Fall is fast approaching; the summer sun is winding down. and the latter end of the year is gearing up for the next few months of festive cheer. From Halloween thrills to Thanksgiving spreads, there’s something special about Fall in the US. Looking for your next adventure for the last half of the year? Here are some of the top fall festivals to add to your next trip.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
For 9 whole days, from October 7 – 15, Albuquerque puts on a spectacular display for the International Balloon Fiesta. This 60+ acre area launches over 500 hot air balloons into the sky in a mass ascension. Known for being one of the most photographed events in the world, it’s surely not to be missed this year. This event is perfect for those with children, as there is a myriad of activities to participate in as well as watching the balloons ascend into the sky.
Getting to and from
For ease of access in and out of the balloon park, the event provides park & ride services, meaning you can park at a partnered location and hop on the shuttle to take you to the festival park. Make sure to check the schedule for the day you intend to attend and remember that tickets cannot be purchased at the remote lots, so pre-booking is essential!
Other activities include the opening ceremony, drone light shows, firework displays and chainsaw carving. Displays run from as early as 5:45am up until 8:00pm at the latest. The balloon fiesta also plays host to the music fiesta, with headline artists providing a truly amazing atmosphere whilst watching the balloons fill the skyline.
Local and national performers also attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, including a military brass band, and differing genres of music. Main Street is home to strolling performers, with Native American dancers celebrating the New Mexico culture. Look out for the Mariachi troupes and Flamenco dancers too!
For a truly first-class experience of the balloon fiesta, why not upgrade to the Gondola Club VIP experience? You can benefit from A gourmet buffet, shuttle service to and from the park, souvenir gifts and the best views of the launch field. Other hospitality choices include the Chaser Club or glamping/camping. If you want a true camping experience, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta also allows visitors to bring in their own food and drink in soft-sided coolers. The only prohibited items include alcohol and glass.
Cincinnati Oktoberfest (Zinzinnati)
Fancy a long weekend-style trip to Cincinnati this year? Look no further than the Zinzinnati Oktoberfest from September 14-17. Taking place at 5th Street Downtown, this change of location brings even more fun to the festival this year as it gets bigger and better for 2023.
Food & Drink
Southwest Ohio celebrates its deep-rooted German culture with this 4-day weekend extravaganza, making it the perfect weekend to take a trip to this busy city. Expect a range of food and drinks, including Metts, Sauerkraut balls, bratwurst, pretzels, and strudel. Not to mention, all the German beers you can think of are included in this free city event!
Getting to and from
There aren’t any official parking partners with this event, however, it is advised to pre-book parking in the city centre ahead of the event. If you are traveling from out of the city, there are also many transport links within Cincinnati to get you to and from the event, especially if you want to enjoy the local brews and beers the event has to offer!
As well as the overwhelming choice of food and drink (you will never go hungry), there is a range of activities that are family-friendly at this city event. The famous ‘Running of the Wieners’ is expected to kick off this year’s event, much like in past years. This race is specific to our four-legged wiener friends, all of whom are usually dressed in hot dog costumes! Last year’s winner was Maple, a 1-year-old miniature dachshund that took home a Petsmart gift card worth $75. This one is especially good for the children to watch!
To get a head start on the Oktoberfest celebrations, the pre-event the week prior is the Gemütlichkeit Games (goodwill). Located at Fountain Square, you can watch this fantastic community celebration where contestants are challenged to participate in the Dachshund derby, beer barrel rolling, beer sein racing, log sawing races and nail hammering races.
Other fun activities include the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and the Sam Adams Stein Hoist competition.
If you want to make your time in Ohio worth the trip, you can also travel to Columbus for their Oktoberfest before attending the Cincinnati festival! Both festivals are only 1 hour 30 minutes from each other, and follow consecutively, starting with the Columbus celebrations. Taking place from September 8 – 10, this event takes a more traditional route for its German festivities.
Getting to and from
The city of Columbus once again offers a wide range of parking options which we highly recommend pre-booking before you visit. If you would prefer to really indulge in the event, the local city transport links are always a good idea when it comes to pre-planning your trip, meaning you can take full advantage and really soak up the culture of this yearly event.
This family-friendly event features a myriad of things to do, including the kick-off party at Hofbräuhaus Columbus, where you can enjoy food and traditional German beers whilst listening to live music. There is also the Oktoberfest Meiler Vier, a four-mile foot race that envelopes the fairgrounds, it is limited to 500 participants however, so get yourself signed up ASAP!
The main event of this Oktoberfest takes place at the Ohio Expo Center, housing traditional German beers, music, bands, and polka dancing. Strap on your finest Lederhosen and join in with the celebrations! There is also crafts and vendors for the kids, so you know you will never go hungry at this event, with plenty of things to keep the kids occupied too, including bouncy castles and face-painting.
