Autumn has officially arrived. It’s time for gourds galore, layers and knits and harvest festivals. Here are four free harvest festivals worth getting out of town for in the coming weeks.
Skagit Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival in Mount Vernon, Saturday, September 24
The Great Pumpkin cometh. Last year the winning giant pumpkin at the Skagit Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival weighed in at 1,421 pounds. Come gawk at these giant orange freaks of nature and stick around for other bucolic diversions, including pony rides, toad races and plenty of delicious harvest food. (There’s even a lecture about bats, for which the hosts ask you reserve a spot in advance by calling ahead.) Guests are also welcome to show off their own giant vegetables and big sunflowers, so if your own victory garden has produced a few massive mutants, give them the audience they deserve. For a full schedule and more details, see the official website.
Lattin’s Apple and Cider Festival in Olympia, weekends from Sept. 24 – Oct. 30
Starting the last weekend In September and lasting through October, Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm hosts their annual Apple Festival. The event is free and open to the public (but parking is $5 per vehicle). A petting farm, apple bobbing, face painting and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch make this especially family friendly. The aroma of apples (and cider and Lattin’s mouthwatering Apple Fritters) fills the air. Bring your sweet tooth. Read more on the website.
2016 Salmon Days Festival in Issaquah, Oct. 1-2
Harvest festivals aren’t just about fruits and veggies. The first weekend of October brings Issaquah’s huge annual Salmon Days festival. It provides a dizzying selection of international foods and crafts, a carnival, live entertainment and, of course, salmon viewing. This year, there will also be a beer garden for the adults and a VR booth. (Not sure if the immersive VR experience is salmon related or not, but that would be pretty awesome.) On Saturday, October 1 there will be a parade at 10am, and on Sunday there is a 5k race hosted by the Issaquah Rotary Foundation. For those who decide to take transit to Issaquah, there is a shuttle service available from the transit station to the festival area. Read more and plan your trip on the website.
15th Annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles, Oct. 7-9
Seafood lovers really should not miss the annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles. The scenery around Port Angeles alone is worth a trip, even on a sleepier weekend. The festival makes the trip especially memorable: fresh food from 14 local restaurants; cultural activities; cooking demonstrations and a Chowder Cook-Off; live music. There is no admission cost and it happens rain or shine. Read more on the website.
Featured image via Crabfest.org