What a lucky coincidence that I finally completed this compilation of area fall festivals as we officially (ie, calendar-wise) welcome the new season. So without further ado, here are all the details on autumn celebrations around the DC-metro. And, as always, if you have any feedback to offer or any festivals to add, feel free to do so in the comments section. Happy Fall!
Ticonderoga Farm Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Chantilly, VA
When: Now – November 6, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $8.95/weekdays, $14.95/holiday and weekends
This festival has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week.
Butler’s Orchards 31st Annual Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Saturdays & Sundays in October, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under
Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. See a pumpkin cannon project orange orbs across the patch the weekends of October 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30. Some activities and food costs extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 24 – November 6, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9/ weekdays, $15/weekends for ages 2 and up
This festival is huge. So big that they actually have a Festival Tips page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue, that contains five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. It’s a blast, especially the giant slide that takes you swooping down several humps over a hillside. (That’s right, I know firsthand because parents can enjoy many of the festival activities just as much as kids.) There is also a Kiddie Zone, especially for little ones aged 5 and under. Go “like” their Facebook page for a coupon for $5 off tickets September 24 – 30.
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
When: September 24, 11am – 5pm
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. There will be tours of the historic barracks and Home of Commandments, live entertainment, Trapeze School aerialists on silks posing on “silks” overhead, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). And chefs from all branches of the military will be back again for a cook-off to see who will be the Top Military Chef. The day will end with the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performing their unforgettable rifle and marching routines.
Great Country Farms Fall Harvest Festival
Where: Bluemont, VA
When: September 24 – October 30, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free
Great Country is known for it’s awesome festivals, and the Fall Harvest is sure to be no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a ginat Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a schedule of activities here.
Marker-Miller Orchards – Multiple Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with three different festivals taking place. It starts with the Fall Farm Fun Festival September 24-25, which will include apple-picking, wagon rides, a cow train, and music. Next is the Apple Harvest Festival October 8-9 offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. Finally, October 22 is the Pumpkin Festival, when you can find yor own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.
19th Annual Fall For Fairfax KidFest
Where: Fairfax Conty Government Center
When: October 1, 9am – 6pm
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the Wells Fargo KidZone with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.
Columbia Heights Fall Festival
Where: Girard Street Park & Columbia Heights Community Center
When: October 1, 11am – 3pm
The Columbia Heights Youth Club, The District Church, DC Department of Parks and Recreation, Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, and Columbia Heights Day are hosting this event that celebrates the season and the neighborhood. There will be free food, face painting, moon bouncing, candied apples, snow cones, popcorn, live music, games, and more.
Where: Frederick Fairgrounds
When: October 1-2, Saturday 11am – 10pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm
Admission: $5, children 2 and under are free
This event rich in tradition and history offers fun for the entire family with dancing live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of kids activities here.) This all benefits Frederick County charities. Certifikid currently has a deal on a family four-pack of tickets for admission.
2011 Annual Burgundy Fall Fair
Where: Burgundy Farm Country Day School
When: October 15, 11am – 3pm
This family-friendly event will include live performances, local artisans, delicious food, a used book sale, and games and prizes for kids. Families can enjoy face painting and hair braiding and celebrate the season with pumpkin painting and scarecrow stuffing. For the courageous, a haunted house awaits. Guests can also explore the colors of autumn and the wonders of nature throughout the 25-acre campus, and particularly at a barnyard tour. All proceeds from the day support financial aid to Burgundy Farm Country Day School students. More information and parking recommendations are available on the website.
Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing, pumpkin patch is open Septmeber 24 – November 6, 10am – 5pm daily
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds scattered with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and more. On fall weekends, kids can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, a reptile show, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Through October
Admission: $9, children 3 and under are free
The website claims “farmtastic fun for everyone” and from the looks of it, they aren’t lying. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides. The apple picking also comes highly recommended.
Larriland Farm Fall Festival
Where: Woodbine, MD
When: All through October, Weekdays 9am – 6pm, Weekends 9am – 5pm,
Admission: Free, but there may be fees for some activities
Enjoy the changing colors of the season as you select a pumpkin, pick apples from the orhcard, take a hayride (weekends only), and find your way through a straw maze. Kids ages 4-9 can play in the Boo Barn filled with animated (but not too scary) ghosts and goblins.
Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact date TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And caramel apples.