Vermont has numerous festivals going on this fall statewide.
Stratton Mountain celebrates fall with HarvestFest Weekend, Oct. 9-11. The chairlift will be open for scenic rides to the summit. From there you can hike to the fire tower or explore some of the walking trails. It will be the final weekend of lift-serviced biking with family-friendly terrain and trails for all abilities. And the 27-hole golf course will enjoy a final weekend with stunning views and foliage. Saturday activities and events include a Mountain Chili Cook-off from 1-3 p.m. Sample the locally-made chili and chime in on who will be the chili master.
Sample Vermont beers, ales, and ciders while listening to live music at the Brew Fest from noon to 6 p.m. Several different bands will be on the outdoor stage during the afternoon. Get up early Sunday morning and register for the North Face Race to the Summit. You’ll challenge yourself running 2.18 miles while climbing 2,003 vertical feet to the Stratton summit, southern Vermont’s highest peak. There will be prize money, awards and of course bragging rights as well as a gondola ride down to the base if you want it. In the evening, enjoy more live music with an opening act on the outdoor stage at 6 p.m. followed by the headliner Blues Traveler. Tickets to HarvestFest are limited and should be purchased in advance.
Do you love schnitzel, oompah music and beer? Welcome in the fall season at the 23rd annual Mount Snow Octoberfest on Oct. 9, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults can sample brews from both German and domestic breweries and feast on authentic German dishes. In addition, there will be traditional games like yodeling, stein holding and keg-tossing.
In the Northeast Kingdom, the town of Danville hosts Autumn on the Green on Oct. 3. More than 200 vendors will sell everything from baskets, quilts and rugs to dog biscuits, candles, and clothing. There will be handmade furniture, body salves, pottery, artwork, and antiques. You can see demonstrations of the ancient art of dowsing and perhaps try your hand at it. Vermont specialty foods such as cheese, maple products, cider, coffee, and more are featured, in addition to traditional barbecue fare, soups, and stews. This festival is a showcase for the states’ crafters and cottage industries.
On Maine’s seacoast, in the village of Boothbay, the annual Fall Foliage Festival has been going on for more than 50 years. This year, its 53rd, Oct. 9-10, will feature some traditional favorites such as live music and entertainment, vendor booths, a kids’ corner, and delicious fall-themed food. In addition, organizers will celebrate 201 years of Maine’s statehood with a four-acre green surrounded by a vintage village complete with historic buildings, a model railroad, village goats, and an antique car museum.
For a day trip or a weekend getaway, head to Sunday River for Columbus Day weekend to experience fall in the mountains. All weekend long there will be golf, chairlift rides and a sale at Sunday River Sports, where you can stock up on winter gear, get your skis tuned, and have your boots fitted by experts. On Saturday, couples can enter the North American Wife Carrying Championship to vie for beer and cash. There will be live music and wine tasting slopeside at South Ridge. On Sunday, get ready for the New England Cornhole Championship. Bragging rights and cash go to the winners. Then relax to live music in the Bloody Mary tent.
In New Hampshire, the 46th annual Highland Games will be held at Loon Mountain from Sept. 17-19.
Presented by NHSCOT, which boasts a mission to promote and preserve Scottish culture, the Highland Games and Festival features performers, re-enactments, Celtic bands and Highland dancers, seminars, classes, sheep dog trials, Scottish food and vendors, and activities just for the kids. More than 30 clans will be in the village. Perhaps you can find yours as you learn about clan history.
Try It classes are offered free during the weekend. Ever try stone-lifting or playing a drum? Want to learn how to become a drum major? Here’s your chance to try something new and different. Kids ages 5 to preteen can join the Passport Program and collect passport stamps as they visit each of the game’s venues. On Sunday morning you can join in on an ecumenical worship service, and throughout the weekend seminars will cover topics from ancient Scottish games to historical events to cooking demonstrations to haunted castles. For the adults — must be over 21 — there will be a Whisky Master Class to learn about, and sample, single-malt whiskies. Throughout the weekend, pipe bands will perform around the festival grounds. Due to COVID protocols, there will be a limit on capacity and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Settlers Green in North Conway ushers in the changing season with its Fall Festival on Sept. 25. This event is focused on kids with pumpkin-painting, free apples, a hay maze, and more, including great photo ops. If you correctly guess the number of candy pumpkins in the jar on display, you can win a $100 Settlers Green gift card. It’s all about a day at the farm brought to the shopping center. Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 9-10) brings the fifth annual Busker Festival. There will be at least 15 street musicians playing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. Tuckerman Brewing will have a pop-up beer garden on Sunday from 3-6 p.m. featuring local band Shark Martin to round out the weekend.