Fall is right around the corner 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… Most of the hoopla begins in a couple weeks, but some of the fun has started already. This list of fall festivals will help you plan for it all. And if there are any other good ones I’ve missed, feel free to let me know in the comments.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md.
When: Weekends through October 19
Admission: Thru 9/17: $17/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under
This day 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: September 6 – November 2, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, Sundays 11am – 7pm, Fridays (starting Oct 3) 5-11pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
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 20 – November 3, 10am – 5pm daily
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: September 6 – October 26
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under
The website promises a wonderful farm experience, and from the looks of it, they’ll make good on it. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). This year you can celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by travelling through the maze of Dorothy and Toto – costumes encouraged! The apple picking also comes highly recommended.
Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: September 13 – November 2, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9.95/weekdays, $14.95 or $16.95/holiday and weekends
This festival 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 last year.
Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: September 13, 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.
Adams Morgan Day Festival
Where: 18th Street NW, between Columbia and Florida Avenues
When: September 14, 12-7pm
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities. The 36th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival offers a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. Arts on Belmont will feature original artisans and a variety of art mediums. And various stages throughout the neighborhood will showcase local live entertainment that all ages can enjoy. Details and the schedule of performances are available on the festival website.
H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE
When: September 20, 12-7pm
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; 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.
Where: Summers Farm
When: September 20 – November 4
Admission: $6.95/weekdays, $10.95/weekends
I have Certifikid to thank for finding out about this farm, as I read about it in a deal on admission that’s currently running. It sounds like Summers has everything one could want in autumn farm fun and then some — a pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, corn mazes, 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.
Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, Va.
When: September 20 – November 4
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.
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 28 – November 2, 9am – 6pm daily
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 five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. Expect some lines, especially for the giant slide that takes 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!
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
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: Saturdays & Sundays September 27 – October 25, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under
Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, 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!
Where: Southwest DC (several venues)
When: October 2-5
Admission: Varies by activity
This annual celebration will take place over several day this year, highlighting art and culture in Washington’s smallest quadrant, Southwest. The lineup of festivities will include the (e)merge art fair, music, theatrical performances, hand dancing, walking tours, and more. Find more details here.
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms
When: September 27 – October 31, 9am – 6pm daily
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 Pumpkion 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.
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds
When: September 27, 11am – 10pm & September 28, 11am – 6pm
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 kids activities here. This all benefits Frederick County charities.
Fall For Fairfax KidFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: October 4, 10am – 7pm & October 5, 10am – 5pm
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., 9th – 14th Streets NW
When: October 11-12, 12-7pm
Admission: $10, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under
The annual festival celebrating food, wine, and culture in the city will takes lace during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 40 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, a chili eating championship, live entertainment, and a Family Zone with fun especially for kids.
Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field
When: October 11, 11am – 6pm
The neighborhood’s 8th annual festival will celebrate the season and the community. There will be family activities, live entertainment, local artists and vendors, food, and fun. More details and the schedule of events are available here.
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 11-12 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 25 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.