Is there any better feeling than the sun shining down on you, only to need a sweater to ward off the crisp air as night falls? These fun festivals give you a great excuse to spend the last warm days of the season outside.
Gather your friends and family and party on the beach one last time before the autumn chill sets in at the Misquamicut Fallfest at Misquamicut State Beach. From September 12-14, the festivities will include an outdoor international food court, a Ferris wheel and major rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, two classic car shows, magic shows, two stages with live music, over 50 vendors and more. There will even be a “Smoke on the Water” BBQ competition judged by NBC 10’s Chef Terranova. Don’t miss out on the waterfront fun. 257 Atlantic Avenue, Westerly. 322-1026.
On September 13, celebrate Riverfest two ways in Woonsocket. Riverfest by Day is a family festival benefiting Riverzedge Arts, a youth arts program. Learn about the ecology of the Blackstone River on a river walk, and get a lesson in ecosystems. Fish in the fishing derby, or enter the chalk drawing contest. Eat from food trucks, and browse local and sustainable vendors. Riverfest by Night happens at Ciro’s Tavern on September 12, and is grown-up fun. This block party style fundraiser will feature a photo booth, silent auction, carnival games and beer tastings.
Take in the beauty of art and fall in the park at the Slater Park Fall Festival. The open-air market runs September 13 and 14 this year and includes food trucks, crafts, farmers markets, exhibitions and performances, including a special performance from the Rhode Island Philharmonic “Pops in the Park” followed by a fireworks display. Over 120 arts and crafts vendors showcase their work at this festive fall weekend event. Slater Memorial Park, Armistice Boulevard, Pawtucket. 724-5200.
Welcome the season at the Exeter Fall Festival, held at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area. Browse artisan vendors, satisfy your sweet tooth at the bake sale, get up close and personal with the Shadow Pines alpacas, paint a pumpkin (or your face) and bounce in the bounce house. There will also be a rescue dog demonstration by Waggin’ Tales 4H, a performance by storyteller Keith Munslow, magic by Bjorn the Magician, a pie judging contest, bluegrass music and square dancing. 160 Yawgoo Valley Road, Exeter.
Fall is all about community and new beginnings, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the 3rd Annual Central Falls Bright Future Festival. Come to Jenks Park on September 20 and be inspired by all the diversity and pride in RI’s smallest city. There will be local food vendors, music, tower tours and cultural performances, and you won’t want to miss a spectacular fireworks performance to cap off the night. This is a great opportunity to participate in the resurgence of “A City With A Bright Future” and share in the love for Central Falls. 580 Broad Street, Central Falls.
Apples to apples – relish in this fall favorite at Johnston’s 27th Annual Apple Fest. Visit Johnston War Memorial Park September 20 and 21 for arts & crafts and commercial vendors, activities, pony rides, food, live music, entertainment and, of course, everything apple. Swing by this free festival for your fill of autumn’s sig- nature treat. 1583 Hartford Avenue, Johnston. 349-4674
Experience the diversity of Rhode Island’s cultural heritage at the Annual RI Heritage Day Festival on September 20. The Roger Williams National Memorial will be filled with booths offering cultural displays, traditional foods, craft demonstrations and exhibits from over 20 different countries. Performances from musicians and dancers dressed in colorful native costumes will fill the afternoon. A children’s area will provide story telling, face painting and arts and crafts. Be sure to check out this lively opportunity to learn about and celebrate RI’s diverse cultural background. 282 N Main Street, Providence. 222-4133.
From September 20 to 21, visit Coggeshall Farm’s 41st Annual Harvest Fair to get a taste of the 18th century with a modern twist, with demonstrations of historic trades, children’s crafts, local vendors, live music and entertainment and traditional games and competitions for an experience that is uniquely New England. Wear your best rain boots for the Muck Boot Fashion show, test your strength in the sawbucking competition or improve your aim at the watermelon seed spitting contest. 1 Coggeshall Farm Road, Bristol. 253-9062.
Join the Artists’ Exchange September 21 for a day of art, theater, music, food and fun at their Fall Out of Summer Festival. There will be pumpkin painting, children’s carnival games, artisans, a beer and wine garden, performers, an art installation from students at the Artists Exchange’s summer camps and food trucks. Grab some chalk and partake in the street art contest, where you have the chance to win a free class at Artists’ Exchange. Shake off the last remnants of summer and get pumped for the fall months with this artsy outdoor festival. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. 490-9475.
What better way to enjoy everything autumn has to offer than a harvest? This year’s Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Harvest Fair will include community tents with engaging activities and lessons from local organizations, crafts, and home and garden competitions with a variety of titles to win – where participants can enter everything from homegrown fruits and veggies to flow- ers to delicious foods like baked goods, salsa and pesto. Spook the crows away with your own original scarecrow that you can either bring from home or make at the fair and enter into the Scarecrow Contest. The two-day event, on October 4 and 5 this year, will also feature live music, games, artisans and entertainment. 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown. 846-2577.
Ever wondered what an 18th century harvest was like? Visit the historic Smith’s Castle on October 4 for an afternoon of family fun at their Colonial Harvest Festival to see for yourself. Savor seasonal treats, like homemade apple crisp, play games, browse crafts from local vendors and experience live entertainment on an authentic South County plantation homestead on the banks of scenic Mill Cove. 55 Richard Smith Drive, North Kingstown. 294-3521.
Saddle up and add a little dose of the Wild West to your fall this year at Stepping Stone Ranch’s Cowboy Rendezvous, Rhode Island’s biggest cowboy get-together. The event will take place October 10-12 and will feature an arena competition from the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, with horse races and versatility competitions. But no worries, you don’t have to own a horse to participate in this fun-filled weekend. Simply come by to watch the events and horses or join in with line dancing, talent shows, a steak dinner and live music. 201 Escoheag Hill Road, West Greenwich. 397-3725.
Celebrate Rhode Island’s rich rural history and culture at the Swamp Yankee Days Festival at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Richmond. On October 11 and 12, experience crafts and food vendors, Cow Chip Bingo, a classic car show, children’s games and crafts, hay rides and live music. Each day will also display antique fire trucks and other equipment, daily tractor parades and working machinery, including corn grinding, shingle mill and more. Embrace your inner New England farmer at this family friendly RI tradition. Washington County Fairgrounds, Route 112, Richmond. 225-1206
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