Best Fall Festivals in the US

Tyler Fallon | Aug 28, 2013 @ 02:52 PM

1. Woolly Worm Festival

What is it? The Woolly Worm Festival is held every year during the third weekend of October in Banner Elk, North Carolina. The Woolly Worm is actually the caterpillar stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth, and the local mountain folk use the brown and black stripes on the woolly worm to predict the severity of the coming winter; tradition says that the black stripes predict cold and snowy weather while brown stripes mean more mild weeks.

Event highlights: I asked fellow writer Sara what her favorite part of the Woolly Worm Festival was, and here is what she said: “I got to race worms! You race them over the course of the day until one worm is left, and that is the one that the weather is predicted from. I named my worm Matt Fred, and I knew he was a champion, but we lost in the second round.”

2. Kansas City Renaissance Festival

What is it? The Kansas City Renaissance Festival is in its 37th year, opening Labor Day weekend August 31st through October 14th 2013, weekends, Labor Day and Columbus Day 10am - 7pm. The festival gives guests a glimpse into 16th century life with shows, jousting, feasting and array of activities for the entire family. There is also the Phantom's Feast October 17th - 20th and 24th - 27th at 6:30 pm for fans of spooky entertainment.

Event highlights: Administrative Assistant Amanda had this to say: “Turkey legs are my favorite part of the Renaissance Festival – they’re roughly the size of my head; it’s actually kind of embarrassing how many weekends I drove to Bonner Springs just to eat a bird leg.”

3. National Apple Harvest Festival

What is it? The National Apple Harvest Festival is held the first two weekends of October in Adams County, Pennsylvania at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in Arendtsville. The festival has been encouraging and celebrating wonderful crafts, great music and amazing food for forty-nine years now, and has something for everyone with hundreds of arts and crafts dealers, demonstrations, contests, food stands and a huge array of entertainment.

Event highlights: Knowing that content writer Amy is a big fan of the festival and tries to make it to Pennsylvania each year, I asked her about her favorite part; this is how she responded: “I like apples.” Pressing Amy further yielded no other response.

4. The Trailing of the Sheep

What is it? This annual festival is October 10th – 13th in Ketchum & Hailey, Idaho. The Trailing of the Sheep helps to preserve the stories and colorful history of sheep ranchers and herders of Idaho, celebrating the cultures of the past and present with the local foods, fibers and events such as the Dog Trials, Fiber Fest and Folklife Fair - all while sheepherders move flocks from summer pastures in the mountains to winter desert grazing areas.

Event highlights: Local Search Specialist Stephanie has gone to the Trailing of the Sheep for the last two years, and recounts her trip last year: “The parading of the sheep down the main street in Ketchum is always great, except… this year my Australian Shepherd puppy, Aubrey, started trying to herd a few lambs. I think she’ll stay at home next year.”

Other popular fall festival destinations from around the office included Elk Fest, the Warrens Cranberry Festival, the Apple Butter Celebration (“False butters really are one of the great loves of my life,” says SEO Specialist Beth “they make me feel like I have no constraints on what I can and cannot be."), the Wellfleet OysterFest and more than a couple Oktoberfest’s, which we will cover another day.

What do you think - now that summer is over and the grill and boat are heading back to your storage unit; do you have a favorite Fall Festival destination for you and your family that we didn’t list here? Let us know in the comments below!

Wolly Worm Festive picture courtesy glichfield on Flickr, Kansas City Renaissance Fair picture courtesy zooboing on Flickr, Apple Festival picture courtesy ooocha on Flickr, Sheep dog picture courtesy stevendepolo on Flickr.