Harvest time in America is festival season. Festivals themed around pumpkins, apples, cranberries, and other fall foods pop up across the country. Towns show off their traditions and food and beer is abundant. Celebrate the harvest with these 7 fall festivals.
The United States biggest Oktoberfest is in Cincinnati, Ohio. Procure some lederhosen and get ready for beer, there are more fest tents and bier gardens than you can hope to take on in a day. There is also plenty of hilarity to watch: Weiner races with Dachunds dressed in hotdog costumes, beer stein races, beer barrel rolls, a giant chicken dance, and a contest to see who can hold their beer stein the longest are all part of the festivities. It’s a whirlwind of a weekend and one of those crazy American festivals that you have to experience at least once.
Trailing of the Sheep
The Wood River Valley has a long tradition of herding sheep. The Trailing of the Sheep festival grew out of necessity. Sheep herders and locals in the town had run-ins every year when the sheep were herded to their pastor grounds for the winter.
To reduce negative interactions, 2 herders invited people to accompany them during the fall migration. During the walk to valley, the herders shared stories of the history of sheep herding and the long tradition it has in Hailey. People loved it and today, the tradition is carried on.
The festival includes a folk-life fair, presentations, sheepdog trials and the trailing of the sheep. While the festival has grown, it still retains its small-town charm with loads of history and flocks of cute sheep.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Sonoma County, California
Fall festivals are usually dominated by beer but not in Sonoma County. Grapes are harvested between August and October and wine country celebrates with a festival ripe with California cuisine, wine tastings and wine stomping contests. There are plenty of events to peruse around the grounds, but break out some nice clothes if you’re going to a tasting as most participants dress up. This festival is geared towards adults with abundant wine tastings and chef demos. Ready your pallets for this one.
Circleville Pumpkin Show
If you love everything pumpkin, this is the festival for you. From the parade to the food, everything is pumpkin themed. There are concerts, a parade, pumpkin sculpting, pumpkin food and of course, the giant pumpkin weigh in. The winner from last year weighed an impressive 1,153.5 lbs. (Little known fact, pumpkin pie is actually made from squash. Hopefully that doesn’t squash your day.)
Any guess what you’ll be eating at the Wellfleet OysterFest? This festival is geared towards sustaining Wellfleet’s shell fishing and aquaculture industries. The highlight is the delicious food; chowders, stuffed clams, and the popular rawbars. The food is completed with some New England beers and ales and the weekend is topped off by an Oyster chuck-off.
Autumn at the Arboretum
September 23-November 22
One of my coworkers joked that Dallas has a week of fall colors– if we’re lucky. Texas might not have the most stunning fall foliage but that doesn’t stop the Arboretum from putting on a show.
The centerpiece of the fall themed attractions is a “pumpkin and squash town.” Everything in the little town section is covered in pumpkins and squashes. And this year, the town is Wizard of Oz themed complete with a scarecrow garden and enchanted forest. Along with the beauty of gardens, there are historical tours, beer tastings and live music scattered throughout the weeks that the arboretum is decorated for fall.
Harvest on the Harbor
This festival is for foodies. Participants eat carefully curated meals at long feast tables while live music adds to the ambiance. The meals celebrate the ingredients and cooking styles from Maine and much of the food is locally sourced. Lobster is the centerpiece, but you’ll also have the chance to try other local favorites. This festival celebrates locally sourced foods, farm to table practices, and the culinary finesse of some heavy hitter chefs.