Fall festivals: apples, honey, scarecrows, and a few parades, too

Hotel guests at Embassy Suites near 18th and Ben Franklin Parkway watch as a Mr. Potato Head balloon makes its way up the Ben Franklin Parkway during the Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2016.

The fall may take us all back to school, back to work, and generally back to the wheel. But the leaves will be falling across Philly to a growing parade of, um, parades, not to mention ethnic festivals with international foods and music, a ‘shroom fest (no, the other kind) and a few Halloween scares — all leading to the city’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. March on, fun-loving soldiers.

Philadelphia Honey Festival (Sept. 9-10). Wrapping up a three-day event,  the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild’s eighth annual celebration of bees’ delectable product will feature displays, demonstrations, and lots of food. At  Wyck Historic House on Sept. 9, and Bartram’s Garden on Sept. 10. (215-632-5330; phillyhoneyfest.com)

Camera icon Courtesy of The Mushroom Festival, Inc.
The Kennett Square Mushroom Festival (Sept. 9 to 10) features arts and crafts. Last year, local artists created garden stools in the shape of mushrooms.

Kennett Square Mushroom Festival (Parade Sept. 8; festival Sept. 9-10). More than 100,000 fungi enthusiasts descend on Kennett Square each year on the weekend after Labor Day to pay homage to the perfect food. Events throughout the area include exhibits, ‘shroom picking, outside dining, children’s games, and a run and fun walk. The town welcomes the weekend with a community parade at 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at State and Willow Streets. (610-925-3373;  mushroomfestival.org)

Center City Restaurant Week (Sept. 10-19). More than 100 restaurants will prepare special menus at $20 for a two-course dinner and $35 for a three-course feast. A list of participating restaurants is at OpenTable.com. Updates will be tweeted regularly at @PhilaRestWeek. (centercityphila.org)

Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 10). Part of the Peco Multicultural Festival Series at Penn’s Landing, the day will feature Mexican artisan crafts, and mariachi performances, kids’ activities, and lots of food followed by fireworks. And don’t miss “El Grito,” a ceremony marking the moment when Father Hidalgo rang the church bells marking the start of the Mexican War of Independence. (215-592-0410; mexicanculturalcenter.org)

Scarecrows & Apples at Peddler’s Village. The quaint hamlet in Bucks County hosts several family fests this fall. Artistic bird-scaring enthusiasts can enter the Scarecrow Competition and Display (Sept. 11-Oct. 29),  which includes a free Scarecrow Festival (Sept. 16-17) with workshops, pumpkin painting, and pie-eating contests. The hay men and women will help keep all the apple trees safe for the annual Apple Festival (Nov. 4-5), with rides, attractions, an arts and crafts show, kids’ games, and an apple-pie-eating contest. (215-794-4018, peddlersvillage.com)

Puerto Rican Cultural Events (Sept. 17). Families gather each year for a full day of Latino music and dance, arts and crafts, and kids’ activities at the Feria Del Barrio a block party on North Fifth Street between Huntingdon and Somerset Streets in North Philly. The event will be followed the next weekend by the 55th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade (Sept. 24) with beauty queens, salsa music, and appearances by local artists and dignitaries. (215-627-3100, elconcilio.net)

Brazilian Day Philadelphia (Sept. 17). Taste the culture of Brazil — and its rich array of music and dance, including samba, forro, pagode, capoeira, and samba-reggae — at a celebration of the nation’s independence day at Penn’s Landing. (215-601-9117, braziliandayphiladelphia.com)

Terror Behind the Walls (Sept. 22-Nov. 11). Go to prison for a fright at Eastern State Penitentiary’s annual scarefest, picked by Forbes magazine as the top haunted attraction in the country. The cell blocks will house six different attractions, including “Quarantine 4D” and “Lock Room: The Uprising.”  (215-236-3300, easternstate.org)

Philly’s Cheesesteak & Food Fest (Sept. 23) Throw culinary caution to the wind and head to Citizens Bank Park to sample food and beers from more than 40 vendors. Events include live music, a cheesesteak-eating competition, and a children’s carnival. For $45, you get 10 samples and a voucher for two Phillies tickets next season; $65 gets you 15 samples and the Phillies ticket voucher plus access to a VIP area. (cheesesteakfest.com)

Pulaski Day Parade (Oct. 1) . Sponsored by the Polish American Congress and the Polish American Cultural Center, this annual event is named in honor of Polish American militia leader Casimir Pulaski, who came to be known as the father of the American cavalry. The parade kicks off at noon at 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and makes its way to Logan Circle. It’ll be televised live on 6ABC (WPVI-TV). (215-739-3408, 215-922-1700, polishamericancenter.org)

The Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival will be held Oct. 7 on the Schuylkill.

Oktoberfests in the region. A range of Oktoberfest events will let you partake of beer, German music, and sauerkraut. Bucks County’s Vereinigung Erzgebirge Oktoberfest in Warminster  (Sept. 9) features music by Will Aust. (215-675-5380, veclub.org).  For folks in Philly, there’s the 23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest (Oct. 6-8) featuring a lineup of live acts including Alex Meixner, the Heimatklange Band and the Bavarski Band. (267-909-8814, brauhausschmitzoktoberfest.com)

Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival (Oct. 7). Watch amateur contestants from around the world glide along the Schuylkill at a daylong event on Kelly Drive. (610-642-2333, philadragonboatfestival.com)

Chrysanthemum Festival (Oct. 7-Nov. 29). Longwood Gardens dolls itself up every fall for its show of the golden flower, a stunning display that includes the “Thousand Bloom Mum,” which features more than 1,500 chrysanthemum flowers arranged on one single stem.  Come later in the day to take in the sound and light show “Nightscape” every night through Oct. 29.  (610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org)

OutFest (Oct. 8). Organized by the folks behind the Gay Pride Parade, this Center City block party is held to mark National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) and features bar hopping, drag shows, outdoor activities, and food. (215-875-9288, phillygaypride.org)

Harry Potter Festival & Quidditch Tournament (Oct. 20-21). Chestnut Hill College devotes a weekend each year to J.K. Rowling’s work that includes an academic conference (Oct. 19) followed by a weekend of nonacademic outdoor family fun spread out over a 12-square-block area that will include performances, children’s games, a costume contest, and plenty of vittles and libations. Teams from visiting colleges will be in town to participate in the eighth annual Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament. (215-247-6696, chc.edu)

Philly Free Streets (Oct. 28). Leave your car at home for a stroll on a stretch of the city shut down to traffic. Last year’s inaugural event followed South Street from river to river. This time, the route will take you north from the base of Old City at Third and Market Streets up to El Centro de Oro, the Puerto Rican commercial district in the Fairhill section of North Philly. (phillyfreestreets.com)

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (Nov. 9-12). The museum’s 41st annual show at the Convention Center is a great way to find inspired gift ideas. The high-class affair features work by artisans and artists from across the country and from this year’s guest nation, South Korea. (215-684-7930; pmacraftshow.org)

Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 24). Officially known as the 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 1.4-mile parade is the oldest such event in the nation. It will kick off at 20th and Market Streets and go right through Center City along the Parkway. The high-end event features giant balloons, floats, bands, city dignitaries, and members of just about every group and club in town.  It’s always a good way to work up an appetite for the big feast.