The 2022 Fall Festival Season
Here are a few fun ways to celebrate autumn in the region.
Performers at the FAFO Art Festival [Meagan Gumpert Photography]
Ah, Florida! The Sunshine State! Land of perpetual youth—and relentless heat—where we don’t actually have an autumn to anticipate. Instead, Floridians flee the hottest doldrums of summer to the springs, the beaches and our leafy neighboring Appalachian mountains.
We Floridians, however, do mark the changing of the seasons by going nuts on our autumn and Halloween decorations and by participating in the fall festival bonanza: arts festivals, food festivals and yes, fall harvest festivals. Here is a short list to pique your interests and draw you and your family out from your air-conditioned chambers into a land of color, taste and neighborliness.
A few of many 2022 Fall Festivals:
Ocala Library Headquarters Fall Festivities, Oct. 15 (Saturday), 10:30am – 12:30pm, 2720 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Ocala. Crafts and activities with an autumnal twist. Free to attend. library.marionfl.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/61525/610
Two Rivers Music Festival and Food Truck Rally, Oct. 15 (Saturday), 5pm to 10pm, Dunnellon historic district, East Pennsylvania Avenue, 35 minutes west of Ocala. Free to attend. dunnellonchamber.com/event/3922/
Lubee Bat Fest, Oct. 22, 10am to 5pm. Just over an hour north of Ocala on Interstate 75 at 1309 NW 192nd Ave, Gainesville. $8 ages 13 and up, $5 ages 5 through 12, free ages 4 and under. A family fall festival and bats! lubee.org/batfest
55th annual Ocala Arts Festival, hosted by Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO), Oct. 22 and 23, 10am to 5pm, all around the downtown square. Free to attend. Includes art, live music, dancing and activities for children. fafo.org/festival
Trunk or Treat at Silver Springs State Park, Oct. 30, 2pm to 6pm. Park entry is $2 per person. Costumes are encouraged! silversprings.com/events/
47th Micanopy Fall Festival, Oct. 29 and 30, 9am to 5pm, Micanopy Historic District, 26 miles north of Ocala
via US 441 or Interstate 75. Free to attend. Parking cost depends on location. micanopyfallfestival.org/
Fall. Chili! The Marion County Chili Cook-Off to benefit the Cornerstone School is always packed with people eager to sample various flavors of chili and check out the kids activities, car show and more. Nov. 5, at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 10am to 3pm. marioncountychilicookoff.com
McIntosh 1890’s Fall Festival, Nov. 5, 8am to 4pm, all around the main streets of this historic small town 20 miles north of Ocala on US 441. Free to attend. Parking cost depends on location. mcintosh1890sfestival.com/
Ocali Country Days festival, Nov. 12 and 13, 9am to 4pm. $8 per person, free for ages 5 and younger. See history come to life at the Silver River Museum campus inside Silver Springs State Park (Use the Cr 35/Baseline Road entrance.). silverrivermuseum.com/ocali-country-days-festival/
Light Up Ocala, Nov. 19, 4pm to 9pm. In beautiful downtown Ocala. More than 100 vendors, Sunshine Parade, Santa Claus and the much-awaited flipping of the switch to illuminate thousands of lights. There will be a crowd! ocalafl.org/government/city-departments-i-z/recreation-parks/events/light-up-ocala
Inverness Festival of the Arts, Nov. 19 and 20, 9:30am to 4:30pm. Around the downtown courthouse square in Inverness, 45 minutes south of Ocala. Free to attend. inverness.gov/527/Festival-of-the-Arts
41st annual Gainesville Downtown Festival and Art Show, Nov. 19 and 20, 10am to 5pm. Located in and around Bo Diddley Plaza at 111 E. University Ave., Gainesville, 38 miles north of Ocala via US441 or Interstate 75. Free to attend. Art, live music, activities and shows for children. gainesvilledowntownartfest.net/
Gainesville Craft Festival, Nov. 26 and 27, 10am to 5pm. In the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, 250 Gale Lemerand Drive, 38 miles north of Ocala via US441 or Interstate 75. General public $6, University of Florida students $4, children under 13 free. oconnellcenter.ufl.edu/craftfestival/
Even more festivals can be found by searching online and talking to your friends and neighbors. Local churches, farms and community organizations host trunk-or-treats, Oktoberfests, pumpkin picking, music festivals and other fall-themed events. Most are free to attend and are fun for the entire family, and they offer a chance to support local artists, crafters, entertainers and vendors.