It’s officially autumn, which makes it Fall Festival time! This is the time to enjoy the last warm days outside while appreciating the bounty of the harvest. And what better way to do it than to head out to the countryside and spend a day having fun and enjoying some good food?

Fresh apples, giant pumpkins bigger than your Smartcar, mazes, animals, giant slides, cannons, the scent of spiced cider in the crisp air… Yes! There are hundreds of fall festivals going on in the area surrounding DC. We’ve highlighted a few below, but the list is by no means comprehensive. So if you are more the impulsive type than a planner, just hop in the car an head on out away from the sprawl. You are sure to run across a farm having a festival!

Or, if you want some rides and maybe some music to round out your farm-y experience, there are still some fairs going on. Good times and good bad-for-you food await!

A fair ride taken with a long shutter speed.

A fair ride was taken with long shutter speed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An annual celebration. Mardi Gras is a famous New Orleans festival that is rooted in Christian traditions. Burning Man festival began as a summer solstice celebration.
Sept. 19-Nov. 2
Gaver Farm Fall Festival, Mt. Airy, Md. Over 40 activities appropriate for any age, including a corn maze, giant slides, a giant pillow, feeding, and petting farm animals, pick your own pumpkins and apples, plus food and drink.

Sept. 26-Nov. 3
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Centerville, Va. Hayrides, giant slides, apples, cider, live animals, and food, along with other fall-themed activities will happen at Cox Farms this autumn. Open daily.
Sept. 19-Nov. 1, Saturdays & Sundays.
Greenstreet Gardens Fall Festival & Corn Maze, Lothian, Md. Hayrides, corn maze, jumping pillow, underground slide, corn boxes, shortie maze, cow train and more!
Sept. 26-27, Weekends in October.
Butler’s Pumpkin Festival, Butler’s Orchard, Germantown, Md. Corn maze, pumpkin cannon, food and farm market, apples.
Sept. 19-Nov. 8.
Ticonderoga Farm Pumpkin Festival, Ticonderoga Farm, Chantilly, Va. Farm animals, petting, willow maze, cow train, giant pillows, multiple slides, garden demo, food and drink, and much, much, more!
An exhibition for entertainment and commerce.  There are job fairs, book fairs, and trade fairs. And of course, there are state and county fairs.
Sept. 25th-Oct. 4
Virginia State Fair, Meadow Event Park (Richmond area). The biggest fair in Virginia! Popular attractions at the Virginia State Fair include the aerial show, which features wire walkers, jugglers, and all kinds of gymnastic performers, magic shows, motorcycle stunts, and a professional rodeo. Then there are racing pigs, snake handlers and alligator wrestlers. A huge musical lineup is featured plus terrific fair food, like deep-fried PBJ sandwiches, and of course all the animals and farm exhibits.
Sept. 17-20
Charles County Fair, La Plata, Md. Performers, pig races, lawnmower races, a midway, and tons of food, including crab cakes, are part of the lineup at this year’s fair.
Sept. 24-27
St. Mary’s County Fair, Leonardtown, Md. Performers, a parade, exhibits, and contests, rides and food are all part of the fun at this year’s fair.
Sept. 30-Oct. 4
Calvert County Fair, Prince Frederick, Md. A magic show, performing tigers, races, and chainsaw artist are some of the highlights of this fair, along with the traditional food, rides, and farm exhibits that make every fair fun.