7 fall festivals we just cannot wait for

  • Michelle Fong
  • Ashley Bethard
  • Jim Ingram
Updated Sept 20, 2017

Fall festival season is in full swing. Sure, some of the best have come and gone already 😭, but there are plenty festivals still to come.

Here are a few of our favorites:

>> Our complete fall festival guide

>> The best corn mazes around Dayton

>> The creepiest haunted houses, hayrides and trails 

Explore 30-acres of a re-created 16th century English village, when you take a step back in time to attend the Ohio Renaissance Festival. (Source: Facebook)

1.) OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Prepare thyself for some medieval fun. This 30-acre permanent village has been re-created to transport visitors to 16th Century England.

>> The craziest things you’ll see at the Ohio Renaissance Festival

Food highlights include: Giant Turkey Leggs, Steak-On-A-Stake, Barbecue, Stuffed Spuds, Bread Bowl Stews, beer, wine and desserts. 

>> The foods you have to try at the Renaissance Festival

Entertainment includes: jousting, musicians, dancers, comedians, jugglers, sword-fighters, storytellers and hundreds of costumed performers on 12 stages in nearly 100 shows daily.

>> 5 things to love about the Renaissance Festival

WHEN: Sept. 2 – Oct. 29 — Nine weekends Saturdays, Sundays plus Labor Day

HOURS: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Renaissance Park in Harveysburg. Just minutes off I-71, exit 45 or I-75, exit 38 on State Route 73 in Warren County.

COST: Tickets: Adults $22.50; Children $9.50 (ages 5-12); Children under 5 free.

INFO: WebsiteFacebook

Scenes from Oktoberfests past. STAFF FILE PHOTO

2.) DAYTON ART INSTITUTE’S OKTOBERFEST

BEER!!! Toast to the fall with the Dayton Art Institute’s signature fund-raiser and one of the region’s biggest festivals. 

>> What you need to know about Oktoberfest 2017

>> Beer, brats, food trucks and a few more reasons to head to Oktoberfest

Browse booths from more than 50 artisans from throughout the region, munch on foods from the German-inspired to traditional food truck eats. Wash down that food with ample domestic, international and craft beers, international wines. There will be live music on two stages throughout the weekend.

>> Oktoberfest celebrations around Dayton we can’t wait for this fall

Special events include a Lederhosen lunch on Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring brats, metts, schnitzel sandwiches, German salads, homemade noodles and live entertainment. Another hot ticket is a special preview party Friday evening. 

>> Where to park at Oktoberfest

>> PHOTOS: Oktoberfest 2016

WHEN: Sept. 22-24, 2017

HOURS: Lederhosen Lunch: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Preview Party: 7- 11 p.m.; Saturday: Noon - 11:30 p.m.; Sunday: Noon - 7 p.m.

WHERE: Grounds of Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton

COST: Admission to the Lederhosen Lunch is free (pay for food). Advance tickets for the Preview Party are $55 for members and $75 for non-members and includes complimentary beer, wine & soft drinks. Food vendors will be on site and premium beverages will be available for purchase. Admission at the gate is $95. Online presales begin later this month. Admission to the festival on Saturday and Sunday will be $5 adults, $3 seniors (60+) & youth (7-19) in advance; $7 adults, $5 seniors & youth at the gate; children 6 & under free.

INFO: WebsiteFacebook

Keeping a family tradition, Donna Bishop (right) pulls fresh pretzels from an oven at the Germantown Pretzel Festival Saturday, Sept. 27. Bishop's father, Lester Peck, was a founder of the festival. Staff photo by Jan Underwood Photo: Underwood, Jan

3. GERMANTOWN PRETZEL FESTIVAL

You had us at pretzel. This family-friendly fest will make everyone happy, we promise. Carb load with gourmet pretzels stuffed with jalapeno cheese, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. There will also be pizza-flavored pretzels and pretzel buns to kick your sandwiching up a notch or two. Other good eats? Barbecued chicken and ribs, waffles, pork chops, Chinese, Cajun, funnel cakes and more. 

>> 3 reasons to go to the Pretzel Festival

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 23, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 24, noon - 6p.m.

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Park, 190-192 W. Warren St., Germantown.

COST: Free admission

INFO: Website | Facebook

The 37th annual Minster Oktoberfest will take place on Oct. 2 through Oct. 4 , but Saturday will be the biggest day with all sorts of beer-related activities that you wouldn’t typically expect. (Source: Facebook)

4.) MINSTER OKTOBERFEST

If you can’t get enough Oktoberfest fun in Dayton, here is a celebration a short drive north that is definitely worth the drive. But make sure you have a DD for this one! 

>> Oktoberfest celebrations around Dayton we can’t wait for this fall

Of course, there will be plenty of beer and food and craft vendors, but this festival is also famous for some of its silly traditions. You can drink beer from a milk jug, participate in a beer tray relay or a jug-hoisting competition. This festival draws about 80,000 each year to this small village in Auglaize County.

WHEN: Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017

HOURS: Friday 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight, Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: One block west of the intersection of SR-119 and SR-66 in Minster

COST: Free admission

INFO: WebsiteFacebook

A few of the chocolate treats you'll find at the Chocolate Festival, benefiting Faith and Friends Radio. CONTRIBUTED

5. CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

Chocolate-Covered Bacon? 

Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake on a Stick?

Made-to-order fresh doughnuts?

Fresh made fudge?

Chocolate covered popcorn?

Get all of these treats and more at the 15th annual Chocolate Festival, which is a fundraiser for Faith and Friends Radio. There will be more than 50 vendors, plus entertainment for the whole family, at this event.

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum, 1043 S. Main St., Dayton

COST: Free admission and parking

INFO: Website

Bradford pays homage to pumpkins with a five-day community celebration. CONTRIBUTED

6. BRADFORD PUMPKIN SHOW

Sure, there are plenty of places to get pumpkins, but what other community holds a five-day festival in honor of them? In addition to pumpkin fun, the midway features games, rides, crafts, concessions and merchandise. During this five-day event, enjoy one of the many parades that take place while indulging your taste buds with pumpkin ice cream and many other tasty festival treats. You can even smash pumpkins without getting in trouble!

WHEN: Oct. 10-14: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 4-10 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 12-10 p.m. 

WHERE: Downtown Bradford, OH  

COST: Free  

INFO: Website

Sauerkraut is served on everything, including pizza, at the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville. The operators say they are ready to cancel this year’s festival unless the village sets aside new rules. Photo: Staff Writer

7.) OHIO SAUERKRAUT FESTIVAL

Sauerkraut pizza, anyone? This is one of the region’s signature fall festivals. 

>> Ohio Sauerkraut Festival a go for 2017

Shop by visiting the vendor tents ranging from arts and crafts to sculptures, ceramics, paintings, woodworking and more. And of course, dare to try some more unique sauerkraut dishes from fudge to a “sundae.” 

>> PHOTOS: Ohio Sauerkraut Festival 2016

WHEN: Oct. 14-15, 2017

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Downtown Waynesville. Shuttle buses are recommended. Take shuttle buses from Wayne Local High School.

COST: Free admission

INFO: WebsiteFacebook