As summer comes to a close and the cool breeze of autumn takes over, West Virginia comes alive with a breathtaking display of fall foliage. The hills and valleys of the Mountain State transform into a sea of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a picturesque backdrop for a series of delightful fall festivals. Late September and early October mark the peak of the foliage season, making it the perfect time to immerse yourself in the rich culture and natural beauty of West Virginia.Bridge Day Festival - Fayetteville
Kicking off the fall festival season is the renowned Bridge Day Festival in Fayetteville, typically held on the third Saturday in October. While technically a bit later in the season, the event is well worth the wait. The centerpiece of the festival is the chance to witness daring BASE jumpers leaping off the famous New River Gorge Bridge. The exhilarating spectacle is set against the backdrop of the New River Gorge, framed by vibrant fall foliage. It's a breathtaking experience that combines adrenaline-pumping action with the natural beauty of autumn.
Beyond the adrenaline rush, the festival offers a charming arts and crafts show, delicious local food vendors, live music, and a kids' zone. Whether you're an adventure seeker or just looking to enjoy the colors of fall, Bridge Day has something for everyone.Mountain State Forest Festival - Elkins
For a more traditional fall festival experience, look no further than the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins, typically held in late September or early October. This event celebrates the state's rich forestry heritage and its stunning autumn scenery. The festival features a grand parade, a lumberjack competition, and the coronation of the queen, who reigns over the festivities.
One of the highlights is the impressive woodchopping and sawing competitions, showcasing the strength and skill of lumberjacks from around the region. As you stroll through the festival grounds, you'll be surrounded by colorful trees and the sounds of live music, making it a quintessential fall experience.Preston County Buckwheat Festival - Kingwood
Adding to the rich tapestry of West Virginia's fall festival scene is the Preston County Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood, a beloved tradition held in late September. This festival celebrates the harvest of buckwheat, a staple crop in the region. Visitors can savor delicious buckwheat pancakes, browse through arts and crafts vendors, and enjoy live music and parades.Cranberry Shindig - Hillsboro
If you're looking for a smaller, more intimate fall festival, the Cranberry Shindig in Hillsboro is a hidden gem. Held in late September, this festival captures the essence of rural West Virginia living. Attendees can partake in apple butter making, hayrides, and square dancing. The star of the show is the breathtaking Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, where the lush vegetation turns into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and gold during the fall season.Pumpkin Festival - Milton
For those with a penchant for pumpkins, the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival in Milton, held in early October, is a must-visit. This charming festival celebrates all things pumpkin-related, from pumpkin pie and pumpkin carving contests to a grand pumpkin parade. The vibrant fall foliage in the nearby Cabell County countryside adds an extra layer of beauty to the festivities.Black Walnut Festival - Spencer
The Black Walnut Festival in Spencer, held in early October, showcases the distinctive black walnut and the rich culture of Roane County. The festival features arts and crafts, live entertainment, a parade, and, of course, plenty of black walnut-inspired treats. As you explore the festival, you'll be treated to stunning vistas of the changing leaves, making it an ideal destination for leaf-peeping enthusiasts.
West Virginia's fall festivals offer a perfect blend of cultural heritage, outdoor adventure, and natural beauty. Late September and early October are prime times to visit, as you can witness the breathtaking transformation of the landscape while enjoying the unique offerings of each festival. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-pumping action or a peaceful stroll among colorful trees, West Virginia's fall festivals provide an unforgettable autumn experience. So, grab your sweater and camera, and embark on a journey to discover the charm of West Virginia's fall foliage and festivals.