Fall festivals at America’s ski resorts long have been the harbinger of the ski and snowboard season and vary widely in terms of offerings. Here’s a sampling.
The Resort at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, Calif., 2nd annual Harvest Festival is Oct. 5-14. A jam-packed day for the whole family with events such as live music, arts and crafts, hay rides, and a beer garden. The Six Peaks Grille gets in on the action with a pumpkin-themed harvest dinner for $30 per person.
Park City Utah’s Autumn Classics Music Festival is Sept. 24-Oct. 8. The Festival is a project of the Park City Chamber Music Society, a component of the Park City Music Festival now in its 28th season. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on online for $20 regular admission, and $15 for seniors 62 or over and students.
OktoberWest, a Western-style Oktoberfest, kicks off in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Sept. 21-23. Suds & Grub starts the weekend events with a cruiser bike parade through downtown with stops at restaurants for beer tastings and local specialties. The kids will enjoy participating in the Pedaling Posse Parade on Lincoln Ave. Free live entertainment includes the Wheeler Brothers and Mile Markers. There’s even an “I Love Beef Cook-off.”
Skitoberfest is making its fourth appearance at Boyne Mt., Oct. 6 in the Boyne Mountain Village. There are a number of activities scheduled throughout the day including a Kids’ Zone (2-7 p.m.) featuring face painting, pony rides, Bouncy House; a variety of performers (2-8 p.m.) including the Skitoberfest Parade, dancers, and juggling; beer and wine tasting (2-7 p.m.); Rail Jam (4 p.m.), and a gear swap (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) to benefit the Boyne City Ski Club.
It’s family time at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minn., Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There are free horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, Halloween costume contest, and a Kiddie Coloring Contest. You only have to wait seven days for the rescheduled event, if the weather’s bad.
You have a few more weeks to enjoy Killington’s Hay Festival that began Labor Day and continues to Columbus Day. Start at the festival headquarters at the Killington Chamber of Commerce and follow a map to various locations featuring a different giant animal hay sculpture and answer a question about that animal.
Then have your picture taken with the animal and enter it at Facebook.com/DiscoverKillington to win prizes from the Vermont Country Store. Events still remaining are the Spartan Beast Race, a 10 to 12 mile obstacle race, Sept. 21-23, the Green Mountain Annual Pug Social representing volunteers and rescued pugs, Sept. 22, the Killington Brewfest, featuring the Northeast’s finest craft beers, Sept. 28-30, and the Killington Ski Club Sale, Oct. 5-8.
Celebrate the fall foliage at the 30th annual Stowe’s Foliage Arts Festival, Oct. 5-7, at the Stowe Event Field in Stowe, Vt., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More than 200 juried artisans display and sell their contemporary to traditional works, as well as photography, sculpture, and specialty food products. Attendees are encouraged to meet the artists and talk with them about their products. There will be live music Sat. and Sun, a food court, and the return of the Vermont Beer Cheese and Sausage tent along with 12 Vermont beers. Adult admission is $10; kids 12 and under are free.
The 37th New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival begins Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 23 at Loon Mountain Resort, N.H. It’s one of the largest celebrations in the U.S. of Scottish food, music, dancing, athletics and more, with more than 60 Scottish clans attending. The festival includes sheepdog trials, New England Regional Scottish Fiddle Championship, solo piping and drumming, and other musical entertainment and competitions. Tickets at the gate are $20 Fri. and Sun., $35 Sat.
The annual Fall Festival Weekend at Sunday River, Maine, is Oct. 6-7. Put on your competition spirit for this festival as it encompasses the 13th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship Sat., at 11 a.m. and the Mountain RAID races, Sun., at 10 a.m. The wife carrying championship is a 280-yard obstacle course that includes two logs and a water hole. The Mountain Epic Trail Races are now part of the Mountain RAID and RAID Series. Other weekend events include the Blue Mountain Arts and Crafts Festival, Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., wine tasting and Taste of Maine, Sat., noon-3 p.m.; horse drawn wagon rides; kids games and activities Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; chainsaw woodcarving demonstrations, Sat. and Sun. 10a.m.-2 p.m., and Geocaching and live music all weekend.
Gore Mountain in North Creek, N.Y., presents their Harvest Fest, Oct. 6-7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. You’ll be joined by local artisans and vendors, and serenaded by live entertainment including the Ernie Williams Tribute Band Sat., 1-4 p.m. and Council Fire Sun., noon-4 p.m. Bring the kids as there will be professional entertainment just for them.
New York’s Hunter Mountain in the Catskill Mountains features a variety of festivals all summer long, but the anticipated one each fall is their which encompasses two weekends: Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 6-7, 11 a.m.-6:15 p.m. There’s authentic German and German-American entertainment for all ages. The kids’ tent features Mike the Juggler, Puppet People, and wildlife shows; adults can enjoy vendors selling gifts, clothing, and food among other offerings. Admission is free.
Check out Hunter’s final festival of the summer: the Wine, Wing & Brew Fest Oct. 13-14. Sample wines and microbrews of the Hudson Valley, New York State, and others are available for tasting. There is a $20 admission for a 5- sample token. Wings make their entrance Sunday for a $5 admission fee.
The Autumn Timber Festival at Ski Shawnee in the Pennsylvania Poconos is Oct. 6-7, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Event is full of all things “timber,” including lumberjack shows, chainsaw sculpture demos, and Paul Bunyan Stilt Walker and Juggling Show. Animals also will be featured like The Marvelous Mutts (Frisbee, agility and tricks), wildlife rehab show, and Sue Wee Pig and Ugly Pig Races. Food and craft vendors, as well as live entertainment, round out the offerings. Advance tickets on sale until Oct. 5 are $12 adults and $10 for kids 5-12 ($15 and $12 at the gate respectively); 4 and under are free.
The North Carolina resort of Sugar Mountain is celebrating fall with Oktoberfest, Oct. 13-14, rain or shine, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission and parking – which includes a shuttle service – are free. Oompah music by the Harbour Town Fest Band gets you in the mood and the Mountain Laurel Cloggers gets your feet moving. Fun for the whole family.
Photos: Top right, OktoberWest, Steamboat Springs; bottom left, Stowe Foliage Arts Festival