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8 Fall Harvest Festivals Across the USA
From Maine to California, we've pinpointed the best places to celebrate harvest-friendly events.
Along with dazzling fall foliage displays and crisp air, you can enjoy vibrant autumn festivals across the country this autumn. (Getty Images).
Apple picking. Pumpkin carving. Corn mazes. As the days get shorter and the leaves start to change, communities across the country celebrate the fruits of their labor. Whether you're in the Northeast, the South, the Midwest or the West Coast, there's a fun festival near you. Here are eight harvest-season festivals across the country that will appeal to autumn enthusiasts of all ages.
Harvest on the Harbor
A New England food and drink festival at the peak of leaf-peeping season, the Harvest on the Harbor festival in Portland offers sustainable suppers, tastes of Maine and the lobster chef of the year. Taking place from Oct. 17-22, Harvest on the Harbor is a charitable event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting "Full Plates, Full Potential," which strives to end childhood hunger in Maine.
Naples Grape Festival
Naples, New York
The Finger Lakes region of New York is America's second-largest wine-producing region outside of California, and a grape harvest celebration has taken place in Naples every year since 1961. The signature event is the annual Grape Pie Contest, which celebrates a regional delicacy that dates back to the '50s. The Naples Grape Festival also includes grape-stomping performances from rock, blues, jazz and original musicians. This year's event takes place from Sept. 23-24.
Bowling Green Bourbon and Brewfest
Bowling Green, Kentucky
A one-day harvest festival on Oct. 21 featuring hundreds of craft brews from across the region, the Bowling Green Bourbon and Brewfest showcases hand-picked Kentucky bourbons, live music entertainment, a plethora of food vendors, free rides and more. During the event, a stein hoisting competition takes place where guests test their mettle to see how long they can hold a liter of beer. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will benefit local charities.
Harvest Festival at Flamingo Gardens
Each weekend in October, the 90-year-old Flamingo Gardens' Botanical Gardens and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary celebrates an annual harvest festival. The four-weekend event features hayrides, live entertainment, a pumpkin patch, music, crafts, games and more. Each weekend has a different theme, including a Scarecrow Competition (Oct. 7-8), Pirates & Princess (Oct. 14-15), Superheroes (Oct- 21-22) and, of course, Halloween (Oct. 29- 30).
National Craft & Cowboy Festival
This harvest festival is located inside Silver Dollar City theme park (admission fee required), and hosts the largest festival of craftsmen demonstrating their arts. Taking place from Sept. 13 to Oct. 28, the festival features a variety of events celebrating the Wild West, including trick riders and ropers, traditional dancing and comedy acts. Kent Rollins, a Food Network chef, demonstrates cowboy cooking and pioneer culinary traditions such as campfire cooking, cowboy beef stew and Dutch Oven desserts.
For 39 years, the northern Michigan town of Charlevoix has celebrated the harvest season at area apple orchards. The nonprofit Apple Fest features dozens of apple producers and varieties. Families can find a farmers market with apple products of every kind, including cider, donuts, apple butter, along with other seasonal offerings. Apple Fest also includes a craft fair, pumpkin carving, 5K and 10K runs, a petting zoo, face painting and more. This year's event takes place from Oct. 13-15
Hood River Valley Harvest Fest
Hood River, Oregon
The 35th annual Hood River Valley Harvest Fest takes place in the Columbia River Gorge at the height of foliage season. The event, from Oct. 13-15, features over 100 vendors selling food, wine, beer, cider and arts and crafts. What's more, local craft brewery Full Sail Brewing Co. sponsors an entertainment tent featuring live music throughout the festival.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Santa Rosa, California
A showcase of northern California's harvest for over 40 years, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, from Oct. 6-8 in Sonoma, features food competitions, wine, beer and cider tasting, cooking demonstrations and the World Championship Grape Stomp. Restaurants and chefs vie for medals and "Best of Show” accolades in various categories, and guests are treated to a weekend of culinary delights.
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About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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