Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall festivals in Northern Virginia for 2015

This Throwback Thursday post was originally posted last year and revisits past fall family fun festivals in Northern Virginia. I thought today would be a good time to post this since many festivals in NoVa start this weekend and next weekend.

Today's post has information and photos based on my own personal experience. I did update last year's post to include 2015 information for these festivals. This is a beautiful and enjoyable time in the region. Let the fall fun begin!

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 in 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 when it's open.

This year's maze theme is "Maze Attack." I'm not quite sure what this means, but it sounds interesting to find out! This fall festival opens on Sept. 26 and runs through Nov. 9 - see official site for hours and directions.

Ticonderoga Farms

Families choose their pumpkins at Ticonderoga Farms
If big slides, hayrides, hot apple cider and pumpkin picking is your thing, 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). This year's fall festival starts on Sept. 19 and runs through Nov. 8. See the farm's website for admission and directions.

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. The 2015 Fall for Fairfax KidsFest takes place on the weekend of Oct. 3-4.

Leesburg Animal Park's Pumpkin Village Fall Fest


Leesburg Animal Park is a great day trip for the family full of family fun. 
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest (formerly known as "Pumpkinville") is the park's annual fall event, opens on Sept. 19 and runs through Nov. 3. 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 official website for 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. This year's "preview" weekend for members opens on Sept. 19. Kickoff for the season starts Sept. 26.

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" (this runs through October), please visit their website and check out 'Fall festival'.

Mount Vernon


Every year Mount Vernon [see my post on visiting this historic site] hosts its Fall Harvest Family Days. This year's event takes place from Oct. 24-25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to admission to the property and mansion for regular tours, there will be 18th century dancing, a straw bale maze, apple roasting and corn husk doll making. 

Update: We were able to make it to this one in 2014 and had a great time!


Gunston Hall


This one sounds like fun. I've toured Gunston Hall many times and in 2014, I picked up a calendar while I was there and noticed there was a Halloween event. This year's event takes place on Sat., Oct. 31 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be story tellers, pumpkin and face painting and treats. There will also be burying ground tours by lantern. 

UPDATE for 2015: This is another one we were able to make it to last year and enjoyed seeing Gunston Hall all dressed up in its "spookiness". I'm not sure but I think this is a relatively new event. Last year we toured the mansion, dodged spirits roaming the family graveyard and listened to ghost stories. Face painting and doing seasonal crafts were a blast too!


A corn maze, pumpkin picking, annual barn dance and dinner, and lots of other family fun farm fall activities. 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. 
This year's fun starts on Sept. 18, check out the farm's website to see what's on the calendar. This year's corn maze theme is "Make it a Dairy Good Day".

I haven't been down this way since 2009, but we had a good time that year. Probably best for the little ones.

Great Country Farms


Great Country Farms' apple picking has already begun, and as summer winds down, its fall festival will arrive. 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've been out there once and we had a great time pumpkin picking and playing on the grounds.  

Update 2017: I haven't been here in about 4-5 years during the fall but they have added a lot to do during the summer months. I recommend checking out the website to see what's happening this year. 

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. For 2015 Centreville Day will be held on Sat., Oct. 17, and Clifton plans its celebration on on Sun., Oct. 11. Typically these celebrations include arts and crafts, antiques, demonstrations, vendors/flea markets, live music entertainment, food and activities for the kids. 

Burke Nursery's Garden Centre's Fall Festival 


In 2015 Burke Nursery hosts its 21st annual fall festival and pumpkin playground. The festival is open daily from October 1st through October 31st and is a good local event with fun for all ages, but I'd say this one is probably better suited for the little ones. Visit the Burke Nursery Garden Centre's website for more information.

There are a ton of 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.

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