What a difference a year makes.

Last fall, many of the region’s top festivals were canceled or moved online. Oktoberfests and wine tours became virtual tastings. The corn mazes, pumpkin patches and haunted forests that did open in person operated at reduced capacity with masks and social distancing.

This year is the opposite: The region has flipped from “There’s nothing to do this weekend” to “I have no idea how I’m going to choose what to do this weekend,” even as we navigate safety and mask mandates. Whether you want to immerse yourself in a street festival, hear live music, sample local beer and wine or just enjoy Decorative Gourd Season, the next few weekends are packed with outdoor options. All you have to do is pick something.

The weekend of Sept. 17

Bluemont Fair: The village of Bluemont has held a fair for more than five decades, and it includes everything a city-dweller would expect from its bucolic Blue Ridge setting: live music; antiques and crafts for sale; demonstrations of blacksmithing, weaving and other arts; old-fashioned children’s games; pony rides; tours of historic buildings; pickle and pie contests; and food and drinks for sale, including a beer and wine garden. Sept. 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 33846 Snickersville Tpk., Bluemont. bluemontfair.org. $10 for everyone 10 and older; free for children 9 and younger.

D.C. Beer Week: The annual celebration of local bars and breweries went online last year, with virtual beer tastings and trivia nights, and eat-at-home food and beer pairings. This year, “It’s going to be something of a hybrid festival,” says Kimberly Bender, the interim executive director of Beer Week. Some events will stay virtual, including a discussion about beer and race in Charleston, S.C., with beer writer Jamaal Lemon and a panel of beer historians on Sept. 23. Others, such as a heavy metal show with Zealot RIP, Asthma Castle and Loud Boyz at DC Brau on Sept. 22, are in-person affairs. The Battle of the Barrel-Aged Beers at Boundary Stone walks the middle ground: Fans of strong beer can attend in person on Sept. 21, but also order take-home kits with samples and snacks. “You can participate however you feel comfortable,” Bender says. Sept. 19-26. A growing schedule is posted on dcbeerweek.net.

Fall Festival at Cox Farms: There’s no place like Cox Farms in Centreville to usher in the changing of the seasons: The Northern Virginia institution’s Fall Festival returns in its familiar form, after transforming into a drive-through experience in 2020. A hayride on an antique tractor is just the start of the autumnal activities here, which include a corn maze, a barn slide, straw tunnels and a goat village. Snack on kettle corn and apple cider doughnuts before picking out a pumpkin to take home. Opening weekend is Sept. 18-19, then open weekends and select Thursdays from Sept. 25 to Nov. 7. Cox Farms, 15621 Braddock Rd., Centreville. coxfarms.com. $7-$20.

Fall Festival at Summers Farm: The Frederick County farm has delighted visitors for 25 years, thanks to attractions including slides, hayrides, barnyard animals, pig races, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a 2½ -acre corn maze. Sept. 18 is the big kickoff, with the festival running daily through Halloween. Certain days feature live music, clowns and other family entertainment; fireworks are launched on Fridays and Saturdays in October. Sept. 18-Oct. 31. 5620 Butterfly Lane, Frederick. summersfarm.com. $12.50-$17.50. Free for children 2 and younger.

H Street Festival: In any other year, this is one of Washington’s biggest gatherings; organizers estimate that 150,000 people are drawn to the block party, which shuts down H Street NE between Third and 14th streets with music, dancing, art installations, children’s activities, beer gardens, fashion shows and vendors. Given the state of covid-19, however, there will be some changes. Anwar Saleem, the executive director of H Street Main Street, which organizes the festival, says there will be fewer vendors, fewer stages and a smaller number of performers this year, to encourage attendees to spread out. Saleem also says the festival is encouraging — but not requiring — everyone to wear masks outdoors. Some businesses on the corridor are taking a cautious approach, scaling back their promotions, opting out of officially participating, or, in the case of taco spot Chupacabra, closing altogether on festival day. There will still be pop-up attractions — Brine is hosting an outdoor oysterfest in the lot that once held Impala’s patio — but the festival might be less busy than you remember. Sept. 18, noon to 7 p.m. hstreetfestival.org. Free.

