Time to Celebrate Autumn in Vermont with Traditional Fall Festivals
From leaf peeping on high to tipping an Oktoberfest stein, Vermont ski areas offer a full slate of seasonal soirees
Autumn is a transitional time for Mother Nature, as the summer swelter fades away into cool nights, dewy mornings and mild, breezy days. Skiers and snowboarders start dusting off their equipment and daydreaming of the powder turns that can’t come soon enough but are growing closer by the day.
Before we shift full-on into Think Snow mode, though, it’s time to savor the unique festival atmosphere of Fall in Vermont. Here is the slate of events and activities set to unfurl as the state’s ski areas to celebrate autumn:
Bromley Mountain: Columbus Day weekend, October 6-8, marks Bromley’s final weekend of Adventure Park operations this season, offering spectacular fall foliage, live entertainment and family adventures. The resort’s Adventure Parks will be open all three days from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., including attractions such as Alpine Slides, an Aerial Adventure Park ropes course, scenic lift rides to the summit, and the Sun Mountain Flyer Ziprider. Visitors on Sunday can check out local woodcarver extraordinaire, Peter Auchmoody, giving live demos of his craft.
Burke Mountain: One of the largest festivals in the Northeast Kingdom, the 31st annual Burke Fall Festival will take place on Sept. 29. It’s a full day of fun for everyone that begins with a parade at 10 a.m. and also includes wagon rides, cow flop bingo, bounce houses, pony rides, live music, and more than 70 craft vendors. Burke Mountain’s Burkie the Bear will be leading the parade with this year’s theme, “Life on the Farm.” Enjoy scenic chairlift rides at Burke Mountain with some awesome fall mountain biking in the Burke Bike Park.
Killington: A brand new fall festival will debut at Killington this season when the first annual Harvest Faire takes place on Oct. 6. Harvest Faire is a celebration of all the fun fall brings, with live music, craft beer and family favorites such as pumpkin painting, horse drawn hay rides, bounce house, apple launching and stein hoisting. There’s even a Monster Ski and Bike Sale, put on by the Killington Ski Club. The resort will also still be running the lifts in the Bike Park, operating the Adventure Center, and showing off its spectacular fall foliage from the Scenic K-1 Gondola.
Admission to the Harvest Faire is free, but tickets for attractions, food tastings and beverages are available now.
Mad River Glen: MRG will officially kick off its ski season with the traditional Green & Gold Weekend on Oct. 6-7. The festivities begin Saturday at 9 a.m. with the annual Mountain Work Day. The starting gun for the Stark Mountain Hill Climb Running Race goes off at 10 a.m., the same time that Fall Foliage Rides start (those run until 2:30 p.m.). The MRG Homeowner’s Meeting runs from 1-3 p.m., followed by the Co-op Shareholder’s Meeting from 4-6 p.m.
The weekend’s festivities continue Sunday, beginning with the Allen Clark Memorial Biking Hill Climb at 9 a.m. Fall Foliage Rides run once again, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the weekend concludes with a chicken barbecue and live music starting at 11:30 a.m.
Middlebury Snow Bowl: Fall Family Weekend 2018 at the Snow Bowl will take place on Oct. 6. Rides on the Worth Mountain Lift Rides will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; the cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children and students. Tickets are good for one round-trip ride. Snow Bowl 2018/19 season pass holders get a free ride. Last ticket sold at 2:30 PM. A one-way ticket (up or down, for hikers) is the same price. A BBQ Lunch, with live music, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and sales will support the Middlebury Ski Patrol. Event is rain or shine.
Mount Snow: Mount Snow hosts the grand tasting of the 10th annual Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival on Sept. 22. Set against the backdrop of Vermont’s world-renowned fall foliage, attendees of the festival can discover, savor and enjoy the state’s vintners, small specialty food producers, chefs, painters, publishers, cheese makers, potters, jewelers, photographers and farmers.
Plenty of beer, schnitzel and oom-pah music will be on hand for the 21st annual Mount Snow Oktoberfest on Oct. 6-7. The ‘fest also features kid’s games, pumpkin painting, an apple sling shot and the famous “schnitzel toss.” Columbus Day Weekend tradition since 1997, the Mount Snow Oktoberfest is one of the resort’s signature festivals and was named The Best Fall Event in Vermont for 2018 by Yankee Magazine. For shoppers, there is also the 45th annual Harvest Arts & Crafts Show going on inside the Base Lodge and for the "athletic beer drinkers," there’s the seventh annual Gulp and Gallop 5k Beer Run on Saturday.
Okemo Mountain Resort: It’s time to bid farewell to foliage and willkommen to winter with Okemo’s Fall into Winter Celebration on Oct. 6. The event celebrates the transition of the seasons with live German music, German food, German beer tasting, craft vendors, hayrides, games and pumpkin painting. Authentic German attire is encouraged. Plus, Okemo’s Adventure Zone will be open with activities for the entire family. The party starts at 11 a.m., rain or shine, at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn courtyard. Lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome.
Stratton Mountain Resort: With foliage in full bloom, pregame the winter season with Stratton’s Harvest Fest from Oct. 5-8. On Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., sample more than 100 regional and Vermont breweries and live music — a true beer lover’s dream. Tickets are $39 with a commemorative glass and 10 sample tickets. Sample homemade chili recipes with the Chili Cookoff and enjoy some top-notch leaf peeping with scenic gondola rides and hikes to the Stratton Mountain Fire Tower. On Sunday, challenge yourself with the North Face Race to the Summit before heading to the weekend’s headliner — Greensky Bluegrass. Tickets for that concert are $25 per person and doors open at 5p.m. with music beginning at 6 p.m. Lodging at the Black Bear Lodge, just a short stroll away, is available with a one-night stay starting at $189 for two people.
Sugarbush Resort: Oktoberfest will take place at Sugarbush on Oct. 7, beginning at noon in the Lincoln Peak Courtyard. The annual event will feature Bavarian inspired food, drink, games, and The Reformed Mad Bavarian Brass Band North. Attendees can compete in a stein hoisting competition, keg tossing, and football tournament for a chance to win prizes. Von Trapp's beer garden will host the Stein Hoist Competition with their Oktoberfest beer. Admission is free.
Trapp Family Lodge: Fall gets a truly authentic fete when Trapp Family Lodge and von Trapp Brewing hosts its 9th Annual Oktoberfest at the Bierhall Restaurant on Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The fun-filled family day will feature the Inseldudler Band, strolling accordionist Herb Liebenhagen, lawn games and Austrian fare. Free admission and a la carte food and beer available throughout the day. Purchase a von Trapp Brewing beer and leave with a commemorative 2018 Trapp Oktoberfest beer stein.