By Rachel Jones | Photographs from Mike Melone
As a welcomed chill sets over Washington County, and we swap our sundresses for sweaters, we want to make autumn extra awesome. With so many local groups coming together to share their crafts — from handmade home décor to pumpkin-flavored craft beers — this time of year, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Consider this your fall bucket list: a compilation of festivals that celebrate the arrival of apples, perfect pumpkins, and other seasonal delights. Bring your friends, family, and a camera along for the ride, too. Pumpkin Spice Latte, optional.
Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest
4-11 p.m., Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday; 12-6 p.m., Sunday
For the 18th year in a row, part of Pike Street in Canonsburg will be transformed into “our own version of a Bavarian village” for the Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest! Dive in to the vibrant German culture with traditional delicacies, like bratwurst, schnitzels, and pierogies; authentic bands on the German stage, including the SNPJ Buttonbox Band, Frank Palombi Band, Augsburg Band, and Alpen Schuhplattler; and a toast with Leinenkugel, Miller Lite, or the event’s signature beer: Alpine Ale. Local music groups Ruff Creek, Steeltown, and Dancing Queens take the Main Stage, adding to the fun atmosphere, too, along with an array of craft vendors and amusement rides. Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest, 68 E. Pike St., Canonsburg. 724.745.1812. canonchamber.com/Oktoberfest.
Washington and Greene Counties’ Covered Bridge Festival
10 a.m.-5 p.m. *Hours may vary per site
Since Washington and Greene Counties are home to so many covered bridges, it only makes sense to honor their history and unique charm with a Covered Bridge Festival! The festivities will be hosted at 10 different sites: Brownlee in McGuffey Community Park; Hughes in Amwell Township; Carmichaels in Carmichaels; Ebenezer Bridge in Mingo Creek County Park; Henry in Mingo Creek County Park; Krepps in Mt. Pleasant Township; McClurg in Hanover Township Park; Pine Bank in Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village; Wyit Sprowls in East Finley Township Park; and White in Garards Fort. Each one offers arts and crafts, home-style treats, family-friendly entertainment, and a beautiful setting for the ultimate autumn day. For more information, check out visitwashingtoncountypa.com.
Bedner’s Fall Fest
Saturdays and Sundays,
September 24-October 30
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Make happy memories your family can always look back on with some seasonal fun at Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse. Go for a hayride to the pumpkin patch, try your luck in the corn maze, amaze yourself with the pumpkin launch, enjoy pony hop races, and much more! “We love to open up our farm to the community each fall so that families can have quality fun together at such a beautiful time of year,” says Melanie Bedner. “Going on hayrides to the pumpkin patch has long been a family memory-making tradition, as well as a great family photo op.” Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse, 315 Coleman Road, McDonald. 724.926.2541. bednersgreenhouse.com.
Great Pumpkin Weekends
September 23-October 30
2-5 p.m., Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
In search of the perfect pumpkin for your front step or next jack-o-lantern? Head down to The SpringHouse for a hayride up to the pumpkin patch and pick the best one yourself! And, have some fun on the farm, climbing giant hay bales, playing pumpkin bowling and corn toss, and checking out the petting zoo. Make a day of it with a homestyle dinner of saucy meatloaf, Penn State creamy chicken breasts, BBQ ribs, and hearty sides on Saturdays, and the 4-H Hog Roast on Sundays, featuring pork quarters, roasted on the open pit outside, plus BBQ pork, pork and sauerkraut, and more delicious sides. The SpringHouse, 1531 Route 136, Washington. 724.228.3339. SpringHouseMarket.com.
+ Reserve a group pumpkin patch hayride for 25 people or more and enjoy all of the same fun activities, plus an ice cream cone for each attendee! Special rates are available for weekday group hayrides, too!
Hickory Apple Festival
10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but we say an apple festival each fall is better for all! Take a bite out of dozens of apple-centric treats, including apple dumplings, caramel apples, and apple butter, along with other homemade favorites, like the pancake breakfast, stone oven-baked bread, and roasted chicken. Then, stroll around the grounds, listening to the full lineup of live entertainment on stage, learning more about our feathered friends with “That Guy With the Birds,” admiring the beautiful handmade crafts for purchase, and getting the kids in on the fun, too, with activities just for them. Don’t forget to buy a bag of apples before boarding the bus back to the parking lot! Mt. Pleasant Township VFC, 106 Main St., Hickory. 724.356.3378. hickoryapplefest.com.
Cecil Township 29th Annual Fall Festival
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Saturday;
11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday
Breathe in the fresh fall air and admire the beauty of Cecil Park at the Cecil Township 29th Annual Fall Festival. The Canon-McMillian High School’s Big Mac Band kicks off the festivities with opening ceremonies on Saturday morning, and the musical entertainment continues throughout the weekend with performances by Angel Blue & the Prophets, Functional Chaos, Michael Christopher Band, Foggy Hollow Blue Grass Band, Steel Blossoms, and the Western PA Button Box Club. As you enjoy the music and the stunning fall foliage in the park, be sure to check out the wide range of arts and crafts for sale, delicious homemade fare, and activities just for kids. Cecil Park, 3599 Miller’s Run Road, Cecil. 724.745.2227. facebook.com/CecilParksPA.
33rd Annual Houston Pumpkin Festival
10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday and Saturday;
10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday
Carve out some time to stop by the 33rd Annual Houston Pumpkin Festival. Geared toward pumpkin lovers of all ages, the weekend of activities includes games and rides for children, a costume contest, live music by local bands, and an array of traditional fair foods. Fan-favorites like the 33rd annual parade, seed spitting contest, and the 9th annual pumpkin pie eating contest will return, too — sign us up! Houston American Legion Post #902 Picnic Grounds, 124 W. Pike St., Houston. 724.746.6740. houstonpumpkinfestival.net.