This time of year my thoughts turn to the promise of crunchy leaves beneath my footsteps and pots of steaming apple cider on my grandmother’s stove. There is no place like home in Ohio when autumn arrives. The distinct scent of chimney smoke sneaks into town every year in September as an unofficial commencement of fall. Every town, small, medium and large seems to host their own fall festival. There are a few Ohio towns that are particularly well known for their unique approach to celebrating this harvest season.
Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival
Roscoe village, the host of this fragrant event, is a portal into the 1800’s. The quaint red brick buildings and tree lined streets provide the perfect backdrop for an annual fall festival. This event attracts over 100 crafters each year who sell things like handmade quilts and homemade jams. There is a gentleman who sells wooden crafts and whittles right before your eyes as you shop. You will have the opportunity to sample fresh made apple cider and watch apple butter simmer on an open fire as it is stirred by men and women dressed in 19th century attire. A craft auction, quilt raffle, canal boat rides and bluegrass musical entertainment are also featured at this event.
Pumpkin Show (Circleville)
In the 1966 classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Linus declared “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin!” But The Circleville Pumpkin Show is all about discussing, throwing, eating and carving Great Pumpkins! The world’s largest pumpkin pie, the pumpkin toss, the pumpkin pie eating competition and the pumpkin carving contest all converge in the town square making for a day of fun for adults and kids alike. Arts & crafts, live entertainment, a pet parade and a live hog calling contest will round out the event. For many families in middle Ohio, attending this event is a yearly tradition that has existed for generations.
Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival
There is something spectacular about a structure that is both beautiful in the historic sense and functional in the modern sense. Ohio is known for its multitude of covered bridges. These carefully constructed covers have worked to preserve many Ohio bridges since the late 1800’s. Ashtabula has taken this piece of our history and made a party out of it. If you are a history buff, a photographer, or a parent with curious children then you don’t want to miss this event. The highlight of the festival is the tour of the 16 covered bridges that are scattered throughout Ashtabula County. In addition to the tour there will be a farmers market, a quilt show, a parade, a crafts show, a draft-horse pull, great food and entertainment and a showing of antique engines, tractors and automobiles.
Fall Fun Days Harvest Festival
at Circle S Farms
Of all the festivals I have described the Harvest Festival at Circle S Farms this is by far the most kid-oriented of the festivals. We adults love a good hayride and a romp through a corn maze, but we typically leave the hay barn slides and the petting zoos to the kiddies. This year is the 25th anniversary festival so they are going all out. They have a bakery on location and on the weekends the Pumpkin Café is open for business. For people that have a decent sized group it would a great idea to take advantage of the private hay rides and bonfire parties that they are offering.
Ohio Swiss Festival
For those of you who are looking for something a little less pumpkiny and a little more international, check out the Swiss Fest. Sugarcreek has been dubbed the “Little Switzerland of Ohio” and each year in October people dressed in authentic Swiss costumes and alpine horn players hit the streets of this quaint little city for the Swiss Festival Parade. This is a truly unique event! They have a “Steinstossen” (stone throwing) contest and Schwingfest – Swiss wrestling!! If you like Swiss cheese and polka music – October in Sugarcreek is the place for you.