Row of light pumpkins along walk way at Blaze Hudson Valley

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The Best Pumpkin Festivals Across The US 2024

As autumn approaches, we can expect a shift in the atmosphere with clearer skies, crisp air, and changing leaves. With the change of season comes the inevitable flood of everything pumpkin, from pumpkin spice candles and lattes to pumpkin beer and pie. The fall season also brings a desire to attend fall festivals with hay rides, apple cider, a corn maze, kettle corn, a hay maze, a petting zoo, the best pumpkin patches, and pumpkin carving contests. These activities are enjoyed under bright blue skies and cooler temperatures, providing a hearty dose of fall fun. To help you plan ahead, here is a list of the best pumpkin festivals to attend in the US for autumn 2024.

An antique truck in a pumpkin patch.
Photo courtesy of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Fest

If you’re looking for a fun weekend road trip to enjoy the beauty of fall foliage and escape before winter hits, consider visiting one of these festivals. The star of the show at each of these events is the perfect pumpkin, whether it’s a massive one, a skillfully carved jack-o-lantern, or a sweet pumpkin pie. Many also have live entertainment, carnival rides, farm animals, and food vendors. Take advantage of the excitement surrounding these giant orange gourds! And for many of these events the admission fee is $0. Many start in late September and run through Halloween. So check out my list!

Looking for Halloween Travel Destinations? Here is a list of the The Best Places To Celebrate Halloween In The US 2024.

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta — Maine

The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta celebrates the harvest of giant pumpkins through various activities like weighing, decorating, racing, parading through town, boating, and even consuming them! It has been nominated for the 10BEST Award by USA TODAY in the category of best fall festival. With activities suited for all, this festival promises to offer a fun-filled pumpkin experience.

  • The Pumpkinboat Regatta hollowed-out pumpkins (400-700 pounds each) with motors attached or paddled, racing one another in the Damariscotta Harbor.
  • Volunteer-carved and decorated giant pumpkins lining Main Street in Damariscotta & Newcastle;
  • Pumpkin Dessert Contest and Pumpkin Pie Eating Contests;
  • Pumpkin Hunt a fun scavenger style hunt for kids;
  • Pumpkin Car Derby enjoy the “soapbox-styled” pumpkin-car race;
  • Giant Pumpkin Parade, featuring the winning pumpkin (the largest in the State of Maine) from the weigh-off;

The Pumpkinfest and Regatta occur in the charming towns of Damariscotta and Newcastle, commonly called the “Twin Villages.” These towns are situated on opposite sides of the Main Street bridge, which crosses the tidal Damariscotta River. This festival is famous for its unique pumpkin-related activities. If you’re up for an extended sightseeing trip, nearby towns like Rockland and Camden are worth exploring.

When: October 12-14, 2024
Where: Damariscotta, ME 04543 (Follow signs to Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Shuttle/Parking, where you can park for FREE and ride the shuttle to the events.)

For more information, visit www.mainepumpkinfest.com

Man with orange hair in water with pumpkin boat in a race with crowd on shore
Photo courtesy: PIM VAN HEMMEN | Soundings
The Great Pumpkin Carve — Chadds Ford, PA

The art of pumpkin carving has transcended beyond the traditional two-eye holes, nose, and crooked mouth with missing teeth. This beloved event dates back to the 1970s and has grown in popularity every year since. Local artists showcase their skills by carving over 70 giant pumpkins during the course of three days, which are then beautifully lit up and displayed at night.

Aside from the main attraction, this pumpkin carving event offers a kid-friendly haunted trail, local craft beer, and wine, a delectable array of food, exciting raffles, and live music. It is the perfect place for the whole family to come together and enjoy a fun-filled evening of entertainment and fun.

Looking for more to do in the area? Check out my post on A Visit To Two Amazing Gardens Near Philadelphia, Longwood and Winterthur.

When: October 17-19, 2024
Where: Chadds Ford Historical Society, 1736 Creek Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

For more information, visit www.greatpumpkincarve.com

Woman hugging a giant pumpkin while it is being weighed
Photo courtesy of The Pumpkin Show
Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze — Hudson Valley, New York

Indulge in the mesmerizing and unforgettable display of over 7,000 intricately carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns at the highly popular Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Witness the creativity of local artisans who design and meticulously hand-carve each pumpkin right on the spot. This year, favorite installations, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Pumpkin Planetarium, are joined by new creations like a pumpkin Ferris wheel and the enchanting gourd-eous circus sideshow. With over 2 million visitors, this is one of the most popular pumpkin events in the world. 

