We’re off to a rainy start, but don’t let a little water slow down your fun. Celebrate the autumn season with history, beer, music, carnivals, train rides, and plenty of Fall family fun at these October 2015 events throughout Northern Virginia.
1. Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 2 – 4 CANCELLED
The 72nd Annual Waterford Homes Tour & Crafts Exhibit welcomes October with a weekend of fun and history. Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair gives visitors an opportunity to tour homes throughout the National Historic Landmark Village of Waterford, which was founded by Quakers in 1733. Fair-goers will also enjoy 160 juried heritage craftspeople with hands-on demonstrations; activities for children; traditional music including string bands, troubadours, barbershop quartet, gospel, classical, folk, and traditional; and traditional dance. Colonial-era militia encampments, marching fife and drum corps, and Civil War re-enactors with skirmishes all weekend. Advance tickets are available online—day pass $16, 3-day weekend pass $35, 12 and under free. 10:00 – 5:00 daily.
2. Oktoberfest Reston, Reston Town Center, Oct 10 – 11
Reston Town Center’s largest Fall festival transforms the main pavilion into a beer garden for Oktoberfest Reston. The main stage features traditional German music by day and dance music at night. With family games, food vendors, a beer garden, and three stages of live entertainment, there is plenty of action for everyone. Day two kicks off with the Reston Pumpkin 5K, and Kids’ Pumpkin Dash, Sunday at 8:15 where participants are encouraged to run in their Halloween costumes. This is a popular and high energy festival that attracts a great crowd every year. Sat noon – 11:00, Sun 11:00 – 8:00.
3. Clifton Day, Clifton, Oct 11
Head to charming Clifton for a day of family-friendly activities at the 48th annual Clifton Day. Among the attractions will be an outdoor demonstration area where festival goers can watch skilled artisans at work and learn about wine making, basket weaving and other traditional crafts. Around 150 antique dealers, artists, bakers and other street vendors will line the town’s streets. Live bands, pony rides, children’s activities, a Civil War reenactment and plenty of food and beverage choices will add to the fun. Admission is free and paid parking starts at $5.00 per car, but why not arrive in style? Clifton Day is the only day of the year that you can take the Virginia Railway Express to town. Train service to Clifton is free from all stops between Manassas and Rolling Road, and the return trip is only $5.00. 9:00 – 5:00.
4. Fall on the Farm, Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Oct 15 – 18
Enjoy three weekend events at Frying Pan Park with Fall fun for all ages. On October 15, reserve a spot for the little ones (9 and younger) at the BOO-stravaganza. Come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in your favorite costume anytime between 6 and 8 pm for fun, games,and a wagon ride plus treats and a small pumpkin. $10, reservation required.
Fall Carnival Fun also kicks off on the 15th and continues all weekend long. Games, rides, and fair food open Thursday and Friday. On the weekend, festival hours and fun expand to include wagon rides and traditional farm demonstrations. Watch goat and cow milking, corn shelling, apple peeling, and a working cider press. General admission is free, but hay rides, carnival rides, and some activities have fees. Ride tickets are $1 each, 24 tickets for $20 ) most rides take 3 – 5 tickets, and discount passes are available Thursday night and Sunday afternoon. Thur, Fri 6:00 – 10:00; Sat noon – 10:00, Sun noon – 7:00. and Sunday afternoon 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Want to explore the farm and skip the rides? Fall Harvest Days offer a chance to watch the cider press in action, milk a goat or a cow, shell corn, peel apples, meet the farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations. Free admission; $3 wagon ride. Sat 10:00 – 3:00, Sun 11:00 – 3:00.
5. Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest, Bull Run Regional Park, Manassas, Oct 17 – 18
The 9th annual NoVa BrewFest returns to Bull Run Regional Park in October, with beers from over 50 local and regional breweries. Mad Fox Brewing returns as the presenting sponsor for this year’s Brewfest, and the focus will be fall and winter seasonal brews from local and regional breweries with some added meaderies and cideries in the mix. Live entertainment includes music, a corn-hole tournament, cooking with beer demonstrations, and a TV tent. Delicious food and crafts add to the beer tasting fun. Parking is free, and the $35 admission fee ($25 in advance; $10 for designated drivers) covers your first 6 beer samples. 11:00 – 7:00 daily.
6. Tysons Fall Harvest, Tysons Corner, Oct 17 – 18 & 24 – 25
The Tysons Fall Harvest returns to Lerner Town Square for a second year of family fun. There are loads of activities for kids including a candy walk, hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, pumpkin bowling, live music, and a craft corner. This year, the festival will also feature the largest hay pyramid in the DC area. Adults can buy a general festival ticket ($10/$15 advance/on-site) or spend a little more for a souvenir tasting glass and all-you-care-to-taste wine & beer samples in the Wine and Beer Garden. Admission is free for kids 15 and under. Noon – 5:00 daily.
7. Ghost Train, Burke Lake Park, Oct 24 – 25
The 35th annual Burke Lake Ghost Train is back with a ride on the miniature train through Halloween decorated woods, with costumed characters performing scenes from popular children’s stories. The Ghost Train is geared to young children so the event is more fun than fear. The carousel will also be open, and you can follow your ride with a picnic and a stroll around the lake. $5 per passenger. 10:00 – 5:00.
8. Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon, Oct 24 – 25
Mount Vernon celebrates autumn with Fall Harvest Family Days. Enjoy a hay maze and wagon ride, watch 18th century dancing and blacksmithing demonstrations, and experience early American games and music. Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price for the weekend. All events are included with admission. 9:00 to 5:00 daily.
Bonus: Visit a Pumpkin Festival
October is also the time to play at family-friendly pumpkin festivals throughout our area. From the multi-acre, happy mayhem of Cox Farms, to the laid-back pumpkin displays at local garden centers, there is a great pumpkin experience for every age.