8 October festivals not to miss

Whether you are looking to celebrate the falling leaves or Oktoberfest, here are eight fall festivals from coast-to-coast that you shouldn't miss.

Stone Mountain Park's Annual Pumpkin Festival

Now in its tenth year, this family-friendly festival features a kids trick or treat scavenger hunt, a pie eating contest and the Pumpkinpalooza game show. You can also pick your very own pumpkin to take home.

Dates:  Sept. 28 - Oct. 28 (Friday - Sunday)
Hours: Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. (lasershow at 8 p.m.), Friday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Daily Adventure Pass- Adult: $28, Child: $22

Leavenworth Oktoberfest
Leavenworth, Wash.

Leavenworth is modeled after a Bavarian village, which makes Oktoberfest a particularly fun time to visit. The town’s three-weekend long celebration is the place to go for German beer, cuisine and entertainment.  

Dates: Oct. 5-20 (Friday and Saturday)
Hours: Friday 6pm-midnight, Saturday noon-midnight
Admission: $10 (Fridays), $20 (Saturdays), Children under 12 are free

North Carolina Seafood Festival
Morehead City, N.C.

North Carolina’s second largest festival is free and offers a weekend filled with seafood-themed fun. You can win an “I flung a flounder” t-shirt in the flounder fling or check out the Southern Outer Banks Boat and Outdoor Expo. While you are there, enjoy delicious food from one of 60 vendors, and don’t miss the annual blessing of Carteret County’s fleet of commercial fishing vessels on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Dates: Oct. 5-7
Hours: Noon to 11 p.m. (Friday), 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Saturday), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)  
Admission: Free

Fantasy Fest
Key West, Fla.

This is one where you don’t want to bring the kids. Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest is a 10-day costume party with events like the Headdress Ball and a homemade bikini contest. On the second Saturday of the festival, check out Captain Morgan's Fantasy Fest Parade feel like you are in New Orleans circa Mardi Gras.

Dates: Oct. 19-28
Hours: Vary. Check out the schedule of events here 
Admission: Varies based on event

National Shrimp Festival
Gulf Shore, Ala.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce’s National Shrimp Festival is full of music, fine art, arts and craft vendors and, of course, shrimp. Country music star Phil Vassar headline’s this year’s festival. Don’t miss the free tasting tent featuring wild caught Alabama shrimp.

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Dates: Oct. 11-14
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Thursday – Saturday), 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Admission: Free

Foothills Fall Festival
Maryville, Tenn.

The Foothills Fall Festival is part arts and crafts festival and part music festival. Located in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, the festival showcases nearly 100 art vendors and includes an adventure land section for the young and young-at-heart. Train is headlining this year’s music portion.

Dates: Oct. 12-14
Hours: ArtWay- noon – 6 p.m. (Friday and Sunday), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday), click here for the concert schedule 
Admission: Three-day general admission: $60, Children 10 & under: free with adult

Carter Mountain Orchard’s Apple Harvest Celebration
Charlottesville, Va.

Carter Mountain Orchard’s weekend celebrations put everything you love about the fall in one place. Take a hayride, sample wine, sip on apple cider, munch on apple cider donuts and apple pie and go apple picking- all in one day.

Dates: Every weekend in October
Hours: 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays)
Admission: Free to get into the festival, prices for individual activities vary

Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival
Santa Barbara, Calif.

This one-day festival coincides with lobster season, so you are sure to get the freshest local seafood. You can also tour the Spirit of Dana Point ship, take part in the Sea Shanty Sing-a-long and visit UCSB Marine Science Institute’s mobile reef touch tank. Come hungry so you can enjoy everything from gumbo to fish tacos.

Date: Oct. 13
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Free