Fall is here and it seems everyone is encouraging you to get out and enjoy Mother Nature. The leaves are glorious, the temperatures are comfortable and the mood is relaxed. But, you’re broke and there are only so many free walks in the woods you can take before you get tired of looking at falling leaves.
Fortunately, there are other options for penny-pinching families. Free festivals are amazing places for frugalistas to spend fall weekends. Simply pack up the gang and head out to these kid-friendly events that don’t require you to spend a single dime to partake in seasonal fun:
Hometown Harvest Fair: This fun seasonal festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Hightstown, New Jersey, on Saturday, October 6th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. It features a huge array of arts and crafts, live music and dozens of food stations. In addition, this year, the event is hosting a special children’s area complete with pony rides, a petting zoo, clowns, face painting and multiple bounce houses. Kids of all ages will also love the festival’s Rubber Ducky Derby, dragon boat and model train displays, plus the crowd pleasing chili cook-off.
Tomato Festival: Who says pumpkins are the pride of fall’s harvest? In Los Banos, California (located 26 miles southwest of Merced), October means free tomatoes for everyone. On October 8th and 9th, the city fairgrounds will come alive with a tomato festival the likes of which you have never experienced. The free event features celebrity chefs taking part in cooking demonstrations showing the use of tomatoes in various cultures, a “Tomato Patch” children’s play area complete with games and crafts, live entertainment, a Salsa and Pasta Cook-Off, a Bloody Mary contest, an art show, and a massive agricultural display which explains how the tomato industry affects the local community and economy.
Cranberry Festival: Considering New Jersey is the third largest producer of cranberries in the United States, it seems fitting that the city of Chatsworth would host a free festival honoring the tart berry. The event includes more than 150 arts and crafts vendors, live concerts, antique cars and wolf exhibits set up by the nearby Howling Woods Farm. The event takes place on October 20th and 21st. Admission is free, but for a couple of dollars you can enjoy a hearty breakfast from 6-11 a.m. at the Chatsworth Volunteer Firehouse.