While we certainly love the summer in Maine, there’s just something so perfect about autumn here in the Pine Tree State. The leaves on Maine’s trees seem to pop with just a bit more color than those of other states and we bring a whole new meaning to the word “cozy.” As part of welcoming the change of seasons, we thought we’d give you our list of Maine’s most unique Fall festivals. Check them out and start planning your festival calendar in enough time to get to them all!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Trails End Festival, Millinocket - Sep 16 to Sep 18
While it may seem like a typical festival (whatever that is) this one is sure to please those looking for something different. Look no further than the rubber ducky race, as one option. You'll also be treated to concerts, including Maine favorites, The Mallett Brothers Band, a chili cook-off, as well as canoe and kayak excursions, the Katahdin Parade, a pie and cake auction, the Trails End Festival Dance.
2. The Common Ground Country Fair, Unity - Sep 23 to Sep 25, 2016
This is one of Maine's most loved and appreciated annual festivals. While some people feel it's become too large, the events are still worth enjoying and the message of sustainability is an important one. Put on by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners, this festival celebrates the many agricultural traditions of Maine. The schedule of events is too broad and wonderful to fit in this article, but suffice it to say that if you love farming, sustainability, arts, crafts, wool, animals, children, food, games, music, storytelling and dancing, you'll love this festival. If you can't make the whole thing, at least stick around for the people-powered bike parade on Friday at 10am.
3. Acadia Night Sky Festival, Bar Harbor, Sep 22 to Sep 25, 2016
This festival was created as the result of a wonderful local ordinance meant to preserve the night sky in the Acadia area. It requires that ‘night sky friendly’ outdoor lighting must be used on all new construction in the Town of Bar Harbor. These lights mean that visitors and residents will be able to see as much of the beauty that exists in the sky as they see on the land during the day. So, head to this one if you love astronomy and learning about all that exists above us. Visitors can enjoy seminars, a beautiful night-sky boat cruise, a kayak tour, climbing and other activities.
4. Maine Lakes Brew Fest, Casco - Sep 24 to Sep 24, 2016
You'll want to attend this event if you're a die-hard beer lover or even just an occasional enthusiast. With one of the largest-growing numbers of local breweries in the USA, it's no surprise that this has been a popular fall event for the last 12 years. Visitors will enjoy samples from over 35 brewers and more than 15 food vendors at The Beach at Point Sebago.
5. Pemaquid Oyster Festival, Damariscotta - Sep 25, 2016
This is truly a wonderful local event that serves over 10,000 oysters to benefit the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund. Festivities are held on the banks of the Damariscotta River at Schooner Landing Restaurant & Marina on Main Street. Visitors will be treated to, you guessed it, oysters! Along with, of course, a variety of other food items. Demonstrations, entertainment and tons of fun are expected.
6. Cumberland County Fair, Cumberland - Sep 25 to Oct 1, 2016
The Cumberland Fair has been around for 145 years and it offers a wonderful, what-you-might-expect experience. From livestock exhibitions to demonstrations, dancing, concerts and rides this is a great place to bring children - old and young!
7. Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival and Regatta, Damariscotta - Oct 1 to Oct 10, 2016
This festival is the thing that reality shows are made of! Of all the things that make us proud of Maine, this could just be number one! On Columbus Day Weekend, head to Damariscotta for the best celebration of pumpkins you've ever seen. Events include the annual Official “Giant Pumpkin Parade,” The Pumpkinboat Regatta and The Giant Pumpkin Drop. Yes, folks, this is real. And you'd be crazy to miss it!
8. Freeport Fall Festival, Freeport - Oct 1 to Oct 2, 2016
This festival is so fresh feeling that it's hard to believe it's been around for 18 years! We can understand why - it's one of the most lovely southern Maine events and it's perfect for families. Come enjoy the displays of over 120 artists who represent a variety of disciplines. You'll also love the live music and overall happy vibe found throughout the LL Bean campus, which is there the even it held.
9. Fryeburg Fair, Fryeburg - Oct 2 to Oct 9, 2016
This festival is a Maine classic. Make a week of it by camping on-site to enjoy every minute of the events taking place. From the Skillet Toss to the Pig Scramble to the Fireman's Muster, there are so many competitions that it might feel like everyone has a chance to win in SOME category. Visitors will also enjoy a livestock exhibition, parade and lots of rides and carnival games.
10. Sunday River Fall Festival, Newry - Oct 8 to Oct 9, 2016
There are a few reasons that you must put this festival on your list for this year. It's perfect for those readers who have a competitive streak. As the site of the North American Wife Carrying Champsionship, you'll want to attend simply to watch people run through a muddy obstacle course carrying their special someone! If that's not your thing, you can also check out the Kids’ Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest, the New England Corn Hole Championship, and the Blue Mountain Arts and Crafts Fair. There are also scenic chair lift rides, concerts and wagon rides.
11. Great Maine Apple Day, Unity - Oct 16, 2016
This wonderful apple-focused event is perfect for those who want a little bit more information about how they can use their apple haul after a hard day's picking. The day includes workshops, cider pressing and an orchard tour, along with tons of apple-related treats to enjoy.
12. Maine Harvest Festival, Bangor - Nov 19 to Nov 20, 2016
This event, celebrating everything related to farm freshness, will bring some of the best of Maine local farms to the public. Enjoy cooking contests (or try to win one!), wine and beer tastings, cooking demonstrations and workshops all devoted to Maine's local farms and harvests.
If you’re hanging on to those last bits of summer, check out our recent article on
the best rustic camping spots. You can still get into most of them until late October!