The kids are back in school, the days are growing noticeably shorter and a certain crispness has invaded the air. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that summer has drawn to a close. Hang on a second while we check the calendar…
Sure enough, autumn is here once again, and with the changing of the seasons comes a slew of festivals up and down both the West and East Coast. There’s hundreds to pick from. Here are just a few slated for the weeks to come:
Sonoma County Harvest Fair – Santa Rosa, CA – Oct 4th and 5th
The Harvest Fair marks it’s 45th year of showcasing the county’s grand harvest which continues to result in world-class wines, award winning beer and a plethora of culinary wealth. The epicenter of the Harvest Fair is still the Tasting Pavilion, featuring innovative cuisine paired with some of the area’s best wine, beer and cider. With over 100 Sonoma County wineries participating (with over 500 wines), even the most experienced connoisseur is sure to find a new favorite.Other activities include: Harvest Obstacle Course, Pumpkin Bowling, Apple Slingshot and pumpkin carving. Buy a pumpkin at the Harvest Pumpkin Patch and take it home or carve it here – just inside the Brookwood Gate. If you didn’t have enough fun with Easy Bake Oven when you were a kid, stop by Shade Park on Friday and Saturday and bake an Easy Bake Pumpkin Pie!
The National Apple Harvest Festival – Biglerville, PA – Oct 3/4 and 10/11
Held during the first two full weekends in October, The National Apple Harvest Festival has been celebrating beautiful crafts, great music and wonderful food for 51 years. The festival has something for everyone with hundreds of arts and crafts dealers, demonstrations, contests, food stands, and entertainment. The festival is located in the heart of Pennsylvania Apple country, near historic Gettysburg, and is within a two hour drive of Washington DC, Baltimore MD, and Harrisburg PA. Special Attractions Include: The Apple Auditorium and Antique Cars, Steam Engine Displays, Orchard Tours, Petting Zoo, Craftsman Demonstrations, and Appearances by PA Apple Queen.
Pony Express Pumpkinfest – St. Joseph, MO – Oct. 9 – 11
St. Joseph, Mo. is best known as the starting point of the Pony Express mail service and the death place of the infamous outlaw Jesse James. Its Pony Express Pumpkin Festival takes place October 10 – 12 at the Pony Express National Museum. On opening night, you can watch the lighting of the Great Pumpkin Mountain, where hundreds of carved pumpkins light up with just the flip of a switch! The festival also features live entertainment, festival rides and games, a children’s costume parade, crafts and food.
Stratton Harvestfest and Craft Brewfest – Stratton, Vt. – Oct. 10
Before the winter snows cover the slopes of this popular mountain resort, the staff host this festival over Columbus Day weekend. Sample over 80 regional and local Vermont beers, ales, lagers and ciders at Stratton’s 2015 Brewfest. Sampling is from Noon-6pm. Hungry? Sample a wide array of chili from 1-3pm during the annual chili cook-off.
Cranberry Harvest Celebration– Wareham, MA – Oct. 10 and 11
The Cranberry Harvest Celebration is a great way to see and learn about the picturesque cranberry harvest while enjoying some old fashioned family fun. Watch as we harvest the crimson berries continuously each day. Visit educational and historical displays, view the spectacular landscape and harvest by taking a helicopter ride, enjoy live cooking demonstrations by some of the area’s finest chefs and culinary professionals, shop the marketplace with over 40 juried exhibitors from around the region, listen to local musicians, and peruse the farmers’ market and food concession areas for the best fare around. Children’s activities include pony, paddle boat, train, live entertainment, wagon rides and much more.
New York City Wine and Food Festival, New York, N.Y., Oct. 15 – Oct. 18
Food & Wine Magazine presents this annual charitable event, centered in the Meatpacking District. This year’s edition will include food tastings and wine seminars galore throughout the city, along with celebrity chef Anne Burrell, who is slated to release her first book, “Cook Like a Rock Star.” Food Network veterans including Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay will also appear. Proceeds from this year’s fest will go to the Food Bank for New York City.
Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Fest – Half Moon Bay, Calif., Oct. 17 and 18
This one has something for everyone. For music fans, there’s an array of California performers that play everything from the blues to pop, in addition to a “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands” event featuring emerging acts from around the Bay Area. Connoisseurs of “adult beverages” will appreciate the fest’s selection of local wines, spirits and an annual commemorative ale from the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. For families, there’s a “haunted barn,” pie-eating contests and Spongebob Squarepants himself is scheduled to appear. Needless to say, pumpkins and art also play a big part in this beloved annual fest, celebrating its 41st year in 2011.
Harvest on the Harbor – Portland, ME – Oct. 21 – 24
Maine’s 4-day Harvest on the Harbor Festival in mid-October lures more than 5,000 people up to Portland’s craggy shores to enjoy a celebration of Maine’s finest locally sourced foods, top chefs and other Maine-made products such as beers and wines. Portland’s dining scene has been gaining national and international traction, producing 4 James Beard Award-winning chefs, and more than 250 restaurants perfecting the culinary art of preparing local, safely harvested seafood. The Harvest on the Harbor brings these artisans to the forefront, with competitions that include “Best Farm-to Table Restaurant” and “Lobster Chef of the Year.”