Labor Day is upon us, the kids are going back to school and most families are getting ready to settle back into their routines. However, the weather is still nice and there’s plenty to do to celebrate autumn in western New York. Whether you like to sample the fruits of our harvest, shop at an open-air craft show, get ready for Halloween or just enjoy the fall foliage, you’ll find plenty to do in our area in September and October. In this article, I have tired to arrange each category of festivals or attractions by date; however, since there are so many activities happening, you may have to pick and chose, as many events happen on the same dates.
Apples, peaches, grapes, pumpkins, and even wine, they’re all plentiful this time of year. Check out some of these celebrations that commemorate the fruits of our harvest.
52nd annual Niagara County Peach Festival–Sept 11-13, Friday Sept. 11 from 5-11pm, and Sat. Sept. 12 and Sunday Sept. 13 from 11am-11pm each day. For more information visit www.lewistonkiwanis.org. Activities take place in Academy Park, along Center Streetin Lewiston. Enjoy peach baked goods, as well as fresh peaches from the farmer’s market. Festivities include a parade, food, rides, arts and crafts, and more, even a peach queen contest!
BeaverMeadow Nature Center Harvest Festival–Sept. 12, 10am-4pm. 1610 Welch Road, NorthJava, 716-457-3228,
www.buffaloaudubon.com. This annual harvest festival features nature hikes, crafts, homemade ice cream, food vendors, and more.
Amherst Museum Harvest Festival–Sept 12-13, 10-5 both days. 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst, 716-689-1440,
www.amherstmuseum.org. Admission is $5 for adults; children 2-14 are $1. This event takes you back to a time when blacksmiths, spinners, and weavers were the norm. The event also features artisans selling handmade items including jewelry, hand-carved wood, fabric, clothing, country folk art, and food. There will be musical entertainment, as well as children’s activities. Access to the museum grounds and exhibit buildings are included in admission.
Silver Creek Festival of Grapes–Sept. 19-20, Downtown Silver Creek, along Routes 5 & 20, 716-934-3983, www.townofhanover.org. This event, which always takes place the third weekend of September, features carnival rides, children’s events, grape desserts, food, wine, live music, crafts, and even a grape stomping contest. A parade takes place on Saturday at 1pm.
Annual Purple Foot Festival–Sept. 20, Casa Larga Vineyards, 2287 Turk Hill Road, Fairport, 585-223-4210, www.casalarga.com/purplefoot. I’ve never been to this festival, but I love the name. It is the largest grape stomping festival in the eastern United States. I have been to the winery and it is a very nice facility and worth the hour drive from Buffalo. The event also features wine tasting, live music, hayrides, wine seminars, local foods, and more.
Niagara Wine Trail Harvest Festival–Sept. 26-27, Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. 12-6pm. www.niagarawinetrail.org (wineries are located mainly in northern Niagara County) Okay, this festival is more for mom and dad than the kids. There will be musical entertainment and other activities at each winery along the trail. Each participant will get a commemorative wine glass and have the opportunity to sample wine at each winery along the trail. Tickets are $20/person, which are good for both days. There are currently 11 wineries on the trail, with two more scheduled to open later this year.
Apple Cider Festival–September 26-27, Pumpkinville, 4844 Sugartown Road, Great Valley, 716-699-2205,
www.pumpkinville.com. Pumpkinville is always a fun place to visit this time of year. However, this event doesn’t focus on pumpkins, rather, it focuses on that other popular autumn treat, the apple. Apple cider pressing will be featured in their 1870’s cider mill. Enjoy apple treats like apple cider floats, apple fudge, caramel apples, candy apples, and fudge apples. There will be an apple pie baking contest Sunday at noon. A fall festival weekend is scheduled to take place at Pumpkinville Oct. 10-13.
Busti Apple Harvest Festival–Sunday Sept. 27, 11am-5pm. Grounds of the Busti Historical Society, 3443 Lawson Road, Jamestown,
www.townofbusti.com/apple.html. This festival, which got its start in 1972, was one of the first outdoor festivals of its type in the area. It features demonstrations of pioneer and 19th century life, over 100 craft vendors, a Civil War re-enactment, musical entertainment, a farmer’s market with locally grown produce and of course, food, featuring apple pies, cider, apple butter, beef on weck, hot dogs, hamburgers and more.