Homecoming at President Lincoln’s Cottage: The annual homecoming at President Lincoln’s Cottage celebrates Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Instead of a dry day of history, however, homecoming has grown into a family day out, with pony rides, games and storytellers. The morning begins with yoga, the Freedom 5K race and a 100-foot Tot Dash. Masks are required, except for runners in the 5K. Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 140 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW. lincolncottage.org. Free; registration for the 5K is $40.

Maryland Wine Festival: The wineries of the Free State don’t get as much attention as those in the Old Dominion, but this 37-year-old festival puts the spotlight on 30 wineries from across Maryland. In addition to sipping and sampling, there are local cheesemakers, vendors, live music and food and drink. Sept. 18-19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 South Center St., Westminster. marylandwine.com. $20-$65.

Rosslyn Jazz Fest: Spend an afternoon at Gateway Park in Arlington listening to salsa, soul and blues at Rosslyn Jazz Fest, back in person for its 21st year. Check-in starts at 12:15 p.m., and the music begins at 1 p.m. with reggae-meets-blues band Three Man Soul Machine, followed by baritone Aaron Myers and salsa orchestra Sin Miedo. The day also includes food trucks and a bar serving beer and wine. Advance registration is strongly encouraged; walk-ups will be admitted if space permits. Sept. 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Hwy., Arlington. rosslynva.org. Free.

WalkingTown DC: No matter how long you’ve lived in D.C. or how well you think you know the city, WalkingTown DC always finds new ways to show off different sides of the town we call home. Curious about the forested parks and Civil War forts in Ward 8 or the people buried in Washington’s oldest cemetery? WalkingTown can show you, in person. The event usually features dozens of guided tours, held on weekends or at lunchtime on weekdays, but this year has been reduced to 31 tours, most capped at 25 to 30 participants for social distancing, says Steven Shulman, the executive director of WalkingTown organizer Cultural Tourism DC. WalkingTown requests that participants are vaccinated, but will not require it since most tours are fully outdoors. Masks, though, will be mandatory, since participants will gather closely around tour guides. Sept. 18-26. culturaltourismdc.org. Free.

Oktoberfests: The big party in Munich has been canceled for the second straight year, but local breweries and beer gardens will keep the spirit of Oktoberfest going on a smaller scale. The Wunder Garten beer garden in NoMa taps its ceremonial first keg on Sept. 17 with representatives from the German Embassy, and keeps the music, games and regional craft beers running through Oct. 10, including special events such as PRIDEtoberfest and DOGtoberfest (wundergartendc.com)

Breweries hosting special events on the Sept. 18 include Other Half (otherhalfbrewing.com), which is serving three new beers at its Ivy City brewery and hosting out-of-town guests, including Halfway Crooks and Schilling; and Bluejacket (bluejacketdc.com), where four German-style lagers will be poured from traditional gravity casks. In Maryland, a Sept. 18 party at Owen’s Ordinary at Pike and Rose highlights Oktoberfest beers from the Free State as well as Germany (owensordinarymd.com). Two Virginia breweries are among those making a weekend of it: Wheatland Spring (wheatlandspring.com), in Waterford, which invites everyone to the farm brewery on Sept. 18 and will have a family focus on Sept. 19, and Ashburn’s Lost Rhino (lostrhino.com), where games and German food and beer are on the menu Sept. 18-19.

The weekend of Sept. 24

Art All Night: Art All Night began in Shaw in 2011, an after-hours festival inspired by Paris’s Nuit Blanche, packed with visual arts, music, dance and theater. This year, 17 neighborhoods are participating over two nights, from Congress Heights and Minnesota Avenue to Glover Park and Tenleytown. It’s a wildly popular event — Shaw Main Streets says attendance in 2019 was “approximately 30,000” — and while each neighborhood adds its own flavor, look for live music, fashion shows, film screenings, pop-up galleries, murals and art installations. Sept. 24-25. Links to individual neighborhood schedules can be found on dcartallnight.org.

