iloveny-stack.jpgAlbany, N.Y. -- Autumn in New York State is a glorious season for lovers of farm-fresh food, fine wines, toe-tapping music and family-friendly fun. As the air turns crisp and trees don their stunning fall cloaks of color, the state comes alive with harvest festivals celebrating everything from apples and pumpkins to wine and cheese.   On fall weekends when there's no official festival on tap, it's easy to find pick-your-own fruit orchards and pumpkin patches. Many provide added enticements to visit such as petting zoos, corn and hay mazes, pony rides and crafts. Autumn is also a great time for restaurant dining as creative chefs use the rich seasonal harvest in palate-pleasing and often surprising combinations.   It makes sense that harvest season would be cause for celebration in New York State, but even those who frequent New York's farmers markets and family-friendly farms may be surprised to learn just how much food is produced here. While New York is only 27th among the states in terms of size, it ranks among the nation's biggest producers of agricultural products including dairy, fruits, berries, maple syrup, and many vegetables such as sweet corn and pumpkins. New York also ranks third in grape and wine production. In fact, nearly one-quarter of the state's total land area is used as farmland.   But make no mistake, in New York State farming is about quality, not just quantity. For example, New York is among the top states for organic farming and a growing number of highly skilled cheese makers are creating quality, artisanal cheeses here.   New York also has a long tradition of fine wine-making and produces highly regarded wines in more than 35 varieties. The fall harvest is celebrated with wine festivals that often include grape stomping. Wine lovers also can follow a number of regional winery trails that make it easy to plan tasting tours at any time.   What follows is just a sampling of the many festivals happening statewide this fall.   Celebrating Cream Cheese and Crafts in The Adirondacks: Tucked into and around the pristine six-million acre Adirondack Park is the world's largest cream cheese maker, along with lovely orchards, farms and wineries.
  •   The 8th Annual Cream Cheese Festival  , September 15 in Lowville, NY, celebrates Lowville's distinction as home of the world's largest cream cheese manufacturing plant at Kraft Foods. The event is known for wacky competitions such as cream cheese bingo, a cream cheese toss, a cream cheese mural (supplies provided) and recipe contests, and there are over $5,000 in cash game prizes. Admission is free.
  • Eagle Mills Art & Craft Shows, September 15 to 16 and September 22 to 23 at the Eagle Mills Cider Mill & Family Fun Park in Broadalbin, NY, presents more than 125 craft vendors in a county fair style setting. Admission and a tour of the site's working cider mill are free; parking costs $5. The Family Fun Park, fossil and dino digs and other activities are also on tap for an additional cost.
  • Other fun fall events include the Adirondack Balloon Festival, September 20 to 23 in Glens Falls and Queensbury, NY, where more than 800 balloons are slated to launch, and the Hague Oktoberfest, September 21 to 23 in Hague, NY (on the northern end of Lake George), with a polka band, kids' activities, a beer and wine tent and a family night dance tent (admission $2 person; $5 per family). 
Savoring Wine and Cheese in the Finger Lakes: Harvest festivals are just the start of fall excitement in this region. Some of the country's most acclaimed wineries and artisanal cheese makers have created Finger Lakes wine and cheese "trails," inviting visitors to sample and see how their products are made.
  • Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, September 14 to 15, at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY, showcases the region's acclaimed foods and wines at a Friday evening chef/winery pairing dinner. The next day brings a tasting/learning exposition featuring local wines and dishes by the area's top chefs. 
  • The 17th Annual Jazz & Harvest Festival, September 21 to 22, takes place throughout Corning, NY's Gaffer District. The festival offers the chance to taste local wines and craft beers and listen to live jazz and blues performances. 
  • The 15th annual Wayne County Apple Tasting Tour, October 5 to 8, held in one of the nation's top apple growing areas, turns visitors into apple connoisseurs as they learn to identify apple varieties by taste, texture and scent. Three local wineries are also participating in the tour.
  • The LaFayette Apple Festival, October 6 to 7 in LaFayette, NY, celebrates the region's harvest with apple related games and foods, starting with an apple pancake breakfast. The festival is also an important arts and crafts show with more than 500 crafters expected this year.
  • Other tasty fall experiences include Fall Restaurant Week, October 22 to 29, which features prix fixe lunches and dinners priced from $15 to $50 per person at participating restaurants. 