Niagara Apple Festival–Oct. 3-4, Niagara County Fairground, 4487 Lake Road (Rt. 78) Lockport, 716-553-3049, www.niagaraapplefest.com. This family-friendly festival celebrates Niagara County’s apple harvest. Activities include live entertainment, amusement rides, craft vendors, hayrides, a petting zoo, fresh produce, highland games and more. Enjoy foods like beef on weck, fried dough, pizza, corn dogs, funnel cakes and kettle corn.
Peek ‘n Peak Beer and Wine Festival–Oct. 24, 3-7pm, Peek n’ Peak Resort, 1405 Olde Road, Clymer, 716-355-4141,
www.pknpk.com. Here’s another one just for mom and dad. This event features over 15 brewers and over 10 wineries. There will be live music and food will be available for purchase; a tasting glass is included with admission. Tickets are available pre-sale online or at Wegmans for $25.
Arts and Crafts Shows
Hard to believe, but Christmas is just a few months away, so why not start your holiday shopping early at one of these popular fall open-air craft shows.
Clothesline Art Festival–Sept. 12-13, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue, Rochester, 585-276-8900,
www.mag.rochester.edu. Admission to the festival is $5, under age 10 are free. Ticket price includes admission to the art gallery. Over 600 artists will converge on the campus of Memorial Art Gallery on the campus of the University of Rochester for the oldest and largest craft festival in Rochester.
Quaker Arts Festival–September 19-20, Sat. 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm. Orchard Park Middle School grounds, Route 20 and South Lincoln Ave., Orchard Park, 716-667-2787,
www.opjaycees.com. This annual juried craft show started over 40 years ago. It takes place the third full weekend in September. Over 300 artists and crafters display their wares both inside and outside the middle school.
Letchworth Arts and Craft Show–Oct. 10-12, 10am-5pm each day. Letchworth State Park, Highbanks Recreation area, www.artswyco.org. This is one of my favorite shows. Shopping for crafts amid the scenic beauty of Letchworth in the fall, it doesn’t get much better than this! All sorts of crafts are for sale, including floral, furniture, quilts, decorative painting, pottery and more. There will be live entertainment and all sorts of foods will be available for purchase. The show is sponsored by the Arts Council for Wyoming County. Admission to the show and parking are free, however, you do have to pay a gate fee to enter the park.
Allegany Artisans Open Studio tour–Oct. 17-18, Studios are located throughout Allegany and Steuben County, www.alleganyartisans.com. (Look for the red and white Allegany Artisans signs) Here is your opportunity to visit the studios of Allegany and Steuben County artisans to see where they create their works of art. Artists include blacksmiths, doll makers, wood carvers, jewelry makers, painters, and more. Many of these artisans don’t have regular business hours during the year, so this is your chance to meet them and see their studios.
Enjoy the fall foliage by boat or train
While taking a drive in your car is the most popular way to see the fall foliage, it’s not the only way. One can also enjoy the scenery from a train or boat.
Arcade & Attica Railroad Fall Foliage Runs,278 Main Street, Arcade, 716-496-9877,
www.arcadeandatticarr.com. Oct. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18; Friday at 2pm, Sat. & Sun at 11:30, 2pm and 4:30pm. $12 per person. Enjoy a two hour rail excursion through rural Wyoming County. Cider and donuts will be available for purchase at the Curriers Depot where the train turns around. A Haunted House ride takes place on Oct. 24-24 at 12pm and 2:30pm.
Medina Railroad Museum Fall Foliage Runs and Winery Trains,530 West Avenue, Medina, 585-798-6106,
www.railroadmuseum.net. 11am and 2pm; Tuesdays Oct. 6, 13, 20, Sat.-Sun. Oct. 10-11, 17-18. $19/adult, $15 age 13-18, $13 age 2-12, under 2 free. Enjoy a 2 hour train excursion though the fall foliage in vintage 1947 Budd coaches. You’ll travel along the historic Erie Canal corridor and have the opportunity to tour the Medina Railroad Museum. The museum also offers a Winery Express Excursion on the following days, Sept. 13, 27, Oct. 24-25. This excursion begins in Lockport at 10am, heads to the museum for a tour, then stops at Spring Lake Winery for lunch, wine tasting, and live music. The train returns to Lockport at 3pm. Tickets are $45 and reservations are required.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad, 800-819-2291, www.adirondackrr.com. I haven’t been on this excursion, but I’ve seen their trains parked in the Utica station when I’ve traveled by Amtrak. Their trips sound interesting. They offer a four hour scenic round trip excursion from Utica to Thendara, as well as a run between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.
