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5 Wacky Fall Festivals and Events in New England

Quirky and Unusal Ways to Spend Memorable Fall Weekends in New England


Tractor Parade

Take a breather from your busy life this fall, and sit back and enjoy the annual Tractor Parade in East Charlotte, Vermont.

© 2010 Kim Knox Beckius
Do you dread the inevitable Monday morning question: "How was your weekend?" This fall, you don't ever have to answer: "It was OK. I raked leaves again." Regale your colleagues and friends with stories of madcap fun when you attend one--or all--of these wacky fall festivals and events in New England. You might have to wake up a little earlier than usual on a Monday to Band-Aid the blisters you sustained running in stilettos or wash the Fluff out of your hair, but it will be worth it.

Fluff Festival

Saturday, September 28, 2013 (rain date: Sunday, September 29)
Somerville, Massachusetts
Admission: Free

The state that gave us everything from the ballpoint pen and the monkey wrench to the first liquid-fueled rocket is also the birthplace of an invention with dubious nutritional value: Marshmallow Fluff. In 1917, Archibald Query began selling his sticky-sweet marshmallow concoction door-to-door to neighbors in Somerville, Massachusetts: a Boston suburb. Nearly a century later, Somerville's arts community has embraced the city's culinary claim to fame, and the eighth annual Fluff Festival is your chance to sample Fluff grub (there are so many more possibilities than Fluffernutters), to enjoy zany performances and perhaps to even be crowned the Pharaoh of Fluff. All while dodging a hail storm of mini marshmallows.

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Stowe, Vermont
Admission: $5 (ages 5 and up) to benefit the Lamoille Family Center

For the fifth year, pumpkins will fly in Vermont this fall. And while watching pumpkins shatter on impact is cool... this is not a spectator sport. Anyone can enter. So, tell the kids to put down their electronic devices, and spend quality family time in your backyard building a trebuchet: Yes, that's Medieval weaponry. It's also the best contraption if you want to fling pumpkins a good distance. All of the rules are available at the festival Web site. Be sure to head to Stowe hungry, as this wacky fall event at Stoweflake Resort also features a Chili Cookoff.

North American Wife Carrying Championship

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Newry, Maine
Admission: Free

What will a guy do to win his wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash? On one fall Saturday each year, as many as 50 men are willing to hoist their wives (or other female teammates) on their backs and race over obstacles for the chance to score fabulous prizes, unparalleled bragging rights and the chance to compete in the following summer's World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland. Even if you don't compete, the race is a sight to behold and the highlight of a weekend-long Fall Festival at Maine's Sunday River ski resort that features a free concert, a Taste of Maine food sampling event, an arts and crafts show featuring local exhibitors, chainsaw carving demonstrations, activities for kids and pre-season deals on ski gear.

Tractor Parade

Sunday, October 13, 2013 (rain or shine)
East Charlotte, Vermont
Admission: Free

Have you ever been to a parade where there was a lull in the action? Well... that's about the pace of the entire East Charlotte Tractor Parade. These agricultural vehicles are not exactly built for speed, after all. But when the sun is shining and the fall leaves are putting on a show, you may just love this laidback community event featuring more than 100 antique and modern tractors lumbering through town. They come from miles around! The 13th annual Tractor Parade also features a farmer's market, food vendors, children's activities and hayrides.


Friday-Sunday, October 25-27, 2013
Ogunquit, Maine
Admission: Free (some tours and activities have fees)

Pumpkin decorating, a scarecrow contest, craft vendors, wagon rides, a costume parade: At first glance, OgunquitFest looks to be a typical New England community-based fall festival. But, wait. There's a foot race... in high heels? And a bed race?! (This video will show you it's not a snooze!) If you want to embrace fall frivolity, this southern Maine coast town known for being artsy and accepting is the place to be during October's final weekend. This celebration of all things colorful--not just leaves--marks its 10th year in 2013.

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