Looking for the best fall apple festivals in Michigan? We’ve got you covered!
When the apples on the trees become ripe, red, and crisp, there’s cause for celebration in Michigan. This fruit is a big deal in the Great Lakes State, as there are nearly 15 million apple trees across the state, as well as about 775 family-owned apple farms and orchards.
Picking apples off an apple tree has become a Michigan rite of passage for most locals, and many communities host festivals each fall celebrating all things apple. Attending a festival is one of the best fall things to do in Michigan, and we recommend every single one on this list!
Michigan Apple Fest | Sparta, Michigan
One of the largest apple festivals in Michigan takes place annually in a tiny village located just outside of Grand Rapids.
Michigan Apple Fest in Sparta has become a time-honored tradition, one that is beloved by those who live in the community, as well as those who travel from far away to enjoy the festivities.
This year’s celebration is sure to be one of the best events yet, with visitors being able to enjoy popular events such as:
- The craft show and marketplace
- Family-friendly competitions, such as the tractor pull
- Live concerts and performances
- Unique activities, like the apple slingshot
- Exciting events, such as the apple peeling contest or the apple pie eating contest
- The annual apple pie baking contest
- Kid crafts and games
- The crowning of the Apple Queen
Michigan Apple Fest is everything that a community festival should be — it involves people of all ages across the entire community and celebrates the crop that Sparta is most famous for. If you are looking for an all-encompassing Michigan apple festival, then you should make sure to include this one on your Michigan itinerary.
Art & Apples Festival | Rochester, Michigan
The Art & Apples Festival has been taking over Rochester Municipal Park for one weekend in September every year for more than 55 years. This festival is designed to highlight the work of local artists in a welcoming, family-friendly environment, and of course, it incorporates the best fall fruit into every detail.
This festival is planned and organized by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, and the proceeds of the festival support the mission of this community-based art center. Local artists across a variety of mediums can display and sell their artwork at the festival, and visitors can savor apple-flavored treats while they explore the park.
In addition, the festival has a special kid’s zone for the youngest patrons to enjoy some hands-on art activities, and there’s a creation station that gives people a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the work required to bring a work of art to life.
With food, live music, and plenty of amazing artists attending, this year’s Michigan apple festival is sure to be one of the best versions of the Art & Apples Festival yet. This is one of those festivals that truly has something for the entire family.
St. John the Evangelist Applefest | Fenton, Michigan
For many years, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish in Fenton has planned an annual fall Applefest, welcoming not only parishioners but also members of the public who are interested in having a good time during a September weekend.
This Michigan apple festival serves as the primary fundraiser for the East Michigan parish, and it provides entertainment and activities for people of all ages and interests.
The festival had to take a pause during the pandemic, but the 2022 Applefest is the 50th celebration of its kind. It’s certain to be one of the biggest and best ones yet. Festivalgoers can expect a wide variety of fun activities and events, including:
- Community dinners, including a Friday night fish fry, pancake breakfasts, a chicken dinner, and a chili cook-off
- Carnival rides, kids games, and face painting
- Friday night fireworks
- A 5K run and walk event
- Farmer’s market
- Live music and games
- Sports day activities
- Apple pie baking contest
Locals in Fenton and visitors from all over Michigan will find that this festival has everything they are looking for out of a community event. Families with young children will love that their kids can spend the day whirling on carnival rides, while older adults will find plenty of opportunities to relax and socialize with one another.
This apple festival in Michigan is an annual celebration of all things fall, and it’s a place where anyone in the region can have a memorable day with the people that they love the most.
Coldwater Apple Festival | Coldwater, Michigan
Another apple festival in Michigan to enjoy is the Coldwater Apple Festival, which takes place in September each year.
This festival is designed to raise money to support the businesses in historic downtown Coldwater, making it a festival with a cause. Residents and visitors are able to enjoy all of the activities at the festival while supporting the community that they call home.
The Coldwater Apple Festival brings in more than 100 vendors, including artists, crafters, farmers, local businesses, and restaurants. The end result is an array of products to purchase, experiences to enjoy, and flavors to sample.
Of course, the most famous offerings are apple products, including farm-fresh apples, apple pies, apple bread, apple cider, apple cake, apple butter, apple jam, and more.
The festival is also the perfect time to explore all that downtown Coldwater has to offer. After spending the day creating crafts, listening to music, and supporting local vendors, you can grab a meal at a locally owned restaurant or go shopping at a Coldwater boutique.
This is one of the only apple festivals in Michigan that is designed to promote not only one of the most prominent products of Michigan but also the community at large. It’s a must-do if you are looking to include a fun festival in the heart of one of the most welcoming communities in Michigan on your fall bucket list.
Four Flags Area Apple Festival | Niles, Michigan
For four days, the City of Niles is buzzing with the Four Flags Area Apple Festival, one of the top apple festivals in Michigan. Since 1972, this festival has promoted and cherished the apple harvest by uniting the community in celebration every year. Every attendee gets a free apple!
