Fall festivals offer food, flowers and zombies?

Something about these chilly almost-autumn days makes us want to sip wine outdoors, watch a parade, browse a manicured garden, or, you know, get scared out of our wits. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities in the region for all of the above. Here are a few:



Autumn Glory Festival

You might have been to Garrett County in summer to swim in Deep Creek Lake and in winter to ski at Wisp, but maybe you haven't yet experienced it in fall. The Autumn Glory festival is a good reason to travel to Western Maryland for leaf-peeping, craft shows, live music and parades. Highlights of the 47th annual festival include an Oktoberfest dinner, the Official Maryland State Banjo Championship, and a no-hands sundae-eating contest. The Grande Feature Parade, a highlight of the festival, is Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. in Oakland, which was recently named as America's Best Town for Fall Colors by Travel Leisure magazine.

The Autumn Glory Festival is Oct. 8-12 in Garrett County. Info: for driving tours and an events schedule.

New Jersey

Boardwalk Wine Promenade

Wine on the beach? Yes, please, with food and live music on the side, if you don't mind. Atlantic City, N.J., is again hosting Boardwalk Wine Promenade. From noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 27-28, stroll the boardwalk, sample wines and other drinks, and enjoy snacks from Guy Fieri's Chophouse, the Hard Rock Cafe and Harry's Oyster Bar, among others. The event is staged at nine venues across a 1-mile stretch of boardwalk, where visitors can also browse and buy artwork, and enjoy performances by the Atlantic City Ballet.

General admission tickets are $$55-$65. VIP tickets giving a one-hour head start and access to wine seminars, are $70-$85. Info:

Zombie Mud Run

Morey's Piers in Wildwoods, N.J., is making its Zombie Mud Run even more interesting by throwing in an undead theme. Racers can register as either humans or zombies. Humans get a flag football belt with three flags for the zombies to try to steal over the course of the 5K race. After climbing sand mounds, running under the Wildwoods boardwalk, riding Morey's Great White wooden roller coaster and crossing a quicksand pit, runners receive access to the amusement park and its rides.

Zombie Mud Run takes place Sept. 27. Registration is $41-$91, depending on category. Info:


Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

If riding the Verbolten roller coaster isn't terrifying enough, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Va., gets in the spooky Halloween spirit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 26 with Howl-O-Scream. At 6 p.m. on those nights, the park turns ghostly, with six haunted houses, monster-themed entertainment and staffers in ghoulish costumes.

The Howl-O-Scream Package, offered on weekends, includes two passes to Busch Gardens, a double-occupancy room, breakfast and a shuttle, starting at $130 per person. Info:



National Apple Harvest Festival

Fall is apple season, and Adams County, Pa., has been celebrating that tasty truth every October for 50 years with an event that has grown to include hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, displays of antique cars and farm equipment, live music, a petting zoo, characters in costume, hayrides, and plenty of food, including barbecue, funnel cakes, and apples in pies, pancakes and more. This year, the 50th annual National Apple Harvest Festival will take place at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in south-central Pennsylvania on two weekends in October.

The festival is Oct. 4-5 and Oct. 11-12, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine at 615 Narrows Road, Biglerville, Pa. Admission is $10; $9 for seniors and free for children under 12. Info:

Chrysanthemum Festival

Longwood Gardens, a must-see for flower-lovers and gardeners, is hosting its annual Chrysanthemum Festival from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23. The property's 4-acre indoor conservatory will burst with more 200,000 brightly colored blooms arranged into spirals, balls and other shapes. The highlight is the Thousand Bloom Mum, which actually boasts closer to 1,300 flowers.

The Chrysanthemum Festival is included with garden admission ticket, $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $8 for students ages 5-18. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Info:


Delaware Wine and Beer Festival

Quaff Delaware-made wine, beer and spirits while listening to live music at the fifth annual Delaware Wine and Beer Festival in Dover. The event includes performances by the five-piece Chapel Street Junction band, playing bluegrass, Irish music and classic rock; and Community Center, a seven-piece band from Baltimore, delivering an eclectic mix of rock, jazz, folk, pop and gospel. The festival takes place in the 19th-century farm village of the Delaware Agricultural Museum, and will feature local beers, wines, spirits and food made with local libations.

The festival is noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 at 866 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, Del. Admission is $25 in advance and $35 at the door, and includes 10 sampling tickets. Info:

West Virginia

Bridge Day

Want to see hundreds of people jump off a bridge? Then travel to the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia on Oct. 18 for the 35th annual Bridge Day. Every year, hundreds of BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth — the things they leap from) jumpers soar from the impressive span, which rises 876 feet above the river below. The jumpers, who use special quick-opening parachutes, have been entertaining Bridge Day visitors since 1979, two years after the bridge opened.