New York City holds its own in the fall. But for fun seasonal activities, consider getting out of town.
Take in the crisp fall air and colorful scenery during a day trip or weekend getaway planned around these upcoming celebrations across New York State.
Pro tip: Don’t sit on buying ticketed events in advance.
Sept. 15-Oct. 31 in Great Valley
Marking its 50th anniversary, this farm tradition is a family-friendly celebration. Go on a train, hay or pony ride, explore a corn field maze or, of course, pick your own pumpkin in a patch. Nosh on sweet treats like pumpkin doughnuts and candy apples. This year’s edition also includes a new three-acre play park.
More info: FREE admission; pumpkinville.com
Adirondack Balloon Festival
Sept. 20-23 in Queensbury
The annual event returns to Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport. Look up as colorful, helium-fueled aircrafts soar above (weather permitting). On the ground, there will be a craft fair organized by the Zonta Club and local food vendors.
More info: FREE admission; adirondackballoonfest.org
Sept. 22-Nov. 3 in Ulster Park
This highly rated Halloween affair has a different theme each year, but always puts on a fright-filled experience. Attractions include a hayride, corn maze, various haunted houses and appearances by the Headless Horseman himself. For younger audiences not ready for a good scare, children’s days tone down the fright level with a daylight hayride and friendly storyteller.
More info: Tickets from $41.95 (from $11.95 for children’s day), headlesshorseman.com
Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival
Sept. 28-30 in Ithaca
Apples are the stars of this annual festival, celebrating the Finger Lakes region’s bounty. Head to the farmers market for apple baked goods, apple cider and hard ciders. Apples aside, you can shop artisanal wares at a craft show, listen to live music at two stages, enjoy other local food and drinks, go on rides and more.
More info: FREE admission; downtownithaca.com
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Sept. 28-Nov. 24 in Croton-on-Hudson
This nighttime event is truly electrifying. Held at Van Cortlandt Manor, the annual pumpkin festival will have more than 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins. Follow a pathway gourd with pumpkin carousel, windmill and bridge.
More info: Tickets from $22/adults, $16/ages 3-17; hudsonvalley.org
NY State Sheep and Wool Festival
Oct. 20-21 in Rinebeck
Fans flock to this annual event at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds to celebrate the Northeast’s sheep herding heritage. Watch demos on sheep herding dogs and sheep shearing, and purchase wool, yarn, textiles and other supplies from vendors to start new projects.
More info: Tickets from $12; sheepandwool.com