5 Wacky Fall Festivals and Events in New England

Quirky and Unusal Ways to Spend Memorable Fall Weekends in New England

Tractor Parade
Take a breather from your busy life this fall, and sit back and enjoy the annual Tractor Parade in East Charlotte, Vermont. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

Do you dread the inevitable Monday morning question: "How was your weekend?" This fall, you don't ever have to answer: "It was OK. I raked leaves again." Regale your colleagues and friends with stories of madcap fun when you attend one--or all--of these wacky fall festivals and events in New England. You might have to wake up a little earlier than usual on a Monday to Band-Aid the blisters you sustained running in stilettos or wash the Fluff out of your hair, but it will be worth it.

FluffCentennial Festival

Saturday, September 23, 2017 
Somerville, Massachusetts
Admission: Free

The state that gave us everything from the ballpoint pen and the monkey wrench to the first liquid-fueled rocket is also the birthplace of an invention with dubious nutritional value: Marshmallow Fluff. In 1917, Archibald Query began selling his sticky-sweet marshmallow concoction door-to-door to neighbors in Somerville, Massachusetts: a Boston suburb. A century later, Somerville's arts community has embraced the city's culinary claim to fame, and the 12th annual Fluff Festival is your chance to sample Fluff grub (there are so many more possibilities than Fluffernutters), to enjoy zany performances, to sport a Fluff hair do and perhaps to even engage in a bit of Fluff jousting.

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival

Sunday, September 24, 2017
Stowe, Vermont
Admission: $10 (ages 5 and up) to benefit the Lamoille Restorative Center

For the ninth year, pumpkins will fly in Vermont this fall. And while watching pumpkins shatter on impact is cool... this is not a spectator sport. Anyone can enter. So, tell the kids to put down their electronic devices, and spend quality family time in your backyard building a trebuchet: Yes, that's Medieval weaponry.

It's also the best contraption if you want to fling pumpkins a good distance. All of the rules are available at the festival Web site. Be sure to head to Stowe hungry, as this wacky fall event at Stoweflake Mountain Resort also features a Chili Cookoff.

North American Wife Carrying Championship

Saturday, October 7, 2017
Newry, Maine
Admission: Free

What will a guy do to win his wife's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash? On one fall Saturday each year, as many as 50 men are willing to hoist their wives (or other female teammates) on their backs and race over obstacles for the chance to score fabulous prizes, unparalleled bragging rights and the chance to compete in the following summer's World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland. Even if you don't compete, the race is a sight to behold and the highlight of a weekend-long Fall Festival at Maine's Sunday River ski resort that features free outdoor concerts, the fourth annual New England Cornhole Championship, an arts and crafts fair featuring regional exhibitors, a wine tent (Saturday), a Bloody Mary tent (Sunday), activities for kids and pre-season deals on ski gear.

Tractor Parade

Sunday, October 8, 2017 (rain or shine)
East Charlotte, Vermont
Admission: Free

Have you ever been to a parade where there was a lull in the action? Well... that's about the pace of the entire East Charlotte Tractor Parade. These agricultural vehicles are not exactly built for speed, after all. But when the sun is shining and the fall leaves are putting on a show, you may just love this laidback community event featuring more than 100 antique and modern tractors lumbering through town. They come from miles around! The 17th annual Tractor Parade also features related events (typically a farmer's market, food trucks, children's activities and artisans' booths).

OgunquitFest

Friday-Sunday, October 20-22, 2017
Ogunquit, Maine
Admission: Free (some tours and activities have fees)

Pumpkin decorating, a scarecrow contest, craft vendors, wagon rides, a costume parade: At first glance, OgunquitFest looks to be a typical New England community-based fall festival.

But, wait. There's a waiter race? And a foot race... in high heels?! If you want to embrace fall frivolity, this southern Maine coast town known for being artsy and accepting is the place to be during October's third weekend. This celebration of all things colorful--not just leaves--marks its 14th year in 2017.