City Cast

What Fall Fairs are Worth the Trip?

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on September 25
The entrance to Markoff’s Haunted Forest.

The entrance to Markoff’s Haunted Forest. (Kaela Cote-Stemmermann/City Cast DC)

Is that a nip in the air? Or do D.C. summers just make 70 degrees feel like fall? Regardless, it’s fall fair season! Whether you’re a medieval freak (me), a basic autumnal babe (me), or a sicko that likes to be scared senseless (me), there’s something for everyone.

All the big fall fairs are a ways out of D.C., so which ones are actually worth the effort? We asked an expert; try these:

Historical Fairs:

Maryland Renaissance Fair (Annapolis, MD): One of the country’s largest ren fests, it’s basically impossible to not have a great time. Turkey legs, jousting, singalongs, and sexy pirates, what's not to like?

Mt. Vernon Fall Harvest Festival (Mt. Vernon, VA): This fair on Oct. 21 & 22 is full of 18th-century activities and demonstrations like candle making, horseshoeing, and wheat treading (?).

Jousting at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Jousting at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. (Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons)

Farm Festivals:

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival (Germantown, MD): Embrace Christian girl autumn and pull up to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch in your best scarf and leather boots. Stay for the kettle corn, tractor pull, and other family-friendly activities.

Magnolia Meadow Farms Fall Festival (Thurmont, MD): Home of Maryland’s biggest corn maze, this festival also has hay rides, zip lines, petting zoos, and fresh apple cider donuts.

Cox Farms Fall Festival (Centerville, VA): Similar but even larger than the last two, this festival has a “foamhenge”, a goat village, a treetop slide, AND a volcano slide (because you need both).

Haunted Horrors:

Markoff’s Haunted Forest (Dickerson, MD): A City Cast DC favorite (despite our screams throughout this episode), Markoff’s is the most elaborate Halloween production you’ll ever see, with hundreds of costumed actors, a whole haunted village, bonfires, and extremely realistic jump-scares.

Field of Screams (Olney, MD): Slightly smaller in scale but no less scary, this haunted forest has two different walks, along with games like ax throwing and hammer smashes to get your adrenaline going.

Hey DC

Want to know what's happening in D.C.? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey DC. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

DC, Explained

See All

The latest in DC