Dateline: August 22, 2012
New England celebrates fall foliage season like no other place in the world. Here is your guide to some of the best New England fall festivals. Fill your calendar with these autumn events held in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and neighboring New York State.
September 28-29, 2012, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, Massachusetts, 888-HAR-POON, ext. 3. Boston's Harpoon Brewery hosts one of New England's largest Octoberfest celebrations each year. Sample fresh Harpoon beer and German food while you enjoy live performances by German Oompa Bands and some playful events including keg bowling and the Chicken Dance contest.
September 28-30, 2012, The Field at Riley Rink (new location in 2012!), Manchester, Vermont, 802-425-3399. Combine leaf peeping and shopping! Each year, Manchester, Vermont. hosts this fall craft show featuring works by 180 artisans, plus live entertainment, food and more. Returning this fall: the Vermont Beer, Cheese and Sausage Tent!
October 1-6, 2012, six participating towns, Northeast Kingdom, Vermont, 800-639-6379. Each day of this six-day fall festival showcases a different town in Vermont's remote and incredibly scenic Northeast Kingdom. Jump in your car, bring your camera, and spend all or part of the week meeting local folks as they open the doors of their homes, historic sites and churches and host a variety of activities ranging from guided tours, hikes and concerts to lumberjack or pancake breakfasts and chicken pie or spaghetti suppers.
October 6-7, 2012, Downtown, Warner, New Hampshire, 603-456-9775. Each year, Warner, New Hampshire, entices fall foliage visitors with a downtown festival featuring crafts, carnival rides, a farmer's market, food and free entertainment. Highlights of the weekend event usually include a children's parade, a country bazaar and a lobster dinner and chicken BBQ.
October 6-7, 2012, Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry, Maine, 207-824-3000. The annual Fall Festival at Maine's Sunday River is actually several events rolled into one. There's the Taste of Maine and the 29th Annual Blue Mountain Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday, not to mention the annual North American Wife Carrying Championships, a truly unique sporting event in which the winning carrier earns his partner's weight in beer and five times his partner's weight in cash! Other events throughout the weekend include chainsaw woodcarving demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, a pre-season sports sale, kids' activities, concerts and more.
October 6-7, 2012, Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay, Maine, 207-633-4727. This annual fall festival at Boothbay Railway Village features crafts, entertainment, food and activities for kids, plus steam train rides for a nostalgic look at the leaves.
October 6-8, 2012, Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut, 860-572-5302. Hungry for chowder? Then head to Mystic Seaport over Columbus Day Weekend for Chowder Days, an annual festival featuring New England's signature soup. The Chowder Days menu features several varieties of chowder, clam cakes, gourmet sandwiches, seasonal desserts and beer, wine and other beverages, all of which must be purchased separately from museum admission. While you fill yourself with hearty New England fare, enjoy family activities and all of the sights and experiences of this sprawling maritime museum.
October 6-7, 2012, Newport Yachting Center, Newport, Rhode Island, 401-846-1600. Savor a taste of Germany in Rhode Island as Newport hosts its annual Oktoberfest on the waterfront featuring two stages with authentic entertainment including Bavarian bands, yodelers and dance troupes from as far away as Germany. The Columbus Day holiday weekend event also features a Biergarten and a marketplace.
October 13-14, 2012, Main Street, Wellfleet, Massachusetts, 508-349-3499. Why visit Cape Cod in the fall? To enjoy an uncrowded vacation, off-season rates, splashes of fall color, mild temperatures and... oysters! The annual OysterFest in Wellfleet features opportunities to sample oysters and clams prepared every which way. You can also shop for crafts, cheer for competitors in the Oyster Shuck-Off, participate in family activities, listen to music and even learn something about the marine environment (but don't tell the kids!).
October 20, 2012, Main Street, Keene, New Hampshire, 603 352-4410. The people of New Hampshire surrendered their Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place to Boston in 2006, but they haven't given up hope of besting Boston's 30,128 glowing gourds. Will 2012 be the year the festival sets a new world record and Keene regains its status as New England's pumpkin capital? You'll just have to head to the Keene Pumpkin Festival to see for yourself. Bring a carved pumpkin... or a few.