What perfectly pairs with the crisp air of fall in Virginia? Biting into a delicious, juicy apple. There are fall festivals, numerous cideries, and over two dozen orchards throughout Virginia, all serving Virginia-grown fruit or products made from the apples. Infuse some fall flavor into your calendar with a visit to a few of these apple-centric destinations.
Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival—Syria
One of the longest-running apple festivals in Virginia is the Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival, now in its 49th year. The area is surrounded by rolling mountains, and during the fall, the hills are blanketed in gorgeous fall colors. You can pick your own apples at the festival or purchase them pre-picked. In addition to fresh apples, you can get every kind of apple dish imaginable at the festival, such as apple butter made right in front of you. Take an educational tour of the farm property, get through the hay maze, jump on a hay ride, or climb the festival’s famous “hay mountain” with the kids. Leashed pets are welcome to attend this annual festival.
Apple Harvest & Apple Butter Festival at Drumheller’s Orchard—Lovingston
Dates: September 28-29, October 19-20, 2019
At the Apple Butter Festival at Drumheller’s Orchard, you’ll sample apple butters, ciders, and many more apple dishes and drinks made from the fruit grown at the orchard, as well as other Virginia favorites like country ham and locally made barbecue. Pets are welcome, and the kids will love the exciting activities available to them, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, bounce castle, hayrides, and non-stop live entertainment.
Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park—Luray
Dates: September 14, 2019
Held at Skyland, the Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park invites visitors to learn about the countless dishes that can be created from apples. Whether you enjoy basic apple recipes like apple pie or more unusual items like an apple salsa, you’ll find it all at this festival. All day long, stop by the copper kettles to see how the apples are boiled down to make apple butter, then take a fresh jar home with you. There are also pony rides and crafts for the kids, wine tastings, and plenty of live entertainment at the Apple Butter Celebration.
Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival—Clearbrook
Dates: September 21-22, 2019
Every visitor receives a free apple when they come to the Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival, ensuring no one misses out on the crisp treats. Want more apple? Register for the Apple Pie Eating Contest, the baking contest, or learn how apple butter is made at the festival. Shop crafts made by local artisans and discover the many different varietals of Virginia apples at the “Apple Theme Arena”. Pets are welcome to the festival, and kids have plenty of entertainment, including face painting and an inflatable bouncy castle. Adults can purchase hard ciders, craft beers, and Virginia wines to pair with the seasonal foods available at the festival.
Apple Day: A Celebration of “Applachian” Heritage, Arts, and Crafts Festival—Millboro
Dates: Exact Date TBA, October 2019
The Apple Day Festival in Millboro offers endless entertainment, from the live bluegrass music to the hayrides that the whole family will enjoy. Taste fresh apple butter straight from the kettle made by local cooks, and if that just whets your appetite, there is a whole range of apple dishes for you to try at the festival. While the festival honors all things apple, it also pays tribute to Appalachian culture with activities like clogging and traditional Appalachian craft demonstrations. Buy locally made quilts, birdhouses, jewelry, ceramics, candles, wood work, and much more from local vendors at the Apple Day Festival.
Apple Harvest Festival at Marker-Miller Orchard—Winchester
Dates: October 12-13, 2019
With over 20 apple varietals available, the Apple Harvest Festival held at the Marker-Miller Orchard has plenty to offer apple enthusiasts. You can pick your own apples in the orchards, buy hand-selected fruit, and purchase virtually every apple product at the festival. Find homemade classic treats like fresh apple cobbler or unusual items like apple cider slushees. Take the kids for a ride on the “Cow Train” or explore the orchard’s playground complete with a Kiddieland Zone. Wagon rides and live music happen continuously during this two-day festival.
Richards Apple Harvest Festival—Middletown
Dates: October 19, 2019
The Richards Apple Harvest Festival has all your apple favorites made from several Virginia varietals, as well as classic fall foods like Brunswick stew to eat while you walk through the fruit market. Virginia wines are also available for visitors to taste and purchase. The children will love touring the grounds on the farm’s wagon, taking a spin on the “cow train” rides, and petting the local farm animals at this annual apple festival in Middletown.
Mount Jackson Apple Harvest Festival—Mount Jackson
Dates: October 26, 2019
In addition to apple dishes and goods, the Mount Jackson Apple Harvest Festival features two stages for live music, local food trucks serving up delicious dishes, and a beer garden that offers a wide selection of Virginia craft beers. There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, making this a great apple festival for the entire family to attend this fall.
The dates for picking apples at these orchards varies, so make sure to contact them individually to get information on the picking schedules and seasonal availability.
- Williams Orchard—Wytheville
- Wade’s Orchard—Woolwine
- Ikenberry Orchard—Daleville
- Carter Mountain Orchard—Charlottesville
- Graves’ Mountain Apple Orchard—Syria
- Silver Creek and Seamans’ Orchards—Tyro
- Saunders Brothers Orchard & Farm Market—Piney River
- Ayers Orchard—Cana
- Showalter’s Orchard—Timberville
Hard ciders have slowly been on the rise in Virginia, utilizing the prevalent fall fruit to craft enjoyable adult beverages. Visit a few cideries around the state to taste test the results.
- Blue Bee Cider—Richmond
- Potter’s Craft Cider—Free Union
- Albemarle Ciderworks—North Garden
- Big Fish Cider Co.—Monterey
- Coyote Hole Ciderworks—Mineral
- Bold Rock Hard Cider—Nellysford
- Buskey Cider—Richmond and Cape Charles
- Winchester Ciderworks—Winchester
- Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery—Middleburg
Celebrate the arrival of fall with a trip to some of these apple-themed festivals, orchards, and cideries. What is your favorite destination to sample Virginia abundant apple products?