Autumn brings all the earthy colors of orange, gold, brown and rust. The air becomes a bit nippy, which makes you want to wrap up in a warm sweater and go to the last outdoor event of the year. There are fall festival themes relating to pumpkins, leaves, apples and hay bales. If you are part of a committee trying to come up with a unique festival-theme twist for your group, school, church or city, there are many ideas to choose from.
Many localities have a vegetable or fruit that is widely grown in the area and harvested in the fall, such as apples or pumpkins. Look to the ubiquitous fall vegetable, the gourd, to identify your fall festival. Give the fest a memorable name, such as the Great Gourd Festival. Add your city or county name to the title and you are off and running.
There are three basic types of gourds grown in the United States, hardshell, ornamental and luffa. The festival should incorporate an educational tent, explaining the different types of gourds, how they are grown and how they are used. Vendors can sell ornamental gourds in basket displays. Hardshell gourd vendors might sell birdhouses/feeders and bowls made from gourds.
The luffa vendors can create displays of natural bath products, including the natural bathing luffa. The young luffa gourd is also good to eat, so have food vendors creating dishes using the gourd. Sell the young luffas with a festival cookbook, luffa recipes included.
Put together a traditional Halloween festival with pumpkin carving or mini-pumpkin painting contests, and corn or hay mazes. Then add a twist. Involve community members by having them register for a front-yard decorating contest. The homes will be judged by a committee before the festival weekend. List the winners in a newspaper ad for the festival. Explain that a map of all the entrants will be handed out with each festival ticket. Add a smaller scarecrow contest. All the contest entries will be lined up at the festival, with winner ribbons for the exceptional scarecrows--the scarier the better. Add a walk to benefit a local charity, with all entrants dressing in costumes.
Arts and Crafts
You may think there's nothing new about an arts and crafts theme for a festival. However, if all the arts and crafts have to be fall or Halloween themed, it’s very different. Ask artists and crafters to create pieces that will be for sale. A percentage of the sales should be collected for funding next year's festival. Include a contest for caramel apple decorating, rather than pie eating. Offer short make-and-go craft classes. List your festival with the Art and Craft Show Yellow Pages. This is a site where artists, crafters and those interested in shows and festivals look for information. List with other online sites for festivals in your state.