Celebrate Petworth: The seven-year-old celebration of the Petworth neighborhood returns to the 800 block of Upshur Street, with a Taste of Petworth restaurant showcase; a kids zone with music, theater and dancing; a dog show; storytelling and a local oral history project; DJs and bands; and free skating lessons. Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 800 Upshur St. NW. celebratepetworth.com. Free.

Field of Screams: Copious amounts of fake blood go into the making of this Olney Halloween attraction, which The Post rated as the area’s scariest in 2019. The annual Maryland scare-a-thon is back after a limited run in 2020, daring visitors to hike through haunted forests filled with zombies and creepy clowns. Tickets must be purchased online, and masks are required. Sept. 25-Nov. 6, open weekends and select Thursdays. 5401 Olney-Laytonsville Rd., Olney. screams.org. $40-$65 per person.

Maryland Seafood Fall Festival: It’s appropriate that a celebration of blue crabs and local oysters is held at Sandy Point State Park, right on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to steamed crabs (order ahead), a crab soup cook-off and a beer and oyster tasting, this 54-year-old festival includes vendors selling all kinds of seafood — crab pretzels, crab fries, crab cakes, fried shrimp, lobster rolls — plus live music, lawn games, and an area with games and activities for kids. Sept. 25-26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis. abceventsinc.com/maryland-seafood-festival. $10-$15, $65 VIP. Free for children 12 and younger.

Mosaic Fall Festival: Fairfax’s Mosaic District moves the dining and shopping into the streets at its annual festival, with vendors selling handmade and vintage items; more than 40 restaurants; a beer and wine garden; a farmers market; and live music and fashion shows on the center stage. Sept. 25-26 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mosaic District, 2905 District Ave., Fairfax. mosaicdistrict.com. Free.

NextFest: A collaboration between local jazz institution CapitalBop, Moechella creators Long Live Go-Go and nonprofit community park promoters Washington Parks and People, the inaugural NextFest celebrates D.C.’s homegrown jazz, funk and go-go. Nine acts perform on two stages in Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, including bounce beat veterans TOB Band and Show, drummer Nasar Abadey leading jazz ensemble Supernova, and singer and rapper Maimouna Youssef, a.k.a. Mumu Fresh. Across the street, the Josephine Butler Parks Center will host art installations, a video game truck and public discussions with musicians. Sept. 25 from noon to 10 p.m. Meridian Hill Park, 16th and W streets NW. nextfestdc.com. Free.

Pumpkin Festival at Butler’s Orchard: From a pick-your-own pumpkin field to hayrides to giant slides, the annual festival at Butler’s Orchard has something to delight every child. (You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy pumpkin cannons, the corn maze or the cidery, either.) Tickets include all the climbing and jumping and visits to the barn, and pumpkins can be purchased for 69 cents per pound. Note that visitors must reserve a specific time slot for entry, and visitors without advance tickets may be turned away if the farm is full. Sept. 25 through Oct. 31, open Wednesday to Sunday and Columbus Day. Butler’s Orchard, 22222 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown. butlersorchard.com. $10-$17.

Oktoberfests: Oktoberfest celebrations continue at local breweries this week. Solace Brewing in Sterling has live German music, family games and a “best dressed” contest on Sept. 25, in addition to beer (solacebrewing.com). D.C.’s 3 Stars marks the release of its first Oktoberfest beer on Sept. 25 at a party with live music and German snacks from Meats and Foods (3starsbrewing.com). On Sunday, the 30th West Annapolis Oktoberfest brings music, beer and arts and craft vendors to the neighborhood’s streets (west-annapolis.com).