New activities and events are added to the festivities nearly every year, so there’s always something different to experience. One of the most popular is a two-hour Grande Parade, which extends for 5 miles from downtown Niles to Niles High School.
However, a few days before the big festival, youngsters in the community gather for Youth Day, which includes an array of entertainment, games, and prizes. All the kids can enjoy balloons, cotton candy, chips, drinks, hot dogs, and snow cones for free! And, there’s a Youth Parade that stretches for six blocks.
The Four Flags Area Apple Festival also hosts several contests across its four days, including apple peeling, apple pie eating, biggest apple, and seed popping competitions. You can expect a horseshoe tournament and a range of unique contests for log cutting, scarecrows, BBQ, beards and mustaches, and window decorating too.
On top of that, the festival has carnival rides, food vendors, an arts and crafts show, a custom car show, Miss & Jr Miss Apple Festival, a prince and princess crowning, a wine and craft beer tent, and free nightly entertainment. What more could you ask for in an apple festival?
Charlevoix Apple Festival | Charlevoix, Michigan
The Charlevoix Apple Festival is the most well-known apple festival in Northern Michigan. For 43 years, this festival has been celebrating all that fall has to offer in the Great Lakes State, where colorful leaves transform the landscape and crisp apples add a touch of sweetness to every meal.
The Charlevoix Apple Festival takes place in charming Downtown Charlevoix’s East Park on Round Lake, with traditional events. The farmer’s market will feature local vendors and fresh produce — from pumpkins and squash to a variety of baked goods and Michigan-made honey, jams, maple syrup, and more.
The Arts and Crafts Show is one of the most popular events and has grown in size. A lot of awesome artists line Mason Street and East Park to sell one-of-a-kind items, many of which make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones.
On top of that, plenty of food vendors set up shop during the festival, tempting you with apple flappens, Irish apple cake, and other non-apple dishes — such as chili, kielbasa, hot dogs, soup, and more. Among the festivities are local apple orchard displays and plenty of kids’ activities as well.
The festival will take place over a three-day weekend in mid-October, ensuring that locals can fit it into their schedules and that visitors from afar can take time away from their regular lives to enjoy the events.
Virtue Cider’s Apple Fest | Fennville, Michigan
Virtue Cider is a well-known brewhouse in Fennville that is known for its farmhouse-style cider. In addition to being a locally-owned cider brewhouse in the heart of Michigan’s fruit country, it is also known as a community supporter. Virtue Cider’s Apple Fest is proof of the business’s commitment to Fennville and the surrounding area.
Virtue Cider’s Apple Fest is a one-day festival that celebrates the harvest of the fruit, which is often used as a base for the brewhouse’s ciders. In previous years, this festival has been a free event catered to all ages. The event itinerary has included unique and memorable offerings, such as:
- Cider pairings and tastings
- Apple archery and apple slingshot activities
- Trail walks
- Live music
- Games and entertainment
- Educational programming about apples
- Mulled cider
- An end-of-night bonfire
- A cider-braised pig roast
This festival combines the beauty of West Michigan with the authentic culture of the community, creating an atmosphere that is unlike any other in the local area. It may not be Michigan’s longest-running apple festival, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite among the people of this state.
Huron Township Applefest | New Boston, Michigan
One of the biggest fall festivals in Michigan’s southeast region, the Huron Township Applefest is a family-oriented festival held in downtown New Boston. All ages can enjoy the old-fashioned, fall-themed events — an apple pie contest, a 10k fun run, carnival rides, and dancers.
However, a highlight of the festival is the Annual Michigan State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest. More than 80,000 attendees are expected every year, and the contestants are tasked with playing a jig, a reel, a schottische, and a waltz that are suitable for Michigan old-time dancing. A panel of judges evaluates their expression, pitch and tone, repertoire, and timing to decide a winner.
This isn’t the only live entertainment that you can expect at the Huron Township Applefest. Other local bands perform live, and in past years, there have been puppet shows. Art enthusiasts will love the arts and crafts exhibits, while car enthusiasts will love the old car show.
In addition, the festival usually has a parade that starts at Huron Metropark and crosses over the Blue Bridge before heading downtown. And, of course, plenty of food trucks and vendors are set up to fill your belly with delicious local treats, some of which are centered around the apple harvest.
You will be happy to know that there are several parking lots where you can park for free, as well as a few churches downtown that offer paid parking. You can learn more about the available parking and the schedule of events on the festival website.
More Apple-Centric Things to Do in Michigan This Fall
While these apple festivals are a great way to squeeze in some fun while indulging in the flavor of fall in Michigan, there are plenty of other ways to experience the abundance of apples in the Mitten State.
In addition to visiting these community festivals and apple-focused events, you also may want to stop by some of the best apple orchards and cider mills in Michigan. At these orchards and cider mills, you can often enjoy U-pick apples of many varieties, warm doughnuts sprinkled with cinnamon, and refreshing apple cider.
Some even offer additional attractions, such as hay rides, corn mazes, farm animals, and pumpkin picking. As you create your fall bucket list in Michigan, don’t forget to include a few apple-centric events and activities.