October 2017 events bring pumpkin patches, Oktoberfests, art, wine, and craft festivals, and more fall fun back to the Northern Virginia region. Cooler weather and autumn foliage offer a beautiful backdrop to fun celebrations all month long, leading to a spooky finish as Halloween approaches.
Fort Belvoir’s Oktoberfest, Fremont Field at Fort Belvoir, Sep 28 – Oct 1
Fort Belvoir opens it’s gates to the public for a long weekend of German music, food, and fun at the base’s Fremont Field. Many of the festival activities, including the Kinder Korner, 10K Volksmarch, and live music, are free. Purchase an armband for all-day, unlimited rides at the carnival (discounted tickets for military personnel on Sunday). Entrance is open to all, but adults must have a valid State Driver’s License or Military ID to enter. Sun noon – 8:00.
Fall for Fairfax KidsFest, Fairfax County Government Center, Sep 30 – Oct 1
The Fairfax Government Center lawn fills with educational and fun activities designed for the Elementary and Pre-K crowd. Pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, pony rides, petting zoo, three stages of live entertainment, plus rides and games at the Kidway Midway give the little ones plenty of options. Entry and most activities are free, and all-you-can-ride carnival passes are available. Sat 10:00 – 7:00, Sun 10:00 – 5:00.
National Public Lands Day, Sep 30
The 24th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. NPLD works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health. Families, friends, students, and coworkers will spend the day outdoors giving back to their community by pulling invasive species, maintaining trails, picking up trash, and more. Follow the link to find a volunteer opportunity near you.
Manassas Steins, Wines & Spirits Festival, Manassas, Sep 30
Sample your choice in beverage while listening to live music at the Harris Pavilion in Historic Downtown Manassas. Taste beer from local craft breweries; wine from local wineries; and local distilled spirits. Great food from some of the best food vendors in northern VA will be available. $30/$35 advance/gate tickets.
MPAarfest, McLean, Oct 1
MPAartfest is a community-wide celebration of the visual arts produced by McLean Project for the Arts. McLean Central Park is transformed into a lively landscape of mini art galleries showcasing and offering for sale the work of acclaimed artists from the Mid-Atlantic region. The festival also includes activities to appeal to art-lovers of all ages, live music, and food and beverages. Free; 10:00 – 5:00.
For those looking for a sophisticated way to kick off the fall season, George Washington’s Mount Vernon is holding its annual Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Sip wine from more than 20 Virginia wineries, meander through the Washingtons’ home on the exclusive evening tour (including the rarely-opened basement, where he stored his wine) and relax on the expansive East Lawn to watch the sunset over the Potomac River. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 6 – 8
The 73rd annual Waterford Homes Tour & Crafts Exhibit is Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair. Visitors can tour homes throughout the National Historic Landmark Village of Waterford and enjoy juried heritage craftspeople with hands-on demonstrations. There are also activities for children; traditional music and dance; Colonial and Civil War-era encampments and re-enactors; and more. Advance tickets are available online—day pass $16, 3-day weekend pass $35, 12 and under free. 10:00 – 5:00 daily
Madhaunter’s Madhouse, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Weekends Oct 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 22, 27 – 31
Northern Virginia’s scariest haunted attraction returns to the Workhouse. Madhaunter’s Madhouse is an indoor and outdoor maze of terror that will have you jumping out of your skin at every turn, complete with heart pounding scares and custom made special effects. The madhouse will be open every weekend in October. $20, 7:00 – 11:00.
Das Oktoberfest, Vanish Brewing, Leesburg, Oct 7 – 8
Das Oktoberfest will include non-stop music, dancing, activities, food and the very best of local and German beers. Festival passes include 16 oz drink tickets; additional drink tickets are $6 at the event. Tickets begin at $20; Saturday noon – 10:00, Sunday noon – *:00.