Enjoy a bratwurst or two, frankfurters, German potato salad, Cream puffs, and German Sauerkraut. The best thing about Schmidt’s Columbus Oktoberfest is that admission is free, but parking is $10 per vehicle, so great if you are on a budget this year!
Duluth Fall Festival
Named one of the top 24 fall festivals in the US, the Duluth festival is another great activity to look at for something to do from September through to October. Comprising an opening parade, food, drink, trinket booths and a 5k road race, this festival is sure to get you in those fall feelings this year.
Getting to and from
Duluth is a reasonably small town to get around, and luckily a shuttle service is set up every year, meaning you can park and ride the event if you so wish! This means you aren’t sat in lengthy queues, potentially missing out on the opening ceremony. Parking near the festival site is extremely limited, so this is often the best way to get to and from the event. If wanting to watch the opening parade, it is recommended you arrive at the shuttle lot by 9am as the surrounding streets are closed for the parade.
Duluth fall festival has plenty to eat, drink, see and do for 2023. From cheerleader marching bands to electric jazz bands playing unique original songs, it’s the true culture of the Southwest injected into fall time – including traditional blues rock!
There’s no limit on food and drinks at this festival either, Duluth goes all out with 25-30 vendors expected to take part in this year’s event. Offerings include breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites, coffee, lemonade, breakfast biscuits, kettle corn, hamburgers and much more to suit all palates.
If you want to take home a special trinket from this fall-themed event, don’t forget to peruse the arts and crafts vendors, often selling homemade jewelry and trinkets that are sure to catch your eye! Knowing that all products have to be handmade makes this a truly awe-inspiring event, knowing you will take something home that is truly unique.
New York City Wine and Food Festival
New York is once again host to a spectacular wine and food festival this fall. From October 12 – 15, the big apple is THE place to be to try the latest in food and drink trends. This event is catered to adults, however, so we recommend this trip as an adult-only party and is ideal for friend groups and couples.
Getting to and from
NYC is a city that never sleeps, so you are guaranteed a great night with a lot of transport links to get to and from the New York City wine and food festival. With a subway system that never closes, you don’t have to worry about getting back to your hotel after a night of enjoying good wine and good food.
The NYC wine and food festival promises a plethora of activities to participate in, from Cocktail making master classes to a dinner hosted by your favourite chefs, you really don’t want to miss out on this one!
This fall festival promises a mix of signature events, walk-around tastings, demos and dining, and even master classes, allowing you to really get involved. CapitalOne also has exclusive cardholder access events, including a grand tasting package and a blue moon burger bash.
Pennsylvania’s National Apple Harvest Festival
Split over two separate weekends, October 7 & 8 and October 14 & 15, the Pennsylvania National Apple Harvest Festival is the perfect setting to get into the fall spirit. Arendtsville, PA is the heart of apple country and promises a wide range of tasting to be had.
Getting to and from
Much like the other festivals recommended in our guide, the National Apple Harvest Festival offers outlying parking fields with a shuttle bus service provided to get you to the festival grounds. This parking is included in your admission fee, so definitely worth parking and riding to the event! This festival is within driving distance from Washington D.C, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
This is the perfect fall festival for those with young families and adults alike, with a myriad of activities to participate in, including over 300 arts and crafts vendors, a huge selection of apple-themed food and drinks, hayrides, pony rides and even a petting zoo! The list is endless, so you and the kids are guaranteed to have a jam-packed weekend.
Alongside the many vendors and attractions to enjoy, you can try a variety of different foods and drinks local to the area, including Ribeye steak sandwiches, a full pork barbeque and vintage sodas, all whilst enjoying the live entertainment. The festival is open both weekends from 8am until 6pm and is held outdoors. Make sure to try all the apple-themed foods at this fall festival, and don’t forget a truly one-of-a-kind trinket from your favourite stalls!
Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor
Another great location to enjoy a fall festival this year is Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor. This annual food and spirits festival offers a diverse selection of food and drinks to try, perfect for the foodie in your life! This is an adult-only event, so best to leave the kids at home for this one.
Getting to and from
Occurring late October, from the 26 to the 28, the Harbor of Portland becomes a gateway to a spectacular offering of a variety of food and drinks to warm you up at the cool coastal town. Due to this being an event in the city, we recommend parking in the city and hopping on local transport to get to and from this event.
This fall festival is purely centred around food and drink and features live entertainment from local performers. Showing the culture of Maine, this is one for the food eccentrics and showcases the diversity of food and drink in Portland.
Starting with TOAST! This event allows you to meet top cocktail and spirit makers in Maine, followed by a Gourmet graze the next day. Featuring coffee, chocolate, and wine, you can also book an intimate cheese and chocolate tasting! This fall festival is rounded off by an OysterFest session, allowing you to truly indulge in what Portland City Harbor has to offer.
Flying into your fall festival?
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