Sandwiched between the back-to-school brew-ha-ha and the Halloween kick-off of the holiday onslaught, there’s a small but precious slice of time: harvest season. Traditionally a part of the year when humans busted their humps working to provide for themselves and their families (sound familiar?), harvest time is a season of agricultural bounty, thanksgiving and the sweet reward of finally kicking back when you know the work is done. So kick back! Pick one of these fun harvest festivals happening across the U.S., and celebrate the bounty in your life.
Dallas Harvest Festival – Dallas, TX. Taking over the streets of downtown, this festival is known for its “kiss the pig” contest, whose winner claims the prize of a tongue-lashing with a pot-bellied pig (festival-goers usually vote for their least favorite politician). Enjoy a massive flower display and farmers market, live talent competitions and activities for the kids. (September 15th)
Common Ground Country Fair – Unity, ME. Maine’s agricultural traditions and rural culture are on display at this unique country fair, and you’ll find an amazing selection of local produce and hand-made goods. Hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, this old-fashioned fair features sheep dog demonstrations, lessons on low-impact forestry and a large fiber marketplace. (September 20-22nd)
Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta – Santa Fe, NM. If you like your harvest festival on the spicy side, this five-day desert party will pique your palate non-stop. An upscale food and wine festival with luncheons, chef demonstrations, wine tastings and seminars of all sorts, the fiesta caps off with a live auction and scramble across Towa Golf Course with paired food and wine tastings at every third hole. (September 25-29th)
Sonoma County Harvest Fair – Santa Rosa, CA. Focusing on local, artisinal products, this fall wine festival features interactive wine tastings from over 150 wineries in a massive grand pavilion. You’ll also find educational workshops, chef demonstrations, beer and cider tastings AND the World Championship Grape Stomp. (October 4-6th)
National Apple Harvest Festival – Arendtsville, PA. Head to historic apple country near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for this family-friendly celebration of the sassy, shiny apple. Find hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, hayrides, square dancing, petting zoo, puppet shows, pie eating contests and classis cars. (October 5-6th & 12-13th)
Hood River County Harvest Festival – Hood River, OR. Held along the waterfront overlooking the action on the Hood River, this Oregon festival offers a bounty of treats from the Pacific Northwest, including berries, apples, jams, smoked salmon and hoppy microbrews. Hang out and shop at the farmers market, listen to live music, browse the local vendors and taste regional wines and beers. (October 18-20th)
Pecan Harvest Festival – Whiteville, NC. Loved all across the south for its meaty texture and buttery flavor, the pecan gets its due in North Carolina each fall with this weekend fling. A true Southern fete, this classy celebration features a pageant of “Pecan Belles,” vintage home tours, live entertainment, a parade and much more. (October 31st-November 2nd)