Top 10 Festivals Celebrate the Harvest and Autumn Foliage
Orange County, N.Y.
- The snap in the air that turns the leaves such beautiful shades of red, copper, and gold also ushers in entertaining fall fairs and festivals just an hour outside Manhattan. Knights in shining armor and Applefest are just part of the fun marking the mid-Hudson's salute to the season. Fall is a wonderful time to be out and about on weekends, and getting there is double the fun when you can take in the colorful foliage. Count on finding music, entertainment, vendors, food and fun at all of these great events, but as you'll discover, each has its own special charm.
There's nothing like spending a day or two in Elizabethan England at the New York Renaissance Faire
in Sterling Forest. Over 300 jugglers, jesters, minstrels, storytellers and magicians mix with the crowds, there's a live chess match and knights charge past on steeds at the royal joust. Try your hand at axe throwing, sip sweet mead, and indulge in period crafts in the Tudor-style marketplace. There's much to enjoy here on weekends through September. 845-351-5174. www.recfaire.com/ny
. Back in the 20th
century, the charming Village of Montgomery will bustle with fun on Saturday, September 11th
at General Montgomery Day.
From the morning parade down Main Street to the evening fireworks display, there are activities for all ages. Vendors of all descriptions and an old-fashioned soap box derby make this one of the region's most popular events. 845-457-9661. http://www.montgomeryday.com/
Say cheese! On Saturday, September 11th
, the village's Mill Pond will once again serve as a beautiful backdrop for the annual Monroe Cheese Festival
commemorating the invention of Liederkranz, Neuchatel and Velveeta in this very town. Taste a huge selection of cheeses while you listen to the live music, then root for your favorite contestant at the Monroe Idol competition. 845-469-4919. http://www.monroecheesefestival.com/
. A little further north, the Shawangunk Mountains provide the magnificent backdrop to the Pine Bush Harvest Festival.
celebrates the hamlet's rural heritage and the harvest from surrounding farms. You'll find an array of arts, crafts, activities and entertainment surrounding the
fabulous farmers market on Saturday, September 18th
. 845-774-3439. http://www.pinebushharvestfestival.i8.com/
That same day, take in more fall foliage with a drive over to the Cornwall Fall Festival
. The village of Cornwall-on-Hudson
merited a notation in Henry Hudson's 1609 ship's log when his boat anchored offshore in the Hudson River. Antique appraisals, a host of vendors, and an old time pie eating contest are just some of the special festivities up and down Main Street in this picturesque river village. 845-534-7826. http://www.cornwallchamber.org/
. After trips to Tudor England and small town America, visit Bear Mountain State Park's famous Oktoberfest
held every weekend from Saturday, September 18th
through Sunday, October 24th
. Sip an authentic German beer along with your bratwurst, then polka to the fabulous oompah bands. Walk the kids over to the trailside zoo and carousel while you enjoy the beautiful views of the Hudson River. 845-786-2731. http://www.palisadesparksconservancy.org/
Back to the states, fall colors and the hometown atmosphere of a historic mill town on the Wallkill River will brighten your weekend at the Walden Harvest Festival
on Saturday, October 2nd.
This fun-filled day of activities, many vendors, food, and live entertainment is a tribute to the bountiful local harvest. 845-778-2177. http://www.villageofwalden.org/
. One of the area's largest fall events is Warwick's Applefest
held on October 3rd
. Drawing a huge audience, this event features more than 250 craft and food vendors, each with its own apple product. The picturesque village is surrounded by eight pick-your-own apple orchards and numerous farm stands. 845-987-8300. http://www.warwickapplefest.com/
Just down the road, Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village is a year round community of artisans with shops housed in buildings dating back to the 18th
century. On Columbus Day weekend (October 9th
), fall foliage will be at its peak for the annual Sugar Loaf Fall Festival
. This 3-day celebration hosts an array of visiting vendors complementing the unique selection of handmade goods for which Sugar Loaf craftspeople are famous. The shops, of course, are open, and music and entertainment fill the streets. 845-469-1830. http://www.sugarloafnewyork.com/
. To round out this beautiful season, pumpkin-rolling, pumpkin picking, hay rides, and an art auction are at Hill-Hold's Pumpkin Festival
on Saturday, October 16th.
Located in rural Campbell Hall, this historic working farm with a 1769 stone farmhouse you can visit is the perfect setting for a family day in the country. 845-615-3833. http://www.hillholdandbrickhouse.org/
Fall is a season of the senses with the brilliance of the changing leaves to delight the eye and the taste of a crisp apple to savor on the palate. Experience Orange County's top ten autumn events in the beautiful Hudson Valley. You'll take home wonderful memories in these good times shared with friends and family. For more fall events, lodging and attractions visit http://www.orangetourism.org/
or call (845) 615-3860 to request a free Orange County Travel Guide.
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Mary Ann McCarthy