Fall Jubilee, Manassas, Oct 7
Experience fall in its fullest with a trip to Historic Downtown Manassas to participate in the annual Fall Jubilee. This family friendly extravaganza fills the streets of this historic town each year and includes a wine garden, pumpkin patch, live entertainment and more than 100 crafter and community booths. Free; 10:00 – 5:00.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ, Leesburg, Oct 7
The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival offers a great day of beer sipping, bourbon tasting, music listening, cigar smoking, and barbecue eating. Admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling from 60 beers and 40 bourbons. Bbq vendors are on-site to feed the hungry, and live music, plus seminars in the tasting theater, add to the fun. VIP session $75, noon – 6:00. Regular session $39/45 advance/on-site, 2:00 – 6:00.
Vienna Oktoberfest, Vienna, Oct 7
Vienna’s Oktoberfest celebrates its 10th anniversary with an expanded beer garden and food court as well as new vendors and entertainment options. The event features live entertainment on three stages, a German beer and food garden sponsored by Caboose Brewing Company, kids activities and games, crafts, and an auto show. Admission is free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, Oct 7
The annual family-friendly festival includes juried artists selling handmade wares across ten blocks of Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue. Five stages of live entertainment, plus food vendors, interactive art activities, and kids activities add to the fun. 10:00 – 6:00.
Flavors of Fall Festival, Reston Town Center, Oct 7
Flavors of Fall (Formerly Reston Oktoberfest), features area restaurants sampling their favorite fall menus, entertainment throughout the day with live music and dancing, fall beers, and family activities.. On Sunday, join the Reston Pumpkin 5K, and Kids’ Pumpkin Dash at 8:15, where participants are encouraged to run in their Halloween costumes. Noon – 11:00.
SterlingFest, Sterling, Oct 7
The annual SterlingFest brings area residents together to enjoy foods, crafts, children’s activities, and rides. Business, health, technical, informational, and religious vendors offer information, and local musicians provide entertainment throughout the day. Free admission. 11:00 – 5:00.
Early Morning at Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, Oct 8
Photographers, birders, strollers, and anyone who enjoys a peaceful morning walk are invited to visit the Meadowlark Gardens during special hours starting at 6:30 a.m. Early morning lighting plus autumn colors can provide exceptional scenery. Regular admission of $2.50-$5.00 applies.
Clifton Day, Clifton, Oct 8
Head to charming Clifton for a day of family-friendly activities at the annual Clifton Day. Attractions include crafts, live entertainment, pony rides, children’s activities, a Civil War reenactment and plenty of food and beverage choices will. 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.
Fall on the Farm, Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Oct 13 – 16
Enjoy a weekend of fall fun for all ages at Frying Pan Park. Fall Carnival Fun runs throughout the weekend with games, rides, and fair food. General admission is free, but hay rides, carnival rides, and some activities have fees. Fri 5:00 – 9:00; Sat 11:00 – 9:00, Sun 11:30 – 6:00. Or explore the farm on Fall Harvest Days—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; $3 wagon ride. Sat and Sun 10:00 – 3:00.
Virginia Wine Festival, Centreville, Oct 14 – 15
The Virginia Wine Festival®, the longest running wine festival on the East Coast, returns to Bull Run Regional Park in 2017. New this year—the VA Oyster Pavilion—features briny, freshly shucked oysters from Virginia’s Chesapeake Regions and delicious oyster dishes with regional flare. Live music, food trucks, and local vendors complete the fun. General admission $35; noon – 6:00 daily.
Taste of Annandale, Tom Davis Drive, Annandale, Oct 14
The annual Taste of Annandale showcases local restaurants during a daylong, family-friendly event. Activities include live music and dance performances all day, a 5K Race, a special area with children’s activities, and a chili cook off. Free; 10:00 – 6:00.
Halloween and History, Vienna, Oct 14
Bring your little goblins to the Town Green for spook-tacular fun at Halloween on the Green to enjoy spooky crafts, games and prizes, storytelling, moon bounces, petting zoo, entertainment, treats to eat, a visit from Vienna Singing Princesses, and a chance to carve or paint their own pumpkin, while supplies last. Costumes are encouraged. 10:30 – 12:30.
