Fall is right around the corner, and so are the many festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to books to cuisine to historic times. You can have a blast on a farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst gorgeous autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date (and, admittedly, mostly reprised from previous years), will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 21
Admission: Thru 9/9: $19/age 16+, $8/age 7-15
9/15-10/21: $26/age 16+, $11/age 7-15 | free/6 & under
This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a big endorsement from me as one of the best annual events in the area. You just can’t beat the amazing variety of entertainment — exciting jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers and other balancing acts, jugglers, musical performances, puppetry, plus slides, play areas, and games. And walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in Revel Grove, the charming location that resembles a 16th-century village, as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of “mead” is an immensely fun and interesting jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy.
National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center | Downtown DC
When: September 1, 9am – 7pm
The 18th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre. Even better, they will all be there presenting book readings, talks, Q&A’s, book signings, and more. These will take place along with lots of other reading-related activities for all ages.
Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Weekends in September
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under
The annual Apple Gala and Cider Festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday in September. Over 7,000 apple trees are planted throughout our farm, with plenty for picking and pressing to make fresh apple cider. Learn how apple cider was made back in the day with cider pressing demos from an antique 1835 cider press, enjoy live music, nosh on donuts baked fresh each morning, take wagon rides out to the apple orchards, and and have lots of fun in the five-acre play area, corn maze, and more.
Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
Admission: $6, babies 1 and under are free
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds adorned with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and even more.
Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: September 7 – November 4
Admission: $9/weekdays, $13.50/weekends, free/2 & under
Celebrate the arrival of fall in Frederick, MD with farm activities for the whole family family and other great seasonal traditions. Conquer twists and turns of the corn maze, jump on the giant pillow, pet and feed farm animals, and cruise down giant slides. There are over 50 attractions appropriate for any age including mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers, and much more. Dates to note: September 8-9 – Teacher Appreciation Weekend, September 15 – Touch a Tractor, September 22 – Military and First Responders Appreciation Weekend, September 29 – Apple Harvest Festival.
Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 8 – October 28
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free/2 & under
Hartland’s long list of opportunities for amusement include hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). On September 15, be sure to don your coolest accessory for “Cape Day” — everyone who wears a cape, superhero or not, gets $2 off admission. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.
Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th St & Columbia Ave NW | Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 9, 12-6pm
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 40yh Annual Adams Morgan Day, offering a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. The family-friendly celebration will have activities for all ages, including free crafts for kids and adults, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 15 – November 6
Admission: $6-20 depending on dates
This festival is enormous! So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling site that contains seven slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and lots more. Expect some lines, especially for the giant slides that take you swooping down several humps over a hillside. There is also a Kiddie Zone just for little ones aged 5 and under. Be prepared for a crowd, especially on weekends.
Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 15 – November 4
Admission: $12, 2 & under free
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. They also offer field trips and birthday parties, something to keep in mind for autumn-born children. And a tip based on our experience there: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 15 – November 6
Admission: $10.95-16.95, free/2 & under
The animals are usually the main draw at the park, but this time of year, there are activities galore that bring visitors to enjoy some seasonal fun. Year after year, families, groups and schools spend a crisp fall day enjoying loads of great activities such as giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, pedal carts, and more. It’s also the perfect place for a fall birthday party. Get $2 off Mon-Thurs admission after 2pm by subscribing to their email list (scroll all the way down)!
Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: September 15, 10am – 4pm
Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns, highlighting the area’s popular restaurants and featuring live entertainment, pony rides, children’s amusements, crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Festival goers can sample cuisine from city restaurant kitchens for $3 per “taste” or 10 “tastes” for $25. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.
Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Opens September 22 – November 4
Admission: $10, $7/patrons 4′ and under
The farm in Frederick County claims the largest corn maze in Maryland, and it comes with loads of other farm fun, including slides, a pumpkin patch, animals, the moo choo train, cornhole, zip lines pedal karts, apple cannons, a tractor tire mountain, and lots more! Dogs on leashes are welcome, too.
Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 29-30
Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 48th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from across the US. Find one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items galore! Located just 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, but far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, exhibitors and shoppers alike will enjoy the small town oasis nestled along the Occoquan River.
Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 15 – November 4
Admission: $10, free/2 & under
The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more.
Fall Festival 2018
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: September 22 – November 4
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends
This festival at one of our favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a great time on the farm: hayrides, swings, a couple of playgrounds, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a bamboo maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more. Some features are available weekends only, but there’s more than plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a school field trip there.
Where: St. Luke’s School | McLean, VA
When: September 22
The McLean Community Center welcomes the whole family for a fun and exciting day. Activities include games, live entertainment, a petting zoo, concessions, and arts & crafts. All activities are included in the entrance fee with the exception of the purchase of pumpkins for $3 and food concessions.
Anniversary Fall Festival
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 22
Celebrate and have fun at the Fall Festival and Anniversary Event at the Reston Farm Market. Bring the family for lots of activities — an incredible balloon artist, face painting, train rides, a petting zoo, and much more. Get ready to pick a pumpkin, pansies, and mums as well. Seasonal produce will be available for purchase, and food trucks will be there with concessions.
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 30 – November 4
Admission: $9.25 – $18.95, depending on day/time
This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. Slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. And the Maize Maze, with a rooster path to navigate, is an adventure in itself. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.
Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 22 – October 31
Admission: Free, $7/corn maze, pay for pumpkins
Pick out a pumpkin and enjoy other fun activities for little ones at this 131-acre farm. A 15-acre corn maze, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, and wagon rides will delight young farm-goers. Concessions and craft shopping are part of the offerings, too. Not all of the activities are available during the week, so check the schedule for details.
Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson | Georgetown, DC
When: September 23, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste
In its 25th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring delectable dishes to sample as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.
Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10-17, depending on time/day
With so much farm fun, there undoubtedly will be something to excite every kid. A pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, straw mountains, a mini obstacle course, even a campfire area if you want to “chill” out. Be sure to check the calendar for any special events going on.
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 29
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, an animal petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including an instrument petting zoo and more amusement for the younger set. A Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 29 – October 28
Admission: $12, free/2 & under
Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. An area favorite, kids love jumping in the hayloft, heading out on hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food cost extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!
Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: September 29-30
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: September 28-29
Admission: $7/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under
The Frederick Fairgrounds are transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, and musical entertainment. Note that Friday night is 21+.
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September thru October
Admission: Free (fee for some activities)
Larriland is best known for their PYO fields, but in the fall, they offer a little more for farm-goers. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to find a potential jack-o-lantern, then play in the Boo Barn or make your way through the straw maze. Hayrides are only offered on weekends, while the barn and maze are open every day the farm is open.
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under
Great Country is known for its awesome festivals, and the Pumpkin Harvest is no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a weekend schedule of activities here.
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends in October, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $8/ages 2 and up
The farm known for it’s strawberry picking in spring also welcomes guests to pick out pumpkins in the fall. Hayrides, farm animals to visit, and small slides, and a straw maze give kids a little extra fun, too.
Taste of DC
Where: RFK Stadium | Northeast DC
When: October 5-6
Admission: Start at $10
Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 65 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities especially for kids.
Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle | Bethesda, MD
When: October 6, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples
According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 28th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm Oktoberfest
Where:The Pavilions of Turkey Run | McLean, VA
When: October 6,
Admission: $25-35/adult, $12/child, free/6 & under
Enjoy a Bavarian-themed festive event with all proceeds benefitting local living history museum and working 18th century farm. There will be a DJ, music and dancing, a cider and beer tasting. A silent auction will include items from local wineries, passes to Skyline and Luray Caverns and Potomac Riverboat, Pilates classes, and much more. A Save the Farm update will come from Farm officers and invited officials. The catered meal includes grilled bratwurst and knockwurst on potato buns, barbecued marinated chicken breast, sauerkraut and German potato salad, fresh vegetable sauté and Caesar salad, jumbo soft pretzels with mustard, warm peach cobbler, vanilla and chocolate ice cream with toppings. Cash bar showcasing gravity poured Defender American Pale Ale and Oktoberfest Lager.
Farm Harvest Days & Carnival Fun
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: October 12-15
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25
Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start on October 12 with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.
H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: October 13, 12-7pm
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is always huge. If you don’t mind crowds, there is tons to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; cool art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and children’s activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is always difficult.
18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: October 20-21
Admission: $8/adult, $4/age 3-12, free/under 3
Enjoy the splendor of fall on a living history farm. Warm yourself by the fire while savor crisp local apples, spit roasted chicken, and hearty breads. Watch and participate with period tradesmen like the spinners and blacksmith. Live music, singing and dancing, and games are also among the festivities. And kids will delight in seeing turkeys, pigs, and chickens. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase.
Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 7-8 & 28, November 10
There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with a couple of different festivals taking place. The Apple Harvest Festival is October 6-7, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 27 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard. And their Bakery Festival, when you can sample bakes goods, is November 10.
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 6
Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and maybe a few local businesses are transformed into intimate performance spaces to be enjoyed by anyone who happens to stroll by. Enjoy a variety of music styles from over 30 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. Music maps are usually available at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day.
Art on the Avenue
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 6, 10am – 6pm
Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Over 300 artists – jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, painters, sculptors, fabric artists, and musicians – will have their work on display and for sale. And kids activities have always been a vital part of the festival – scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design, screen art weaving are just some of the crafts to enjoy. Food vendors will also be there offering hot dogs, BBQ, Indian fare, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, and home made cider donuts.
Where: Parkridge Center | Manassas, VA
When: October 13, 2-5pm
Celebrate all things fall with Parkridge Center at the second annual Fall Festival. The family-friendly, free one-day event will feature music, seasonal treats, games for all ages, a stationary hot air balloon ride, a petting zoo, and more. Seasonal Treats include an apple cider bar and cookie decorating station. There will also be fall favorites like pumpkin decorating, bobbing for apples, candy corn bean toss, pumpkin mini golf, and witches brew.
Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.
Haunt the Town
Where: Downtown Historic Occoquan, VA
When: October 27, 11am – 8:30pm
The Town of Occoquan and the Occoquan Merchants Guild will host Haunt the Townright before Halloween. This brand-new event features a full day of free activities for everyone, including a carved pumpkin contest, a costume parade, a magic show, a movie in the park, and more! See the website for the schedule of activities.
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: November 9-11
Admission: Tickets start at $15
Meet, eat, and shop at this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious. Over 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants showcase their wares, works, and culinary creations. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts.
Colonial Market & Fair (Rescheduled from September)
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: November 10-11
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/age 6-11, free/5 & under
At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts and entertainment. Artisans from across the nation will demonstrate their trades and sell their wares, while two stages of family entertainment delight audiences with 18th-century amusements, including a puppet show, a fire-eating act, and a balloon launch. Catch a demo of an try your hand at 18th century cricket, and listen to colonial music. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.
Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!