Ahh, Autumn- the festival season. Charlottesville really shines in the fall, partially because the weather is perfect and the foliage is unbeatable, and partially because there’s so much going on! Read on for the details on a few long-standing Charlottesville festival traditions and a few new ones. (listed by area of focus and not by date – we will be updating fall 2019 festivals here as the information becomes available.)
Food and Sustainability:
Vegan Roots Fest
Known at the South’s Original Veg Fest, this one day event features food, speakers, and workshops for those who want to go vegan. You can find more information here.
Sustainability Festival Cville
This free, family-friendly festival features a slow fashion show, over 30 vendors promoting their sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, live entertainment including a Battle of the Bands with local musicians, and presentations and demonstrations on sustainable living practices. Find festival time and information here.
Hoopla! at Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
Beer, food, music, and camping – Hoopla is a true festival experience. Headlined this year by CAAMP, Ona, and Ripe, this event serves as Nelson county’s fall mini-coachella. Hike in or bring an RV, drink lots of adult beverges, and enjoy the stars.
VA Blues Festival
This is Virginia’s first-ever statewide blues festival, including a FREE outdoor concert at IX Art Park that features Bobby BlackHat with openers Chickenhead Blues Band and Johnny B and the Goodes. Find times and more info here.
Festy! at IX Art Park
This 3-day Fall Festival is so much more than music. Family friendly, earth-friendly, and smack in the middle of Charlottesville at the IX Art Park, this season’s 10th Annual Festy is headlined by Dawes, Della Mae, Samantha Fish, and a ton of others. On-site childcare, free entry for under-12s, mindfulness seminars, and exclusive wristband discounts at participating retail, restaurant and wine/brew partners for Festy attendees make this one of the area’s most versatile festivals. Tickets here.
Tomtoberfest at IX Art Park
While not solely a music festival, as there are innovation mixers, art, and more, there are free concerts throughout the event. The day celebrates Charlottesville creativity, innovation, and community and has something for everyone.
Culture and Sport:
Fall Family Day Race at the Foxfield Races
In sharp contrast to the vivacious student-crowded Spring Races, Fall Family Day is a smaller, family-friendly race event held on the gorgeous downs of Foxfield Races. Featuring a terrier race, a stick pony race, pony rides, and many events for children, this is an excellent way to enjoy a Foxfield picnic without the crowds, heat, or risk of spring rains. Tickets here.
Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival at Claudius Crozet Park
October 12th and 13th
There will be over 120 art and craft exhibitors, live music, children’s activities, festival fare, Virginia-made wine and craft beer, and more! Find details and tickets here.
Virginia Film Festival
October 23-27th, Various Locations
One of the biggest fall events in Charlottesville, the Virginia Film Festival is a longstanding tradition in the film community. The week of movies, shorts, panels and parties is a blast for anyone and everyone who attends. Showing 150 films and film sets in just 5 days, the biggest problem is that it’s fully impossible to see everything and everyone without a time-turner. Some highlights that promise to shine? The Adrenaline screening, where films made in just 48 hours are rushed to reel, the Opening Night gala, and the Violet Crown’s truffle fries. Film schedules announced September 24th- make sure to book tickets here in advance.
Events You May Have Missed (But You Can Look for Them Next Year):
Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello
This Saturday event celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s “agricultural and epicurean legacy” on the sprawling grounds of his Virginia home runs from 10-5. Family and foodie friendly, the festival offers workshops on everything from gardening and seed preservation to foraging, and panels on topics like food justice and the future of food sustainability. More info here.
Ciderfest at Castle Hill Cider
Cider doesn’t have quite the cult following that wine or craft beer do, but if Castle Hill has anything to say about it, it’ll catch up. Five cideries are offering tastings this year, and panels range from beekeeping to an amateur cider share.
Harvest Festival at Thatch Winery
Music, wine, food trucks and grape stomping. This small harvest festival celebrates the grapes coming in at one of Charlottesville’s favorite wineries.
Know of a festival we missed? List it in the comments below. And if you are coming into town for one or more of these events, Stay Charlottesville has the perfect place for you to rest after your busy festival days!