10+ Can’t Miss Fall Family Events in Maryland That Don’t Involve Pumpkins (updated and expanded for 2023!)

Inside: Check out these top 10 Fall Family events in Maryland that aren’t technically fall festivals. None of these events include pumpkins, but they are all great! Updated and expanded for 2023!

I have a confession to make. Sometimes the fall season can be intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong.. I LOVE celebrating fall, especially with my little girl.

The moment I detect even a hint of a chill in the air, it’s sweater weather. I could indulge in hot apple cider pretty much every day and once the weather chills, our family loves to get outside and go hiking, camping, and soaking in every moment of this glorious season.

But sometimes it is just too much.

Endless hayrides, a pumpkin patch every weekend, and getting lost in yet another corn maze. In Maryland, you could fill up every single weekend with a family outing to a different fall festival.

However, there are actually quite a few other festivals that wouldn’t qualify as a ‘fall festival’ but are just as cool. If you need a break from pumpkin spice, check out one of these events. They are all awesome and very family and young kid friendly!

1. Artscape

After a multi-year hiatus, Artscape is back! For those who might be new to the area, Artscape is the largest completely FREE public arts festival in the country. Artscape pretty much takes over Baltimore for the weekend and includes everything from performing arts, painting, sculpture, and more. If it’s considered art it will be included at Artscape!

September 22-24 2023

2. Sunfest in Ocean City and Berlin’s Fiddlers Convention


Ocean City has moved Sunfest to October! The 2023 dates are October 19-22! The weather is beautiful and there’s plenty to do at Ocean City, MD’s biggest and best festival. Enjoy four fun-filled days of arts and crafts, delicious food, hayrides, kids activities and musical entertainment. Plus, Sunfest hosts big musical headliners every year!

October 19-22 2023

Fiddlers Convention:

The Fiddlers Convention in Berlin, MD is actually still in September. This is a really fantastic festival happening 23-25 September 2022. Fiddling and blue grass music will fill the streets of Berlin. There will be food and craft vendors, a beer garden and games for the children.

September 22-24 2023

Downtown Berlin MD

3. Sultana Downrigging Festival

The Sultana Downrigging Festival in Chestertown, MD is a tall ship and bluegrass festival. This is one of the largest tall ship festivals in North America. It includes tall ship sails, tours, great music, kid’s activities, and of course.. great food!

There will be fireworks on Friday night too!

October 26-28 2023

Related: 20+ Things to Do With Kids on the Eastern Shore!

4. In the Street- Celebrate Frederick

The In The Street festival has been running since 1983 and is loads of fun for the entire family. There are nine themed blocks of entertainment.

A few of the highlights are the art block, sports block, history block, and a block especially dedicated to kid’s activities like crafts, face painting, and a petting zoo. Additionally, there is live music on five different stages, a mile-long road race, and tons of food and other vendors.

Saturday September 9th 2023

Related: Check out the best playgrounds in Frederick County

5. Special Events at the Maryland Science Center

The Maryland Science Center is back with tons of kid friendly special events this fall!

  • September 16th: the Maryland Science Center will hold another Domino Day! A ginormous domino topple will soon be taking over the lobby floor of the Maryland Science Center. Domino Day, presented by Domino Sugar.
  • September 29-30th: Super Science Sleepover: Academy of Wizardry. Spend the night at the Science Center for a night of witchcraft and wizardry! Learn the science behind the magic and prepare to go back to school wizard-style as you visit your favorite wizarding shops and stock up on school supplies for the year. Identify wand cores and then craft your own wand to cast spells. Get your first chance at brewing potions in the SciLab and help your owl deliver the post.
  • October 20-21st: Super Science Sleepover: Cryptid Hunt. Search for clues and artifacts left behind by these elusive creatures and use science to reveal the invisible. Play a game to learn about the real-life creatures that have inspired the legends. Engineer a trap and create your own cryptid to take home.
maryland science center

6. Frederick’s Oktoberfest Weekend

Experience German Heritage at its finest during Frederick’s Oktoberfest. Many festival goers will be dressed in traditional Bavarian garb, there will be tons of great food and live entertainment (including yodeling) and even a kid’s zone which will have pumpkin decorating (oops.. there’s a pumpkin!), slides, and face painting.

