Fall in Pennsylvania means towns across the commonwealth invite visitors to soak in the splendor of autumn with the many scenic overlooks and celebrate everything from the first football game and covered bridges to potatoes and wine. Come see why fall is best enjoyed in the Keystone State in all three foliage regions.
1. Northern Zone: Peaks in early October
2. Central Zone: Peaks in mid-October
3. Southern Zone: Peaks in late October
Fall Festivals in Northern Region
La Festa Italiana - Upstate PA
La Festa Italiana is northeastern Pennsylvania’s largest celebration of culture and cuisine that characterizes the area’s rich Italian heritage. This end-of-summer tradition attracts thousands of visitors and has approximately 80 vendors offering a wide variety of foods and displays, including fireworks.
Fabulous 1890s Weekend - Pennsylvania Wilds
Celebrate the best of autumn during this old-fashioned weekend, complete with a replay of the first night football game in America (originally played Sept. 28, 1892). A family-friendly event, the annual festival boasts a juried crafts exhibit and irresistible food, a parade, balloon rides, live music, a Civil War reenactment and a fireworks finale – all in one weekend! 2016 marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1890s celebration.
Annual Pennsylvania Apple & Cheese Festival - Upstate PA
Set in the beautiful Endless Mountains of rural Pennsylvania, simply traveling to the Apple & Cheese Festival amid the fall scenery is part of the enjoyment. The annual event is held the first full weekend in October at the family-friendly Manley-Bohlayer Farm. From chainsaw carving and free entertainment – to apple butter making – to wine and cheese tastings, this festival is the largest show of its kind.
Fall Festivals in Central Region
Annual Flax Scutching Festival - Laurel Highlands
Go back in time and enjoy a hands-on learning experience through the art of making linen from flax plants, which is demonstrated all weekend. Homemade food and pastries, live shows, crafts, wagon train rides and encampments will provide entertainment during the second-oldest continuous flax scutching festival in the world, now in its 109th year.
Annual Covered Bridge Festival - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
Carmichaels & Garards Fort
Celebrate small-town America among some of the most picturesque “kissing bridges” in Pennsylvania. Held at 10 festival sites with remaining covered bridges in Greene and Washington Counties, the historical reenactments, unique entertainment and food and crafts are sure to please visitors who flock to this beautiful fall setting.
Annual Wine Country Harvest Festival - Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
Enjoy wine by the glass, grape-stomping demonstrations and wine and food seminars throughout this annual celebration. A champagne breakfast, bus tours of 11 local wineries, arts and crafts and main stage entertainment are just a few of the treats awaiting visitors during the three-day festival.
The Annual Autumn Leaf Festival™ - Pennsylvania Wilds
Sept. 24-Oct. 2
Experience the largest daytime parade in Pennsylvania, the “Tournament of Leaves Parade,” at the Autumn Leaf Festival. The festival offers everything from sidewalk sales and a carnival with evening fireworks, to a crafters day with more than 300 vendors. In its 63rd year, this internationally award-winning festival celebrates Clarion and Cook Forest's beautiful foliage with the theme “Autumn Through the Looking Glass.”
Bloomsburg Fair - Valleys of the Susquehanna
Sept. 24-Oct. 1
The 161st annual Bloomsburg Fair is the largest agricultural fair in Pennsylvania, covering more than 236 acres. Top-notch musical acts entertain the crowd at the grandstand each evening, while visitors can check out hundreds of exhibits, a monorail ride, food and craft stands, livestock and poultry and rabbit exhibits daily.
PotatoFest - The Alleghenies
Enjoy all things potato by celebrating one of Cambria County's biggest agricultural exports. Children can enter potato-sack races and potato-peeling contests, as well as a Miss Tater/Mr. Tot competition. More than 200 crafters and artisans line the streets for blocks with homemade wares and food of all kinds. Live entertainment, a myriad of crafts, good food (including potatoes!), bingo and face painting are just a few of the fun activities.
