COLUMBUS — Summer officially ended more than two weeks ago. But finally, it feels like fall in Ohio. This time if year is often a favorite for Ohioans who want to get out and visit other parts of the state. From pumpkins to parades to a festival surrounding sauerkraut, Ohio offers events and festivities that are sure to entertain friends and families this fall.
HighBall Halloween, Oct. 11-12
Halloween meets Fashion Week meets Mardi Gras at Highball Halloween, the nation’s most elaborate costume party with designers and fashionistas flocking to Columbus from all over the world. What began as a costume couture fashion show and competition has become a two-night event with live art, electrifying performances, stunning costumes and plenty of spectacle that culminates in an incredible street party.
Circleville Pumpkin Show, Oct. 16-19
Often billed as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth,” the Circleville Pumpkin Show is an annual gathering of all things pumpkin – the plant, foods, décor, clothing and more – that marks the autumn season in Ohio. Kick-off a trip to the Pumpkin Show by stopping to see the awe-inspiring pumpkins vying for the coveted “Great Pumpkin Trophy” to see if the record is broken – held currently by a 1,964-pound pumpkin. Then saunter off to enjoy pumpkin-themed activities, multiple parades, rides, games, crafts and more.
Oak Harbor Apple Festival, Oct. 12-13
The 40th annual Oak Harbor Apple Festival celebrates the best of the fall season packed into an easily walkable downtown. Grab a partner for the cornhole tournament, cheer on your favorites in the baking competition, shop for handcrafted goods and satisfy your sweet tooth with apple treats. This year, Saturday night will culminate with “Applepalooza” featuring live bands.
Covered Bridge Festival, Oct. 12-13
Often considered the covered bridge capital of Ohio with 19 bridges, Ashtabula celebrates the one-time engineering marvels and stellar craftsmanship with the Covered Bridge Festival. Start off each day of the festival with a pancake breakfast before taking in the multitude of kids activities, historical displays, apple butter making and museum programs. Hop in the car for a driving tour of the covered bridges that also showcases the spectacular fall foliage.
Lantern Tours of the Ghosts of Zoar, through Oct. 31
Take a hauntingly entertaining stroll through the historic Zoar Village with ghost stories told by costumed guides. Guests will hear more about the village founded by German separatists seeking religious freedom in 1817 as accounts of the resident spirits and local hauntings are recounted by lantern light. Many of the community’s original buildings are still standing today – right along with the spirits that occupy them.
BLINK, Oct. 10-13
Spanning more than 30 city blocks from downtown Cincinnati and crossing over the Ohio River to Northern Kentucky, BLINK is one of the nation’s largest light, art and projection mapping celebrations. Kick off the magic at The Future City Spectacular Parade where more than 3,000 community members will dazzle with illuminated performances. Cincinnatians and visitors of all ages can spend the weekend immersed in the sounds and sights of the projected installations, parades, street art and even 15 new permanent murals that will color the Queen City this October.
Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, Oct. 12-13
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival serves up more than 7 tons of cabbage to enthusiastic visitors each year. Perusing the food booths is sure to lead to some traditional sauerkraut dishes such as cabbage rolls as well as some not-so-typical fare including sauerkraut brownies, pizza and more. In addition to the aromatic fan favorite, attendees will also find plenty of other festival fare, live entertainment, and more than 450 booths filled with arts and crafts.
Bob Evans Farm Festival, Oct. 11-13
Walk the iconic farm that inspired Bob Evans to create a brand with nearly 500 restaurants throughout the Midwest and Southeast during the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival. Set in the rolling hills of Gallia County in Southeast Ohio, this event incorporates the classic dishes Bob Evans Restaurants offer (including an unlimited buffet of signature favorites for $12), live entertainment, farm demonstrations and plenty of crafts along with the return of the Eyes of Freedom military memorial.
Midnight at Moonville, Oct. 12
Try your hand at paranormal investigations with an interactive demonstration of techniques during the annual Midnight at Moonville event. This quiet piece of land was home to a stretch of railway between Marietta and Cincinnati, and has served as a backdrop for ghostly encounters since the mid-1800s. Moonville Tunnel visitors will enjoy Halloween-themed programs, wagon rides and more.
For more on Ohio events this fall, be sure to watch @OhioFindItHere on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more travel ideas and inspiration, visit Ohio.org. There is a complete list of fall events and festivals at Ohio.org/Order-Guide.