Across the country, Americans love festivals. Arts festivals, music fests, food celebrations — the list goes on. From a small village to the biggest metropolis, autumn is celebrated with festivals. The themes and styles found in a local fall festival vary widely depending in large part upon the region, culture, and typical autumnal weather.
Often, a fall festival pays homage to Halloween, either as part of the celebration or as a reason for it. Haunted houses and ghostly fetes abound during the month of October. These fall festivals might feature people dressed as spooks, all manner of mechanical ghoulishness, and settings that have been transformed via cotton batting and black paint into spiderwebs and tombs.
Fall festivals that place food front and center might offer a pie eating contest with apple and pumpkin pies as the runaway favorites. Other typical autumn nibbles include apple fritters, apple butter, and apple cider. In fact, many fall festivals, especially in the northern states, are dedicated to the apple in all its glorious manifestations.
Apple bobbing and hay rides in other fall festivals give the youngsters of today a glimpse of what life was like in the long ago. It’s not unusual to find a fiddler or two and a banjo playing favorite old-time mountain tunes at fall festivals as well. In colder climes, a fall festival might end with a huge bonfire around which friends, neighbors, and strangers huddle, gazing into the mesmerizing, dancing flames.
Spring is the season of rebirth and fertility, and fall is when it’s time to prepare for hibernation. Common fall festival décor focuses on dried corn stalks, stacks of gourds, and that old standby, the carved pumpkin. Some fall festivals feed the masses with foods that warm the heart, like chili and cornbread.
While there are thousands of fall festivals spread across the nation that celebrate the bounty and range of the harvest, others hold a single local product in highest regard. Floresville, Texas’s, famous Peanut Festival glories in all the things that little nut can do. Many Vermont festivals sing the praises of maple syrup and its products, such as candies and recipes that use it. Seafaring villages along the Atlantic Coast seize the fall as a time to celebrate oysters.
Craftspeople and artists, those mainstays of festivals everywhere, are out in droves at fall festivals from one end of the country to another. After the last of the fall fetes, their only major opportunity to sell their wares might be an indoor craft sale for the winter gift-giving season. Fall festivals are great opportunities for families and friends to enjoy the last of the warm weather before winter sets in.