The fall is a great season for festivals in the Washington, D.C. area. There's a little bit of something for everyone, including a number of events geared toward foodies, film buffs, music fans, and those who like a bit of history. From Oktoberfest to Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Days, these family-friendly events span the Capital Region Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. this fall.
Oktoberfest is an iconic celebration of German culture (and beer, of course), and there are a number of great German fall festivals around Washington, D.C. From Snallygaster in downtown D.C. to Flavors of Fall in Reston, Virginia, there are plenty of chances to sample lagers, ales, and wines while enjoying German music, dancing, and foods.
- Snallygaster D.C.: One of the most popular beer festivals, this event features more than 300 different ales and lagers as well as multiple food vendors, live music, DJ performances, and recreational and family-friendly activities in downtown D.C. each October. Snallygaster D.C. 2019 takes place on October 12.
- Das Best Oktoberfest: Featuring over 150 unique beers, German wines, and schnapps—as well as foods and other festival goodies—this annual event takes place at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in late September or early October each year. In 2019, the event takes place on September 28.
- Port City Brewing Company Oktoberfest: Head to this brewing company in Alexandria, Virginia, from August through early October for two months of live music, food trucks, games, and plenty of lagers—including its own limited run of Oktoberfest brew. The Oktoberfest release party kicks off events on August 2, 2019.
- Flavors of Fall: Also known as Oktoberfest Reston, this Virginia festival takes place at the Reston Town Center and features entertainment, activities, authentic Bavarian cuisine, and plenty of things to drink. The Flavors of Fall Festival takes place on October 12 in 2019.
The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a fun family event held in Anne Arundel County, about 30 miles from Washington, D.C. that runs every year between August and October.
The annual six-week festival recreates a 16th-century English village with crafts, food, live performances on eight stages, a jousting arena and lots of games. Don't miss the fire-eaters, jugglers, and magicians, and you can even rent your own costume from the period to really get in the spirit of the festival.
For a full list of dates and details or to purchase tickets for the 2019 event, visit the official Maryland Renaissance Festival website.
Highlights of this annual events include a Parade of Nations, a children’s festival, a beauty pageant, a science fair, a diplomatic pavilion for embassies and consulates, arts and crafts stations, and traditional South and Central American cuisine.
Fiesta D.C. 2019 takes place along Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Constitution Avenue) from 3rd Street to 7th Street on September 22 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more than 50 years, the Maryland Seafood Festival has been an Annapolis tradition celebrating its rich history of harvesting food from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the top attractions of the event each year include a crab cake-eating contest, crab-picking contest, oyster-shucking contest, and a crab soup cook-off. There's also a sand soccer tournament and arts and crafts with local creative types. When hunger strikes, head to the beer-and-oyster-tasting tent or visit the chef demo area for free seafood samples.
The Maryland Seafood Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 7 and 8, 2019 at the Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, and tickets are required to attend.
Around 35 of Washington's most distinguished restaurants serve sample portions of their signature dishes paired with complementing wines at the Taste of Georgetown event each year.
This September food festival in Georgetown also includes live music and children's activities such as caricature artists, balloon makers, and jugglers. The region's hottest chefs will also test their culinary skills during the Georgetown Chef Showdown, and judges will taste all 70 dishes to evaluate them based on categories such as "Best Use of Seasonal Ingredients," "Best Overall Dish," and "Best Way to Satiate a Sweet Tooth."
Taste of Georgetown takes place on Sunday, September 22, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waterfront in Georgetown.
Adams Morgan Day
The Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is known for the nightlife scene around 18th Street as well as its numerous bars, late-night eateries, quirky murals, brick row houses, and a number of great vintage and artisanal shops.
To celebrate the diverse culture of the neighborhood, the second Sunday in September is Adams Morgan Day, an annual festival with live music and international food from around the world. Enjoy colorful vendors, cultural demonstrations, live music, and dance workshops on rumba, Mexican folk, Bolivian, and salsa. In 2019, Adams Morgan Day takes place on Sunday, September 8.
Held in the eastern blocks of H Street in the Near Northeast neighborhood of D.C., the H Street Festival is an annual fair designed to showcase the developing arts and entertainment district that spans 10 blocks of H Street Northeast.
The festival, which will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, features more than 500 artists and performances on 14 stages plus an array of local, regional, and international cuisine, shopping, art exhibits, educational events, seminars and conversations with local entrepreneurs and community organizations.
The Kids Euro Festival is one of the country's largest performing arts festivals for children and features more than 90 free events throughout the capital. Staged through the cooperation of the 28 Washington-based European Union embassies and 30 major local cultural institutions, this multi-day event is geared toward kids ages 2 through 12.
The Kids Euro Festival takes place from late October through early November each year and features artists in almost every performing genre. Featured performers range from bubble-blowers to a virtual orchestra and storytellers to acrobats.
Boasted as the largest culinary festival in the Mid-Atlantic, Taste of D.C. is a two-day street festival held in D.C. each October that features more than 65 of the region's best restaurants, eateries, and food trucks as well as plenty of family-friendly entertainment and activities.
Highlights of Taste of D.C. include an Oktoberfest celebration, a Wine Walk, live musical performances on the Main Stage, and the Annual Ben's Chili Bowl's World Chili Eating Championship. The event also features a Kids Zone with interactive games, live music, and demonstrations from local chefs.
Taste of D.C. 2019 takes place on October 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. and on October 27 from 1 to 10 p.m.
In October, Mount Vernon Estate welcomes the fall season with a weekend of activities including wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, early-American games, music, and demonstrations during the annual Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Days event. During the event, visit George Washington's Pioneer Farm and create your own cornhusk dolls, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, or find your way through a hay maze.
Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon take place on October 19 and 20, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All events and activities are included in admission to the George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon Wine Festival and Sunset Tours
Another great event at George Washington's Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Wine Festival and Sunset Tours celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with two special evening tours of the mansion and live music on the east lawn. of Washington's former home overlooking the Potomac River.
During the annual Mount Vernon Wine Festival, visitors bring their blankets and relax on the lawn as they sample wines from 16 Virginia wineries. Events for the 2019 festival take place nightly from October 11 to 13 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Held on the first Saturday in October each year, the annual Taste of Bethesda event not only features 50 Bethesda-area restaurants, it has four stages of entertainment centered around Woodmont Triangle and a kids' corner for cookie decorating, face painting, games, and prizes.
Taste of Bethesda is celebrated in conjunction with Best of Bethesda Day, which features a classic car show and an animal rescue day, as well as the annual Bethesda Film Fest, which features long and short-form videos from local and regional filmmakers. All three events take place on October 5, 2019—rain or shine.