Admiring the Art of Capital-Saratoga: Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and the lovely lake-dotted countryside of Washington and Fulton Counties offer a bounty of fall festivals celebrating the region's history, food and art. 
  • The Crailo State Historic Site Harvest Faire, September 15 (rain date September 16) in Rensselaer, NY, is an old fashioned agricultural festival harkening back to the colonial era with music, re-enactors, and Native American and Colonial games. Outside events are free; there is a nominal fee ($3) to tour the museum. Harvest Faire is part of a four-weekend Hudson River Ramble. 
  • The Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival, September 15 to 16, rain or shine, at the Altamont Fair Grounds in Altamont, NY, features a juried arts and crafts show along with homegrown Pride of NY produce. Adults can enjoy wine tastings and cooking demonstrations while kids climb rock walls, paint pumpkins and explore a haunted house. Admission is $8; children under 15 enter free with an adult, and parking is free. 
  • Discover the Hilltowns Farms & Artisans Tour, September 15 to 16, invites visitors to explore the scenic Albany County hill towns of Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville and Westerlo. Farms, artisan shops and historic sites, noted on the self-guided driving tour map, lay out a welcome mat for visitors with pasture tours and farming and crafts demonstrations. 
  • The Knickerbocker Harvest Festival, September 22 to 23, is a great time to experience the circa 1780 Knickerbocker Mansion in Schaghticoke, NY. In addition to touring the mansion & cemetery, guests can attend "Historically Speaking," a presentation by Paul Stillman, and join a guided 4.2 mile hike to Devil's Chimney, a Native American shrine. The event is part of a four-weekend Hudson River Ramble. 
  • The 24th Annual Goold Orchards Apple Festival, October 6 to 7 in Castleton, NY, offers much more than apple and pumpkin picking. The Hill Country Cloggers and the Albany Berkshire Ballet will be performing, and there will be wine tastings as well as horse-drawn wagon rides, a climbing wall, and a haunted house. Admission is $8 for adults; children 12 years old and under and parking are free. 
Delighting in the (Agri)Culture of the Catskills: Just 90 minutes from Manhattan, the Catskill Mountains are the renowned home of 19th-century Hudson River School painters, "borscht belt" comedians and the 1969 Woodstock festival. However, few realize that its farm goods bring in more than $147 million in sales each year. Fall festivals provide a lively window into the culture, crafts, and agriculture of the region. 
  • Harvest Festival at Bethel Woods, each Sunday from Labor Day to Columbus Day, brings different themed events to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival. Always on tap are live music, crafts and a farmers market. Parking and admission are free. This year's events include the World Celebration Festival, September 16, with traditional foods, dance and music presented by cultural and heritage groups and the Rustic Craft Show, October 7, with wood carvings, handmade furniture, and other specialty crafts. 
  • The 9th Annual Cauliflower Festival, September 29 at the Village of Margaretville Pavilion, Margaretville, NY, will feature free zip-line rides and a parade of historic and modern tractors along with performances of traditional music and clogging, history exhibits, and of course, lots of cauliflower. Admission is free.
  • Oktoberfest, September 29 to 30 and October 6 to 7 at Hunter Mountain in Palenville, NY, brings the region's German heritage to life with Old World music and foods. The September weekend also includes a motorcycle rally with seminars and test rides, and the October weekend features a European car rally. Admission is free. 
Meeting the Alpacas of Greater Niagara: While best known for its famed falls and the arts and music scene in its largest city, Buffalo, the region is also home to alpaca farms, apple orchards, wineries and more. 
  • National Alpaca Farm Days, September 29 to 30, at alpaca farms across the region, are a fun way to come nose to nose with these fascinating animals and learn about their habits and quirks. For example, unlike most grazing animals, they use a communal dung heap. Several farms also demonstrate how alpaca fiber is treated and used in sweaters and other items. 
  • Oktoberfest at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, October 7 in Varysburg, NY, celebrates all things German with music and food. There will also be carnival rides and games, and the park's Wild Game Safari Ride offers the chance to see animals from around the world. 
  • The Alpaca Fiber and Harvest Festival, November 3 to 4 at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village in Amherst, NY, provides a chance to learn about the alpaca, enjoy a fashion show and shop for goods from local artisans and farms. 
