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Fall into fun: 16 vibrant Indiana fall festivals

(Photo provided by Parke County, Indiana)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisper, Indiana gears up for a fall season filled with festivities that celebrate the beauty of autumn.

From charming small-town fairs to culturally rich gatherings, there’s an array of events to mark on your calendar. So, embrace the fall spirit and explore these selections of festivals that promise fun, flavors, and unforgettable moments.

Here’s a lineup of Indiana fall festivals that will make your autumn truly memorable.

Indy Jazz Fest (Sept. 18–30)

Location: Indianapolis

The smooth sounds of jazz will fill the air as Indy Jazz Fest celebrates its 25th anniversary. On September 30 at the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park, indulge in the tunes of saxophonist Boney James, percussionist Sheila E. & the E-Train, fusion bassist Stanley Clarke’s 4EVER, and a gathering of local jazz all-stars, the Indy Jazz Fest Legacy Band. The festival kicks off on September 23 with Naptown Sound, featuring 10 local groups, and pays tribute to the legendary Indianapolis guitarist Wes Montgomery on September 27 at The Jazz Kitchen. It’s a fusion of modern masters and new stars, celebrating Indy’s rich jazz legacy.

Lotus World Music and Arts Festival (Sept. 28–Oct. 1)

Location: Downtown Bloomington

Bloomington invites you to its multicultural extravaganza, the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival. Since 1994, this event has embraced talent from around the world, offering a diverse range of musical genres. From Ghana to Ukraine, Vietnam to Ireland, discover new sounds and positive vibes. The festival extends into local streets, where restaurants and businesses showcase their wares.

(Photo provided by Beasley’s Orchard)

Beasley’s Orchard Fall Festival (Sept. 16-Oct. 31)

Location: 2304 E. Main St., Danville

Beasley’s Orchard holds a multi-week festival with various themes each weekend, including apple cannons, corn mazes, and more.

Harvest Nights (Sept. 28-Oct. 31)

Location: The Garden at Newfields, Indianapolis

Stroll among thousands of glowing jack-o-lanterns, explore the decorated Lilly House, and savor hot drinks and fall treats at Harvest Nights.

Riley Festival (Oct. 5-10)

Location: Greenfield

Greenfield pays tribute to poet James Whitcomb Riley during the Riley Festival. With hundreds of exhibitors, photography competitions, and the Parade of Flowers, this multiday event captures the essence of Riley’s poetry. Don’t miss the vibrant parade featuring more than 75 crews of performers, floats, and local groups.

Heartland International Film Festival (Oct. 5–15)

Location: downtown Indianapolis

Discover cinematic gems at the Heartland International Film Festival, named one of the world’s coolest film festivals by “MovieMaker Magazine.” This 32nd-year festival presents major Hollywood studio releases, along with over 100 documentary and narrative films from around the world. Filmmakers share their insights, making it a movie-lover’s paradise.

Franklin Fall Vintage Fest (Oct. 7)

Location: downtown Franklin

Enjoy 100+ antique dealers, live music, food trucks, and the Ethos Celebration of the Arts at the Franklin Fall Vintage Fest.

Headless Horseman Festival with the headless man on a horse following the hay ride trailer over a covered bridge at Conner Prairie
(Photo provided by Conner Prairie)

Headless Horseman Festival (Oct. 5-29, Thurs.-Sun.)

Location: Conner Prairie, Fishers

Experience the iconic haunted hayride, spooky shows, storytelling, festive rides, games, and the monster museum at the Headless Horseman Festival.

Fishers Agripark Fall Festival (Oct. 10-14)

Location: 11171 Florida Road, Fishers

Activities include a scarecrow trail, corn maze, pumpkin carving, carnival games, crafts, and campfires with s’mores at the Fishers Agripark Fall Festival.

The Arts in Autumn (Oct. 14)

Location: Carmel Arts & Design District

Experience double the fun with The Arts in Autumn and Meet Me on Main. The former offers family activities, live entertainment, trick-or-treating, and more. Dress up your pets and join the canine costume contest. A few blocks away, Carmel’s Meet Me on Main features pumpkin carver Lee Saberson’s live demonstrations.

Covered Bridge Festival (Oct. 13-22)

Location: Parke County

Explore Indiana’s largest fall festival, featuring historic covered bridges, arts, crafts, food, and stunning foliage at the Covered Bridge Festival.

Locally Made: Indy’s Fall Fest (Oct. 21)

Location: Indianapolis Art Center

The Locally Made: Indy’s Fast Fest is a free event showcasing artwork, crafts, and goods from 25 local and regional artists, with interactive activities and food.

Autumntidings Fall Fest (Oct. 21)

Location: The Cradle at Monon 30, Indianapolis

Celebrate the season with cideries, breweries, distilleries, and more, hosted by Ash & Elm Cider Co at Autumtidings Fall Fest.

Bard Fest (October/November)

Location: various Central Indiana locations

Bard Fest expands its repertoire beyond Shakespeare to include diverse theatrical productions. From comedy to drama and even an 18th-century play by a female playwright, this festival offers a range of performances at theaters throughout the area.

(Photo provided by Irvington Halloween Festival)

77th Annual Historic Irvington Halloween Festival (Oct. 21-28)

Location: Irvington neighborhood in Indianapolis

Join the Halloween festivities, including the Masquerade Ball, Spooky Organ Concert, Zombie Bike Ride, and costume contests at the Irvington Halloween Festival.

OnyxFest (Nov. 3-12)

Location: downtown Indianapolis

OnyxFest shines a spotlight on Black playwrights, providing a platform for their voices. Five captivating plays will be produced at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre and Crispus Attucks High School Auditorium, exploring themes of love, anguish, reflection, and revelation. The festival continues to empower and inspire through the arts.