Festivals are one of the main themes of the fall season in Virginia, and they’re the perfect places to sample authentic Virginia flavors. From fresh pies to seasonally-flavored craft beer, the tastes alone will set you on an every-weekend course to the next festival.
Based on web site statistics from fall 2015, these are Virginia’s most popular festivals. See the map below.
Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival, Syria – Weekends in October – Celebrating more than 40 years, the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves’ Mountain Lodge is way more than apples. You’re going to love the homemade food, the live music, and all of the kid-friendly fun that creates a really great fall day in Virginia.
Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Centreville – Preview Weekend September 17-18, Open Daily September 24 – October 31, November 4 – 8 – Also claiming more than 40 years of amazing family fun is Cox Farms and their Fall Festival. Washington Post called it “The Big Kahuna of farms will fall festivities in northern Virginia.” Slides, rope swings, hay bale mazes, animals, food, cider … It all culminates in tons of fun on more than 90 acres.
Urbanna Oyster Festival, Urbanna – First Weekend of November – For nearly 60 years the little town of Urbanna has welcomed thousands of people to join them in one amazing oyster festival, Virginia’s Official Oyster Festival. A queen is crowned and the shucking contest commences while onlookers wait to see if Oyster Shucking Champion Ms. Deborah Pratt will add another pearl to her crown. Parades, oysters any way you like to eat them, car shows, music, and plenty of hospitality await.
Urbanna Oyster Festival
Field Day of the Past – Rockville – Third Weekend of September – Kids 12 and under are free to this weekend packed with carnival rides, 4-H livestock shows, rodeo, historical reenactments, draft horse pulls, tractor and truck pulls, pony rides, live music, and way more. Concessions are available.
King Street Art Festival – Alexandria – Third Weekend of September – Walk down Old Town Alexandria’s famous King Street, transformed into an outdoor art gallery for this fall festival. Work from more than 200 artists is displayed all the way from the cross section at Washington Street to the Potomac waterfront.
Blue Ridge Folklife Festival – Ferrum – Fourth Saturday of October – Hosted by Ferrum College, this one-day event features more than 50 artisans, a smorgasbord of homecooked food, vintage automobiles and tractors, horses, old-time children’s games, live music, and all of the wonderful things that celebrate Virginia’s rural roots.
Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. Image by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com
Richmond Folk Festival – Richmond – Second Weekend of October – You’ll love the setting of Brown’s Island for this roots fest. Expect to find demonstrations, a folk arts marketplace, a variety of food options, and of course fantastic dance and music.
The Richmond Folk Festival
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest – Leesburg – September 17 – November 8 – This festival was made for kids! They’re going to love the bounce houses, camel and pony rides, petting zoo, giant hillside slides, hay rides, pedal carts, a pumpkin patch, and quite a bit more. Don’t forget your camera!
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Bland County Festival of Leaves – Bland – Second Weekend of October – Spread from the fairgrounds to the Court House lawn, this festival is overflowing with food, crafts, fun for the kids, and of course, great food! Have a knack for apple recipes? Check out the apple cooking contest. Free event and free parking.
Powhatan’s Festival of the Grape – Powhatan – Fourth Saturday of October – Thirty or more Virginia wineries will be on hand for this annual festival of fun. Great food, live music, and plenty of entertainment fill the day. Want to try Virginia craft beer? Purchase a tasting band and add a some to the mix. Your ticket includes a wine glass.
Powhatan’s Festival of the Grape
Fall Jubilee – Manassas – First Saturday of October – Descend on Historic Old Town Manassas for family-friendly entertainment and more than 100 artisans and vendors. A community event, Fall Jubilee is free and held rain or shine.
Apple Dumpling Festival – Stuart – Fourth Saturday of October – The Depot area has it going on. That’s where the Danville and Western Railroad stopped in Stuart, and it’s where great bands will take the stage during the tasty Apple Dumpling Festival. Apple pies, apple dumplings, apple butter … just come hungry.
Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival – Amherst – Second Weekend of October – Wine and garlic are an interesting duo, but Rebec Vineyards pulls it off year after year. Five stages of entertainment will keep the weekend rocking, and more than 150 arts, craft, and specialty foods will be on hand alongside nine local wineries. “It’s chic to reek!”
Fall Festival in Old Town Historic Fairfax – Fairfax – Second Saturday of October – A traditional fall festival, you’ll find arts and crafts for holiday gift-giving (unless you hide something away for yourself), plus children’s rides, music, and delicious food. It’s all in downtown historic Fairfax!
Stratford Hall Wine & Oyster Festival – Stratford – Third Weekend of September – Savory Chesapeake Bay oysters and Virginia wine highlight this festival at historic Stratford Hall, home of the Lee family. A petting zoo, arts, crafts, and free Great House tours will make the day memorable for each member of the family. Not an oyster eater? No fear! There will be other great food on hand, too.
Stratford Hall Wine & Oyster Festival
Annual Town Point Virginia Wine Festival Presented by AT&T – Norfolk – Third Weekend of October – This festival showcases more than 200 Virginia wines and is a highly anticipated annual pilgrimage for many. Reserve a table, private chalet, or simply arm yourself with a handful of sampling tickets each day. You’re sure to taste something you like, and delightfully, you can take home a bottle or the case.
Annual Town Point Wine Festival Presented by AT&T
Grayson Highlands Fall Harvest Festival – Mouth of Wilson – Last Weekend of September – When you want to experience mountain culture, you head to the mountain festivals, and no one does it up better than Grayson Highlands. Bluegrass and old time music rings out while the smells of barbecue chicken and sorghum molasses dance on the crisp air.
Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend – Virginia Beach – First Weekend of October – Sand castles!! You will be amazed at the artistry of the sand structures in progress during this weekend festival. Enjoy plenty of food and entertainment along with the warmth of an sunny fall day.
Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival – Chincoteague Island – Second Saturday of October – You know it’s oyster season when this festival rolls around. Enjoy your fresh Virginia oysters any and every way you can imagine.
Bluegrass, Barbecue and Brew Festival – Brookneal – First Saturday of November – Patrick Henry’s last home and burial place, Red Hill, is the site of this lively festival of musical entertainment, tasty barbecue, Virginia craft beer, and arts and crafts vendors.
Bluegrass, Barbecue, Brew Festival
Suffolk Peanut Festival – Suffolk – Second Weekend of October – Suffolk, Virginia is proud of their agricultural heritage and their favorite legume, the peanut. Join the community fun with amusement rides, free concerts, fireworks, demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls, and plenty more. Parking is $10 put festival entry is free!
Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival – Forest – Third Saturday of November – Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest retreat is the perfect setting to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes, wine. At least 15 Virginia wineries will be pouring samples of their best vintages, and special guest vintner, Gabriele Rausse, will be on hand. VIP tickets are available for special seating; heated tents ensure the event is held rain or shine.
Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival
Wild Blue River Festival – Halifax – Third Saturday of September – Celebrate the Banister River with plenty of water activities, a climbing wall, corn hole, wildlife talks, children’s activity area, and entertainment.
South Boston Harvest Festival – South Boston – Fourth Saturday of September – A quintessential fall community festival, attendees can expect to find arts and crafts vendors lining the street, two stages of entertainment, and of course, fantastic food. Kids will love the pony rides, face painting, magicians, bounce houses, and other activities.
South Boston Harvest Festival
Harvest Days Festival – Clarksville – First Saturday of October – The party starts with a Friday night Oktoberfest beer garden and rolls into Saturday with a town-wide festival of vendors, fun for the kids, and good food. The day winds down into the night with a cruise-in and music.