  • Other interesting fall events in the region include Ressler's Corn Maize, September to November in Arcade, NY, which includes a corn cannon and pumpkin patch and the Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show, October 6 to 8 in Letchworth State Park with over 300 fine art vendors. 
Stepping Back in Time in Central New York: In addition to its sports halls of fame, antique shops and living museums, Central New York is also a prime agriculture area. Here, harvest festivals and history go hand in hand at pick-your-own apple orchards with working cider mills and craft beer breweries. 
  • The Madison County Hop Fest, September 14 to 16 at the Madison County Historical Society in Oneida, NY, celebrates the region's 200 year tradition of beer brewing. Free events include brewing demonstrations and lectures. Enthusiasts can also visit hop houses and attend hop growing seminars. Also on tap are a craft beer tasting, and paired brew and food dining.
  • Harvest Fest, September 15 to 16 at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, NY, offers a chance to enjoy local foods and entertainment in a 19th-century setting. The Empire State Carousel, Lippitt Farmstead and other museum attractions are open as well. Admission is $12 for those 13 and older, with reduced rates for seniors and children. 
  • The 27th Annual Apple Fest, September 22 along Washington Avenue, Endicott, NY, features more than 80 vendors, local youth entertainment such as dance, karate and drumming, and fresh New York State apples. 
  • Balloons and Bounty, October 5 to 8 at Wolf Oak Acres Farm in Oneida, NY, combines a balloon rally with a carnival-style fall festival, complete with fireworks. Kids will especially love the corn maze, pig races and pony and wagon rides. Over 20 hot air balloons are expected at this year's event with launches each evening and morning. Admission is $8 per day per person. Kids under 36 inches and parking are free. 
  • CiderFest, October 13 to 14 at the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard in Fly Creek, NY (three miles from Cooperstown), offers the chance to taste sweet cider made the old-fashioned way, on the mill's 1889 water-powered cider press. Visitors can try their hand at operating a press and see demonstrations of hand-operated presses dating back to the 1850s. Parking and admission are free.
Applauding the Music and Brews of Chautauqua-Allegheny: Whether cheering on your favorite singers at a harvest festival "Idol Contest" or listening to live bands at a festival celebrating local brews and wines, live music adds to the excitement of fall celebrations in this music-rich region. 
  • The Festival of Grapes, September 13 to 16 at Village Park in Silver Creek, NY, honors its wine-making heritage with grape stomping and wine tastings, plus lots of live music and food. A Grand Parade crowning the Festival of Grapes Princess will be held on Sunday, the 16th. 
  • The Cuba Garlic Festival, September 15 to 16 at Empire City Farms in Cuba, NY, invites everyone to "Come and have a stinking good time!" with garlic-themed fun such as a garlic cook off and a garlic hot dog eating contest. Daily admission is $5.
  • The Busti Apple Festival, September 30, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Busti Grist Mill and Museum in Jamestown, NY, transports visitors back to pioneer times with a one-room school house and demonstrations of 19th century survival skills as well as traditional foods and crafts. Admission is $3 per adult; parking is free. 
  • Other fall events include Pumpkinville 2012, September 15 to October 31 in Great Valley, NY, featuring hay rides, a six-acre cornfield maze and a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch, and the Fall Fest at Peek'n Peak, October 13 to 14 and 20 to 21, in Findley Lake, NY, with a juried craft show, ski lift rides, and a snow sports equipment swap.   
Discovering the Cuisine and Crafts of the Hudson Valley: Just a short drive from New York City, this history-rich region maintains a strong connection with the land. Here, food festivals and local crafts go hand-in-hand. The region is also home to the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America.
  • The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, October 20 to 21 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY, invites visitors to pet sheep, llamas and other animals, attend workshops and purchase wool products. There's also an educational "make it with wool" contest and fun family activities. 
  • The 24th Annual Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, September 29 to 30 at Cantine Field in Saugerties, NY, will inspire participants to get creative with this staple. There are lectures by chefs and farmers on braiding, growing and cooking with garlic and free garlic seeds for those who want to grow their own. Admission $10; discounts for advance purchase and seniors; children under 12 are free. 
  • The Warwick Applefest, October 14 in Warwick, NY, plays up the many varieties of apples in the region with an apple-pie baking contest and farmers market. There will be music and entertainment on several stages throughout the day along with a children's carnival. Admission is free.