September 29th-30th: Friday 6-10PM (not for kids), Saturday 11AM-10PM (all ages welcome)

7. RetroFest on the Potomac

RetroFest on The Potomac is a super fun Southern Maryland festival held at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum. Enjoy LIVE music, great food, beer truck, ice cream, vintage displays, variety of family activities & crafts, lots of “retro” activities and demos throughout the day and MUCH MORE vintage fun at RetroFest on the Potomac. This is a FREE Festival!

September 16th 2023

Related: Kid Friendly Guide to the Calvert Marine Museum

8. ArtsFest at the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden

If you have not yet visited the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden in Solomons, MD, you are really missing out. This is a really special place that would make a great visit any time. On September 16-17, they are holding their annual ArtsFest. This is a really huge arts festival with tons of activities for kids including Discovery Tent, Zany Zone, games, the clay studio, and live music.

September 16-17 2023

annmarie sculpture garden

9. Maryland Renaissance Festival

August 26th through October 22nd (weekends)

Who says fall in Maryland is synonymous with pumpkin patches and apple cider slushies? If you have ever visited this Crownsville festival, you know that the festival grounds are transformed into an utterly amazing and totally fun world of princesses, knights, and everything that made the Renaissance fun (or so we imagined).

The festival is super fun for kids and adults and each weekend has a theme. For the 2023 season the themes are:

Children’s Weekend: August 26-27
Romance Weekend: September 2-3
Celtic Celebration: September 9-10
Pirate Weekend: September 16-17
Myth and Magic Weekend: September 23-24
Shakespeare Weekend: September 30-October 1

10. Historic St. Mary’s City Fall Events

Historic St. Mary’s City is a great place to visit at any time. However, in the fall they have a few special events you might want to check out!

  • September 9th- Indigenous Heritage Day
  • September 23rd- RiverFest and Militia Muster

11. Defender’s Day at Ft. McHenry

Defenders’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the successful defense of Baltimore in 1814 and the writing of the nation’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

From September 15-17 2023 park staff and partners will offer programs and demonstrations to explore the history of Baltimore’s diverse community of defenders by learning about the daily lives and experiences of soldiers, sailors, and civilians who came together to defend their city.

12. Catoctin Colorfest

Local art, jewelry, crafts, and a variety of delicious food are just a few of the fun things you will find at this annual event! Catoctin Colorfest, located in Thurmont, MD, is one of the largest outdoor craft shows on the East Coast and is held as the area’s vibrant leaves are changing.

October 14-15 2023 from 9AM-5PM

13. Easton Waterfowl Festival

This unique festival in Easton, MD celebrates all things waterfowl. Personally, I love the dock dogs competition.

The Easton Waterfowl Festival has loads of kid friendly activities though from decoy carving, soap carving, and painting decoy magnets.

November 10-12 2023

14. Maryland Folklife Festival

From their website: “The Maryland Folk Festival is dedicated to creating unique experiences of discovery and learning, cultivating cultural and ethnic diversity, and pursuing all opportunities to inspire, and enlighten through music, dance, food, crafts, and other folk arts.”

Dates: September 22-24, 2023


Are there fall events in Maryland that aren’t pumpkin patches?

YES! A quick list of fall events in Maryland to check out include the Maryland Renaissance Festival, Chestertown’s Downrigger Weekend, Colorfest in Thurmont, In The Street in Downtown Frederick, Defender’s Day, and Artscape!

What are the special event weekends for the Maryland Renaissance Festival?

Children’s Weekend: August 26-27
Romance Weekend: September 2-3
Celtic Celebration: September 9-10
Pirate Weekend: September 16-17
Myth and Magic Weekend: September 23-24
Shakespeare Weekend: September 30-October 1

What special events are happening this fall in Ocean City?

The major fall event in Ocean City is Sunfest in October. The 2023 dates are October 19-22.

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One Comment

  1. OH MY GOSH, wow. I’ve said since a teen, there anit much a do in Maryland. Now I’m in my 30s with 4 BEAUTIFUL children, and I love your outlet of fantastic ideas for all children from one to 92. Thank You all.