Amp Up Your Autumn With These Fall Festivals in Columbia SC
Thursday, September 12, 2019 5:00 PM by Dayna Cantelmi
While football is certainly a big focus during the fall, you might just be surprised to find out that there’s a full to brimming schedule of festivals happening nearly every weekend over the next few months. From cultural or culinary events to concerts and the holidays, we suggest reading through to see what calls to you in Columbia SC this season.
Annual Fall Favorites
33rd Annual Greek Festival | Sept. 19 – Sept. 22
Get your opa on at the signature golden-domed Greek Orthodox Church where, for four days, the streets will be alive with music, dancing, shopping from various vendors and, of course, all the baklava and gyros you can carry.
41st Annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture | Sept. 21
Join Historic Columbia at the Mann-Simons Site for their annual festival highlighting South Carolina’s black history and culture. Discounted tours of the Mann-Simons Site and Modjeska Monteith Simkins House are available, as well as a bus tour of additional important African American sites around town. Food and art vendors, musicians, dancers and storytellers add to the festival experience throughout the day.
12th Annual Palmetto Peanut Boil | Sept. 21
Boiled peanuts are the official state snack of South Carolina, thus it would practically be a crime not to honor them with a festival. Flock to Devine Street to find out who makes the best boiled peanuts in SC.
46th Annual Irmo Okra Strut | Sept. 27 – Sept. 28
Boasting rides, live music including a headlining performance by Edwin McCain and okra served up every way you can imagine, this free family affair is still going strong in its 46th year.
The Great American Whiskey Fair | Oct. 4
Now in its seventh year and with more than 100 different domestic and international distillers and bottlers presenting over 500 whiskeys, bourbons and ryes, it’s safe to say this is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast. Responsibly sample what you can, learn from the pros and dine on a meal prepared by Bourbon and LowCo BBQ that’ll keep your belly full and your head on straight.
30th Annual Famously Hot SC Pride Festival | Oct. 4 – Oct. 5
Support love in all its variations and laud 30 years of pride in South Carolina. The fun begins Friday night with a kickoff parade at dusk followed by the Get Lit Concert and Street Party with headliner Berlin featuring Terri Nunn. The good times roll over into Saturday with an all-day festival on Main Street before capping off with the official Afterparty at The Senate where you might spot some of your favorites from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Jerryfest 2019 | Oct. 6
Deadheads unite at The White Mule for Five Points’ annual celebration of all things Jerry Garcia. Free to attend, families and pets are also welcome. So grab your tie dye and get ready for a full day of live music.
150th Annual South Carolina State Fair | Oct. 9 – Oct. 20
Such a momentous milestone calls for celebration and there’s no shortage of surprises in store at the SC State Fair this year! Enjoy a free vintage circus complete with a Big Top and motorcycle cage, snack on birthday cake funnel cake or a chili mac and cheese sundae and make new memories while looking back on all the previous ones spent under the bright carnival lights.
Boo at the Zoo | Oct. 18 – Oct. 30
Halloween’s never been cuter than at Riverbanks Zoo. Maximize the use of your kid’s costume and get in some early trick-or-treating and fun activities (like a foam zone and dance party) at one of the area’s most beloved attractions.
Jam Room Music Festival | Oct. 26
What’s better than an all-day music festival that takes place on Main Street? One that’s completely free. Enter the Jam Room Music Festival, featuring 12 bands spanning different genres to ensure there’s a little something for everyone. Come discover your new favorite band!
Five Points Chili Cook-Off | Oct. 26
Is there any food cozier or more reminiscent of fall than chili? Presented by Taneyhill’s Group Therapy, warm your hands, heart and belly as you sample your fill from dozens of local restaurants battling it out for the title of the best. Stay tuned for more information on this annual favorite.
Bubble Q | Nov. 1
Delight in a crisp fall evening spent under the cafe lights at City Roots. Several grills and smokers will be fired up and churning out flavorful barbeque while your flute shall remain forever effervescent as its filled with samples of up to 30 different champagnes from around the world. It’s the combination we never knew we needed until now.
Fall Festival and History Day | Nov. 9
Head to the South Carolina State Museum for a day full of history-focused activities, behind-the-scenes access to exhibits, artist demonstrations, live performances, local craft beer and barbeque prepared by award-winning pitmasters. Get you a museum that does it all.
South Carolina Oyster Festival | Nov. 16
Fall = oyster season, so get to shuckin’ over 10,000 lbs. of oysters at the city’s largest outdoor roast on the grounds of the Robert Mills House. Pass us the crackers and cocktail sauce, please!
Well, the prosts start coming and they don’t stop coming. Seriously. Columbia is a straight up cornucopia of Oktoberfest celebrations. Kick it all off at Cottontown Brew Lab for their inaugural Oktoberfest at the Beer Garden on Sept. 15. We promise the Helles Bock and brats from The Wurst Wagen will be aplenty.
Join in on River Rat Brewery’s Annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 21 for five beer stations pouring special German guest taps, as well as River Rat’s own seasonal favorites like the Bohemian Pilsner, Oktoberfest, Marzen, Helles Bock and more. Plus, Chef Jon is serving up some seriously good German eats.
Next up is Columbia Craft’s Oktoberfest 2019 on Oct. 5, where you can get your fill of Festbier, The Wurst Wagen and a live polka band.
The three-day Oktoberfest Columbia at Incarnation Lutheran Church, beginning Oct. 11and ending Oct. 13, is Columbia’s original German festival. Featuring two biergartens, oompah bands and dancers, authentic German cuisine and a kid-friendly zone, it’s the next best thing to being in Munich.
Jumpstart the Holidays
It may still be fall, but for all our overachievers out there, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday spirit early this season, as well!
Devine Night Out | Nov. 14
The merriment begins on Devine Street with an evening of shopping and socializing. Take advantage of special holiday discounts while mingling amidst live entertainment, food and libations.
Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Crafts Festival | Nov. 15 – Nov. 17
It’s never too early to get started on your shopping and gifts are all the more special when they’re handmade. Support hundreds of artists from all over the country by attending demonstrations and shopping for unique pieces at the Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Crafts Festival.
Vista Lights | Nov. 21
For more than 30 years, the Vista District has commenced the holiday season by shutting down a section of Gervais Street for yuletide fun. Enjoy performances by local bands and ballet companies, pop into shops and galleries for some early shopping and visit the various restaurants for delicious food and drinks. Stick around for the grand finale – the lighting of the tree!
53rd Annual Governor’s Carolighting | Nov. 24
Gather on the grounds of the South Carolina State House to enjoy festive performances by various statewide choirs and musicians, as well as welcoming remarks from the governor, all leading up to the lighting of the official State Christmas Tree.