CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Some might argue that fall is when West Virginia is at its best and most beautiful. If you’re looking to see some new places in the Mountain State as the leaves start to change, here are a few festivals to check out.
Mountain State Forest Festival – Elkins
The Mountain State Forest Festival in Randolph County is basically the peak of fall celebrations in West Virginia. The festival, which celebrates the state’s natural resources, is scheduled for Sept. 30 through Oct. 8 in 2023. Festival organizers expect more than 75,000 people to come to Elkins for this year’s festival to enjoy the carnival, lumberjack contest, parades and live music.
The West Virginia Department of Tourism’s fall foliage map also predicts that Randolph County will be at the peak of its fall colors for the festival.
Salem Apple Butter Festival – Salem
The Salem Apple Butter Festival is one of several apple-inspired festivals happening in October. If you can’t make it to the Harrison County festival on Oct. 5-8, you could also attend the Apple Harvest Festival in Burlington or the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs on Oct. 7-8 or the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg on Oct. 19-22. The Salem festival will have contests—like the Cooking with Apples contest—a grand parade, daily entertainment and, of course, lots of food and apple butter to try. And the best part? Admission to the festival is completely free.
West Virginia Pumpkin Festival – Milton
Kicking off with a grand parade on Sunday, Oct. 1, the festival at “Pumpkin Park” will feature vendors, a giant pumpkin contest and live entertainment like “the Quack Pack USA.” At it roots, the festival is intended to be a way to help farmers with the raising and selling of pumpkins, but it has grown and brings more than 40,000 people to Cabell County every year. More information is available on the festival’s website.
West Virginia Chestnut Festival – Rowlesburg
Happening Sunday, Oct. 8, the West Virginia Chestnut Festival will honor the great American chestnut tree and science of restoring them. Attendees will be able to enjoy roasted chestnuts, music, an ox roast and exhibits. Those who are invested in the festival’s mission can also purchase a chestnut tree seedling. A full schedule for the event is available on the festival’s website.
West Virginia Black Walnut Festival – Spencer
From live music, to baking contest, to the “Nut Run,” lots is happening at the West Virginia Black Walnut Festival Oct. 12-15. Make sure you enter the Black Walnut Sweepstakes, compete in the Black Walnut Baking Contest or the 5K Nut Run/Walk. The festival will also have a carnival, car show, pageant and live music. A full list and schedule of events is available here.
Bridge Day – Fayetteville
For one day per year, people are allowed to BASE jump from one of West Virginia’s most famous structures—the New River Gorge Bridge. In fact, it’s the only day people are even allowed to walk on the bridge, and it has become a festive tradition for the state. It is considered West Virginia’s largest single-day festival.
Although not directly nature-related, Bridge Day will be at the peak of fall colors in Fayetteville in mid October, according to WV Tourism’s fall foliage map. The festival is always the third Saturday in October, which is the Oct. 21 in 2023.