While many seasons might claim to be the best in the state of Iowa, it’s the autumn months that really highlight what makes the state so special. Changing colors, dropping temperatures, and plenty of serene landscapes to gander across make Iowa an excellent place to celebrate fall. From Mason City to Anamosa, the state of Iowa provides plenty of family friendly fall activities and festivals, and to get you pointed in the right direction for the one that is right for you, be sure to check out any one of these 10 best fall festivals in Iowa.
Serving as a celebration of the summer’s success, the annual Fall Harvest Festival in Waterloo provides a great kick-off to the fall season. Taking place at the Cedar Valley Arboretum, the Fall Harvest Festival is full of live entertainment, plenty of vendors and enough activities to keep any member of your family entertained for hours. If you are feeling extra creative for this year’s Fall Harvest Festival, be sure to enter the scarecrow contest for the chance to earn some serious community cred.
Located at the self-proclaimed pumpkin capitol of Iowa, the Anamosa Pumpkinfest and Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off is the epitome of fall in Iowa, and is a fun way for the whole family to spend the day. For nearly the last 30 years, Anamosa has held their Pumpkinfest and has provided entertainment for thousands of fall weather enthusiasts. Featuring a grand parade, food and craft vendor and some of the largest pumpkins you’ll ever lay eyes on, the Anamosa Pumpkinfest is one seasonal event you don’t want to miss.
Located at the Lime Creek Nature Center, the Fall Festival of Mason City features plenty of activities that help usher in the spirit of the new season. Between the canoeing and monarch butterfly tagging of the Fall Festival, patrons to this family friendly event have plenty of time to enjoy the natural setting provided by the Lime Creek Nature Center. Whether you’re wanting to wish summer a fond farewell or eagerly await the new days of autumn, the Fall Festival in Mason City can provide the opportunity to do a little bit of both.
The Kalona Fall Festival provides the perfect homage to autumn every year once the leaves change color. Kalona is a year-round destination to visit and enjoy a more natural side of Iowa, so it should come as no surprise that the town really lights up come September. To see all the fun to be had with fall in Iowa, the Kalona Fall Festival should be on the top of your list.
The city of Walnut in western Iowa is one of the best places to find antiques in the state of Iowa, and come autumn, the city combines their love for antiques with the blending colors of fall. The Walnut Antique Fall Festival is a fairly new event for this antique-inspired city, and through all the professional vendors, fun entertainment and stunning fall atmosphere, it’s looking like it’s going to be around for a while.
The Autumn Artistry in Osage celebrates the sights, spirits and creative inspiration that is derived from the autumn season. Featuring vendors varying from hand thrown pottery to homemade baked goods, Autumn Artistry also provides special presentations like the annual car show. With plenty of events and things to see for the adults, it’s the children who probably have the most fun at Autumn Artistry, and with a range of fun and games to be had, this annual event is primed for the whole family to enjoy.
Celebrating fall for over 50 years, the Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum Fall Festival has stood the test of time, and long ago proven itself as one of the most fun fall festivals in the state of Iowa. Featuring tractor rides, hands-on demonstrations and a strong community spirit, the Nelson Pioneer Farm Fall Festival is ripe for the whole family, and can easily create some autumn memories for years to come.
Serving as one of the largest fall festivals in the state of Iowa, the Scenic Drive Festival takes place each October and tours some of the many historic villages of Van Buren. Featuring craft, food and drink vendors along the entire route, the Scenic Drive Festival spans down the road for two unforgettable days. No matter how much of the route you can accomplish, even an afternoon spent cruising through the sights is a fall memory soon not forgotten.
If biting into a crisp, fresh apple picked straight from the ground doesn’t remind you of fall, then you are missing out. Whether it’s a first time for you, or you have long understood the connections between fresh apples and autumn, to get a great taste for what the season has to offer, Apple Fest at Living History Farms in Des Moines has plenty of varieties to choose from. Featuring family friendly activities throughout the day, Apple Fest is a celebration of everything apple, and can serve a fresh start to the new season.
It's just not fall without an Oktoberfest celebration...or should we say, Oktemberfest! Held during the last weekend of September, Oktemberfest is appropriate for both adults and children. Enjoy classic car shows, parades, live music, and much more at this classic Marshalltown event.