2021 October events in Northern Virginia bring pumpkin patches, Oktoberfests, art, wine, and craft festivals, and more fall fun to the Washington DC region. Cooler weather and fall foliage offers a beautiful backdrop to fun celebrations all month long. Spooky and not-so-scary events run all month, ending with local trick-or-treating when Halloween arrives.
These October events are listed in order of start date with multi-day festivals listed first. Follow the links to find detailed schedules, purchase tickets, and check for weather closures. Some events have not announced plans for this year, so check back for additions and updates to the 2021 October events listing.
Cox Farms Hay Ride and Market, Cox Farms, Centreville, Sep 25 – Nov 7
The annual Cox Farms Fall Festival is back in 2021! The biggest fall festival in Northern VA is packed with slides, rope swings, hayrides, a corn maze, and more family fun. Hours and ticket prices vary by day, follow the link for details.
Find more pumpkin fun in our complete guide Pumpkin Patches in Northern Virginia and Fall Festivals.
Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 1 – 3
Head to beautiful historic Waterford VA for the 77th annual Waterford Fair. Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair. Watch and interact with artisans at work, tour Village gardens, and enjoy a weekend in the country. Kids’ activities make the fair a family-friendly event. Tickets are $45 for a 3-day pass. Follow the link for the artisan list and schedule details.
Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, Oct 2
The 26th Art on the Avenue returns to Del Ray in 2021. The 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. Free; 10:00 – 6:00.
Find more Fun Unique Things to Do in Alexandria VA.
Vienna Oktoberfest, Vienna, Oct 2
The popular Vienna Oktoberfest takes over Church Street for its 13th year. Enjoy three stages of live entertainment, a German beer and food garden sponsored by Caboose Brewing Company, plus kids’ activities, games, and crafts. Admission is free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Find more Great Things to Do in Vienna Virginia.
Virginia Wine Festival, Leesburg, Oct 2
The Virginia Wine Festival®, the longest-running wine festival on the East Coast, returns to One Loudoun for 2021. 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 $39 advance purchase; noon – 6:00 daily.
Leesburg Car Show, Leesburg, Oct 2
Celebrating its 33rd year, the Leesburg Car Show fills historic downtown Leesburg with over 150 classic cars. Check out the cars and cheer on your favorite for the awards in 32 categories. Noon – 4:00.
Fall Jubilee, Manassas, Oct 2
Experience fall with a trip to historic Downtown Manassas for the 38th 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.
Workhouse Haunt, The Collection, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Oct 3 – Nov 6
Northern Virginia’s scariest haunted trail returns to the Workhouse Arts Center in 2021. Zombies, swamp creatures, and more creepy characters terrify those brave enough to walk through the abandoned buildings at the Workhouse campus. The Haunt walk-through trail is open on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. $25/$30 regular/premium night admission. 7:00 – 11:00.
Find more Halloween Scares + Fun in Northern Virginia.
MPAartfest, McLean, Oct 3
MPAartfest transforms McLean Park into an outdoor art studio and community-wide celebration of the visual arts. The festival features contemporary art plus music, food, children’s activities, and more. Free admission; 10:00 – 4:00.
Mount Vernon Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour, Oct 8 – 10
Kick-off the fall season at George Washington’s Mount Vernon’s annual Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Taste unlimited samples from Virginia wineries while you relax on the expansive East Lawn and watch the sunset over the Potomac River. George Washington will be in attendance, but the Mansion will be closed. Tickets often sell out for this popular event. Tickets start at $49/$59 members/non-members. 6:00 – 9:00 pm nightly.
Fairfax Fall Festival, Oct 9 – 10
The streets of Old Town Fairfax are lined with booths featuring crafters, food stalls, and local businesses during the 45th annual Fairfax Fall Festival. Carnival rides, live entertainment on three stages, and food and beer courts add to the fun. Admission is free but there are fees for some activities. 10:00 – 5:00 daily.
SterlingFest, Sterling, Oct 9
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 10
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, 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.
LuminoCity, Roer’s Zoofari, Reston, Oct 15 – Jan 2
Roer’s Zoofari hosts the Luminocity Festival throughout the 2021 holiday season. This walk-through experience features colorful holiday scenes and beautifully hand-crafted light sculptures. Visitors stroll past a vibrant collection of realistic and fantastic light sculptures, many featuring animals. Some displays feature Halloween scenes until October 31, then holiday scenes take over. Timed entry tickets are $22/$32 for ages 3-12/adult.
Reston Home Tour, Reston, Oct 16
The annual Reston Home Tour offers self-conducted tours of four outstanding private homes in Reston neighborhoods plus the new Kensington Reston assisted living facility. See 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. $30/35 advance/day of; 10:00 – 5:00.
Haymarket Day, Haymarket, Oct 16
This annual hometown street festival includes a parade featuring local schools, performers, and law enforcement led by the year’s Town Marshal. Dozens of vendors, entertainers, a beer garden, and culinary options add to the family-friendly day. Free admission; 10:00 – 4:00
16th Anniversary Celebration, Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Oct 16
Enjoy a day of fall fun for all ages at Frying Pan Park. Enjoy food trucks, tours, a tractor parade, and more. Watch the cider press in action, meet the farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations. Free; 10:00 – 4:00.
Art Safari, Torpedo Factory Center, Alexandria, Oct 16
Join in an afternoon of hands-on activities for kids and families at the annual Art Safari. Dress to get a little messy! Free. 12:00 – 4:00.
Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon, Oct 23 – 24
Mount Vernon celebrates autumn with Fall Harvest Family Days. Explore the farm, watch 18th-century demonstrations, and meet General Washington. All events are included with admission. 9:00 – 5:00 daily.
Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Oct 23
The world-famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race returns to 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 go on sale in mid-August.
Annandale Parade, Annadale, Oct 23
Enjoy family fun at the popular Annandale Parade. Watch clowns, storybook characters, marching bands, antique & military cars, fire trucks, civic organizations, and beautifully costumed international dancers as they march along Columbia Pike. This sixty-nine-year-old tradition gets bigger and better every year. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Free; 10:00 – noon.
Spooky Sprint, Occoquan Regional Park, Oct 24
Put on your Halloween costume and get ready to run in the 3rd annual Spooky Sprint Fun Run and 5K. The new Brickmaker paved course is family, stroller, and pet friendly so dress up the whole gang. 1.3-mile Fun Run starts at 8:45 and registration is $25/$20 for adult/youth. 5K starts at 9:00 and is $30/$25 for adult/youth.
Allow extra time to visit the new Women’s Suffrage Memorial.
Clifton Haunted Trail, Clifton, Oct 26
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 $18/$13 online for adults/12 and under (though the haunted trail is likely too intense for younger kids). Tickets are $20/$15 day of event. 7:00 – 10:00 pm.
Find more Halloween Scares + Fun in Northern Virginia.
Washington International Horse Show, Washington DC, Oct 26 – 31
Since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show has brought world-class equestrian competition to DC. See top riders, Olympic veterans, and superstar horses in the nation’s capital for thrilling show jumping, educational events, boutique shopping, and more. General admission tickets start at $25.
George Washington’s Gristmill 250th Anniversary, Mount Vernon, Oct 30 – 31
Celebrate the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s Gristmill with a tour and fresh-baked bread. The bread is made using heirloom grains produced with the same methods used in Washington’s time. Admission is $10 or purchase a combined ticket that includes a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 10:00 – 5:00 daily.
Halloween Weekend in Northern Virginia, Oct 29 – 31
Our big guide to Halloween weekend in Northern VA includes trick-or-treating, parades, and other fun Halloween events for every age. Check it out here:
Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Oct 31
One of the largest marathons in the world, the Marine Corps Marathon follows a scenic course by the Potomac in Arlington and Washington DC. Known as ‘the best marathon for beginners,’ the MCM is the 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.
Ongoing October Events and Fall Fun in Northern VA
Check out our guides to favorite fall activities for Autumn fun all month long. Our guides make it easy to plan a fall day trip or a weekend getaway.
Area pumpkin patches really ramp up in October. Our complete guide to pumpkin patches and corn mazes in Northern Virginia includes both paid and free options.
Apple Picking and Apple Season Festivals
October is prime apple season in Virginia and you can visit beautiful orchards in and near Northern VA. Apple picking is family-friendly, but it also makes a fun date or group outing. Our complete guide to apple-picking and apple festivals in Northern VA includes a handy map of the best apple-picking spots near DC.
16 Favorite Fall Hikes in Northern Virginia
Soak up the best fall foliage views with our guide to favorite fall hikes in the Northern VA area. From easy strolls to more challenging trails, we’ve found a great selection of foliage-friendly hikes in the region.
More Fantastic Ways to Celebrate Fall in Northern Virginia
Still looking for October events and outings? Follow the link to see how local Virginia tourism experts like to celebrate the fall season.
TBA and Canceled 2021 October Events in Northern Virginia
Some popular fall festivals and annual October events have not announced their 2021 plans or are canceled this year. Check back for ongoing updates and additions to this round-up of October fun in Northern VA.
Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest, Fairfax, Canceled in 2021
Celebrate Fairfax will host the annual Fall For Fairfax KidsFest again in 2022. The festival features interactive and educational programs, entertainment, and activities for families with elementary and pre-K-aged children. Admission and most activities are free.10:00 – 5:00.
Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, Fremont Field at Fort Belvoir, Canceled in 2021
Fort Belvoir opens its gates to the public for the annual Oktoberfest. This long weekend of German music, food, and fun is held at the base’s Fremont Field. Many 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. Thurs 6:00 – 10:00, Fri 4:00 – 11:00, Sat noon – 11:00, Sun noon – 8:00.
Ghost Train, Burke Lake Park, TBA
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. $6 per passenger. 10:00 – 6:00.
Air and Scare Family Day, Air and Space Udvar-Hazy , TBA
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.
Fall is a beautiful time in Virginia and there are so many ways to celebrate the season. Happily, many favorite annual October events in Northern Virginia are back in 2021.