6 Most Incredible Harvest Festivals Around the World
K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Autumn is a great time to plan a fun getaway, and with fall harvest festivals taking place in many fabulous destinations, both near and far, you may even want to play your trip around one of them, enjoying fantastic fall foliage scenery, fun attractions, fine food and drinks as well as plenty of entertainment too.
Portland is fast becoming a popular foodie destination, a place once known only for its lobster rolls and New England clam chowder. But today, it hosts some of the finest eateries in the northeast, many of which serve up perfectly prepared local harvest seafood and more. The Harvest on the Harbor Festival brings these artisans together, where they take part in competitions. Visitors can enjoy not only Maine’s legendary fall scenery and craggy coastline but also some of its tastiest local foods, along with breweries, wineries, distilleries, and live music. A variety of food and beverage tastings are offered and vary year to year.
What better place to experience the fall harvest than in California wine country? Over the weekend in the fall, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair puts on the “grand harvest.” It features world-class wines, award-winning brews and a true culinary feast. There are wine seminars and chef demos, as well as a special Awards Night that celebrates the top winemakers, growers, microbrewers and culinary artists of the region. Outside of the festival, there are countless vineyards and wineries to visit, and the gorgeous, rugged California coast is just a short drive away.
If you’re looking for a slightly early taste of fall, head to the historic AppleJack Harvest Festival in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Just what it sounds like, this one is all about the apple and just about everything apple you can envision. Think apple pie cider, apple fritters, candy apples, apple salad, and even apple cider donuts. Yum. The three weekend-long event includes a fun run, a parade, a classic car show, live music, street dances, bull riding, and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, there’s not a chance of getting bored at this one.
This popular festival in Santa Fe invites you to come and stomp your feet on wine grapes, press apples into apple cider, bake bread, make your own tortillas and much more. Held at the historic Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum, for nearly a half-century, the festival offers all sorts of family-friendly activities with traditional music and dance, mule-drawn wagon rides and an artisan market. While you’re here, explore this highly walkable city by wandering through the winding streets lined with adobe-style buildings that house boutiques, art galleries, historic sites and museums.
The beautiful city of Lugano is situated in the southern region of Switzerland, bordering Italy, and on the shores of Lake Lugano, underneath the shadow of spectacular mountains just south of the Alps. This is one of the most picturesque destinations at any time of the year, but visiting in autumn means that summer’s scorching temperatures have given way to a milder climate in a choreographed setting of magnificent colors. And, if you’re there over the first weekend in October, you can attend the Autumn Festival, which hosts folkloric music as well as celebrations of grapes and fine wines. One of its highlights is the “grottini,” or eating stations run by local vendors where you can sample typical Ticinese specialties like polenta with stew, roast pork, minestrone and gnocchi, along with Ticino wines and many other local delights.
The Olivagando Oil and Autumn Festival celebrates all things olive over two days in November. Hosted in Magione in the Umbria region on Lake Trasimeno, it gathers everyone involved in the production of oil together, celebrating in concert with the feast of St. Clement. The highlight of the festival is the much sought-after olive oil which is made from la dolce agogia. In addition to olive oil, those who attend enjoy handmade cheeses, fresh chestnuts and walnuts, cured meats, truffles, and of course, wine. There are workshops, antique markets, art contests, and a lavish medieval dinner at the town’s 12th-century castle.