Celebrate the local bounty with micro brews and wines, autumn foods, and one-ton pumpkins
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Hood River Valley Harvest Festival
Hood River, OR; Oct 13 - 15;
This old-fashioned fall festival is all about local produce and artisan goods. Explore more than 125 booths of arts and crafts, fresh pears and apples, smoked salmon, and handmade pies. Get your canning jars ready! Many booths sell full flats or boxes of fresh fruit. You can sip on local wine, cider, and beer while you enjoy the live music and gorgeous views of the river or ogle at the pie eating contests and professional pumpkin carver Scott Cully’s 600-pound masterpiece. Put your feet up post-festival at one of the many independent breweries that line the Columbia River.
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Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Santa Rosa, CA; Oct 6 - 8;
More than 100 wineries bring their best bottles to the fair’s Grand Tasting Pavilion. Explore world-class wines before sitting in on a wine tasting seminar or live cooking demonstration from some of the West’s best chefs. Like something you tasted? The gold medal award-winning wines are sold onsite. Also, don’t miss the World Championship Grape Stomp. The competition might make for a great laugh, but the contest is no joke–winners go home with a grand prize of $1,500, in addition to newly-purple hands and feet.
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Boulder Fall Fest
Boulder, CO; Sept 15 - 17;
While it may not quite feel like fall yet in Boulder in September, this festival gets you into the spirit of the season. Part Oktoberfest, part harvest festival, the event features live music from nine bands and enough food to go around. Classic beers and brats combine with handmade artisan goods for a unique celebration of the new season. Stop by the popular Firefly Handmade Market to pick up jewelry, ceramics, artisanal food, and more from local makers.
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Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival
Half Moon Bay, CA; Oct 14 - 15;
James and the Giant Peach-sized pumpkins are the star of this charming festival, but the drive along the coast alone is worth the trip. The small town along Highway 1 fills up quickly as people come from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to see the massive squash that weigh in at nearly a ton. A parade, pie eating and costume contests, and a kids' zone complete with a zip line and a climbing wall will keep the whole family busy. Don’t miss the artisan cocktails or Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Harvest Ale.
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Santa Fe Harvest Festival
Santa Fe, NM; Sept 30 & Oct 1; , children free
Get a taste of a traditional New Mexico harvest on a working farm and ranch. Learn how to press apples to make cider, crush grapes by foot, and perfect your tortilla making at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas. Explore the 200 acres of historic buildings, ponds, waterways, and fields planted with traditional crops while you’re on the ranch.
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Cornucopia Fall Festival
Flagstaff, AZ; Sept 30;
Flagstaff’s Cornucopia is loaded with family-friendly attractions like carnival games, circus performances, and a kids’ talent show. There’s plenty for adults, too: Stop by the beer garden, where you can sample local micro brews, before heading off to the drone race or corn hole tournament.
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Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival
Maui, O‘ahu, Island of Hawai’i; Oct 20-22, 28, Nov 1-5;
Spanning two weeks on three islands, Hawai’i’s Food and Wine Festival is the state’s largest food and wine event and a must-see. More than 100 chefs and 50 winemakers will share their craft at wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and exclusive dining excursions. Dig into mouth-watering street food on Maui, cruise around the Big Island with a six-course onboard dinner, and finish with a full tasting of foraged and fished foods from Oahu.
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You’ll want to cozy up in the mountains for this 11-day fall festival. From wine tasting to wellness workshops, Whistler’s Cornucopia has all of the makings of a relaxing retreat mixed with the excitement of new foods and wines. The culinary stages are packed with storied chefs and local cuisine. Plan to stay an extra day or two to play in the mountains before you head home. Tickets go on sale July 1, but act fast: Popular events like the Crush Grand Tasting and Bearfoot Bistro’s Oyster Shucking and Caesar Competition sell out quickly.
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Trailing of the Sheep Festival
Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Hailey, ID; Oct 4 - 8;
Follow along as Idaho’s sheep make their historic migration from the summer fields to their winter home. Aside from the surreal experience of watching the sheep trail down Ketchum’s Main Street, the five-day festival combines storytelling, a parade, and Idaho’s best culinary treats for an event unlike any other. Sit in on a cooking or wool class before settling in for a farm-to-table dinner or catching a glimpse of the sheepdog competition.
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Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival
Truckee, CA; Sept 8 - 10;
Made for festival goers who prefer the outdoors and no crowds, Lake Tahoe’s intimate autumn festival is an insider’s glimpse to what the area has to offer. Start the morning with yoga and flow into a relaxed, guided wine tasting post-om. Hike through the pine forest with breaks for gourmet snacks and craft beer on a guided outdoor tasting. Ride the gondola for mountainside tastings at three different elevations that overlook the scenic valley, or sip a glass while you stargaze.