The weekend of Oct. 2

Art on the Avenue: Hundreds of artists — painters, photographers, jewelers, potters, clothing designers, printmakers, woodworkers and many more — flock to Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood on the first Saturday of October. It’s easy to spend hours browsing their wares, but the 26-year-old festival has much more, including restaurants and food stands, multiple stages packed with live music, an annual pie contest and family-friendly activities, such as stuffing scarecrows and painting pumpkins. Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume avenues, Alexandria. artontheavenue.org. Free.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Great Country Farms: With 12 acres of games, slides and giant jumping pillows, plus weekend pig races and a pumpkin-eating dinosaur, Great Country is one of the area’s most popular fall family destinations. Advance tickets are suggested for weekends, as certain times do sell out and walk-up visitors will not be admitted, but the farm says they are not required on weekdays. Also, admission includes access to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch, but pumpkins are sold separately. Oct. 1-31. 18780 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont. greatcountryfarms.com. $10-$16. Free for children 2 and younger.

Georgetown French Market: More than 25 boutiques and cafes take over Wisconsin Avenue’s sidewalks during this 18-year-old tradition, with numerous discount racks for the early-rising bargain hunters. Watch out for the strolling mime. Oct. 1-2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Oct. 3 from noon to 5 p.m. Wisconsin Avenue NW between O Street and Reservoir Road. georgetownfrenchmarketdc.com. Free.

Porchfest: You’ve heard of pub crawls, but Porchfest is a family-friendly “music crawl” with front porches of D.C. homes serving as stages for local artists. Head to the Penn Branch neighborhood for Southeast Porchfest, which will wind its way past porches and front lawns of homes between 35th and 38th streets SE on Oct. 3. Catch such musicians as dream pop singer-songwriter Ari Voxx and the League Music Group, a “GoGoNuWave” band. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring cash to tip the musicians. Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. porchfestdc.org. Free.

Takoma Park Street Festival: The town’s annual festival marks 40 years in 2021, with vendors filling Carroll Avenue (in a socially distanced way), 18 bands across three stages, an outdoor food court featuring local restaurants, and “the Crawl” with discounted drinks and bars and restaurants. Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carroll Avenue between Eastern Avenue and Philadelphia Avenue. mainstreettakoma.org. Free.

Virginia Wine Festival: Unlimited tastings of Virginia wines and ciders are the reason to visit this festival, now in its 45th year, which also includes a Virginia oyster pavilion, food trucks, local beers and live music. If you find a new favorite wine, bottles can be purchased to take home. Oct. 2-3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. One Loudoun, 44600 Freetown Blvd., Ashburn.
virginiawinefest.com.
$15-$69.

Oktoberfests: This weekend brings some of the area’s biggest German-inspired parties, as well as more brewery-specific events. The running of the sausage dogs is an Oktoberfest tradition at the Wharf, where the Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash is projected onto a 17-foot jumbotron screen for a crowd of cheering fans. Other Oktoberfest activities that afternoon include a DJ performance on District Pier, and a stein hoisting contest for those of drinking age (wharfdc.com).

The Frederick Oktoberfest returns to the Frederick Fairgrounds on Oct. 1-2 with local beers, bratwurst platters and live music, plus a kids zone on Saturday with crafts and performers. As always, wearing authentic lederhosen or a dirndl is good for free admission (frederickoktoberfest.org). The town of Vienna closes historic Church Street on Oct. 2 for its block party-style Oktoberfest, filling the area with vendors, live music and children’s activities in addition to a beer garden (with brews from Vienna’s Caboose) and a food court
(viennaoktoberfest.org).

On the brewery side, Saturday is the annual Frogtoberfest at Sterling’s Rocket Frog, with “Best Stein” and stein-holding competitions, in addition to German-inspired food and beer (rocketfrogbeer.com). Silver Spring’s Silver Branch takes Oktoberfest to a different level with 12 days of competitions, polka music, pretzels, brats and, of course, Oktoberfest beers, beginning Sept. 30 (silverbranchbrewing.com).

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