Scarecrows, pumpkins, arts & more: Fall festival season kicks off this weekend


Roll in the trebuchet, cue the laser lights, and grab some hay for stuffing that scarecrow: Fall in northern Rhode Island is a time for gathering, and the region offers many fairs and festivals you won’t find anywhere else. 

Whether it’s fall crafts and decor, live entertainment, pie eating or pumpkin chucking that tickles your autumn fancy, you’re sure to find it here.   

The autumn fun begins with two great events this weekend and leads right up to the night before All Hallow’s Eve, with a costumed celebration and vendor fair.    

We’ve rounded up the details of great fall events in our small towns. As the season of pumpkin spice everything gets into full swing, we hope to see you at each and every one.

Bottle crafts were on display at the Burrillville Arts and Crafts Festival in 2019.

Event: Burrillville Arts & Crafts Festival 

When: Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. & Sunday, Sept. 19 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Where: The Assembly Theatre, 26 East Ave. & surrounding grounds in Harrisville

Why you can’t miss it:  The Burrillville Arts & Crafts Festival showcases talented artists and crafters from all over region. The free, two day event includes entertainment by local bands both days, and ends with a laser light show on Saturday night. Kids activities include sand art, face painting, airbrush tattoos and Granny Grue the Vegetarian Zombie doing music and story time. The festival also features a full food court along with ice cream, cotton candy and popcorn. According to organizers, 113 vendors have signed up for this year’s event with many original, hand-crafted items for sale. 

Event: The Great Pumpkin Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Where: North Smithfield High School Grounds 

Why you can’t miss it: From a pumpkin pie bake off, to pumpkin chucking, pony rides and a hot air balloon, North Smithfield’s annual Great Pumpkin Festival has grown to become the town’s premiere event, filled with unique types of fun and a ton of community spirit. In 2019, more than 4,000 guests attended the festival, visiting 100 booths filled with family-friendly activities, food, DIY crafts, local small business retail and non-profit vendors. Visitors can pre-purchase a button for festival entry at many locations around town for $1 or pay $2 at the gates. See a map of the grounds to help locate your favorite activities below.

This is the map of the festival from 2021 as of September 5, 2021. If a more recent map is released, it will be updated here.

Event: National Alpaca Farm Day

When: Saturday, Sept. 25 & Sunday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Where: Hidden Nook Alpacas, 462 Greenville Road, North Smithfield

Why you can’t miss it: Alpaca farms across North America will open their gates to the public for this free event, including one North Smithfield farm, offering visitors the chance to experience the animals up-close, shop local vendors, view live demonstrations and learn about raising and breeding alpacas.

Event: Glocester Scarecrow Festival

When: Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for entertainment, plus scarecrows viewable for two weeks after the event 

Where: Main Street, Chepachet & the Kent Field Pavilion

Why you can’t miss it: First held in in 2017 under the direction of Mark Rechter, the Chepachet Grange #38 and the Glocester Libraries, the  Glocester Scarecrow Festival serves as a unique way to highlight the village’s vibrant business community and draw in visitors. In 2021, the event will feature entertainment starting at 11:30 a.m., with performers including Old Time Fiddlers and Big Nazo. There will be a fresh paint art auction, a marketplace, food from various vendors and children’s activities including face and pumpkin painting and pony rides. Renowned local artist Douglas Lovett has also been commissioned this year to create a scarecrow painting for a silent auction. 

But the scarecrows themselves, creative displays set up by both residents and businesses throughout the village, always steal the show, and remain on Main Street for two weeks after the event, standing guard to shoo away the crows and welcome visitors.  Those who want to participate by creating a scarecrow still have through October 1 to register. Learn more at 

Event: Halloween Spooktopia Trunk or Treat

When: Saturday, Oct. 16, 3-8 p.m.

Where: Assembly Theatre, 26 East Ave., Harrisville

Why you can’t miss it: Hosted by the Burrillville Arts Festival Committee, the event features games and prizes, costume contest, and pumpkin contests, all free fro kids under 12, and plus shopping for parents with a large assortment of vendors. Later in the evening, kids are invited to go from decorated car to car getting treats. Hot dogs, hot apple cider and more will be available for sale. 

Event: Halloween Psychic Fair 

When: Sunday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: 13 Sherman Farm Road, Harrisville 

Why you can’t miss it: Costumes are encouraged at this free event featuring vendors including mediums, witches, crystals and more, sponsored by Paige the Rhode Island Medium.

Event: Spooky Spirits

Where: Goodwin Bros. Farm Stand

When: Saturday, Oct. 23, 3-8 p.m. Rain date: Saturday, Oct. 30

Why you can’t miss it: Held for the first time in 2019, Spooky Spirits is a night of Halloween-themed fun, sponsored by the town of North Smithfield and the North Smithfield Heritage Association. The evening features hayrides, displays on the association’s gravestone work, non fire ghost stories, tarot card readings, vendor booths food trucks and more and is free to attend. 

Event: Trick or Treat Main Street

When: Saturday, Oct. 23, noon-3 p.m.

Where: Chepachet Village center

Why you can’t miss it: The Glocester Business Association invites young ghouls and goblins to grab treat from businesses and organizations throughout the village, found via a treasure map. Bring a canned good to donate to a local food pantry and receive a map a loot bag to hold your treasures.

Event: DPNA Pumpkin Festival

When: Saturday, Oct. 30 5- 8 p.m.

Where: Pascoag Bridgeway & surrounding area

Why you can’t miss it: While details of the 2021 event are still in the planning stages, Downtown Pascoag & Neighborhood Association’s annual Pumpkin Festival in the past has included pumpkin and scarecrow decorating competitions, vendors offering trick or treating, kids activities, a haunted trail and more. Visit NRI NOW in the upcoming weeks for additional details on this great fall event.  

Editor’s note: This content is offered as part of our 2021 Guide to Fall, also available in print. View content from the guide under the “Fall 2021” tab above or view the complete, printable guide here.

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