  • The 9th Annual Harvest Fest, October 6 at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY, will feature farm demonstrations as well as workshops with farmers and food experts for kids and adults. Live music and hayrides will add to the fun. 
  • Other enticing events in the area this fall include The Crafts at Rhinebeck Fall Festival, a juried, high-end art and craft show on September 29 and 30 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds; the Sugar Loaf Fall Festival, October 6 to 8, at the Sugar Loaf Art & Crafts Village in Sugar Loaf, NY; and the Wreath Finery at the Wineries, November 17 to 18 and December 1 to 2, where participants receive handmade grape wreaths and ornaments at wineries along the Shawangunk Wine Trail.  
Relishing the Salt Air on Long Island: Bordered by the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, the eastern two-thirds of Long Island is one of the Northeast's key agricultural areas. Potatoes, fruits, poultry, and grapes are among the 100-plus products raised here, making autumn a great time to visit its farm stands and wineries and stopping for a stroll along one of the many deserted beaches. 
  • The 37th Annual Riverhead Country Fair, October 7 along Main Street in Riverhead, NY, is a true country fair, complete with traditional agricultural, homemaking and needlecraft competitions, a vegetable decorating contest, and an old-fashioned tractor pull. Kids can pet farm animals and enjoy carnival and pony rides. Admission is free. 
  • The Oyster Festival, October 13 to 14 at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay, NY, originated as a hometown parade honoring Theodore Roosevelt before evolving into one of the largest outdoor festivals on Long Island. In addition to its iconic oyster eating and shucking contest, there are tall ships and pirate shows, and a special food court where chefs serve creative oyster and seafood concoctions. Admission is free. 
  • Harvestfest, October 21 in Port Jefferson, NY, features a chowder tasting competition held at local restaurants. There will also be costumed characters and music throughout the village and a popular costumed dog parade expected to draw more than a hundred decked-out dogs. 
Succumbing to the Serenity of the 1000 Islands-Seaway: Known for its quiet hamlets, dairy farms, small wineries and the diverse fishing on its many waterways, the region celebrates its bounty with a number of friendly, down-home festivals. 
  • The 8th Annual Harvest Festival, September 16 at The Stone Mills Museum in LaFargeville, NY, is set amid historic farm buildings and artifacts that tell the story of agriculture in the region. The museum's harvest festival welcomes the season with a fun day of traditional games and entertainment. 
  • Crank it Up! Antique Tractor & Engine Show, September 15 to 16 at the Oswego County Fairgrounds in Sandy Creek, NY, will delight anyone with a fascination for vintage farm machinery and the heritage of farming. Antique tractors compete in tractor pulls. Farm skills competitions include one that entails backing up a tractor just enough to break the shell of an egg while leaving the membrane intact. Plus, everyone enjoys timeless family games like sack races and tug-of-war. 
  • Wild Edibles with Nancy Kaiser, September 16, 2 to 4 p.m. at Mexico Point Park in the Town of Mexico, NY, offers the chance to learn to identify some of the wild and wonderful fall foods provided by nature. 
  • The Lioness Club of Central Square 29th Annual Apple Festival, September 28 to 30 at the Brewerton Speedway, Central Square, NY, is a great event for apple lovers. Apple crisp, apple fritters, apple pies, candied apples... you name it and you'll probably find it here. And of course, there's an apple pie baking contest as well as amusement rides, games, and horse and pony rides. Admission for those 12 and older, $1 donation.
  • The Great Pumpkin Festival, September 29 & 30 at Washington Square Park is Oswego, NY, invites pumpkin growers to compete for the prize for the heaviest pumpkin while everyone enjoys the games, rides, food, vendors, live entertainment. Admission is free. 
About New York State New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls, to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like fishing, hiking and boating, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information, visit  Media can find press releases and more at   I LOVE NEW YORK's weekly foliage reports begin Wednesday, September 12, 2012. Each week through early November visit for a detailed update of foliage conditions across New York State, including a map charting fall color progress, vantage points for viewing spectacular foliage, suggested autumn getaways and event listings. You may also hear highlights of the foliage report by dialing (800) CALL-NYS.  

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CONTACT: Melanie Klausner M. SILVER ASSOCIATES (212)-754-6500, ext. 243   Eric Scheffel Empire State Development (518) 292-5274