It’s fall in New York State… can you feel it in the air? The landscape is starting to change color (see our Fall Foliage Report for the latest updates) and the winds are beginning to chill. New York State is jam packed with fall events to make any autumn lover swoon. From spooky fright fests and Halloween parades to film festivals and food, you’ll soon realize why fall is the best time to travel to the Empire State.
Long Island's Oyster Festival is the East Coast's largest waterfront festival and it returns this October for a mix of family fun. Live music, tall ships, artisans, pirate shows, rides and an oyster-shucking-and-eating contest will be among the many attractions at the festival. Don’t miss the action in the Food Court where chefs and culinary experts serve up dozens of unique oyster, clam and other seafood dishes along with traditional festival fare. There is truly something for everyone! Oyster Bay; October 14 - 15; free
You won't want to miss these two weekends full of fun in western New York with gorgeous foliage providing the perfect fall backdrop. Peek’n Peak resort will be filled to the brim with crafts, a farmers market along with activities like the pumpkin cannon, children’s games, petting zoo, entertainment, pony rides, ski lift rides, classic car cruise in, and an annual snow sports equipment swap and more! Clymer; weekends, Oct 14 - 22; free
Have a ghoulish good time with hair-raising shows, electrifying street entertainment and thrilling haunted houses and mazes at New York’s iconic amusement park, Six Flags Great Escape. Fright Fest not to be missed this Halloween season with kid friendly spooky fun kicking off at noon until 4pm.Once the clock strikes 5pm, though the real haunting begins as the park comes to life, or should we say, comes to DEATH, with terrifying haunted houses, scare zones, creepy shows and roaming frights. Be prepared to be scared! Queensbury; through October 29; tickets start at $46.99
NYC’s spookiest and most festive procession of the season takes over Sixth Avenue on Halloween night. Show up with a creative costume and join the parade, or stick to the sidelines and take in the spectacle that includes dozens of giant puppets and 53 bands of marching by! The parade gets rolling at 7pm and heads north from Canal Street up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street. This is a not to be missed event for Halloween lovers with some of the city’s scariest, most inventive and hilarious costumes on display. New York City; October 31; free
11th Annual Chowderfest
Come enjoy local chowder with a competitive edge, with more than 30 restaurants vying for the People’s Choice title. One dollar gets you one ticket, which gets you a 4-ounce cup. There are many varieties to sample other than the traditional clam, including vegetarian options. The restaurants must use local fresh ingredients, so visitors will enjoy the freshest food while supporting local business. Prizes will be awarded for best seafood, vegetarian, most original and overall favorite. Who will win? You decide! Troy; October 8; free to attend, $1 per sample
Taste of the Catskills
The Taste of the Catskills Festival showcases the region's best food, beer, crafts and wine. The family-friendly event will feature a variety of vendors, including farmers, food producers and restaurants. Learn the true meaning of “farm-to-table” with workshops for farming, cooking and brewing during a fun-filled weekend on the grounds of Maple Shade Farm, a family-run farm in Delhi. Each day’s events will culminate with a dinner prepared entirely from local ingredients, paired with local beer and wine. Following dinner, a bonfire and barn dance will keep your feet tapping. There are lots of kid’s activities each day with activities focused around farm life plus entertainment from the the Catskill Puppets and the Arm-of-the-Sea Theater. Families, don’t miss out on this wonderful Columbus Day weekend event! Delhi; October 7 - 8; adults $10, kids 4-16 $5, kids under 4 free
The 18th annual Woodstock Film Festival will present over 150 films, concerts and panels, showcasing the emerging and established movie industry talent. Discover the new Steve Buscemi hit film or Courtney Cox’s latest comedy - or better yet, see them with your own eyes as Hollywood descends on Woodstock! Rub shoulders with celebrities and movie stars at watch movies of all genres surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. This is a not to be missed event for film aficionados. Woodstock; October 11 - 15; event tickets start at $10
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is a not to be missed spectacle with more than 7,000 glowing pumpkins lighting up the crisp fall night. There are also stargazing opportunities inside the Pumpkin Planetarium, flying ghosts and a special appearance by Sleepy Hollow’s own Headless Horseman. Purchase your tickets ahead of time -- this event will sell out fast! Croton-on-Hudson; through November 25; adults: $20 - $25, children 3 - 17: $16 - $20
During October, Sleepy Hollow goes all out for Halloween, with weekly festivals, haunted houses and hayrides, and parades. Horseman’s Hollow at Philipsburg Manor is the biggest draw of all, as it transforms the historic estate into a terrifying landscape ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane. Walk a haunted trail and stumble upon scary scenes of a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. Elaborate costumes and the work of award-winning feature-film makeup artists make it all too real.This is Sleepy Hollow’s premier haunted attraction, right in the heart of the village. It's not suitable for children under 10 -- or the faint of heart! Buy your tickets ahead of time, this event does sell out! Sleepy Hollow; through October 31 Tickets: $20 - $25)
Come and watch local teams of adults and kids compete to see who can catapult a pumpkin the farthest into the St. Lawrence River. Homemade catapults will be set up in downtown Clayton. There will also be a Chicken BBQ contest, wood carving, bounce house, live music and vendors lining the street in front of Frink Park and inside the Clayton Opera House. It's free fun for the whole family. Clayton; October 21; free
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