Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)
This is the largest Oktoberfest in the country, with more than half a million attendees flocking to Cincinnati every year for a long weekend. Revelers can enjoy a seemingly endless supply of potato pancakes, pretzels, strudel, and, everyone’s favorite, German beer. Just remember that Oktoberfest isn’t actually in October—it’s in September.
The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze (Croton-on-Hudson, New York)
Illuminated pumpkins are on display during the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Thousands of flickering jack o’lanterns illuminate the grounds of the 17th-century Van Cortlandt Manor in New York’s Hudson Valley during this awe-inspiring (and family-friendly) Halloween display. It’s located about an hour north of New York City by train or car, and there’s a second event on Long Island, too.
Autumn at the Arboretum (Dallas)
It’s still quite warm in Dallas in the fall, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on traditional fall activities. Visit the famed pumpkin village at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which is made up of 100,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash. This event also showcases 150,000 fall-blooming plants, and it also has a maze for youngsters.
Warrens Cranberry Festival (Warrens, Wisconsin)
If you love cranberries, this festival might just be heaven for you. Every year, some 100,000 people make the pilgrimage to Warrens, Wisconsin, to tour cranberry marshes, shop for cranberry products, eat cranberries, and watch a cranberry-themed parade. Admission is free, and you could even walk away with a prize if you can win the “Craziest for Cranfest” award for best costume.
Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival (Stowe, Vermont)
There are many different things you can do with pumpkins in the fall, from carving jack-o’lanterns to making pumpkin pie. Arguably, the most hilarious is chuckin’ them as far as you possibly can with your own handcrafted catapult, which is the main event at this festival in Vermont. After all that hard work chuckin’ pumpkins, check out the chili cook-off contest to renew your strength and warm your bones, or peruse the craft fair for some locally made goods.
Trailing of the Sheep Festival (Sun Valley, Idaho)
The Austrian hills might be alive with the sound of music, but the streets of Idaho’s Sun Valley are alive with the baa-ing of sheep—or at least they are in October. This festival celebrates the winter migration of sheep, and events range from wool-weaving workshops to sheep parades to sheepdog trials.
Scarecrow Festival (St. Charles, Illinois)
In St. Charles, Illinois, you can see more scarecrows in one place than probably anywhere else on the planet. During the festival celebrating this agricultural icon, vote for your favorite designs, listen to live music, and catch a magic show. The Autumn on the Fox arts and crafts festival also occurs the same weekend for those looking to shop.
Adirondack Balloon Festival (Queensbury, New York)
Yes, Albuquerque might have the most famous balloon festival in the U.S., but it doesn’t have fall foliage as New York’s Adirondacks do! This non-profit balloon festival is free for observers, though you can also book rides in the balloons. Over the course of a weekend, balloons launch from a small airport near the mighty Adirondack mountains and fill the sky with a kaleidoscope of colors.
Sonoma County Harvest Festival (Santa Rosa, California)
Journey to Sonoma, California, for a fall festival celebrating all things wine—you can sample more than 900 wines from the region at the tasting tent here. You’ll also want to catch the World Championship Grape Stomp, in which participants vie to see who among them are truly great grape stompers. The festivities also include a cow-milking contest and a professional wine competition.
Muertos Fest (San Antonio)
San Antonio hosts one of the country’s grandest Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivals. Originating in Mexico and celebrated across Latin America, this holiday honors those who have passed with music, dance, costumes, processions, and resplendent altars—all of which you’ll find at Muertos Fest.