Fall sightseeing cruises on the Summer Wind,Lucille Ball Memorial Park, Celoron, 716-763-7447, www.thesummerwind.com. This vessel has an open-air deck and a climate controlled interior; a great way to see the fall foliage along Chautauqua Lake. During September and October they offer a variety of narrated scenic cruises, dinner cruises, and special events. See website for dates and prices.
Chautauqua Belle,78 Water Street, Mayville, 716-269-2355,
www.269belle.com. Sept. 8-Oct. 25: Sat. 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm; Sun. 11am, 1pm, 3pm. This 98 foot long stern-wheel steamboat is a relaxing way to tour Chautauqua Lake. Enjoy a 1 hour 45minute narrated cruise.
Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises,210 Market St., Lockport, 716-433-6155, 800-378-0352,
www.lockportlocks.com. Sept.8-Oct. 18 Sun.-Fri. 12:30pm, 3pm, Sat. 10am, 12:30pm, 3pm. $15/adults, $8.50/child. Your journey takes you through the only double set of locks along the Erie Canal, as well as past the historic “Flight of Five.”
Celebrate the fall season and more
These festivals celebrate the fall season with diverse activities, including arts and crafts, outdoor activities, musical entertainment, food, hayrides and more.
Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival–Sept. 5-6, Coca Cola Park, downtown Buffalo. www.buffalowing.com. Admission $5/person, under 8 free. (Extra cost to purchase food) Okay, this really isn’t a fall festival; it’s more like the last hurrah of summer, since it happens on Labor Day weekend. However, it’s one of my family’s favorite festivals, so I thought it deserves a mention. Of course the main activity is eating chicken wings, lots of them. There are also kid’s activities and a variety of contests, like sauce cook-offs, the Miss Buffalo Wing competition and the world chicken wing eating championship.
FindleyLake Harvest Festival–Sept. 4-6, Fri. 5-8pm, Sat and Sun 9am-8pm, Downtown Findley Lake, www.findleylakeinfo.org. Spend part of your Labor Day Weekend in the quaint little town of Findley Lake. This event features live music, craft vendors, farmer’s market, pontoon boat tours on Findley Lake, kid’s activities, samples from local wineries, a quilt show, and food vendors. The annual Findley Lake Idol talent competition takes place this weekend. Fireworks and “Light up the Lake” will take place on Sunday evening beginning at 9:30pm.
Pumpkin Fiesta at Becker Farms Weekends–Sept. 19 to Oct. 25, 3760 Quaker Road, Gasport, 716-772-2211,
www.beckerfarms.com. If you only have time for one or two fall activities, you might want to consider a visit to Becker Farms for Pumpkin Fiesta to be one of them. They have a lot of fun, family-oriented activities every weekend, including live music, pig races, pony rides, hay rides, playground, farm animals, slides, a corn maze, apple and pumpkin picking, a farm market, winery, and even a Haunted Hayride. While you can visit the farmers market and winery for free, an admission fee is charged to enter the Pumpkin Fiesta area. A grape stomping contest is scheduled for September 19.
Great Pumpkin Farm–Open daily 10am-dusk, last weekend in Sept. to Halloween.11199 Main Street, Clarence, 716-759-2260,
www.greatpumpkinfarm.com. Okay, this is another one of those places that if you only have time to do one or two fall activities, this place should be on your list. In addition to lots of pumpkins, local produce, and fall decorating items, which are available daily, there are a lot of family-friendly activities taking place each weekend, including amusement rides, hayrides, a petting zoo, and more. The activities kick off with Oinktoberfest Sept 25-27, a New York State official BBQ cook-off; Fall Festival Weekends take place Sept 25-27, Oct 3-4, 10-12, 17-18, with the World pumpkin weigh-off on Oct. 3. See their website for a complete schedule of events.
Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games - Sept 19-20, Krull Park, Olcott Beach (take Rt. 78 north to Lake Ontario), www.niagaraceltic.com Sat. 10am-9:30pm, Sun. 10am-7pm. $9 admission, kids under 12 are free. Everyone is Irish for the day at this annual event, which includes music, kid’s activities, highland games, a marketplace, ethnic foods, and even a Ceilidh (a party of sorts with music and dancing) from 5:30-9:30pm on Saturday.
24th annual NYS Power Authority Wildlife Festival–Sept. 26-27, 10am-5pm, rain or shine. 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston, 716-286-6661,
www.nypa.gov. This free annual event showcases wildlife, as well as the environment, with over 60 exhibits. Some of the exhibitors include Nickel City Reptiles, Buffalo Zoomobile, and Hawk Creek Wildlife. The Power Authority’s annual Halloween Spooktacular is planned for October 24.
Apple-umpkin Festival–Sept 26-27, 10am-5pm each day. Route 19, Village of Wyoming, 585-495-9940, www.appleumpkin.com. This annual festival takes place in the quaint “gaslight village” of Wyoming, in Wyoming County. It focuses on those two fall favorites, the apple and the pumpkin. Activities include live entertainment, arts and crafts, food vendors, and more. A baking contest has three categories to enter: Apple, Pumpkin or Apple-Pumpkin. Since parking is limited, a shuttle service will be offered, with the $4 parking fee benefiting the Pavilion Central School Sports Boosters.
26th annual Lewiston Harvest Festival–Sept 26-27, Center Street, Lewiston,
www.northofthefalls.com .10 am-5 pm both days.More than 100 artisans will be featured in the outdoor craft show along Center Streetin Historic Lewiston. There will also be live entertainment throughout the weekend, along with Niagara County wines and a variety of foods.
Jamestown Audubon Enchanted Forest–Oct. 2-3, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, 716-569-2345,
www.jamestownaudubon.wordpress.com. This annual woodland-themed Halloween event is popular with families with young children. Check their website for more details closer to the event.
32nd annual Falling Leaves Festival (Allegany State Park)–Oct. 2-4, Fri. 5-9pm, Sat. 12-9pm, Sun. 12-5pm. www.nysparks.state.ny.us. What better way to enjoy the fall foliage than in Allegany State Park. At 65,000 acres it is the largest state park in the NYS park system. This annual event includes arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, children’s rides, a car cruise, and a parade on Sunday.
Newfane Historical Society Harvest Festival–Oct. 4, 10am-5pm, www.niagaracounty.org. Free admission. This is one of two festivals held each year on the grounds of the Newfane Historical Society. (The other one is in the spring). There are eleven historical buildings open, as well as displays of old-time farm implements and tractors, a petting zoo, Civil War re-enactment, and more. Food will be available. The Van Horn Mansion, located nearby on Rt. 78, which is also part of the Newfane Historical Society, will also be open for tours.
Holiday Hollow–October weekends and Columbus Day, 11am-5pm (rain or shine), 1410 Main Road, Corfu, 585-762-8160,
www.holidayhollow.com. $11 ages 10+, $10 ages 3-10, under 2 free. Holiday Hollow, an old-English style Halloween village, is really fun for children under age 10. This family-run business has been entertaining families since 1993. It features an outdoor captain Hook and Mr. Smee show (in inclement weather the show moves indoors into their new indoor theater), as well as several other non-scary Halloween shows and attractions.
Ellicottville Fall Festival–Oct. 10-12, Throughout downtown Ellicottville and at Holiday Valley Ski Resort, www.ellicottvilleny.com. This is the oldest and largest fall festival in the area. It features craft vendors, food, carnival rides, musical entertainment, shopping in local stores and more, including rides on the ski lifts at Holiday Valley.
Peek ‘n Peak Fall Festival–Oct. 10-11, 17-18, 10am-5pm each day,Peek n’ Peak Resort, 1405 Olde Road, Clymer, 716-355-4141,
www.pknpk.com. This annual event features over 90 crafters, a car cruise on Sunday, snow equipment sale, rides on the ski lifts, pony rides, and kids activities like bounce houses, climbing wall, and petting zoo.
River Region Scarecrow Expo. October 9-31. 716-754-9500, www.northofthefalls.com This annual event features scarecrows made of various materials displayed throughout the communities in the Lower Niagara River region.