This time of year there’s no better place to embrace the autumn spirit than by attending one or more of the top fall festivals near Charlottesville, VA. Fall is one of our favorite times of year as the foliage lights up the city with brilliant colors, and the weather is absolutely perfect most days. There are festivals galore honoring everything from traditional corn mazes, fried chicken, crafts, persimmons, and sheepdogs! Surely there is something in that list that intrigues you.
Plan a weekend getaway around the festival of your choice, but leave time for a bike ride, a visit to one of our many historic sights, or one of our local wineries during harvest season. There is so much to do; it is hard to choose! Let’s start with our favorite fall festivals:
September 16 & 17
High School Cafeteria, Stanardsville VA
Come and see 32 clay artists (potters, sculptors, and jewelers) display their latest works at the Clay Festival. There are three demonstration areas where the artists will show specialized techniques. The dining tent is full of both food and Irish and old-time music. It’s the perfect place to pick up gifts for loved ones or yourself!
Corn Maze Festival
Weekends from September 23 – November 5
This has everything fall wrapped up in a bow! The Corn Maze Festival has a 5-acre corn maze, giant slides, apple slingshots, and of course, pumpkins. There are night-time maze adventures along with campfires and s’mores. There is warm cider, kettle corn, and cider donuts. Their new location is at Blue Toad Hard Cider.
2215 Foxfield Track, Charlottesville VA
The annual Foxfield Races truly herald the fall season here in Charlottesville. Spend the day among food and drink vendors watching horses complete the steeplechase track. Make sure you get your tickets in advance, this is a popular event!
Shenandoah Valley British Car Festival
620 South Linden Ave, Waynesboro VA
Spend the day admiring cars with significant British “DNA” in styling, engineering or manufacture at the Shenandoah Valley British Car Festival. You will see cars in all conditions including motorcycles and electric cars. There are door prizes and on-site food vendors.
Gordonsville Fried Chicken Festival
Gordonsville Fire Company Fairgrounds
Who has the best fried chicken and pie? The Gordonsville Fried Chicken Festival is on a mission to find out! This is a big deal for a town famous for being a train stop where passengers are fed what else, fried chicken and pie! You will also find a wine garden and craft vendors.
Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival
October 7 & 8
The Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival happens twice yearly, in spring and fall. Each time you will find over 120 juried exhibitions of amazing artists of many different mediums. There will be plenty of local food, Virginia wine and beer, and live music from regional artists. The quality and diversity of fine art and handmade craftwork are truly impressive and worth visiting again and again.
Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheepdog Trials
October 7 & 8
Across from James Madison’s Montpelier
The Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheepdog Trials celebrate the art of fiber and the animals that help contribute it. You will see working sheepdogs at their best. See demonstrations of shearing, spinning, weaving, and other fiber arts. There are classes, or you can enter your own art for judging.
Fall Fest Weekend
October 21 & 22
Bellair Farm, Charlottesville
Have you ever seen a sorghum labyrinth? You will get your chance at Fall Fest Weekend, along with hayrides, local food, wine and cider tastings, and craft vendors. The barn will be open, selling fresh produce, meat, and other grocery items.
Edible Landscapes, Afton
Did you know that there are 22 varieties of persimmons? Learn about all things persimmon at the Persimmon Festival at Edible Landscapes. Ripe examples of persimmon varieties will be available for purchase.
Artisan Studio Tour
November 11 & 12
Fifty-two different artists in Central Virginia open their studios for the Artisan Studio Tour. Download the map and the list of artists and plan your visit based on your interest–ceramics, mixed fiber, jewelry, wood. Check out the passport program for the opportunity to win gift certificates, and be sure to follow on social media for updates.
After the Festival
On your drive to or from the festivals, take your time and stop in the small towns or farms that you pass along the way. It’s only the beginning to celebrate fall at Charlottesville, VA, vibrant fall festivals–there are dozens of other fall-centric things to do. We love Carter’s Mountain for apple picking, hayrides, their own wines, a farm shop, warm apple cider, and apple cider donuts. Beautiful fall views of Charlottesville from the top of the mountain make Carter’s Mountain a must-visit for the fall.
We have already mentioned our local wineries, but don’t forget there are many local craft breweries as well. Make sure you have reservations for one of our amazing restaurants! If you can’t decide, ask us; we will help you narrow it down. As you can see, fall is fabulous, so start making your plans now!