Warwick ApplefestHudson Valley, N.Y. - Fall is tiptoeing into the Hudson Valley. The apples and corn grow sweeter by the day and plump pumpkins are brightening the fields. It's the season when villages throughout the countryside celebrate harvest festivals. The New York Renaissance Faire still pulses with weekend merriment and the mountains surrounding the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest begin to echo happy sounds of German bands and polkas. Paddlers and hikers catch the first touches of fall color to the landscape. It's time to pick your fall fun from the Orange County events calendar at www.OrangeTourism.org.

Every village festival is unique. General Montgomery Day is a fitting title for an event in a village that emanates history from every nook and cranny. The September 6th celebration honoring their namesake, a famous Continental Army leader, is a day of old-fashioned fun. From the parade to the Soap Box Derby to the evening of fireworks, it's full of time-honored traditions. It's also well-known for its wide assortment of craft and food vendors. The following weekend, on September 13th, the Monroe Cheese Festival celebrates the invention of Velveeta cheese in their downtown with some unusual contests like cheesecake eating and grilled cheese cooking. The event is also chock full of entertainment, talent demonstrations, and craft and food vendors. Bring the kids to catch the magic show, new on the agenda this year.

Fun is also flowing through Orange County's river towns. Get charmed in the Hudson Highlands Village of Cornwall, named for its similarity to England's County of Cornwall. At the Fall Festival on September 21st, walk the length of Main Street, lined with historic buildings, shops, and eateries, as you browse the wide array of vendors' booths and take in the entertainment along the way. On September 28th, the Delaware River City of Port Jervis, features a colorful Fall Foliage Festival. This day of live music and entertainment includes a performance by Emish, the popular American folk rock band with roots there. The Little Train ride and petting zoo are just right for kids, and adults will soak up the classic cars and cool stuff in the downtown shops, vendors' craft and antique booths. Check out the famous Scarecrow Contest! October 4th is a day of action-packed fun on the east bank of the Wallkill River. Already a bustling manufacturing settlement by the early 1800s, Walden's Municipal Square will bustle again at the October 4th Harvest Fest. Pie eating and frog jumping contests add rural flair to this day of music, entertainment, shopping, and food. Peak color on the Hudson should arrive just in time for the October 18th Highland Falls Fall Foliage Festival. Celebrate the season at this annual street fair of over 100 vendors, music, and entertainment.

Fall festivals come in all sizes. The growing popularity of some events has shaped them into major events. Warwick's Applefest on October 5th has become the largest celebration of the apple harvest in New York State. Country sophistication is showcased in this huge event of over 200 craft vendors, dozens of food vendors, exhibits, music and entertainment on multiple stages, a carnival, farmers market, and, of course, the diverse shops and eateries open here year round. Applefest is just one-day, but the inspiration for the event, the surrounding orchards on the Warwick Valley Apple Trail, are open for apple picking and fun throughout the fall season. The Sugar Loaf Fall Festival is also huge. Every year during Columbus Day Weekend this picturesque arts and crafts hamlet brims with family-friendly activities, music, food, and craft vendors. It's three days of shopping and "loafing," all within view of mysterious Sugar Loaf Mountain wrapped in glorious fall color.

Unique festivals are also found at local farms. Roll up your pants for the Harvest Festival & Grape Stomp at PalaiaVineyards from 3 to 9:30pm on Saturday, September 13th. Gaze out at the scenic vineyards and Schunnemunk Mountain during hay rides, pumpkin picking, and grape stomping to the sounds of McMule. Earlier that same day, reap in the harvest time fun at the Orange County Farmers Museum Fall Harvest Festival. Old fashioned corn harvesting and blacksmithing demonstrations are on the agenda. Pumpkin picking, 4-H exhibits, vendors, and more family fun activities are among the amusements at this admission free event!

Every weekend in October, Soons Orchards' Fall Festivites include a mini hay maze for children, hay rides to the pumpkins, and apple picking in their orchards. Adults can sample hard apple cider products at their new Orchard Hill Cider Mill right next to the farm store. The Udderly Fresh Farm Fall Festival focuses on a different kind of beverage, milk. Meet the cows, learn about dairy farm operations, and pick pumpkins. There's a corn maze, hay rides, petting zoo, pony rides, and other amusements and refreshments at their celebrations every Saturday in October. Find a big jack o'lantern at the Manza Family Farm Fall Festival. Following a tractor drawn hayride to the pumpkin patch, kids can take pony rides and wander the straw maze. Stock up on goodies to take home at their farm stand. A three-acre corn maze, u-pick pumpkins, farm animals, and lots of inflatables make for memorable country adventures at the Pierson's Farm Fall Festival.

Hop on a hay wagon. Orange County has fall festival fun around every turn! Find a comprehensive list of attractions, lodging, and events at www.OrangeTourism.org. E-mail tourism@orangecountygov.com to request a free subscription to our colorful weekly events E-Blasts. Like us on Facebook for daily reminders of fun happenings. Orange County Tourism is headquarters for tourism in the county and is part of the I LOVE NY program.

RESOURCES:
- Cornwall Fall Festival, Cornwall. www.cornwallchamber.org
- General Montgomery Day, Montgomery. 845-457-9661. www.villageofmontgomery.org  
- Harvest Festival & Grape Stomp, Palaia Vineyards, Highland Mills. www.palaiavineyards.com  
- Highland Falls Fall Festival. 845-742-8004. www.thvac.org/fall-foliage-festival  
- Manza Family Farm, Montgomery. 845-692-4364. www.manzafamilyfarm.net  
- Monroe Cheese Festival, Monroe. 845-774-1727. www.monroecheesefestival.com  
- New York Renaissance Faire, Tuxedo Park. 845-351-5171. www.renfair.com/ny  
- Oktoberfest 2014, Bear Mountain. 845-786-2731. www.visitbearmountain.com  
- Orange County Farmers Museum Fall Harvest Festival, Montgomery. 845-926-2727.
www.ocfarmersmuseum.com  
- Pierson's Farm Fall Festival, Middletown. 845-386-1882. www.piersonsfarm.com
- Port Jervis Fall Foliage Festival, Port Jervis. 845-858-4017.
www.facebook.com/FallFoliageFestivalPortJervisNY
- Soons Orchards Fall Festivities, New Hampton. 845-374-5471. www.soonsorchards.com  
- Sugar Loaf Fall Festival, Sugar Loaf. www.sugarloafnewyork.com  
- Udderly Fresh Farm Fall Festival, Washingtonville.845-987-8300. www.freshfarmrawmilk.com
- Walden Harvest Fest. 845-778-2177. www.waldencommunitycouncil.org  
- Warwick Applefest, Warwick. 845-987-8300. www.warwickapplefest.com

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