Even with a late-September heat-wave cruising through parts of the country right now, autumn is in the air. From coast to coast, towns and cities are preparing for the harvest season with outdoor festivals, culinary events, and of course, fun-fueled Oktoberfest celebrations. So embrace the pumpkin spice lifestyle, put on a cozy sweater and get out to explore these unique fall festivals near you.
This weeklong festival in celebration of the humble pecan kicks off with a 5K walk/run and includes a pageant, crowning ceremony, parade through downtown Whiteville, NC, and more. Come out to support top producers and local businesses as the region celebrates the festival’s 25th anniversary. Festivities are set to conclude with an all-day concert at the main stage, an event not to be missed.
SOUTH CAROLINA – FALL FOR GREENVILLE
When: October 12-15
Where to Stay: Greenville South (ZGS) Extended Stay
Music, food, and drinks—no wonder Fall for Greenville was named a Top Travel-worthy Food Event by USA Today! Discover local specialties and international flavors as 40 restaurants dish out over 200 menu items to festival goers. In between bites, be sure to take in the sights and sounds of Greenville with live performances on seven stages. Keep ahead of all festival news by following #FFGVL for pictures and updates.
OHIO – CIRCLEVILLE PUMPKIN SHOW
When: October 19-21
Where to Stay: Dayton (ZDO) Extended Stay
What could possibly be more emblematic of the Fall Season than the pumpkin? Head to Circleville, Ohio for one of the biggest displays of this gourd-geous fruit in the country. The streets will be awash in orange as local farmers and producers descend on the town with more than 10,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash, and gourds. Attendees will enjoy a variety of events including a fair, pageants, parades, giant pumpkin weigh-in, craft demonstrations, live entertainment, and of course—pumpkin spiced treats of all kinds.
Begin the season right with this spook-tacular autumn celebration. The streets of St. Charles, Illinois, will come alive as families, businesses, and organization alike showcase their artistic prowess and creativity during the 32nd annual scarecrow contest. Peruse local neighborhoods and judge for yourself who makes the cut or learn from the pros how to make your own scarecrow to bring home. In addition to prizes, there’ll be carnival rides, a petting zoo, antique auto show and plenty of live entertainment to keep the good times going.
TEXAS – AUTUMN AT THE ARBORETUM
When: September 23-November 22
Where to Stay: Dallas/Market Center (ZMT) Extended Stay
In Texas, they do everything big—even their festivals. Named one of “America’s Best Pumpkin Festivals” by Fodor’s Travels, the architectural display at the Dallas Arboretum puts pumpkins to use in unimaginable and breathtaking creative ways. In addition to the stunning changing leaves and seasonal blooms, witness the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village, themed this year after the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. See the Emerald City and Yellow Brick Road, all artfully reconstructed with gourds, or walk amongst the characters in Scarecrow’s Garden. You won’t likely see a display like this again, so be sure to bring your camera.
Celebrate the changing seasons—Southwestern style! El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum in Sante Fe, New Mexico, will host Harvest Festival, voted the second best Fall festival by USA Today readers. Return to simpler times with traditional harvest activities including making cider by hand with a press, sampling sweet sorghum syrup produced by a burrow driven mill, stomping grapes by foot for wine, and crafting your own delicious stone-ground corn tortillas. Artisans and performers will be on site to provide entertainment, while demonstrations, courses, and presentations lend a fun educational opportunity for guests of all ages. From festive farm fun to historical harvest lessons, there won’t be a dull moment.
Feeling festive? With 189 properties across 22 states, InTown Suites extended stay accommodations are an easy and budget-friendly place to rest your head during your fall festival celebrations.