There’s never a better time of year to travel than Fall. Why? The leaves area jubilant and bright and Leaf Peepers can feast on their color! Often, weekend weather cooperates with road trips and families need a quick outing!
Fall is the time of year that offers us great events, festivals and community gatherings throughout the USA. With perfect 70° F weather, and a chance for the kids to get outside, use this short guide to help you choose which one to attend.
I have spent so much time in the Laurel Highlands from skiing to the Renaissance Festival, work conferences and private lodges for weekend retreats. Often the area feels like a second home, yet, there is still so much we have not discovered.
Of course, since we are in the throws of Autumn we are inspired to try a different festival, or event every weekend from now through the beginning of November. You can too! Get ready for fun in Ligonier, Bedford, Confluence, and Delmont! Are you ready to get in that vehicle and take a road trip?
4 Fall Events in The Laurel Highlands
Our Hallmark Channel-Like Date
When I first started dating my husband, he took me out to get a pumpkin. He just told me we were going pumpkin shopping. His family, however, did pumpkin shopping VERY Different than mine.
My family went to the grocery store, got their pumpkins and called it a day. conversely his family took a road trip! Since he had grown up doing this, he decided that a great date would be going to a pumpkin farm, getting some fresh apples, and then going out to eat. We left Pittsburgh and headed for the Laurel Highlands and we still do this every year!
Truly, this date was something out of the Hallmark Chanel and the station was just in its beginning stages!
Along the way, we would admire the foliage and attend some really great local festivals. Years later, after kids, we kept going. And today, we still go leaf-peeping, and to festivals in the Laurel Highlands. It is just one of our many seasonal family traditions.
Things To Take Along on your Road Trip
I always like to have things that we might need with us. For example, if I know we will be eating dinner at the festivals, we then try to pack a picnic lunch and stop before we get to our destination. I have found that carrying along with both a packable blanket for the ground, a few portable chairs, and a good food basket are all necessities.
Make sure to take along hand sanitizer, wipes for the hands, as well as a possible second set of shoes in case you go hiking and step in the muddy creeks (my kids always do this!) Last, make sure you have chargers for your phones as you will be taking photos!
Festivals – 4 Fall Events in The Laurel Highlands
The reason for the season, PUMPKINS. It’s time to load your SUV, Truck, Van, or whatever you drive up with pumpkins, gourds, and everything October Seasonal! Your pick? The Confluence Pumpkinfest.
In the Village of Confluence, PA. there’s a festival you don’t want to miss. Are you ready to take part in the Largest Pumpkin Judging Contest? Perhaps you need to roll up your sleeves and take part?
You will find crafts, food and a beautiful town park. One of the biggest events is, of course, the Pumpkinfest Queen Pageant. There are other great things such as the garden tractor pull, a recipe contest, and the tough man fire truck pull.
Save room for the pie-eating contest, and make sure to watch the recurrent CAR SMASHING over the weekend. Really small-town fun that will leave you with a solid-filled heart for the area!
Fort Ligonier Days
For those of you who love a good community gathering, you are going to love Fort Ligonier Days. We’ve spent a good deal of time in Ligonier at the local amusement park, and at some of the farms.
However, Fort Ligonier Days are not about the farms there or the park, rather this event commemorates the Battle of Fort Ligonier. Yes, there are a LOT of people and traffic, but there is also a LOT to see, do and eat.
Every season, the Laurel Highlands is home to a variety of special events appropriate for all ages. Food offerings will be rich because there are lots of them and they come from all over the county.
When we started going, we had no kids. I loved to shop so craft vendors were what I sought out. As our family evolved, we enjoyed free musical entertainment and always went for the FOOD.
What I just said to you is that there are things for everyone in your family.
Bedford’s Fall Foliage Festival
What makes this festival so different than ALL the others is that is COMPLETELY created by VOLUNTEERs. Should I also discuss the fact that there will be over 70,000 visitors to the area over the festival timing?
Yes traffic, and yes lots of people, however, that all fades to the background the minute you start seeing all of the streets, crafts, food, entertainment and all of the fun things for the kids to enjoy. It’s fun among the masses and yet somehow just time for you and yours!
The Bedford Fall Foliage Festival is not one street big, rather it is on multiple streets. Since it is a very well-attended venue, I suggest (based on personal experience) that you take the FREE Shuttle Bus they are offering, as it does run nonstop while the festival is open!
I have to stress that it is from humble beginnings it began and it has evolved, but stayed true to simple, brilliant, fun! Don’t forget to see every storefront on all the streets, as they are ALL Decorated to the 9’s for the event!
Kids will enjoy scarecrow making, and maybe the Klowns as well as pony rides and face painting, you get the idea!
Enjoy the antique car parade, spend time strolling the streets and over 400+ vendors with your family. Meetup with old friends and make new ones! The Fall air is crisp and clean and Bedford and its community are so welcoming!
Delmont Apple n’ Arts Festival
In the last 2 weeks, I have traveled to Delmont, from the Wexford/Sewickley area over 8 times. Not only do I love going there, but the ride is only about 55 minutes (without traffic and using the Turnpike to Monroeville!).
Get ready for fun, lots of people, food, crafts, and hot apple cider. Does that make you want to go? How about live music and entertainment all weekend long? Your kids will LOVE the apple slingshot? I mean how many times do they get to literally chuck food and test their skill of attempting to nail a target (unless they tried tossing tomatoes at the guy at the Renaissance Festival)
Kids will enjoy train rides, pony rides, and a petting zoo. I am sure they will enjoy the fresh air too! You will love this because after a day of walking and adventure the kids are going to sleep well!
Make sure to check out the website for each of these festivals in their respective communities! Pack up your minivan, truck, car, sedan, SUV, whatever you drive and take in Fall! It’s only here once a season! Enjoy and safe road trip travels. ~ Dana XO
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