Fall festivals feature many great ways to celebrate autumn's peak. With the weather cooling down, gorgeous fall foliage to take in, and all the Halloween candy to eat, it's no wonder cities all over the U.S. hold events for people to attend specifically during this season. With events like Pennsylvania's National Apple Festival and Wisconsin's Warren Cranberry Festival, there's always something interesting to explore about a certain area during fall. And the best fall festivals in the South offer cultural experiences you won't find anywhere else in the country.
A southern fall festival takes attendees through menus of amazing local foods, hay rides and face paintings for the kids to enjoy, and Oktoberfest-like craft beers for the adults to savor. So if you want to enjoy all the incredible things the South has to offer in the fall, check out our favorite southern fests to attend.
The 12 Best Fall Festivals in the South
1. North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival
Whiteville is a small town in North Carolina that is actually one of the top pecan producers in the state. And to celebrate that, the city will hold the North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival in 2021 on November 5-6. The event features craft vendors, food vendors, live music, house tours, a car show, and a pecan parade for a wonderful, family-friendly time.
2. The BBQ Festival
Also in North Carolina is the Barbecue Festival, which features Lexington-style barbecue, meat samples, an impressive sand sculpture, and a classic car show. The festival attracts over 100,000 barbecue lovers, so if you're craving some really good Southern barbecue, you can count on this fest to really bring the heat.
3. Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival
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Held on the third weekend in October, the Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival is located on 31st Street Park on- you guessed it- the Virginia Beach. This festival features over 80 craft beer samples from over 50 breweries, live entertainment, and a commemorative cup for you to take home to remember the event by. If you're a beer fanatic, then you might want to consider traveling to this festival.
4. Kentuck Festival of the Arts
You might think this festival is in a different state as its name implies, but it's actually an annual event that's held in Northport, Alabama. If you're looking for a crafts show, then this arts & crafts festival is one you should check out. On the second weekend of October, over 260 folk, visionary, and contemporary artists and crafts people will feature their work at this event, along with great local food trucks, local craft brews, and live music.
5. Stone Mountain Park's Annual Pumpkin Festival
What's a fall festival without a few pumpkins? Every Friday and Saturday in the month of October, Stone Mountain Park, the state of Georgia's most popular attraction, hosts this favorited event to celebrate the season. There are carnival rides, storytelling entertainment, a pie-eating contest, live performances, and of course- a pumpkin patch decorations that adorn the area.
6. Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
Also located in Georgia in the town of Hiawasee, this nine-day event is packed with musical performances, educational demos, arts & crafts vendors, a flower show, and the popular Official State Fiddlers' Convention. The festival is held at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds and highlights the beauty of the season by taking advantage of the mild temperatures and beautiful surrounding scenery.
7. Austin Food & Wine Festival
Austin, Texas, is known for all the good foods and restaurants that arise throughout the city. To commemorate this inherent fact, the city holds an annual wine and food festival, and in 2021, it will be held on November 5-7 at the Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park. It will not only present the best of Austin's restaurants offering small bites and tastings, but also cooking demonstrations, including how to create an amazing taco or how to improve your grilling skills.
8. The Sonoma Natchez Balloon Festival
One of the best and most unique ways to behold amazing fall colors is to catch an aerial view of the the works of nature below. On October 15-17, 2021, Natchez, Mississippi, is holding its annual Natchez Balloon Festival with hot-air balloons, live music, food vendors, and arts & crafts.
9. Carolina Foothills Heritage Fair
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If you're looking for an old-fashioned country fair, you should head to Fair Play, South Carolina. Especially if you're not from the South, this is the quintessential fair that has everything you could've possibly imagined for a southern festival. Made for the whole family, the event features plenty of children's activities, including wagon rides, a hay maze, livestock displays, carnival rides, a lumberjack show, and even a petting zoo.
10. Fall for Greenville
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Celebrating its 40th year, this three-day event will feature everything a music festival should hold. It includes free live music on six different stages, diverse food, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings and pairings, and a beer garden that features 14 different craft breweries. The massive festival will be held in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 14-16, 2021.
11. Autumn at the Arboretum
If you've never been to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Texas, then consider paying a visit during the fall. Between September 19-November 1, 2021, the arboretum will hold its annual event that showcases an impressive pumpkin exhibit, featuring 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash. There's also a hay bale maze, pumpkin patch, and cooking demonstrations to enjoy while listening to some live music.
12. Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival
If pumpkins are your favorite part of the season, the consider taking a trip to Miami, Florida in the month of October. Every year, the city holds the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival, a family-friendly event that features thousands of pumpkins made for picking. There are also plenty of children's activities, including bumper cars, a corn maze, pumpkin decorating, and a scarecrow village.
Have you ever attended one of the best fall festivals in the South? Share you experience with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!