Early autumn is one of our favorite times of the year. We love reaching for a sweater when the leaves start to fall and East Coast foliage turns into a rainbow of red, yellow, and orange. Once the August heat lightens up, it’s the perfect time to hop in the car or on a plane and journey to one of our favorite American fall food festivals. We’ve picked eight must-visit festivals, each of which focuses on its own star ingredient. Pennsylvanians celebrate the apple, Northern Californians toast the grape, Cape Cod shucks for oysters, and the list goes on. Scroll through to plan the ultimate foodie vacation!
This rustic food festival is just as laid back as it is utterly scrumptious. You’ll find a smorgasbord of yummy eats from a range of more than 80 Oregon chefs, 38 wineries, 18 breweries, and 20 artisanal food producers. It’s rather hard not to roll out of this event, but we must say, this one is worth our jeans feeling a little tighter! If you don’t take our word for it, trust Thrillist, which called Feast “the best food festival in the country!” The day of feasting costs $95 per ticket.
Dates: September 17, 2015
The New York City Food & Wine Festival
This four-day Manhattan extravaganza is extra special. It’s hosted by the Food Network and includes meals, talks, and teaching demos with some of the country’s most renowned chefs. We’re especially excited for the event with Iron Chef America all-star April Bloomfield. Tickets for this seriously delicious event run on the expensive side ($250 for that Bloomfield dinner) but the Food Network has also curated a wide selection of events under $100.
Dates: October 15-18, 2015
PHOTO: via The Food Network
National Apple Harvest
Located near Gettysburg, in the heart of Pennsylvania apple country, is the National Apple Harvest. It’s going on its 51styear of production and seems to continue getting better and better. This year, there is a lineup of bluegrass bands, tractor races, pumpkin pie-eating contests, and some of the most delicious caramel apples you can imagine. As if you needed another reason to book this in your calendar? Think of the sensational backdrop of an East Coast autumn. Tickets are only $10, or $9 for seniors.
Located in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, this two-day oyster festival is a hometown favorite. It’s more a celebration of Cape Cod in general, with local cuisine, walking tours, live music, a fine arts fair, a road race, and, of course, the annual Oyster Shuck-Off competition. Tickets are on sale now from $8 and children get in free.
Dates: October 18-18, 2015
PHOTO: Benjamin Planche
If you can’t make it over to Germany this fall but still want to taste great beer and bratwurst, head over to Columbus, Ohio. This food and beer festival is full of jovial attendees and lots and lots of beer. The official Columbus Oktoberfest Facebook page reads: “Don’t be a Sauer Kraut. Be a happy German. Holy Schmidt, look at those cream puffs!” Anything with that tagline is sure to be a blast. And it’s free admittance.
Dates: September 25-27, 2015
PHOTO: Courtesy of The Food Network
Music City Food + Wine Festival
Located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, this multimedia event is definitely something to put on your calendar one of these years. Much like Coachella, this food festival has several different tents set up, each with scheduled acts and events. There are cooking presentations, a harvest night celebration, musical acts, and a lot of delicious Southern fare. Single-day passes begin at $150.
Dates: September 19-20, 2015
PHOTO: via Along the Wine Road
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
To be honest, this wine country favorite is all about the wine. And we’re OK with that. Delicious vintages from surrounding vineyards are paired to perfection with exquisite meals. It’s wonderful to mingle and celebrate the bountiful grape harvest with locals and tourists. We love how the festival incorporates “Go Local” meal demonstrations. Gate admission to the festival is just $5, with tasting events starting at $55.
Dates: October 2-4, 2015