Crisp autumn air, colorful falling leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything aren’t the only things you should look forward to this fall. Virginia’s fall festival lineup is more impressive than ever, with annual favorites highlighting the best of live music, signature foods, and a whole lot of family fun. Here are a few upcoming festivals around Virginia that you need to attend this fall.
Save the Date: September 17
This annual concert benefits Virginia farmers and the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor, with attendees getting the chance to meet and discuss farm practices with local farmers. With big names like Willie Nelson, Alabama Shakes, Dave Matthews Band, and Neil Young performing this year, Farm Aid is no small-town shindig. The festival is a wonderful way to support Virginia’s local and organic food efforts while enjoying some of the best bands around.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion—Bristol
Save the Date: September 16-18
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion showcases live country performances over three days on a total of 22 stages, and where better to have such a festival than the city whose claim to fame is being the “Birthplace of Country Music”? The heritage and roots of country music go deep, and this festival celebrates the past, present, and future of the musical genre with countless foot-tapping performances.
State Fair of Virginia—Doswell
Save the Date: September 23-October 2
Whether you come for the deep-fried sweets, amusement rides, or to pet a few of the farm animals, the State Fair of Virginia is a great time for the entire family. The kids can learn about agriculture and get hands-on in the petting zoo area, adding an educational element to their experience. Parents and adults browse the homemade crafts and goods while savoring delicious locally made brews and wines.
Neptune Festival—Virginia Beach
Save the Date: Weekends in September
This is the 43rd year of the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, and it just keeps getting bigger and better every year! You can expect to stay busy every weekend of the festival, attending the live concerts, visiting the countless merchant booths, participating or watching a variety of fitness competitions and parades, and finally ending the festival with an impressive beachfront fireworks display. While this festival occurs every weekend in September on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk area, the biggest event is the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend from September 30 to October 2. Don’t miss the Sandsculpting Championship, where talented artists from all over the world compete to create masterpieces in the sand.
Richmond Folk Festival—Richmond
Save the Date: October 7-9
The Richmond Folk Festival features over 30 live performances spread onto seven different stages during the weekend that pays tribute to traditional folk music. There are live dance demonstrations, nonstop musical acts, a folk arts marketplace where you can purchase handmade wares, and a wide array of food trucks that serve up delicious menus filled with regional, local, and ethnic dishes. The best part of the Folk Festival? Admission is absolutely free.
Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival—Syria
Save the Date: Weekends in October
The fall colors blanketing the mountains adds a scenic fall backdrop to the Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival, which runs every weekend of October in Syria. Pick your own apples to take home as you tour the working orchard and learn all about the process of growing apples in Virginia. The smell of fall dishes like Brunswick stew and Pumpkin Pie fill the cool air as you browse through handcrafted goods. Kids will love wandering the hay maze or climbing the Hay Mountain, and horseback rides are available for people of all ages at the festival.
Blue Ridge Folklife Festival—Ferrum
Save the Date: October 22
The traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains come alive at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, celebrating Virginia’s rural residents with the music genres that have long filled the air in the region. Watch live bluegrass, gospel, and blues bands perform and hear stories of the dangerous moonshine runs that occurred during Prohibition at this annual festival. The authentic experiences provided at the event give visitors an inside look at the history and heritage of one of Virginia’s most beautiful regions.
Urbanna Oyster Festival—Urbanna
Save the Date: November 4-5
As the Oyster Capital of the East Coast, expect any oyster festival in Virginia to be fantastic. But the riverfront town of Urbanna has the distinct honor of being the site where the Oyster Trail first began, and their pride in this fact is evident at the Urbanna Oyster Festival. There are over 50 food vendors in attendance, each serving up their twist on the oyster. You can find them steamed, roasted, raw, Rockefeller, stewed, fried, and just about every way imaginable at the festival. Artists set up displays of their work, and you’ll find that the small town knows how to commemorate the oyster in a BIG way.
Williamsburg Harvest Celebration—Williamsburg
Save the Date: November 5-12
The Williamsburg Harvest Celebration is all about food, taking visitors on a culinary journey of Virginia that spans over 400 years. Attend a range of culinary events that highlight Virginia’s rich food history, where chefs, farmers, artisans, brewers, winemakers, and historians from around the Commonwealth share their knowledge and skills. You’ll have the chance to sample dishes from some of the most famed chefs in Virginia at this annual Williamsburg festival.
Whether you’re looking for food, music, or just a chance to take in the stunning scenery that fall brings, these nine festivals should be on your agenda. Looking for more fall festivals to fill your weekends? There are autumn celebrations happening in every part of Virginia.
© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2016. |