Saying farewell to summer is always bittersweet, but the crisp Autumn air brings tons of fun to Albany County! Fall is peak festival season for Albany with charming harvest fairs, incredible music festivals, cultural celebrations and more. Keep reading for 12 festivals to fall in love with in Albany County this Autumn.
Photo Credit: Michael Seinberg
August 31 - September 1
Cue the bagpipes! The Capital District Scottish Games are a Labor Day weekend tradition dating back to 1939 in Albany County. Held at the Altamont Fairgrounds, this two-day event features Highland dancing, pipe bands, clans, a Scottish Breed Dog Show and a Highland Athletics competitions with events such as a caber toss. Little ones will love the kid-friendly activities such as pony rides, Highland cattle, sack races and a Sheep Dog demo.
September 5, 12, 19 & 26
Fall festivals are not exclusively for weekends! The City of Albany Office of Cultural Affairs is adding a dash of pumpkin spice to Thursday afternoons in September. Fallbany Art & Craft Market is set to be a midday showcase of local art, live music and culture. Held in downtown Albany's Tricentennial Park, this market is the perfect way to switch up your Thursday lunch plans.
Kick off a September full of music festivals with the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival. For 18 years, this all-day concert has featured top jazz musicians, local favorites and up-and-coming artists at Jennings Landing. While enjoying the live music, peruse local vendors along the bike path and grab a bite to eat. Cap off the day of jazz with a brilliant fireworks display over the Hudson River. The jazz festival is rain or shine, with the Corning Preserve Boat Launch as the scheduled rain site.
The Albany Book Festival, presented by the New York State Writers Institute, returns (bigger and better!) for its second year! Book lovers will descend upon the University at Albany for panel discussions, literary vendors, book signings and writing workshops. More than 100 authors and poets are scheduled to be in attendance, ranging from local authors to several nationally-known and best-selling writers.
September 14 & 15
Fall in Upstate NY is all about apples, so celebrate the season at the Capital Region Apple and Wine Festival! This annual festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds features wine tastings, a car show, live music, and an art & craft show. Kids can get in on the Fall fun as well with face painting, a haunted house, pony rides, pumpkin painting and more! This family-friendly festival is a great way to spend a September day.
September 14 & 15
Shaker Heritage Society's Fall Harvest Craft Fair is fun for the whole family! Get a head start on holiday shopping by browsing the handmade pieces created by local and regional artisans. Bring your little ones to the Family Activity Tent for games and activities. Soak up the beautiful landscape of the grounds by strolling through the blooming heritage herb garden. Plus, guided tours will be offered for attendees to learn about the fascinating Shaker history and architecture.
Downtown Albany's biggest all-day, outdoor music festival, PearlPalooza, is back for its 10th year! Crowds flock to North Pearl Street for live music, food vendors, cornhole and more. Start off the fun in the morning with YogaPalooza, a free, streetwide mass yoga class. After you find your zen, stick around for the live music and the PearlPalooza Cornhole Tournament.
Crailo State Historic Site's annual Harvest Faire is a free festival presented in conjunction with the Hudson River Ramble. Explore the historic grounds of the site and enjoy Native American and Dutch Colonial reenactors, colonial music, games, and free Stewart's ice cream. Don't forget to head down to the cellar kitchen to listen to a costume interpreter discuss the foods of the era and demonstrate heart cooking techniques.
Experience Fall at Albany's iconic Empire State Plaza with the Hops & Harvest Festival. Enjoy local craft beer selections with a myriad of Autumn-themed activities such as a pie-eating contest, lawn games, hops presentation and glass etching. Live music by The Dawg Trio with David Grisman, Sam Grisman and Danny Barnes will top off this weekday evening of Fall fun!
LarkFest, Upstate NY's largest one day street festival, has been an Albany tradition for 39 years. Lark Street is shut down to traffic and welcomes crowds up to approximately 80,000 people. Wander through the blocks of craft vendors, food trucks, visual art and more. The main attractions are the two stages of live music with both local and national headlining musical acts.
Right outside of Wolffs Biergarten's garage doors, the Warehouse District transforms into a massive Oktoberfest Block Party every Fall. Food vendors line the street as people dressed in lederhosen and dirndls come out in droves. The festivities include the Mayoral keg tap, weiner dog races, keg bowling and lots of German beer. It is the party of the season!
Sip on craft beverages from some of the region's top producers at Drink Albany, a pop-up NYS craft beverage market and tasting event. This annual event is held on the 4th floor of the New York State Museum. Take a spin on the historic carousel, soak up on the magnificent views of the Empire State Plaza at dusk and sample beer, wine & spirits from the producers of the Capital Craft Beverage Trail. Cheers!