Fall Festivals Down South

The nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, but I’m rejoicing. For my money, autumn is where it’s at, and in South Jersey there are some pretty sweet ways to enjoy the season. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Apple Festival: Since I was a child, the annual Apple Festival at Medford’s historic Kirby’s Mill has been the true harbinger of this season. On Saturday, October 9, the mill will once again be bustling with one of the region’s most celebrated days of fall festivities. This year promises lots of live bluegrass music, crafts from local artisans, and yes, apples, apples everywhere. Admission is free. For more information, call 609-654-5382.

The Chatsworth Cranberry Festival:
When my younger sister found out I was going to be taking the helm of Southern Scene, she wrote a message on my Facebook page stating, “Make sure to write about the Cranberry Festival! It’s why I still live here. Well, that and my family.” Indeed, sister. This year marks Chatsworth’s 27th annual Cranberry Festival on October 16 and 17, a tribute not only to the Pine Barrens and local culture, but also a celebration of New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, which is the third largest in the United States. Artists and craftsmen abound, as well as myriad food vendors selling everything from cranberry pies to deep-fried Oreos. Admission is free.

The Witches Ball: With its historic, Revolutionary War-era homes and cozy, winding streets, Mount Holly is the ideal place to celebrate the autumn. It’s also the ideal place to get your haunt on at the annual Witches Ball. On October 16, downtown Mount Holly will be aflame with a diverse gathering of live music, art, and overall revelry. But the best part will surely be the costumes, which visitors are encouraged to wear. There will be a prize for the best. The South Jersey Ghost Research team will also be on hand to tell local ghost stories. The event is suggested for 16 and over. Admission is free.

Chowderfest Weekend: Long Beach Island knows its chowder, and this year’s 22nd Annual Chowderfest Weekend will once again prove that point. This year’s celebration will take place (rain or shine) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 3 at the Taylor Avenue Ball Field in Beach Haven, featuring live music, an array of activities, and unlimited chowder-tasting with the opportunity for ticket holders to vote for their favorites. As an added incentive, Russell Newberry from “The Deadliest Catch” will be in attendance all weekend. General admission is $20; children 4 -12 get in for $10.

Now that I’ve shared some of mine, tell me what local fall festivals are on your calendar during this harvest season.

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