The Fall Fests of Warren County
Blog by Scott Hutchinson
From the kings and queens of old-time England to the sausage and sauerkraut of Ohio’s German ancestors, the festivals of fall celebrate it all in Warren County! Here are just a handful of the unforgettable fests you’ll find this autumn in Ohio’s Largest Playground®.
The Ohio Renaissance Festival
Home to a legendary selection of more than 100 daily shows, 135 craft shops and era-inspired food and drink, the Ohio Renaissance Festival brings 16th century England back to life each fall in the Warren County town of Harveysburg. An autumn staple in the Midwest, this medieval affair draws loyal crowds of fest-goers year after year, and has continued to grow in both size and popularity since first opening its rustic, castle-inspired doors more than 25 years ago. A quick tip from a RenFest regular: don’t miss the live jousting or 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q. The jousts are the real deal, and the ribs at 1572 rank among the best I’ve ever tried.
The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival
If the mention of those ribs got your mouth watering, be sure to add Waynesville’s Ohio Sauerkraut Festival to your autumn agenda as well. As its name suggests, the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival proudly honors Southwest Ohio’s German heritage, serving up more than seven tons of sauerkraut each year in a variety of traditional and non-traditional fashions. While some visitors opt for classic creations, enjoying the cabbage delicacy with sausage, the gathering’s more daring guests dig into everything from sauerkraut pizza to egg rolls and soups. More daring still, several of the festival’s vendors serve up sauerkraut desserts, whipping it into a coconut-like consistency for cookies, fudge, donuts and more. Traveling with a craft collector? The festival also welcomes more than 450 vendors of certified handmade arts and crafts each year, making it one of the Midwest’s premier food and craft gatherings.
What’s fall without a caramel apple? Or a candy apple? Or apple cider, apple pie, apple donuts and apple-glazed pork chops? Held each September in Lebanon, Ohio, the Country AppleFest treats its apple-loving attendees to an incredible array of orchard-inspired eats. Also home to numerous art and craft booths and live entertainment, it’s among the neatest – and sweetest – fall festivals in all of Southwest Ohio. One particularly fun fact: more than 70% of the festival’s vendors come from within 30 miles of its grounds, promising fest-goers a truly local experience.
Just as festive foods are a staple of fall, ghosts and ghouls are equally important! World-renowned for its record-breaking roller coasters and wild water slides, Kings Island is also home to Halloween Haunt, one of the nation’s eeriest autumn celebrations. Haunted mazes, spooky shows and hundreds of costumed characters ready to jump out of the fog and scare unsuspecting guests only add to the park’s already awesome lineup of theme park thrills. While Halloween Haunt isn’t intended for children due to its frightening nature, Kings Island also hosts several family-friendly fall events.
Brimstone Haunted Hayride
Opening in the fall of 2017, the Brimstone Haunted Hayride brings a terrifying new twist to northern Warren County. Located on the grounds of the Ohio Renaissance Festival, the spine-tingling attractions treat guests to two separate experiences – a haunted hayride and a haunted trail appropriately named The Black Forest. More family-friendly, the haunted hayride takes riders on a 25-minute journey through Brimstone Kingdom, a frightening stretch of farmland, while The Black Forest is a far more intense attraction that leads guests through a pitch black forest swarming with spooky inhabitants.
Looking for some farm-themed fun minus the creepy creatures? Clarksville’s Bonnybrook Farms treats guest to nearly 400 acres of farm-themed activities, including animal petting, pumpkin picking, clodhopper golf, giant sling shots, country-style eats and more. Join them during their popular Fall Farm Days this autumn, or book a Chuckwagon Dinner Ride to explore the farm by wagon and dig into a delicious home-cooked meal.
Be it seasonal fare, Halloween frights or just good old family fun you’re after, you’re sure to find it all this fall at the fests of Warren County!