By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
Autumn is almost here (officially) and that means that festival season continues, with pumpkin patches and fall festivals joining the already-long list of area community events celebrating various foods, cultures, and neighborhoods. For some families, fall is an even better time for these events since the cool, crisp air is more comfortable than the summer heat, and the changing colors of the season make for better photo opportunities.
We recently updated our list of fall festivals in our immediate area and invite you to take a look! As usual, we keep it “close to home” and list just those events in and very near Fairfax County; later on we may add a special list for the events that are further out but worth a drive. And of course we’ll update this list soon with more fall events and Halloween festivities!
By the way, just as Northern Virginia is very diverse in its population, fall festivals around here can be very different from one another. Some festivals are huge, weeks-long celebrations that include higher admission fees but pack in many activities so you could spend hours there. At some of these farms, you could go several times and spend a whole day each visit, and still not get to do it all! Activities at these fall festivals include giant slides, tunnel structures, pedal carts, hayrides, pumpkin-smashing, jumping pillows, fun mazes, farm animals and petting zoos, live music, mini-golf, pumpkin patches, free cider samplings, lots of food, farm markets, and more, including pig racing.
These large festivals are best for those who want to get more “bang for their buck” and go one place where multiple activities will keep the whole family busy. For people who want to enjoy a taste of a fall festival minus the larger crowds or higher costs, several local garden centers and pumpkin patches offer another option. At these places, admission is usually free and activities are limited, but they often are complimentary or have only a minimal fee. These smaller events are best for younger kids or family with limited time.
Whatever you choose — and we recommend visiting as many of these places at least once, since each has its own unique offerings! — our annual Fall Festivals Guide lists all the season-long celebrations. For single-day events, also see our big list of Community Festivals.