and far between -- unless, of course, you're in
Madison County, Iowa
. Home to six covered bridges (five of which are listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places), each fall, people come from far and wide to celebrate these architectural marvels during the two-day Madison County Covered Bridge Festival. The event began in 1969, and today it features over 150 local vendors, a car show, tractor rides, and, of course, covered bridge tours. Come and celebrate a nostalgic piece of Americana this fall in Iowa; the 2021 Madison County Covered Bridge Festival happens
Oct. 9-10 in Winterset
West Side Nut Club Fall Festival - Evansville, Indiana
Every October, the West Side Nut Club organizes and sponsors a fall festival to end all fall festivals. The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival isn't simply one of the largest fests in the Hoosier State; it's one of the largest street festivals in the
. This week-long event takes place along Evansville's charming Franklin Street, and is a whirlwind of excitement complete with live entertainment, carnival rides and games, 137 different food booths, talent competitions, and a massive parade. The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival is a bucket-list must for all fall festival fans, and you can check out this year's event
Warrens Cranberry Festival - Warrens, Wisconsin
Do you know what
Wisconsin’s top fruit crop
is? Why, the cranberry, of course! This sweet-tart fruit takes center stage each fall at Warrens Cranberry Festival in Wisconsin. The largest arts and crafts festival in the U.S., every fall, thousands of shoppers walk miles of booths at this Badger State fete. The festival happens annually on the last weekend in September (rain or shine) and is the most epic craft fair you'll ever attend. In addition to featuring artisans and makers from all over the Midwest, the Warrens Cranberry Festival offers tours of the town's very own cranberry marsh, which is an only-in-Wisconsin activity that you simply must experience. Mark your calendar: the
2021 Warrens Cranberry Festival happens Sept. 24-26 and admission is free
Bedford's Fall Foliage Festival - Bedford, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has some of the most amazing fall foliage in the country, and during Bedford's Fall Foliage Festival, visitors come from all over to revel in the autumnal beauty of the region. Framed by the magnificent mountains of central Pennsylvania, Bedford boasts sensational views of the area's fall foliage, and the festival offers lots of
good, old-fashioned fun
for visitors. Live entertainment, hundreds of vendors, horseback rides, scarecrow making, and family-friendly entertainment make this a fun event for everyone. The popular festival is held annually on the first two weekends of October, which for 2021, means it's
slated for Oct. 2-3 and 9-10
National Apple Harvest Festival - Arendtsville, Pennsylvania
South Mountain Fairgrounds, 615 Narrows Rd, Biglerville, PA 17307, USA
Fall's favorite fruit is front-and-center during the National Apple Harvest Festival in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The National Apple Harvest Festival is held during the first two full weekends in October, and has been celebrating local artisans and makers, great music, and fantastic food for over 50 years. This fall festival is every apple lover's dream come true, and features the most divine apple dishes you could possibly imagine, including apple butter, apple slushies, apple pizza, apple fritters, apple sausage, and so much more. Of course, festival-goers will find plenty of family-friendly activities, too, including hayrides, pony rides, puppet shows, farm stands, and craft vendors. The fragrance of sweet, spiced apples fills the streets of Arendtsville for this annual fall festival, which this year happens
Oct. 2-3 and 9-10
Ellicottville Fall Festival - Ellicottville, New York
Ellicottville, NY 14731, USA
Ellicottville is a postcard-perfect little town; it's located about an hour south of Buffalo, and its charming streets are full of quaint shops, historic storefronts, and amazing restaurants. Surrounded by the scenic beauty of western New York, each fall, Ellicottville comes alive with color, providing the perfect backdrop for its annual fall festival. Timed perfectly with the region's peak fall foliage, this festival, which also features food, live entertainment, and carnival rides, is a perennial favorite in the Empire State. Come and ride a gondola high above the hills of western New York during this annual fall fest -- which happens
Oct. 9 and 10
-- and be prepared to be completely dazzled.
The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze - Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Croton-on-Hudson, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520, USA
Each fall, Croton-on-Hudson comes ablaze with 7,000 hand-carved, luminous pumpkins during the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in New York. Guests at this fest have the unique opportunity to meander through the lovely, 18th century landscape of the historic Van Cortlandt Manor, which is decked to the nines with thousands of glowing pumpkins. The festival is only an hour's train ride from New York City, making it the perfect day trip for New Yorkers looking to shake things up from their usual fall celebrations in the city. This year's
Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze
happens select nights Sept. 17 through Nov. 21, and timed tickets must be purchased in advance.
Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival - Stowe, Vermont
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, 1746 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672, USA
Hailed as the
best fall festival in the country
, Vermont's Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival is pure, unadulterated fun. Where else can you watch three rounds of
competitive pumpkin chucking
where people of all ages launch giant orange gourds as far as they can using trebuchets? The festival itself is a time-honored local tradition; every autumn, Snowflake Mountain Resort allows visitors to show up with pumpkins and catapults to see who can fling their gourd the farthest. Venture out to
Stoweflake Mountain Resort on Sept. 26
to watch this epic fall showdown between man and pumpkin.
Harvest on the Harbor - Portland, Maine
In a state that's nationally known for its kaleidoscope of fall foliage, Maine has a lot to live up to when it comes to fall festivals. And Harvest on the Harbor delivers. This two-day event is Portland's very own food festival that features the best fare in the Pine Tree State; it's a celebration of Maine's unique culinary scene. Events include an opening gala reception, the Maine lobster "Chef of the Year" competition, and numerous tasting events. But it's not just food at this fall thoroughfare; some of the finest distillers in the world hail from Maine, and this event is where you’ll find the esteemed members of the Maine Distillers Guild all under one roof. Reserve your tickets now for this
three-day foodie fest Nov. 4-7
in Portland, Maine.
Fall is an absolutely glorious time of year here in the U.S., and these festivals are an exuberant celebration of the season. Experience the annual festivals that not only put these American towns on the map, but also offer a warm and welcoming invitation for all to come and participate in their beloved, time-honored traditions.
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