October 2018 events bring pumpkin patches, Oktoberfests, art, wine, and craft festivals, and more fall fun 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 when Halloween arrives.
MPAartfest, McLean, Oct 7
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.
Enjoy a sophisticated kick off the fall season at George Washington’s Mount Vernon‘s 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. Ticket prices vary and the event foten sells out. Follow the link for details. 6:00 – 9:00 pm nightly.
Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 5 – 7
The 74th 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—adult/student day pass $16/$12, 3-day weekend pass $30, 12 and under free. 10:00 – 5:00 daily.
Madhaunter’s Madhouse, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Weekends Oct 5 – 31 (select nights)
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 and on Halloween. $20, 7:00 – 11:00.
Fall Jubilee, Manassas, Oct 6
Experience fall in its fullest with a trip to Historic Downtown Manassas to participate in the 36th 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.
Vienna Oktoberfest, Vienna, Oct 6
Vienna’s Oktoberfest celebrates its 11th 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 featuring 30 German classic cars. Admission is free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, Oct 6
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 6
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 6
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.
Clifton Day, Clifton, Oct 7
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. 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 Carnival and Fall Harvest Days, Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Oct 12 – 14
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 11:00 – 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, Arlington, Oct 13 – 14
The Virginia Wine Festival®, the longest running wine festival on the East Coast, moves to Gateway Park in Rosslyn (Arlington) in 2018. The VA Oyster Pavilion will be back with 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 $40/$55 advance/day of; noon – 6:00 daily.
Taste of Annandale, Tom Davis Drive, Annandale, Oct 13
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 – 4:00.
DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, Reston, Oct 13
DogFest DC includes a 1-mile route (fully accessible) around the shops at Reston Town Center followed by a celebration and family-friendly activities. Enjoy music, a dog agility course, a costume contest, and more four-legged fun. Proceeds support Canine Companions, which places assistance dogs with children, adults and veterans free of charge. 11:30 – 3:00.
Merrifield Fall Festival, Mosaic District, Oct 13
Enjoy live music, food vendors, a beer garden, kids activities, a pet costume contest, crafters, and more in a day of fun at Mosaic District. Free admission, 11:00 – 6:00.
Reston Home Tour, Reston, Oct 13
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/$30 advance/day of; 10:00 – 5:00.
Art Safari, Torpedo Factory Center, Alexandria, Oct 13
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.
11th Annual Oktoberfest, Doner Bistro, Leesburg, Oct 18 – 21
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.
Colonial Market Fair, Claude Moore Colonial Farm, Oct 20 – 21
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.
Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon, Oct 20 – 21
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 20
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 Wine and Food Festival, Aldie, Oct 20
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 when thousands of rubber duckies are released into Little River in Aldie. Free admission; $5 parking available. 9:00 – 5:00.
Haymarket Day, Haymarket, Oct 20
Enjoy a hometown street festival including: a parade featuring local schools, performers, and law enforcement, led by the year’s Town Marshal, as well as dozens of vendors, entertainers, and culinary options. 9:00 – 4:00
Help the Homeless Walk, Fairfax, Oct 20
The 19th annual Help the Homeless Walk begins at Fairfax City Hall and makes two loops through the neighborhoods around City Hall. All proceeds will go towards the mission to end homelessness in our community.
Doukenie Winery Harvest Festival, Purcellville, Oct 20
Celebrate the Harvest at Doukenie Winery with a barrel tasting event open to the general public. Doukenie is one of our favorite wineries with a view in Northern Virginia. Enjoy delicious bbq while you kick back and listen to live music. $12 – $20; noon – 5:00.
Halloween Safari, Bull Run Mountains, Broad Run, Oct 20, 26, 27
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. $8 advance/at the door. 7:00 – 8:30.
Oatlands Harvest Festival, Leesburg, Oct 21
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.
Ghost Train, Burke Lake Park, Oct 27 – 28
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.
BOO-stravaganza, Frying Pan Park, Oct 26
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 for fun, games, and a wagon ride plus treats and a small pumpkin. $10, reservation required. 6:00 pm.
Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Oct 28
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.
Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Oct 27
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.
Annandale Parade, Annadale, Oct 27
Enjoy family fun at the popular Annandale Parade. Watch clowns, storybook characters, marching bands, antique & military cars, fire trucks, civic organizations, Scouts, and beautifully costumed international dancers as they march along Columbia Pike. This sixty-eight-year-old tradition gets bigger and better every year. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Free; 10:00.
Clifton Haunted Trail, Buckley Park, Clifton Oct 27
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 28
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.
2018 Pumpkin Patch Fun, Multiple Locations, throughout October
Area pumpkin patches really ramp up in October, with many new opening. Sky Meadows State Park begins their pumpkin patch weekends on October 6th. Follow the link for details on fun area pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
Fall is a beautiful time in Virginia and we’re lucky that there are so many fantastic October 2018 events on the calendar. The only trick is going to be choosing. What are your favorite October 2018 events in Northern Virginia?
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