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Best Fall Festival: Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

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Stoweflake Mountain Resort hosts winning festival each fall

Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest ... these are the hallmarks of autumn, a season celebrated at festivals throughout the country. 

  • Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival
    Stowe, Vt.

    Each autumn Stoweflake Mountain Resort hosts the annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, where competitors gather with their DIY trebuchets and catapults to see who can chuck a pumpkin the farthest. The festivities also include live music, a chili cook-off and activities for kids.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / mountaindweller

  • West Side Nut Club Fall Festival
    Evansville, Ind.

    The West Side Nut Club Fall Festival attracts more than 200,000 people to Franklin Street each year, making it one of the largest street festivals in the United States. The October event includes free live entertainment, carnival rides, 136 food booths, competitions and a huge fall parade.
    Photo courtesy of Hoshua / Wikimedia Commons

  • Trailing of the Sheep Festival
    Hailey, Idaho

    The history and culture of shepherding are celebrated each October during the Trailing of the Sheep Festival – an event which began in 1997. Sheep are the center of the attraction, with a parade, sheep dog demonstrations, knitting workshops and more. Barbecue, farm to table dinners, creative lamb dishes and cooking classes are also on tap during the event. Mercantile exhibits, photo workshops and concerts are part of the festivities.
    Photo courtesy of Carol Waller / Trailing of the Sheep Festival

  • Great Cortland Pumpkinfest
    Cortland, N.Y.

    This two day even in early October has been held annually since 1996. Festival goers enjoy live performances, festival food, hayrides, a craft market and a pumpkin patch where they can pick out the first pumpkins of the season.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / IrisImages

  • National Apple Harvest Festival
    Biglerville, Penn.

    Celebrated the first two weekends in October, the National Apple Harvest Festival has been a staple on the Pennsylvania scene since 1964. Strolling minstrels, tasty food, arts, crafts, craftsman demonstrations, pie-eating contests and family entertainment draw visitors from around the area and the nation. Of special interest: steam engine displays, antique cars, orchard tours and a petting zoo.
    Photo courtesy of National Apple Harvest Festival

  • NH Pumpkin Festival
    Laconia, N.H.

    Founded as a harvest festival in 1991, this October festival includes plenty of activities planned for the whole family. The Pumpkin Express train departing from the historic train station will offer excursions around the lakes while Canal Street will be decked out in orange. A pumpkin dump derby, bowling and a haunted mill promise more fun.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / arinahabich

  • Warrens Cranberry Festival
    Warrens, Wis.

    More than three miles of shopping and over 1,300 booths guarantee plenty of "shop ops" at the Warrens Cranberry Festival in late September. In addition to retail therapy, there will be a farmer's market, parade and a variety of contests, including in cranberry chiffon pie eating; photography; flower, quilt and needlepoint. A variety of antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, handcrafted jewelry, knitted goods and wood sculptures make for perfect early holiday shopping.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / mediaphotos

  • Columbus Oktoberfest
    Columbus, Ohio

    Columbus Oktoberfest was rescued from cancellation in the German Village by the Schmidt family in 2009 and is now held in its current venue at the Ohio Expo Center each September. The Art & Craft Marktplatz offers a selection of unique, handmade items, while Schnitzel, "knockers and kraut," beer brats and a host of other Bavarian specialties round out the menu. Music, dancing, contests (beer stein hoisting and yodeling) and kids' activities add to the fun.
    Photo courtesy of Columbus OktoberfestColumbus Oktoberfest

  • Hood River Valley Harvest Fest
    Hood River, Ore.

    The Columbia River Gorge celebrates the autumn season with the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. This event welcomes more than 120 farmers, wineries, cideries and food producers from around the region for a weekend of food, art, a giant pumpkin carving exhibition and local music.
    Photo courtesy of Bear Boot Productions / Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

  • Sonoma County Harvest Fair
    Sonoma, Calif.

    Showcasing the area's bountiful harvest and world-class wines, the Sonoma Harvest Fair takes place in early October. More than 150 Sonoma County wineries will offer guests a chance to sample award-winning wine, craft beers and cider, paired with local cuisine. Grape stomping and wine seminars add an unusual component to the popular festival. In addition, visitors can stock up on their favorite wine and take home local products such as jewelry, clothing and scented soaps.
    Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Harvest FairSonoma County Harvest Fair

The top 10 winners in the category Best Fall Festival are as follows:

  1. Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival - Stowe, Vt.
  2. West Side Nut Club Fall Festival - Evansville, Ind.
  3. Trailing of the Sheep Festival - Hailey, Idaho
  4. Great Cortland Pumpkinfest - Cortland, N.Y.
  5. National Apple Harvest Festival - Biglerville, Penn.
  6. NH Pumpkin Festival - Laconia, N.H.
  7. Warrens Cranberry Festival - Warrens, Wis.
  8. Columbus Oktoberfest - Columbus, Ohio
  9. Hood River Valley Harvest Fest - Hood River, Ore.
  10. Sonoma County Harvest Fair - Sonoma, Calif.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning fall festivals!

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