The crisp fall air and rich-colored leaves make outdoor activities more inviting. In North Carolina, where the autumn temperatures typically range from 60 to 70 degrees, fall festivals and hayrides are a common way for families to fill their pre-winter days and nights.
Located in downtown Hickory, North Carolina, the town's Oktoberfest (hickoryoktoberfest.com) is a three-day food-filled festival featuring a variety of live music that ranges from toe-tapping polka to good old rock 'n' roll. During a weekend at Hickory's Oktoberfest, you can have some thrills on the amusement park rides or try your hand at the carnival games. The three-day festival includes a section dedicated to kids of all ages. The Kidfest area features games, rides and entertainment designed to keep the little ones happy and having fun.
Autumn Leaves Festival
Filling the autumn air with rich music ranging from gospel to bluegrass, the Autumn Leaves Festival (autumnleavesfestival.com), sponsored by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, brings all the best qualities of the South and wraps them into a weekend filled with good food and good company. Artisans of all trades line the streets demonstrating their skills and offering their creations for the public for purchase. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, admission to the festival is free and people of all ages are welcomed. However, pets are not permitted during the festival or in the surrounding areas.
Hill Ridge Farms Hayrides
Hill Ridge Farms (hillridgefarms.com) offers hayrides. Tickets for the hayrides are available for purchase at the Hill Ridge Farms country store. While you are in the country store, get a free sample of the farm's homemade butter cream fudge to enjoy on your hayride back in time that includes a trip to an authentic moonshine still. General admission to the activities area is a separate charge. It includes use of the giant slide, play land, moon bounce, corn house and animal corral.
Grover Pumpkin Festival
A free, one-day event, the Grover Pumpkin Festival (groverpumpkinfestival.com) has everything you would expect for a fall celebration. Live music, pie-eating and costume contests, hay rides, a corn maze, food, as well as pumpkin carving make it a full day. Those looking for a spooky, Halloween atmosphere can take a trip on the headless horseman carriage ride. While you are at the festival, take a trip through the not-so-haunted mansion and allow your little ones to trick-or-treat safely. The activities begin at noon and go on throughout the day until 8 p.m.
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