Annual Bedford Fall Foliage Festival - The Alleghenies
Oct. 1-2; 8-9
Celebrating its 52nd year, the Bedford Fall Foliage Festival is organized entirely by volunteers and draws an estimated 70,000 attendees annually. Visitors can browse the work of more than 400 artists and craftsmen lining the streets and the square in Bedford and enjoy food and musical entertainment. Celebrating the essence of the season, the festival hosts two murder mystery evenings at Old Bedford Village. In Fort Bedford Park, scarecrow making and the antique car parade are just a few of the activities that make this event so special.
Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival - Upstate PA
Oct. 1-2; 8-9; 15-16
For three weekends in October, the picturesque town of Jim Thorpe comes alive with entertainment, old-fashioned train rides, arts and crafts, ethnic food and antiques. Free music at venues all over town encourages visitors to explore quaint shops and restaurants, while the nearby Reading & Northern Trains provide a unique way to view the Pocono Mountains’ best fall foliage aboard a steam train. One of the finest downtown music venues, the Mauch Chunk Opera House, will host ticketed entertainment every Saturday night.
Annual Covered Bridge Festival - Valleys of the Susquehanna
Located at Knoebels Amusement Resort, this festival celebrates the arts with nearly 350 crafters, live entertainment, games, more than 25 vendors with regional delicacies for meals, wagon rides and scenic, guided tours of local covered bridges. The antique car show on Sunday also tends to draw quite a crowd!
Applefest - Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
Now in its 34th year, this annual fall tradition features more than 300 arts and crafts booths in nearby parks, live entertainment and shows, a classic and antique car show, a farmers market, a 5K race and, of course, everything apple – from cider press making and apple pancake breakfasts to a visit from Johnny Appleseed and apple pie eating contests.
Pennsylvania State Flaming Foliage Festival - Pennsylvania Wilds
Since 1949, the beautiful colors and views of fall are celebrated at the Pennsylvania Flaming Foliage Festival during the second weekend in October, when the leaves are at their peak. For more than 60 years, nature has lent the colorful backdrop to this festival with great food, crafts, a queen’s coronation and a parade.
Fall Festivals in Southern Region
Mushroom Festival - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” Kennett Square hosts the annual Mushroom Festival, complete with two days full of music, mushroom soup cook-offs, cooking demonstrations and educational seminars from celebrity chefs.
Harvest Fest at Cherry-Crest Farm - Dutch Country Roads
Saturdays, Sept. 21-Oct. 26
Mum’s the word at this beautiful mum-covered farm in Lancaster County. The main feature is the Amazing Maize Maze™, a five-acre walk-through maze in the middle of a cornfield. Each Saturday, young and old alike can enjoy scarecrow making, face painting, pony rides, pumpkin painting and pumpkin slinging. You’ll also find the farm’s unique crop of popcorn. Visitors can pick an ear right off the stalk and take it home to pop in the microwave.
Annual National Apple Harvest Festival - Dutch Country Roads
Oct. 1-2; 8-9
Located 10 miles northwest of Gettysburg, the National Apple Harvest Festival began 52 years ago with the Adams County Fruitgrowers Association. With six stages and demonstrations including chainsaw carving, a display of live birds of prey and Native American dancing, the festival has grown significantly in recent years. Apple butter made hot from the kettle, applesauce made from scratch and apple fritters are available for visitors to taste.
Annual Fort Ligonier Days - Laurel Highlands
This spectacular fall festival commemorates the key strategic battle of the French & Indian War at Fort Ligonier. Battle reenactments, 150 juried craftsmen, specialty foods, entertainment, a huge parade and a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Band are just a few of the highlights of this festival, now celebrating its 57th year.
Philadelphia Cheesesteak Festival - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Celebrating its legacy as the birthplace of the cheesesteak, Philadelphia will be hosting its second annual Cheesesteak Festival this fall at Lincoln Financial Field. More than 40 vendors from across the city will be in attendance with samples of the Philly favorite for guests to enjoy. The event will feature carnival games, live entertainment, a cheesesteak-eating competition and the construction of the world’s largest cheesesteak. Tickets range from $20-$65 and are available online.