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The Fall Food Festivals in America You Have to Try This Season

Whether oysters on the half shell in the fresh Cape Cod air whet your appetite or big reds paired with decadent cheeses in Sonoma are more your speed, there's a food fest for you this fall.

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Wellfleet OysterFest, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

If raw oysters, stuffed clams, and clam chowder make your mouth water, then this may well be your food heaven. A celebration of Cape Cod’s shellfish, Wellfeet OysterFest includes an oyster shucking competition, the Shuck n’ Run 5K race, and fresh catches from local shell fishermen. The festival’s organizer, Wellfleet SPAT, Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc., a non-profit devoted to sustaining Wellfleet’s shellfishing and aquaculture industries, recycles all those empty shells back into the ocean, where they’re used to restore habitats that make for more oysters in the future. The festival occurs annually the weekend after Columbus Day; this year’s runs October 13 to 14, 2018.

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fallKent Sorensen/shutterstock

Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa, California

Every October, travelers from across the country flock to the Sonoma County Harvest Fair for world-class wines, award-winning beer, and overwhelming culinary creations. The fair, held this year from October 5 to 7, 2018,  offers a full-on farm-to-table experience inspired by the county’s knowledgeable and hard-working farmers, ranchers, vintners, and producers. Along with the marquee Grand Tasting event in the evenings, the fair awards prizes to the best food, craft beer, and cider presented at the festival. You can also enjoy grape-stomping events and chef demonstrations. Don’t miss these weird food festivals you won’t believe exist.

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Beignet Fest, New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has a festive culture and decadent cuisine at its core. The Beignet Fest, held on October 6, 2018, is a happy marriage of both. Enjoy Beignet Fest, where about a dozen vendors will have you in sugar heaven as you inhale deep-fried French-style donuts and savory seafood and cheese-filled options. You’ll also be immersed in another famous attribute of the city: Jazz! Enjoy multiple brass bands playing throughout the day.

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cornbreadBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Little Rock, Arkansas

Since 2011, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival has been offering people music, a range of vendors, a variety of activities for kids, and of course cornbread. This southern staple is the main draw of the festival, and home cooks and professionals are encouraged to enter their best cornbread creation for a prize. The festival prides itself on representing the rich histories and traditions the community of Little Rock is known for, so expect incredible musical acts along with familiar foods and local breweries to wash it all down. It’s all happening on October 27. Find out the best food festivals worth traveling to.

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lobsterNatthawon Chaosakun/shutterstock

John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival, Madeira Beach, Florida

If your idea of a fall festival includes fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico while taking in the shimmering water in a rustic environment, then you’ll love John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival. This event, held October 25 to 28, is one eclectic party, featuring the Halloween Block Party with costume contests on Friday, the Battle of the Gulf Fishing Tournament on Saturday, and the World’s Largest Bloody Mary Toast on Sunday morning. The musical performances are nonstop, there are hundreds of craft vendors for you to choose from, and hundreds of amazing local businesses to support.

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Eagle River Cranberry Fest, Eagle River, Wisconsin

The autumn season is full of many traditional things, including Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce is a staple of the day, and Eagle River Cranberry Fest is all about putting the tart side on a pedestal a few weeks ahead of time during the weekend of October 6 to 7. About 10,000 pounds of cranberries are used for the event, with cranberry brats, cranberry baked goods, cranberry beer, and the World’s Largest Cranberry Cheesecake at your disposal. Once you get your fill, walk it off on one of the marsh tours, where visitors are granted access to the harvesting process of cranberries. Don’t miss the best road trips every foodie should take.

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pumpkinCP DC Press/shutterstock

Circleville Pumpkin Show, Circleville, Ohio

Is there anything that screams fall more than pumpkins? The famed and unique agricultural exhibit Circleville Pumpkin Show, began way back in October 1903, and has flourished into a 3-day event featuring more than 10,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash, and gourds coloring the streets. Along with incredible delicious fall treats, you’ll experience plentiful events including a giant pumpkin weigh-in, live music including bluegrass and southern rock, and parades galore. This year’s festival takes place October 17-20, 2018.

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wineView Apart/shutterstock

Fort Ross-Seaview Wine and Harvest Festival, Jenner, California

Held on a sea terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean in front of historic old Fort Ross, as well as on the general grounds of the park, this wine and harvest festival, located on the stunning Sonoma Coast, is a sight for sore eyes. Prepare to have your taste buds relish in renowned coastal chefs’ fantastic creations, with each course expertly paired with a wine from the appellation. Indulgence at its best, you will both enjoy the refinement of the environment as well as the festiveness of the seasonal local produce. This year’s festival takes place October 13, 2018. Next, find out the best state fair or festival in all 50 states.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine, and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty, and scientific news. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected], and check out her website: