The fall season brings many joys – the beauty of changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider drinks and baked goods, spooky decorations, and costume preparations – and there’s no better place than a fall festival to experience it all! We asked our readers for recommendations on their favorite pumpkin and harvest festivals, and our wanderers delivered!
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival – Laconia, New Hampshire October 27 – 28, 2023
The NH Pumpkin Festival is near and dear to the Winni Wanderer team as it is in the beautiful state where our headquarters are located. This annual event features thousands of carved pumpkins, cornhole competitions, food trucks, an artisan craft fair, and so much more. With fun for all ages, it is a great way to get the family out to celebrate the fall season. Other delightful activities include - a 2-hour dinner train ride, a pie-eating contest, and a children’s costume parade.
Learn more about the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival
Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm – Minooka, Illinois Early September – Late October
Although the farm was established in 1866, it wasn’t until 2001 that Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm morphed from a front yard farmstand to the sprawling, event-filled addition to the original farm. With paid admission visitors can enjoy a plethora of activities such as hayrides, a giant farm slide, two playgrounds, a corn or bean maze – this list goes on! RB H. from Crossville, TN tells us that the food, shopping, and hayrides were the best part of their visit. Sounds like “heaps” of fun!
Learn more about Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm
JZ Farms Fall Fest – Federalsburg, Maryland September 14 – November 5, 2023
Grab your muck boots and head to JZ Farms for their fall fest activities! There is a 10-acre corn maze (explains the need for muck boots), a collection of playhouses for the kiddos, and in early October, the pumpkin patch opens for picking. Amy S. from Federalsburg, MD says, “They have a paintball section, a combine setup for kids to get in and pretend they are driving, mountain climbing station, and homemade ice cream!”
Learn more about the JZ Farms Fall Fest
Tanaka Farms – Irvine, California September 16 – October 31, 2023
Tanaka Farms is rumored to be one of the only farms in Orange County with a real pumpkin patch, and it’s also a favorite among locals. “The entire atmosphere & experience is really nice, with plenty of decorations, fun activities like a petting zoo, pony & hayrides, bakery & fruit items along with other eats,” states Harrison G. from Los Angeles, CA. Come for a wagon ride, pick your own veggies, or learn more about farm animals at their Barnyard Educational Exhibit.
Learn more about Tanaka Farms
Pumpkinfest – Franklin, North Carolina
Pumpkinfest in Franklin, NC is the home of the famous Pumpkin Roll event that boasts over 600 participants each year. “The pumpkin roll is the best event. Visitors of all ages rolling their pumpkin from the top of the hill and watching them crash,” explains Tina P. from Seminole, FL. The costume parade is another popular event, and during the day there are other activities to keep the fall celebrations ‘rolling’ – kid zones for play, pony rides, arts & crafts, and of course, delicious food!
Learn about Pumpkinfest
Country Junction Pumpkin Festival – Lehighton, Pennsylvania September 23 – October 29, 2023
Head over to the Keystone State and visit the Country Junction Pumpkin Festival for all things fall! Donna L. of Wilkes-Barre, PA recommends the festival for its “hayrides, pumpkin activities, farm animals, and lots of festival food.” There are also some unique activities for festivalgoers such as a gem mine, gourd grenade, and a laser tag area. Sounds like a great festival to “fall” for!
Learn more about the Country Junction Pumpkin Festival
Autumn at the Arboretum – Dallas, Texas September 16 – November 5, 2023
Hailed as “One of America’s Best Pumpkin Festivals” by Fodor’s Travel, Autumn at the Arboretum is also beautifully breath-taking. Over 100,000 pumpkins and gourds and 150,000 fall plants create a seasonal backdrop perfect for selfies and family photos. Along with the picturesque setting there are some activities you don’t want to miss… a market & craft fair, guided pumpkin hike, cooking demos, and if you are a member, there are exclusive events just for you! Sarah S. from Dallas, TX tells us, “Year after year the Dallas Arboretum never fails to disappoint with its gardens of pumpkins!” We recommend signing up for some of the activities on their website before visiting.
Learn more about Autumn at the Arboretum
Circleville Pumpkin Show – Circleville, Ohio October 18 – 21, 2023
Decorate your golf cart, dress up your pet, and get the whole family together for the Circleville Pumpkin Show! Great events such as the golf cart parade and the Miss Pumpkin Show Judging are just the beginning of this 4-day pumpkin fest. “The different pumpkin flavored foods, the many crafts and exhibits, and lots of things to do for all ages” is what brings Cheryl H. from Lancaster, OH to visit. The event attracts more than 400,000 people who enjoy the food, activities, and rides.
Learn more about the Circleville Pumpkin Show
We hope this inspires you to attend one of these great events or find a local fall festival near you! If you have an event or travel destination to recommend, we would love to hear about it at WinniWanderer@winni.com. Hearing from you will make our day!
By Staff Contributor
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