- North Carolina
- New York
As leaves change color and farms fill up with apples and pumpkins, cities across the United States embrace the fall season with harvest festivals.
These five family-friendly events highlight everything from North Carolina pecans to New England cranberries.
Nebraska City AppleJack Festival — Nebraska City, Nebraska
Celebrate all things apple at the Nebraska City AppleJack Festival, held the third weekend of September in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The festival emerged in 1970, commemorating Nebraska City’s moniker “The Home of Arbor Day,” due to the city’s abundance of apple trees and hometown of country’s first Secretary of Agriculture, J. Sterling Morton. More than 60,000 people attend the apple harvest festival, which features favorite U.S. treats such as apple cider doughnuts, candy apples and apple pie. After you’ve had your fill of baked goods, take in a parade with marching bands and firetrucks, a pie-baking contest and the AppleJam Carnival, featuring face painting and kids’ rides. Come for the apples, but stick around for cosmic bowling, outdoor movies at dusk and the annual River City Classic AppleJack Car Show.
Enjoy a lively parade at the Nebraska City AppleJack Festival filled with colorful floats and marching bands.
Cranberry Harvest Celebration — Wareham, Massachusetts
Head 88 kilometers southeast of Boston, Massachusetts, to see the town of Wareham, Massachusetts, turn into a vibrant display of red floating berries during its annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration. Hop aboard a paddleboat and ride across Tihonet Pond next to the cranberry bogs, which are flooded with water in order to harvest the fruit, to watch harvesting and cooking demonstrations, shop for jams and dressings at a massive craft tent and sample cranberry dishes such as scones, ice creams and salads.
North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival — Whiteville, North Carolina
Love nuts? Visit one of the top pecan-producing regions in the U.S. at the Pecan Harvest Festival in Whiteville, North Carolina. Snack on fresh pecans and other pecan-flavored dishes while enjoying festivities such as a pecan parade, a 5-kilometer run, a pecan cooking contest, a car show, live country rock music performances and the Pecan Queen coronation, during which a female resident is crowned festival queen. The Pecan Harvest Festival also features an annual Tour of Homes, where attendees can visit historic houses in the area, some of which pre-date the Civil War.
German Village Oktoberfest — Columbus, Ohio
The German tradition of Oktoberfest is widely celebrated in September throughout the U.S., with one of the largest events at the German Village Oktoberfest at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio. The event kicks off with the “Breaking of the Pretzel,” which acts as a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the festivities by breaking a pretzel. Authentic German music and polka dancing provide entertainment, along with ample German beer and food such as frankfurters, German potato salad and schnitzel. Make sure to stop by the Art & Craft Marktplatz and the Merchant Market to find handmade candles, soaps and art.
Raise your stein of beer at a traditional German Oktoberfest celebration in Columbus, Ohio.
The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival — Clarence, New York
Pumpkins are one of the most recognizable symbols of fall harvest, showing up in everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin patches. Take it all in at The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival in Clarence, New York. Participate in a pumpkin pie-eating contest, carve a jack-o’-lantern or visit the Pumpkin Palace to peruse Halloween decorations, gifts and snacks such as candy, cider and doughnuts. Bring kids to enjoy family-friendly attractions such as a Ferris wheel, magic shows, tractor hay rides and a petting zoo with baby donkeys, llamas and camels. Don’t miss the weekend comedic magic show, Cackling Hen Review, featuring a cast of chicken puppets.
Wander through a pumpkin wonderland at The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival.