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New England’s Family-Friendly Fall Festivals

by Holly Riddle

Oct 3, 2018

© Trixie B. Wadson


Visit one of these family-friendly fall festivals before the winter chill sets in!


Nantucket Cranberry Festival, Oct. 6

There are two major fall events that take place in Nantucket in October. The Cranberry Festival is Oct. 6 and celebrates the island’s 161 years of cranberry farming. The event features the island’s last two remaining commercial bogs. You can view the live cranberry harvesting, take a tour of the grounds or enjoy family-friendly kids activities. Then, Oct. 7, the Nantucket Half Marathon is one of the most scenic races on the East Coast. Runners see the island from an entirely new perspective, as they traverse sandy dirt roads to oceanfront streets.


Nantucket Cranberry Festival, harvesting cranberries

Nantucket Cranberry Festival, harvesting cranberries © Garth Grimmer | Dreamstime.com


Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival, Oct. 13–14

This annual fall festival takes place on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport, Rhode Island, Oct. 13–14. The historic setting right on the waterfront is perfectly picturesque. If you can take your eyes off the scenery for a few seconds, you’ll enjoy your chance to chow down on an array of seafood, from lobster rolls to fish tacos. Picky kids not fans of fish? They’ll enjoy fair favorites like kettle corn and donuts. Live music and free family fun draw the crowds, so if you have smaller children, you might want to visit earlier in the day.


Wellfleet Oysterfest, Oct. 13–14

If it’s more seafood you need, head nearby to Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The Wellfleet Oysterfest takes place through downtown Wellfleet and features lots of local cuisine (oyster-centric, of course), cooking demonstrations for the budding chef, arts and crafts and lots of children’s activities. There’s even an oyster shuck-off competition, where you can try your hand at winning the $1,000 cash prize.


CiderDays, Nov. 3–5

Throughout Franklin County, Massachusetts, celebrate CiderDays with all things apple. Follow the cider trail to tour some cider-producing orchards, see the cider-making up close and personal and even attend some hard cider tastings. Take a workshop to learn how to make your own, sign up for VIP dining events and taste-test your way through the amateur cider competition. If it’s apple or cider, you can find it here.


Salem, Massachusetts, Oct. 1–31

Finally, for the entire month of October, Salem, Massachusetts, is in full festival mode, with something going on just about every night of the week. The area receives more than 250,000 visitors during this time, to attend an array of kid-friendly and adults-only events that range from street fairs to film showings, costume parties to ghost tours.


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