Fall is just about here and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to communities to cuisine to medieval times. Enjoy local art and culture, pick pumpkins and take a hayride on the farm, get a taste of local eats, time trip back to the 16th century… some of the fun has already begun, and even more will start over the next few weeks. This list of fall festivals, ordered by start date, will help you plan for it all.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 25
Admission: Thru 9/13: $19/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $24/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under
This time trip back to medieval times began in late August with a big endorsement from me as one of my very favorite annual events in the area. But it’s a must-go among fall fests, so it’s getting a plug again. 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, even a flea circus. 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. Get a glimpse of and a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.
Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 5 – November 1
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12 (look for a deal here)
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. A tip based on our experience there: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.
Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 19 – October 31
Admission: $5, 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 spattered 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 more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 12 – October 31
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and 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 19, 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.
Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: 11th Street NW, from Park to Kenyon, WDC
When: September 12, 11am – 6pm
The neighborhood’s 9th annual festival will celebrate the start of the new season and the community. Columbia Heights’ food vendors, a beer garden, and live music will be there to enjoy all day. Get to know some of the great causes organizing right in the neighborhood. Themed tent areas will invite guests to explore the world in a cultural section, check-out the beautiful work of local artisans, and take a moment to focus on health and wellness. The truly adventurous can run through their version of an adult warrior obstacle course, including a moon bounce! Families can also enjoy the festival together at the Bloom Bar Fun Tent and the Fun Field located on Harriet Tubman Elementary School yard.
Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street, WDC
When: September 12, 12-6pm
This free event celebrates the 17th Street Corridor and surrounding community with musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.
Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 19-20
Admission: $17/adults, $8/kids 6-11, children 5 and under are free
At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts and entertainment. More than forty juried 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. Try your hand at 18th century cricket — demonstrations and cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.
Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm, Chantilly, VA
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $9.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends
This festival at one of my favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously 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 field trip there.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $9/weekdays, $14/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up
This festival is HUGE. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue 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! September 19-20 is a preview weekend, then it opens daily September 26.
H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, WDC
When: September 19, 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 kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.
Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 19 – November 1
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 & Corn Maze
Where: Greenstreet Gardens, Lothian, MD
When: Weekends September 19 – November 1
Admission: $13.95 (look for a deal here)
This seasonal celebration in Anne Arundel County boasts all one could want for a day of fall fun, including some unique features. Little ones can play in a corn pit, like a sand pit but with corn kernels. And the slide, it goes underground. There’s also a jumping pillow, cow train, hayrides, a straw bale maze, tire tower, and even more.
Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 19 – October 31
Pick out and pumpkin and enjoy other fun activities for little ones at this 131-acre farm. A 14-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.
Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 26 – November 1
Admission: $7.95/weekdays, $11.95/weekends (look for a deal here)
Word has it there’s a sprawling corn maze shaped like Taylor Swift’s face at Summers Farm. But if that doesn’t excite your kids (Team Katy, perhaps?) then pretty much everything else will — a pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, and more. Be sure to check the calendar for any special events going on.
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill, WDC
When: September 27, 11am – 5pm
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo, back for another here of musical amusement. And a Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 26 – October 31
Admission: $11, free for children 2 and 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 Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms, Bluemont, VA
When: September 26 – October 31
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free
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 schedule of activities here.
Rhode Island Row Fall Fest
Where: 2300 Washington Place, NE
When: October 3, 12-4pm
Leaves are turning, harvest time is here. Rhode Island Row has the perfect family-friendly way to celebrate the season – a Fall Fest with live music and free kids activities. Enjoy the sounds of The JoGo Project, while savoring scrumptious food and drink from the popular Carolina Kitchen and its Fall Fest Beer Garden. There’s something for all ages – face painting and balloon creations for the young and a vintage car show for the young at heart. A free shuttle offers an easy ride to even more entertainment — the annual Rhode Island Avenue Main Street Fall Fest nearby. The Rhode Island Row Fall Fest is free and open to the public.
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: October 3-4
Admission: $5, free for ages 2 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, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of activities here.) This all benefits Frederick County charities.
Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: October 3-4
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.
Taste of DC
Where: Pennsylvania Ave., 3rd-7th Streets NW, WDC
When: October 10-11, 12-7pm
Admission: $10, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under
Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our the city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 50 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and a Worldwide Family Fun Stop with activities — dancing, games, storytelling, arts & crafts,and more — especially for kids.
Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
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 10-11, 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 24 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.
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! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And can’t-miss caramel apples.