Directly following Halloween on the Green, Historic Vienna, Inc. will roll out the cake and hand-cranked ice cream, musicians, games, and stories in celebration of the Vienna Little Library’s 120th anniversary. 1:00 – 4:00.
Reston Home Tour, Reston, Oct 14
The annual Reston Home Tour offers self-conducted tours of six outstanding private homes in Reston neighborhoods.” See “wow factor” destinations showing inspiring interior design, architecture, unique ideas, art collections, and renovation successes. Tickets include a location map and all proceeds benefit Reston Museum, operated by Reston Historic Trust. $25, 10:00 – 5:00.
Scottish Heritage Day, Alexandria, Oct 14
Celebrate Scottish Heritage at the oldest stone house in Alexandria, home of John Carlyle. Throughout the day enjoy Scottish music, dancing, and fashion as well as tours of the Carlyle House. Free; noon to 4:00.
10th Annual Oktoberfest, Doner Bistro, Leesburg, Oct 19 – 22
Let your hair down and meet with other boot-drinking, chicken-dancing and Lederhosen-wearing like-minded friends to celebrate Bavarian style. Enjoy Leesburg’s biggest fest tent fun and commemoration of Oktoberfest in the old and historic district. Daily hours, themes, and entertainment vary; follow the link for details.
Leesburg Hauntings Tour, Leesburg, Oct 20 – 21, 27 – 28
Guests will be led by a guide through historic homes and businesses in historic downtown Leesburg, where costumed storytellers will relate the history and the ghostly tales of each site. Best for adults and ages 10 and older. $25; multiple tours from 6:00 – 9:00.
Ghost Train, Burke Lake Park, Oct 21 – 22, 28 – 29
The annual Burke Lake Ghost Train returns 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. $4 per passenger. 10:00 – 5:00.
Colonial Market Fair, Claude Moore Colonial Farm, Oct 21 – 22
Warm yourself by the fires and enjoy autumn favorites like crisp local apples, warm savory meat pies and hearty breads. Entertainers, tradesmen, and the militia will entertain, amuse and educate fairgoers. Learn to dip candles or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe, stop by the tavern for a cup of mulled wine, and shop at the many tradesmen’s and merchants’ stalls. $8/4 adult/children, other discounts available. 11:00 – 4:30 daily.
Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest, Bull Run Regional Park, Manassas, Oct 21 – 22
The 11th annual NoVa BrewFest returns to Bull Run Regional Park with beers from local and regional breweries, and a focus on fall and winter seasonal brews. Fun includes live music, a corn-hole tournament, cooking with beer demonstrations, and delicious food and crafts. 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.
Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon, Oct 21 – 22
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 – 5:00 daily.
Air and Scare Family Day, Air and Space Udvar-Hazy , Oct 21
See the spooky side of air and space at the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center’s popular annual Halloween event. Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating, creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. (Full face masks prohibited on 16 and older.) The tiniest visitors can check out the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. $15 parking; noon – 5:30.
Aldie Harvest Festival, Aldie, Oct 21
The annual Aldie Harvest Festival and Duck Race return with antiques, crafts, jewelry, food, and collectibles. Learn about notable events and people in local history, watch milling at the Aldie Mill, and cheer on your favorite at the Aldie Duck Race. The Duck Race kicks off at 4:00 when thousands of rubber duckies are released into Little River in Aldie. Free admission; $5 parking available. 10:00 – 5:00.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Anniversary, Leesburg, Oct 21
Join in a day of events commemorating the 156th Anniversary of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. There will be Union and Confederate camps, artillery demonstrations (noon), and an infantry skirmish demonstration (2:00). One-hour tours will be hosted at 11:00 and 1:00. The program will finish with an illumination and memorial program from 7:00 to 8:30. Free; no registration necessary. Learn more about Ball’s Bluff Battlefield.
