The fall season is one of the best times of the year to enjoy the vast outdoors of Northern Virginia. As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to change colors, families enjoy a variety of festive events with activities ranging from pig races to pie eating contests and scarecrow-making contests to colonial reenactments. Enjoy the change of seasons with some family fun at these top events in this part of the Capital Region.
Located on more than 90 acres in Centreville, Virginia, Cox Farms hosts a variety of seasonal events throughout the year—including the Cox Farms Fall Festival. Kicking off the fall season, this two-day event takes place on September 14 and 15, 2019, and features a pumpkin patch, giant slides, hayrides, rope swings, farm animals, corn mazes, straw tunnels, a goat village, apples, and cider.
Cox Farms will then be open for the remainder of the season from September 21 to November 5. If you're more in the mood for a haunted adventure during your trip to the farm, stop by the Cox Farms Fields of Fear from September 20 through November 4 to explore a haunted trail with lots of scary Halloween activities over 20 acres.
Great Country Farms Harvest Festival
Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Virginia, celebrates every season with festive events, but the month-long Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival is a big favorite with locals and visitors alike and runs from the end of September through Halloween night. Pick the winner in the Oinkintucky Derby Pig Race, take a photo with the Pumpkin Princess, or shoot pumpkins from a cannon at this family-friendly event. The festival also features pick-your-own pumpkins, a corn maze, and P-Rex the "pumpkin-munchin’ dinosaur."
Held on the first weekend of October on George Washington's Estate and Gardens at Mount Vernon, the Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour event features wine cellar tours and live music on the grounds of the home of the nation's first president.
The estate offers gorgeous views of the Potomac River, and the fall season is the prime time to sample local wines, listen to live blues music, take in the fall foliage on the estate, or embark on a sunset tour of the Washingtons' home. However, advanced tickets are required to attend the event.
The Waterford Fair is a traditional American craft fair featuring juried artisans from all over the United States, and takes place over the first weekend of October each year in Waterford, Virginia. Along with hands-on demonstrations by more than 150 artists, you'll find plenty of fun for the whole family at this annual event, including live music and dance performances, Colonial and Civil War re-enactments, a tour of historic homes, parades, and a variety of kid-friendly activities.
Once a year, usually on the first Saturday of October, the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute offers a behind-the-scenes look at the National Zoo's world-renowned science, research, and animal care processes as part of its Conservation Discovery Day.
During the annual event, which is held rain or shine in Front Royal, visitors can interact one-on-one with scientists and learn about their fascinating research that happens at the zoo and institute. Admission to the festival includes a behind-the-scenes look at endangered animals, live music, and special activities for children.
Head to the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, over the first weekend of October for the annual Fall For Fairfax event, which features more than 100 interactive activities and exhibits highlighting the city and the season.
Highlights of the Fall for Fairfax event include train rides, a kids' climbing wall, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a petting zoo, and dozens of children’s performances as well as make-your-own scarecrow workshops. All entertainment and most programs are free, though some activities require a minimal fee.
The historic town of Manassas, Virginia, hosts a family-friendly festival to celebrate fall on the first Saturday in October each year. Known as the Manassas Fall Jubilee, this festive event features live music and entertainment, handmade crafts, and a variety of local and traditional foods.
The Manassas Fall Jubillee is free to attend, and most events take place on Center Street in Historic Downtown Manassas. Other highlights of the event include a pumpkin pie-baking contest, a pie-eating contest, and the adults-only Beer and Wine Garden featuring locally-crafted beverages.
Hosted by Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Mustang Sally Brewing Company, the Fairfax County Brewfest features dozens of breweries showing off their best American-style beers at the Mustang Sally brewery in Chantilly, Virginia.
Entertainment includes live music by local bands and children’s activities like face painting, airbrush tattooing, moon bounces, and rock climbing. Of course, there's lots of beer—more than 40 American breweries are represented at this popular annual event, which takes place on September 21, 2019, from noon to 6 p.m.
Enjoy a variety of 18th-century fall activities during the Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Days event, which takes place at George Washington's Virginia estate from October 19 to 20, 2019. This annual celebration features horse-drawn carriage rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, a straw bale maze, and blacksmithing demonstrations as well as early American games and musical performances.
Located directly across the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C., the town of Rossyln, Virginia, is a great destination if you're visiting the capital this fall. At the end of October each year, the city hosts the United States Marine Corps Marathon Finish Festival to celebrate the end of the annual race, which runs from the National Mall in D.C. to finish line at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn.
This family-friendly festival, which takes place on October 27, 2019, offers a wide range of activities for all ages. Highlights of the festival include giveaway booths and interactive stations along Fairfax Drive and Lynn Street, a beer garden on Ft. Myer Drive, information booths in Dark Star Park, and the Arlington Stage on Wilson Boulevard, which features live performances by local and national artists including the Quantico Marine Corps Rock Band.