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Top 10 October Festivals in the USA

October is a wonderful month to travel in the USA! Fall is in full swing, providing picture-perfect backdrops of gorgeous autumnal foliage around each corner and perfectly crisp temperatures to compliment. Food festivals, pumpkin picking and fresh produce are all in abundance, and October is also the month of Halloween, one of the USA's most celebrated holidays!

Gemma Written by: Gemma Walsh / 14 October 2016

With October being such an exciting month, filled with activities and festivals, it can be tricky choosing the best time to go. So to help you decide, here’s a rundown of our Top 10 October Festivals in the USA, with something to suit just about anyone…

Great American Foodie Fest

Great American Foodie Fest (Las Vegas)

This four day bonanza is a big step away from the usual chic dining options on offer in Las Vegas, but don’t be fooled by the food trucks at the Great American Foodie Fest, because these are not your average food trucks. The Great American Foodie Fest showcases some of the best gourmet food trucks from across the country! Expect delicate slices of prime cut meat, delicious gourmet burgers and haute cuisine hot dogs. Visitors can also expect a variety of entertainment ranging from beer gardens and tequila party tents to carnival rides and street performers – fun and festivities for the family to enjoy!

Po-Boy Festival

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival (New Orleans)

On the 3rd Sunday of every October, Oak Street is transformed into one of the USAs most unique festivals, The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. This one day fiesta features some of the finest restaurants, artists and musicians in New Orleans all coming together to celebrate one of its most delicious creations – the legendary Po-Boy Sandwich! Over 40 different food vendors will be serving up their own unique take on this classic snack whilst some of the finest local talents provide the soundtrack. So for a vibrant day filled with food, music, art, beer and dancing – head to the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival!


New York City Wine & Food Festival (New York)

A slightly more upmarket food festival, inevitably taking place in the Big Apple, we have The New York City Wine & Food Festival. Kicking off the autumn in style, this four day, star-studded event features the talents of more than 500 celebrity chefs alongside 100 of the world’s most renowned wine and spirit producers. Considered the largest food and wine festival in New York, NYCWFF attracts over 55,000 passionate foodies each year. Visitors can choose from over 100 different events, from intimate dinners with world-famous chefs and late night parties to hands-on classes and coveted food and wine tastings – this one has our taste buds tingling!

National Shrimp Festival

Annual National Shrimp Festival (Alabama)

Rated one of the top annual events in the nation, the Annual National Shrimp Festival brings more than 250,000 people to the beautiful beaches of the Alabama Gulf Shores each year, for a weekend filled with food, music, art, culture and of course – shrimp! This family-friendly festival features over 300 different food vendors serving up fresh seafood any way you like it and art stalls selling a huge selection of handcrafted goods. There are also two stages of live music playing everything from blues and jazz to rock and reggae as well as a Children’s Activity Village for the young and young at heart - something to satisfy any pallet!

Austin City Limits Festival

Austin City Limits Festival (Texas)

Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World and it’s clear to see why with festivals like this! Taking over the 351-acre Zilker Park, Austin City Limits continues to grow and sell out each year. The people and the music are at the very soul with the main focus on rock, pop and jazz, with headliners such as Foo Fighters and Florence + The Machine. But if you’re not into whoever is performing, there’s always lots going on around the park - think art markets with resident artisans, home-grown produce stalls, locally brewed beer tents, family-friendly bands and a big children’s entertainment selection. Austin City Limits is an event that stays true to its roots so if you’re a live music lover looking for a festival in true Texas style, then this one’s for you.

Open House New York

Open House New York (New York City)

If you’re into architecture and historic buildings then you’ll love Open House New York. This annual event opens up its doors to some of New York’s most famous landmarks and architectural masterpieces, providing the perfect opportunity to have a good snoop around places which are usually off-limits. OHNY Weekend is a celebration of New York’s extraordinary architecture and the people who help design, build and preserve the city. From historic structures to contemporary buildings, Open House provides the public with unparalleled access, sparking a broad conversions about public space, urban life and how to sustain New York as a vibrant place to live and work. And who doesn’t love the idea of a good snoop around somewhere off-limits?

Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (New Mexico)

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is not only the world’s largest hot air ballooning event, but also the world’s most photographed event and it’s clear to see why… Picture a dot-to-dot rainbow canvas in the sky, filled with colossal balloons of all shapes, sizes and colours filling the horizon and floating off into the stratosphere. For nine, crisp autumn days, at the legendary Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico, you can witness this surreal spectacle in the sky. From to early sunrise ‘Dawn Patrol’, to the evenings ‘Glowdeo’ parade and days filled with activities for the whole family to enjoy, it’s no wonder so many people, from all over the world, come to Albuquerque in October to experience the fantastical Balloon Fiesta!

Autumn at the Arboretum

Autumn at the Arboretum (Dallas, Texas)

Named the number 1 ‘Trip to Put on Your Fall Bucket List’, Autumn at the Arboretum runs from September through to November and provides the perfect place to celebrate autumn in North Texas. Visitors can have a picnic in the picture-perfect gardens and sit amongst, 150,000 flourishing plants, all a kaleidoscope of colours from the changing autumn leaves. After your picnic head to the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village to witness this incredible art installation. Set across one-acre of rolling Texas landscape, the Pumpkin Village is built up of over 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash, all artfully arranged to create mystical pumpkin houses and even a magical recreation of Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage! With breath-taking colours at every turn, and something enchanting around every corner, Autumn at the Arboretum is like a real life fairy-tale.

Storytelling Festival

National Storytelling Festival (Tennessee)

The foundation of the International Storytelling Festival is a belief that storytelling is one of the most important philosophies of life. The power of storytelling is indisputable, we go through our lives remembering, reciting and living through a network of stories. Even in our digital age, there’s still a yearning for the spoken word which can sometimes be hard to come by in today’s busy society. The National Storytelling Festival offers a unique opportunity for visitors to wander around circus tents, and simply take some time out to listen and absorb spellbinding tales told by some of the best storytellers there are. So those looking to be inspired, to become better communicators, to learn and spread knowledge or simply want to entertain with their own unique tales, then this captivating festival should definitely be on your bucket list.

Village Halloween Parade

New York’s Village Halloween Parade (New York)

If you love dressing up and you love Halloween, this award winning event is not to be missed - so much so it’s made the 100 Things to Do Before You Die list! This cultural phenomenon shuts down lower Manhattan each year to make way for the hundreds of giant puppets, live music acts, dancers, artists and over 50,000 costumed revellers who merge together to create the biggest public event in NYC. On the 31st October at 7pm the streets of New York come alive with likeminded people (over 2 million to be exact!) who transform themselves for the night and it’s impossible not to feel like a small but significant part of the Village Halloween Parade. Be sure to arrive early to get a spot on 6th Avenue to marvel at the incredible showmanship and craft that goes into this fantastical spectacle.

Final Thoughts...

So if you want to grab some gourmet fast food at the Great American Foodie Fest head to Las Vegas, or if you fancy something a little more upmarket then the New York City Wine & Food Festival is for you. If a street feast is more your bag then you’ll have a ball at the New Orleans Po-Boy festival, but if its fresh seafood that really gets your taste buds tingling then head to Alabama for the National Shrimp Festival. Live music lovers should venture to Texas for Austin City Limits but if you prefer architecture then be sure to visit Open House New York for a snoop around. If it’s something weird and wonderful you’re after then the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta will leave you astounded. If you want to experience a USA style Halloween, then The New York Halloween parade is not to be missed. To experience a real life autumn fairy tale make sure you head to Dallas for Autumn at the Arboretum, and if you want to listen to some enchanting tales, told by some of the world’s best tellers then the National Story Telling Festival in Tennessee should be on your bucket list.

Speak to one of our travel experts to plan your USA October visit!

Gemma Walsh 

Blogger Profile - Gemma Walsh

Gemma joined My America Holiday in February 2016 after taking a a year out to travel the world. Music is a huge passion of hers and you can often find her following different music events across the globe. Her American dream would be to hire a motorhome and drive to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to attend Burning Man festival.

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