Doukenie Winery Harvest Festival, Purcellville, Oct 21
Celebrate the Harvest at Doukenie Winery with a barrel tasting event open to the general public. Enjoy delicious bbq while you kick back and listen to live music. $10 – $20; 10:00 – 6:00.
Art Safari, Torpedo Factory Center, Alexandria, Oct 21
Join in an afternoon of hands-on activities for kids and families at the annual Art Safari. Resident and visiting artists lead young visitors in creative projects with a variety of media, including clay, papier-mâché, fiber, and printmaking. Kids should wear clothes that can get a little dirty. Free. Noon – 4:00.
Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Oct 22
Recognized for impeccable organization on a scenic course managed by the US Marines, the Marine Corps Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the US and the world. Known as ‘the best marathon for beginners,’ the MCM is largest marathon in the world that doesn’t offer prize money, earning its nickname, “The People’s Marathon.” Follow the link for details on schedule and registration.
Oatlands Harvest Festival, Leesburg, Oct 22
Celebrate the season with hayrides, pumpkins, animals, games, food, wine, and more, while you enjoy the beautiful scenery of historic Oatlands. Mansion walk-through tours, live music, children’s activities, and more are all included with admission. $20/$10 family/individual; 10:00 – 4:00.
Halloween Safari, Bull Run Mountains, Broad Run, Oct 27 – 28
Join a fun, night-time hike through the Bull Run Mountains, as a guide leads you along the trail where you will meet native “wildlife” that perform natural history skits. There is a new cast of animals each year, and you can also enjoy face painting, Halloween snacks, hot cider, a bonfire, and live music. Bring a flashlight and wear good hiking shoes for this great family outing. $7/10 advance/at the door. 7:00 – 9:00.
BOO-stravaganza, Frying Pan Park, Oct 27
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.
VT Maker Festival, Falls Church, Oct 28
Creativity, engineering, and resourcefulness abound at the Virginia Tech Maker Festival, a family fun event where you can explore science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and design. Learn to make just about anything, including 3-D printed objects, slime, natural dyes, play dough circuits, LED paintbrushes, t-shirt jewelry, robots, rockets, and more. Free; 10:00 – 4:00.
Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Oct 28
Enjoy the running of the world famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race at Great Meadow in The Plains. Race day features hurdle and timber horses races, Jack Russell Terrier races, tent, tailgate and hat contests, and vendor booths for shopping. Tickets are $75 and up; follow the link for details. Gates open at 10:00 and the last race is scheduled for 4:45.
Clifton Haunted Trail, Buckley Park, Clifton Oct 28
A trail of terror awaits in Clifton’s Buckley Park, so watch out for monsters and stick to the trail. The PG-13 rated trail includes two dozen scary skits with live actors, including local legend The Bunnyman. Tickets are $15/$10 for adults/12 and under (though the trail is likely too intense for younger kids). 7:00 – 10:00 pm.
Del Ray Halloween Parade, Alexandria, Oct 29
Don your best Halloween costume and join thousands of participants in one of Del Ray’s favorite traditions. The annual Del Ray Halloween Parade welcomes children, pets, and strollers in costumes to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. Prizes are awarded in multiple categories including Best Decorated Stroller and Best Pet Costume. 2:00 – 4:00.
More Halloween Fun: Trick-or-Treating, Scares, and Not-So-Scary Events
We’ve got up a full line-up of Halloween 2017 spooky and not-so-spooky favorites plus trick-or-treating hosted by local businesses and towns.
Pumpkin Patch Fun, Multiple Locations, throughout October
Many area pumpkin patches open on the October 1st weekend including sites in Burke, Great Falls, and Leesburg. Sky Meadows State Park begins their pumpkin patch weekends on October 7th. Follow the link for details on these and other area spots for pumpkin fun for everyone.
Fall is a beautiful time in Virginia and we’re lucky that there are so many fantastic October 2017 events on the calendar. The only trick is going to be choosing. What are your favorite October 2017 events in Northern Virginia?
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