If you think festivals are only for summer, D.C.’s got some surprises for you. The fall brings some of the district’s biggest and best festivals for all ages. Enjoy everything from giant fiestas to book festivals for the whole family. Spend a beautiful day, or two, learning, eating, watching and enjoying yourself right here in D.C. this fall.
The National Mall
Washington, DC 20024
Dates: Sept. 22 and 23
The first book that was read to you, the first book that you could read all the way through on your own, the first book that you thought changed your life, and the book that actually changed your life; they are most certainly all at the Library of Congress. For two days The National Mall hosts authors, illustrators and poets from throughout the genres. Including one of the most recognized names in children’s books, R.L. Stine, author of The Goosebumps series, who will be featured on the Family Storytelling Stage. Along with children’s books, there will be authors of contemporary life, history, biography, fiction, mystery, poetry, prose, science fiction and graphic novels. So take a look, it’s in a book, you know the rest.
Mount Pleasant Street
Date: Sept. 30
Coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latino festival celebrates 40 years of spotlighting Latino culture. In a beautiful stream of colors and merriment, the Parade of Nations includes groups from Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean, adding up to hundreds of people. In addition to the parade, enjoy five stages for even more entertainment, a children’s festival, information fair and fun fair food.
Washington, DC 20004
Date: Sept. 30
If you just can’t make it to Turkey this year, this is the next best thing. One of the best cultural festivals in D.C., the Turkish festival celebrates the great cuisine, art, dance, music and history of the Turkish. Bargain for beautiful jewelry at the bazaar, have your fortune told, eat a delicious kabob, and wash it down with world-renowned Turkish coffee. If Turkish coffee isn’t your cup of tea, grab a Turkish tea instead. After your kids have gotten their faces painted and had fun making arts and crafts, you musn’t miss the dance performances. The Ankara Folk Dance and Music Ensemble, one of many performers, will demonstrate the beauty of Turkish folk dance. If that is still not enough for you, enter to win a round-trip ticket to Turkey in the raffle.
Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 14th streets
Washington, DC 20530
Dates: Oct. 6 to Oct. 8
Price: free/$10 for 12 food and beverage tickets
D.C. and the metro area are full of foodies, patiently waiting for a new Jose Andres restaurant. It’s only appropriate that a city crazy about food features a festival entirely devoted to cuisine. Dozens of restaurants, including many of D.C.’s most notable eateries, participate in the weekend of festivities. While you taste some of the best the DMV has to offer, enjoy musicians and performers on two stages as well.
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South Mountain Fairgrounds
615 Narrows Road
Arendtsville, PA 17307
Dates: Oct. 6 to 7 and 13 to 14
Price: $9 general/$8 seniors/free children
Understandably, if you don’t like apples, you might think this festival isn’t for you, but don’t judge a festival by its name. The National Apple Harvest Festival is more than apples, it is a salute to country living with chainsaw carving, pony rides, tractor square dancing, antiques and hay rides. Don’t miss out on the food: plenty of apple dishes, but also barbecue, kettle corn, sandwiches and funnel cake. But wait, there’s more. Explore more than 300 arts and crafts vendors’ goods, and enjoy live entertainment.
Dates: Oct. 17 to Nov. 13
As the name suggests, this festival is for the kids, but it is not just face painting and a Wiggles concert. Presented by the 27 European Union member states, this nearly month-long festival includes performances, workshops, movies and special events including a family day at the House of Sweden. Enjoy clowns, storytellers, magicians, puppeteers, dancers and a youth orchestra. In the end it is not just for the kids, but also for the kid at heart.