As the warm days turn into cool nights and the leaves begin their annual color show, Americans flock to fall festivals. Whether you’re on the East or West Coast, in the South or Southwest, or in the breadbasket of the country there’s sure to be a fall festival near you. Here are some that we’d like to sample:
Columbus Oktoberfest – Columbus, OH
September 28-30, 2012
Whether you’re proud of your German heritage or you never met a wurst you didn’t love, your destination should be Columbus, OH in late September. The Columbus Oktoberfest at the Ohio Expo Center and Fairgrounds features pavilions with entertainment, dancing, arts & crafts (to buy or for children to make), a 233 acre recreation of a German village and of course all the German food you could possibly want.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – Albuquerque, NM
October 6-14, 2012
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 with 13 balloons launched from a shopping mall parking lot. From such humble roots the fiesta attracted 700 balloons in 2011. The sight of hundreds of colorful balloons rising into the air together is awe-inspiring and the event attracts visitors from all over the world. In fact, it’s the biggest international event held in the United States and holds the distinction of being the most photographed event in the world. The clear blue skies over Albuquerque are filled with balloons of every shape and color during the nine-day festival.
Mystic Seaport Chowder Days Festival – Mystic, CT
October 6-8, 2012
Mystic is a beautiful seaside town with an ambiance of old New England. In October the trees are awash in glorious shades of red, orange, yellow. Bundle yourself up in a warm sweater and park yourself on a bench to enjoy a cup of one of the five chow-dahs available or sample other New England fare such as lobster bisque, Mystic chips or clam fritters at the Mystic Seaport Chowder Days Festival. You can even take a ride on the steamboat Sabino, one of the oldest wooden steam-powered boats still in operation. Be sure to keep your camera handy as the picturesque town is a delight from morning until night.
National Apple Harvest Festival - Gettysburg, PA
October 6-7 and October 13-14, 2012
Just as there’s nothing like a juicy fall apple, there’s nothing like a Pennsylvania festival to celebrate it. Head over to Gettysburg, PA for the National Apple Harvest Festival to celebrate all things apple with candy apples, bus tours of the orchards, pony rides for the kids, Native American dancing, an antique car display and chainsaw carving contests. If you’ve ever wondered how Scrapple is made, consider this your opportunity to satisfy your curiosity. The two hour drive from Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD or four hour drive from Pittsburgh, PA/Morgantown, WV will give you a chance to take in fall colors along the way.
Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival – Port Angeles, WA
October 12-13-14, 2012
Head to the far northwest for the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival where you’ll enjoy the sweetest of all crabs, Dungeness, which is pulled from the waters around Washington and Alaska. The festival will also give you a chance to sample wines from celebrated local wineries and all manner of other seafood delights. If you fancy cooking, be sure to take in the many cooking demonstrations by a variety of noted chefs working with Pacific coastal fish and seafood.
Madison County Covered Bridge Festival – Madison County, IA
October 13-14, 2012
Although many people associate covered bridges with New England, they can also be found in the Midwest of the United States. You can take a tour of the six covered bridges in Madison County as part of the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival. If the bridge tour whets your appetite you’ll find plenty to eat and drink, and then you can wander among the vendors stalls to find just the right items to take home. If you’re into classic or antique vehicles you can feast your eyes on the beauties in the show and parade. Music from a variety of performers is sure to keep the atmosphere lively.
Whichever festival you visit, fall is a wonderful time to enjoy the beauty and diversity in the great USA. Buckle up and have lots of fun!