Monday, August 25, 2014

Family Fun Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia has a ton of fall festivals going on in the fall months of September and October. If you're in the area and looking for fall seasonal fun, many of these events may be just what you're looking for as an outing to take the family.

Most of these festivals are annual events designed with family fun in mind. Some events are one or two day events while others run throughout the entire fall season, so keep in mind any specific dates if you're looking for a particular activity. Here are some good picks of family fun festivals for fall:

Corn Maze at The Plains

People navigate Corn Maze at The Plains (2012
This festival I've been to a number of times.  Corn Maze in The Plains is conveniently located off I-66, every year a new corn maze theme is introduced, it's fun to see what theme the farm has come up with each year. There is a play area for the kids and you can buy your seasonal pumpkins and other decorations. There is also a farmer's market very nearby that I usually stop in on our way out. 

Town Celebration Days


Fall is a time of year where some of the sections in Fairfax County celebrate their towns. The towns of Clifton and Centreville each hold an annual celebration. Typically these celebrations include arts and crafts, antiques, demonstrations, vendors/flea markets, live music entertainment, food and activities for the kids.

Amazing Farm Fun @ Ticonderoga 

Families choose their pumpkins at Ticonderoga Farms
If big slides, hayrides, hot apple cider and pumpkin picking is your thing, Amazing Farm Fun @ Ticonderoga (I believe was formerly known as simply, "Ticonderoga Farms") has it all and much more, including a large jump and bounce pillow. In my experience, the kids, even the older ones, really love this one. There are also several fire pits to roast marshmallows (bring your own or purchase at the farm). The fall festival usually starts around the third week in September and runs through early November. See the farm's website for more details. 

Fall for Fairfax KidsFest


This fall festival first launched in 1992. The annual family fun event is held on the grounds of the Fairfax Government Center and admission is free! There are many kid-friendly fun events listed in each year's schedule which includes model trains, pony rides, a midway with carnival rides and even scarecrow making; all this and more. Admission and many activities are free, but there are a handful of activities that do charge a fee.

Leesburg Animal Park's Pumpkin Village Fall Fest


Leesburg Animal Park is a great day trip for the family full of family fun. 
Formerly known as Pumpkinville, the Pumpkin Village Fall Fest, usually begins at the end of September and runs through early November. The park is set to include seasonal activities for the kids.  There's hay mazes, giant slides, a pumpkin patch, apples, cider, scarecrow making, pumpkin and face painting, tractor rides, live entertainment, a spooky pirate ship, and some other new things listed for 2014. Check out the Leesburg Animal Park's website for current price information and other details.

Cox Farms

Out in western Fairfax County, one of the season's biggest events takes place. Every year Cox Farms throws a fall bash that starts in mid to end of September and generally runs through the beginning of November. Each year offers some pretty cool stuff for the kids and promises to be full of family fun. To see hours, admission prices and all else that's at Cox this fall, including its popular "Fields of Fear" please visit their website and check out 'Fall festival'. Also new to the farm is "Foamhenge"

Mount Vernon


Every year Mount Vernon [see my post on visiting this historic site] hosts its Fall Harvest Family Days (usually) during the third weekend of October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to admission to the property and mansion for regular tours, there is 18th-century dancing, a straw bale maze, apple roasting and corn husk doll making. General Washington himself usually makes appearances throughout the day to talk with his guests.

Gunston Hall

In 2014, I visited Gunston Hall again and picked up a calendar while I was there. On Sat., Oct. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gunston Hall celebrates Halloween. Story tellers, pumpkin and face painting and treats are all part of the fun. There is also burying ground tours by lantern. If you are in the area, might be fun to pair a morning/early afternoon at Mount Vernon with an afternoon/evening at George Mason's home since the two are pretty close in proximity. (Note: In 2017 this event was not on Gunston Hall's calendar, so be sure to check to see if it is scheduled or not in future seasons).


A corn maze, pumpkin picking, annual barn dance and dinner, and lots of other family fun farm fall activities take place at Corn-n-Cows. There are many things to see and do on the farm, and while many of the events are designed for younger kids, the older ones have fun too. I haven't been down this way since 2009, but we had a good time.

The fun usually starts in mid-September check out the farm's website to see what's on the calendar.

Great Country Farms


Great Country Farms' apple picking begins in August and, as summer winds down, its fall festival arrives, usually at the end of September. The farm is located in western Loudoun County in Bluemont, so is a bit of a ride from the Beltway, but it’s a nice day outing. I was back out there the summer of 2107 and it was a great day out, they've added many new play adventures. Last time I was out there for the fall festival, we had a great time pumpkin picking and playing on the grounds.  

Burke Nursery's Garden Centre's Fall Festival 


For more than 20 years Burke Nursery has hosted its annual fall festival and pumpkin playground. The festival is open daily (usually starting) October 1st and runs until October 31st. It is a good local event with fun for all ages, but I'd say probably more for the little ones. Visit the Burke Nursery Garden Centre's website for more information.

There are numerous other Fall activities going on in the Northern Virginia region, these are just a few of my top picks. Every year I try and explore something different and I'm sure there is still lots to see.

Additional fall fun: Haunted Halloween Events Happening in Northern Virginia

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