When autumn approaches, Americans start preparing for the leaves to turn, cooler temperatures, and partaking in seasonal activities. For many people, attending a fall fair or festival is a must.
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Throughout the 50 states, there are events created and hosted to celebrate hobbies and interests, local foods and traditions, and to bring families together to spend quality time with each other.
Fair season tends to start in mid-late September and continue until the end of November across the country. While there are thousands of events held each year, the following list includes 15 of the most popular fairs and festivals to visit in the U.S. this fall season—along with some considerations to help make your visit as smooth as possible .
Best Fairs to Spend an Entire Weekend
There are approximately 12 weekends during the fall season, giving travelers many opportunities to explore multiple festivities around the country. Some of these fairs have such an array of activities that they warrant a two-day or weekend trip, such as the annual OysterFest in Massachusetts or the International Balloon Festival in New Mexico.
Regardless of what festival you choose to attend, make sure you plan ahead to make the most of your weekend road trip.LB
Acadia Night Sky Festival
Where: Acadia National Park, Maine
Why visit: Celebrate one of the most famous starlit sky events in America this fall by taking a trip to Acadia National Park. Through keynote speakers, workshops, and hands-on arts and science activities, this festival serves as both a celebration and opportunity for all attendees to learn more about the nature and beauty of the night sky.
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Why visit: Known around the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®draws thousands of people annually to come watch a show of hot air balloons sailing through the sky. As both a picturesque and interactive weekend for all those who attend, you even have the opportunity to engage in conversations with the creators and pilots of these magnificent balloons. Sit back and enjoy a weekend (or weeklong) spectacle of soaring hot air balloons, delicious food, and the option to camp under the stars.
Annual National Shrimp Festival
Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Why visit: For the past 48 years, people from far and wide have headed to the Gulf to enjoy a jam-packed weekend in the sun. While the festival is known for its abundance of seafood favorites, this annual event also has something for everyone: road races, sand sculpture contests, shopping, 100+ hours of live musical performances, and much more.
Where: Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Why visit: This two-day festival is in full swing every year after Columbus Day, and is a celebration of Wellfleet’s traditions surrounding its famous oysters, clams, and other shellfish. From competing in the 5K Road Race and Pickleball tournament, to enjoying the tastes of New England seafood and beer, there are a variety of activities to keep you entertained all weekend long. You could start the morning exploring the fine art and craft exhibitors, and then head into the afternoon enjoying live music from various local bands. OysterFest occurs rain or shine, and don’t forget to check out the Oyster Shuck-Off—deemed the festival’s most popular event.