An autumn past at Clarke’s Elioak Farm
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 cuisines 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 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 20
Admission: Thru 9/8: $20/age 16+, $10/age 7-15
9/14-10/20: $27/age 16+, $12/age 7-15 | free/6 & under
This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a huge 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.
Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Weekends in September
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under (find discount)
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
When: Tuesday – Sunday through November 3
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. Hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday; 10am – 5:30pm Saturday & Sunday. Closed Mondays.
Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: September 6 – November 3
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 14 – Touch a Tractor, September 21 – Military and First Responders Appreciation Weekend, September 28 – Apple Harvest Festival.
Adams Morgan Day
Where: Throughout Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 8, 12-6pm
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 41st 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, multiple stages of entertainment, all kinds of demos, a whole Family Fun Zone, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.
Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 14-15
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. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as expert artisans demonstrate period crafting techniques. Learn how the Washingtons enjoyed ice cream and watch as interpreters showcase the process. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 14 – November 5
Admission: $7-20 depending on dates
This festival is enormous! So big I recommend giving the website a good look to help prepare and navigate your way around the sprawling site that contains multiple 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 14 – November 3
Admission: $12, free/2 & under (find discount)
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, farm-themed games and rides, and much 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 miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.
Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: September 14, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but tastes and rides are a fee
Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns for its 44th year, 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, plus there will be a beer garden to sample local brews and spirits. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.
Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 14 – October 27
Admission: $10/ages 3+, 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). New this year is a disc golf course — you can rent discs to play on a small, farm course with a hill and haybale obstacles. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.
Baltimore Seafood Festival
Where: Canton Waterfront | Baltimore, MD
When: September 14, 11am – 7pm
Admission: $12-15/adult, free for kids (find discount)
Head to this 6th annual waterfront festival showcasing some of Baltimore’s favorite restaurants serving their signature seafood dishes. Toss in refreshing drinks, live music, cooking demos, and an area for families with toys, games, face painting and more, and you have the Baltimore Seafood Festival – the only large scale seafood festival in Baltimore City.
KID Museum FutureFest
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center | Silver Spring, MD
When: September 15
KID Museum’s annual FutureFest is one of the DC area’s largest, free family festivals where kids can spark their imagination and families can celebrate their collective power to invent the future through all kinds of exhibits, demos, and live performances. A few highlights: KID City: Participants will build a city of the future — from the ground up — for a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience. Light up a high-tech street, construct a sculpture using 3D-printed bolts, race a vehicle down the maker highway, and more. Cultural Crossroads: Explore cultures that shape our community, from China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Korea, and beyond, through hands-on activities, collaborative art installations, and live music and dance performances. Innovation Expo: Discover technologies and innovations that are transforming our world and inspiring the next generation of innovators. Glimpse the future of Work & Play, Space & Exploration, Food & Sustainability, and more.
Anniversary Fall Festival
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 20 – November 5
Admission: $10/weekdays, $15/weekends
Celebrate and have fun at the Fall Festival and Anniversary Event at the Reston Farm Market. Bring the family for lots of activities, including train rides, a petting zoo, face painting, 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. On weekends, enjoy special shows 11am – 5pm and live music 2-5pm — check the Events Calendar to see what’s going on each weekend.
Wiener 500 Oktoberfest
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: September 21, 1-5pm
Help celebrate Wiener 500 Oktoberfest at The Wharf! Stop by District Pier to watch some of the speediest dogs compete for prizes. All race proceeds benefit the Humane Rescue Alliance. Enjoy the music, adults can drink cold Oktoberfest beer and participate in the stein hoisting competition, and all can munch on great food and watch the races on a 17 foot jumbotron! Don’t have a Dachshund? All dogs can enter the contest for best-dressed! Plus, there will be local vendors and giveaways from DC’s best pet friendly businesses.
H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 21, 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.
Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: September 21, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $35-40 for the 5k
Lincoln’s Cottage is once again combining their two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming! During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year they welcome everyone back “home” to join in a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. Go for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around for both.
Swinging into the season at Ticonderoga Farm
Fall Festival 2019
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: September 21 – November 3
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $17.95/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.
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 21 – November 5
Admission: $15.95-18.95/adult, $11.95-15.95/child 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 a great place for a fall birthday party. Get $2 off Mon-Thurs admission after 2pm by subscribing to their email list!
Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Opens September 21 – November 3
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! Go on Opening Weekend and get $1 off admission.
Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 21 – November 3
Admission: $12, free/2 & under (find discount)
The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick out a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slides, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more. Plan on lunch from the Feed Trough and stock up on fresh farm goods from the Food Stall.
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 21 – November 2
Admission: $9.95 – $16.95, depending on day/time
This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. The Maize maze, slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. New this year is the Sunflower September Spectacular, a pick-your-own sunflowers field open September 21-22, 24-26, and 27-29. 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 21 – October 31
Admission: Free on weekdays, $5/weekends (find discount)
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. Some activities may cost extra, and not all of the activities are available during the week, so check the schedule for details.
Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 21 – October 31
Admission: $10-17, depending on time/day (find discount)
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.
Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson | Georgetown, DC
When: September 22, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste
In its 26th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of more than 30 premier restaurants in the neighborhood, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring delectable dishes to sample as well as wine pairings. Little foodies will enjoy the Kids’ Corner tent with coloring and face painting. Plus, there will be live entertainment. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.
Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 28-29
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 49th 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.
Where: St. Luke’s School | McLean, VA
When: September 28
The McLean Community Center is once again hosting a fun and exciting day for the whole family. This indoor-outdoor festival features live entertainment, crafts, and more activities. Children can buy their own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch (with the help of a parent/guardian) to decorate at the crafts station. Food will be available for purchase.
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: September 27-28
Admission: $8/21+, $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+ only.
Farm meets city at the Barrack’s Row Festival
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 28
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, an animal petting zoo, food and art vendors, a beer garden, and tons of fun for kids. Enjoy entertainment all day as musicians, magicians, comedic performances, aerialists, stilt-walkers, and jugglers will keep the crowd amused.
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 28 – October 27
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! Note: There are also Pumpkin Harvest Days on some weekdays — see the website for more info.
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. Apple fritters and food trucks are available on Saturdays and Sunday’s.
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: September 30 – October 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.
Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: October 5-6
Admission: Free, but rides are extra (find discounts)
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, lots of live entertainment, and loads of 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.
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends, October 5-27
Admission: $9/ages 2+
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 Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle | Bethesda, MD
When: October 5, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay for 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 29th 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.
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 5
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 5, 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.
College Park Day
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: October 5, 12-6pm
Join friends, neighbors, and the entire City of College Park community at the 10th Annual College Park Day Festival. This FREE event is fun for the whole family with live music and bands, awesome kids zones, delicious food and drink, live performances and performers, helicopter fly-ins, exhibitors, and so much more. Plus free museum entry during the event!
Harbor Harvest Fall Children’s Festival
Where: Waterfront | Baltimore, MD
When: October 6, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free (fee for some activities)
Waterfront Partnership’s 12th annual Harbor Harvest Fall Children’s Festival will once again transform Rash Field into a fall wonderland with its family-friendly Inner Harbor tradition! The event is free to attend and will feature an urban pumpkin patch, petting zoo, kids play/hay maze, professional pumpkin carving competition, bubble fairies, face painting, pumpkin decorating, pony rides, train rides, and live music from interactive children’s bands Rocknocerus and The Uncle Devin Show. Guests can also enjoy a variety of food trucks while taking in the scenic backdrop of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
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.
Bethesda Row Arts Festival
Where: Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
All ages are welcome to join one of the region’s most exciting and esteemed outdoor festivals. Overnight, Bethesda Row’s Shopping and Entertainment District will be transformed into an outdoor art gallery, featuring more than 200 juried fine arts and crafts from artists around the nation. “Art Fair Sourcebook” and “Sunshine Artists” have recognized the event as one the most important in the country, and over 45,000 attendees agree! Especially for kids will be a spin-art tent to create their own art. And new for 2019: STartER GALLERY — a separate cluster of tents located on Bethesda Lane, featuring local and emerging artists showcasing their works to first-time and novice art collectors.
Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 12-13 & 26, November 9
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 12-13, 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 26 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 9.
Taste of DC
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: October 26-27
Admission: Start at $10
Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city in a new, cool location! Along with the obvious — tastings from numerous area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities especially for kids.
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: November 8-10
Admission: Tickets start at $15 (find discounts)
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.
Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!