Book your tickets in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on this remarkable event. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is a highly sought-after event; tickets sell out quickly. Furthermore, free on-site parking is available, making it easy to access. Allow at least an hour to explore the grounds of the historic 18th-century Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson and take in the show. Blaze also has a second location on Long Island.

When: September 13 – November, 17, 2024
Where: Westchester, Van Cortlandt Manor, Hudson Valley

For more information, visit www.pumpkinblaze.org

Carousel made of out lite pumpkins
Photo courtesy of Tom Nycz for Historic Hudson Valley
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival — Laconia, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is a highly anticipated annual event that attracts over 40,000 visitors yearly. One of the most impressive highlights of the festival is the stunning 34-foot-tall jack-o’-lantern display. In addition, the festival offers a variety of exciting activities for people of all ages to enjoy. There is a thrilling zombie walk that is sure to get your heart racing. The Great New England Craft & Artisan Show is a must-see for those who appreciate art. For the more active pumpkin fan, there is a 5K run. The festival also features a range of competitions that add to the fun and excitement. Numerous food trucks and vendors offer delicious snacks, treats, and a beer garden where adults can unwind and enjoy a refreshing beverage. Overall, the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is a great autumn festival.

When: October 26, 2024
Where: Downtown Laconia

For more information, visit www.nhpumpkinfestival.com

Man standing behind enormous pumpkin in a pumpkin patch
Photo courtesy of Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta
Half-Moon Bay World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off — Half Moon Bay California

Witness the grandeur of colossal pumpkins at Half Moon Bay’s 51st Annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, sponsored by Safeway. The event is a big deal, with the first-place winner receiving a whopping $9 for each pound of their pumpkin. Last year’s champion was a world record breaker and weighed in at an incredible 2,749 pounds, making it a lot of money for a pumpkin. Grown by three-time Winner Travis Gienger of Anoka MN. Additionally, Safeway is offering a special mega prize of $30,000 for a world record-breaking pumpkin this year. The weigh-off is scheduled for October 14, 2024.

After the weigh-off, from October 19-20, 2024, enjoy the fantastic 52nd Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Celebrating art and food, the event is all about pumpkins and a great fall experience. Located in the stunning Half Moon Bay, the festival offers a pancake breakfast, a pie-eating contest, and much more.

When: October 14-20, 2024 (the weigh-in is the 14th, and the festival starts on October 19 and runs through the 20th)
Where: Half Moon Bay, CA

For more information, visit www.weighoff.miramarevents.com or www.pumpkinfest.miramarevents.com

Three huge pumpkins on stage with crowd at festival
Photo courtesy of Half Moon Bay Weigh Off
Pumpkin Show — Circleville, Ohio

One of the oldest pumpkin festivals in the country is the Circleville Pumpkin Show. It began in 1903 and is known as “The Greatest Free Show On Earth,” featuring all things pumpkin. The festival takes place every year on the 3rd Wednesday in October and lasts four days. The show has proudly presented the world’s largest pumpkin pie, measuring 14 feet in diameter and made with 360 pounds of sugar, 795 pounds of pumpkin, 60 lbs. of powdered milk, 60 dozen eggs, and 400 lbs. of flour. It takes 15 people to mix and 10 hours to bake!

The Pumpkin Show also serves over 100,000 pumpkin donuts and hosts seven parades across four days, crowning a Miss Pumpkin and a Little Miss Pumpkin. And features lots of amusement rides. This show is perfect for you if you’re a pumpkin lover, especially pumpkin pie. And remember, this event has free admission.

When: October 16-19, 2024
Where: Circleville, Ohio (about 25 minutes south of Columbus)

For more information, visit www.pumpkinshow.com

Crowd walking along the midway at the pumpkin show with a tower of pumpkins on the side
Photo courtesy of The Pumpkin Show
List of other Top Pumpkin Festivals in the US
  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular – Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island, September 27-November 2, 2024
  • The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival – Clarence, NY, September 14 – October 31, 2024
  • Festival of Pumpkins – Paris, Texas, October 26, 2024
  • Pumpkin Village – Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 2024 Dates To Be Announced Soon

With so many great pumpkin festivals around the country, it’s sure to be a season filled with lots of pumpkin spice. For good times in the fall, check out these festivals for day trips or even a long weekend. They are filled with festival activities for all ages, tons of pumpkins, and fall spirit. Autumn is a great time to get away and enjoy pumpkin season.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

The links above contain product affiliate links. We may receive a commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links. But your support of Fork & Wander is greatly appreciated!

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