This blog post was updated on July 21, 2021.
Is there nothing that embodies the essence of autumn like a harvest festival? Born out of ancient cultures celebrating the annual gathering of the local crops, the modern iterations (especially in the United States) mostly now consist of apple bushels for sale, food stands and some family-friendly activities.
But that’s not all to harvest festivals, below are five distinct and cool festivals that you can still manage to visit this autumn.
One place you don’t really think you’d find a harvest festival is a street in a major city, but that’s just what’s going on in Philadelphia on October 17 from 10 AM and 4PM. In front of the city’s famed Reading Terminal Market, visitors can find a transplanted farm, complete with hay bales, corn stalks, a pumpkin patch, and tractor rides. And of course there will be plenty of food to nosh on.
Formerly known as the Keene Pumpkin Festival, before it moved to another town and took on its new name, this yearly celebration of all thing pumpkins started off in the 90s as an attempt to set the world record for the most lit jack-‘o-lanterns in one place, which has become the heart of the annual event, and even held the record for a while in the Guinness Book of World Records. This year’s celebration goes down on October 24.
Although it’s only in its 7th year, Portland, ME’s Harvest on the Harbor festival — which runs this year from October 21 to 25 — has become a must-visit for fans of quality seafood and cooking. The celebrations is chock full of food-focused events with plenty of drinking (kids are not allowed), all to fight hunger and help the needy in Maine.
Taking place in Whiteville, North Carolina on the weekend of November 7th, this year will mark the town’s 23rd annual celebration of everyone’s favorite southern nut. Visitors can look forward to a festival queen pageant, 5K and 8K runs, a parade, a cooking contest, and more (including lots of pecans).
Ask any coffee enthusiast about the quality of brew from Hawaii and you’ll be greeted with a litany of praises for a cup of Joe made from the beans grown on the islands. So it should comes as no surprise that there’s a festival to celebrate the Hawaiian coffee in honor of the annual harvest. What is surprising? The event in Kona, which this year takes places between November 6 and 15, is the oldest food festival in Hawaii.