Autumn yields yellowing leaves, pumpkin-flavored food and fall festivals for the family. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fall festivals in Mecklenburg and Union counties that you don’t want to miss.
Charlotte: The Great Pumpkin Fest
Carowinds is known for its Halloween-themed Scarowinds, but its kid-friendly Great Pumpkin Fest is nothing to sneeze at. Activities are framed around Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts crew. Admission is required.
• When: Sept. 14 to Oct. 27
• Where: Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd.
• Details: www.carowinds.com
Charlotte: Festival in the Park
The 55th annual event has 12 acts performing on the main stage, including the Youth Orchestras of Charlotte, Beatlesque, Nate Randall Band and Randy Franklin. There’s also stages for folk and youth performers, as well as a family fun zone.
• When: 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 21 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22
• Where: Freedom Park, 1908 East Blvd.
• Details: www.festivalinthepark.org
Charlotte: International Festival
Sample the sights, sounds and tastes of dozens of cultures at UNC Charlotte. Much of the entertainment and vendor booths at the 44th event are showcased by the university’s diverse student body.
• When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 21
• Where: UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd.
• Details: www.ifest.uncc.edu
Matthews: ArtWalk & MusicFest
The Matthews Chamber of Commerce injects live music, dance performances and an arts and crafts market to an already rocking downtown environment. The event used to be called Artfest.
• When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 28
• Where: Matthews Station St.
• Details: www.matthewschamber.org
Indian Trail: Fall Festival
The benefit of having the fall festival in the new town hall is that the large community room can help organizers accommodate upwards of 75 vendors. The event will also feature food, games and rides.
• When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 5
• Where: Indian Trail Town Hall, 315 Matthews-Indian Trail Road
• Details: www.indian trail.org
Huntersville: Carolina Renaissance Festival
This one’s a little far out, but worth the drive if you like the medieval motif. Horseback jousting, giant turkey legs, swimming mermaids and strolling characters are some of the coolest things you’ll find. This one costs money to get in.
• When: Oct. 5 to Nov. 24
• Where: 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville
• Details: www.carolina.renfestinfo.com
Waxhaw: Autumn Treasures
This two-day festival will tickle all of your senses as you can pet animals, listen to live music and gobble up pork at the Grill’n & Chill’n BBQ Cook-Off, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
• When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 12 and noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 13
• Where: Main Street
• Details: www.waxhaw.com
Stallings: Stallings Fest
Launched nine years ago, this event has become one of the region’s premier fall festivals with rides, fireworks, live music and vendors.
• When: 1-9 p.m. Oct. 19
• Where: Stallings Municipal Park, 340 Stallings Road
• Details: www.stall ingsnc.org
Pineville: Fall Fest
Groups like Hip Pocket, Steven Metz Band and Thirsty Horses rock the music stage, while the family stage features Kazoo Man, a chili cook-off and pie eating contests. There will be rides and crafts, too.
• When: 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 19
• Where: Pineville Lake Park, 1000 Johnston Drive
• Details: www.pinevil lenc.gov
Mint Hill: Fall Harvest Festival
This festival has got some creative attractions, like the scarecrow decorating contest and pumpkin bowling. Yeah yeah yeah, they’ll paint your face and feed you, too.
• When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 26
• Where: Mint Hill Town Hall, 4430 Mint Hill Village Lane
• Details: www.minthill.com