Fall festivals not to miss

pumpkin carving
Fall festivals in Holland MI
Photo: Downtown Holland

West Michigan’s lakeshore communities know how to throw a party, and the autumn months are no exception.

During fall events, watch as expert carvers create pumpkin masterpieces, delight in gourmet salmon dishes, cheer from the crowd during coffin races and compete in a pumpkin pie eating contest.

Grab a hoodie, sip a warm beverage and enjoy these four fall festivals!

Grand Haven Salmon Festival
Sept. 15–17

The Grand Haven Salmon Festival was designed to promote the importance of Michigan’s coastal waterways while paying tribute to the annual salmon migration. Festival attendees will experience hands-on learning, education and exhibits, while enjoying a culturally rich weekend experience that includes arts, crafts, live music, wine, food and family fun.

The 14th annual outdoor waterfront festival is packed full of activities. The event features live jazz music; Michigan wine tasting pavilion; gourmet salmon cook-off contest; downtown merchant market; fishing contest; Grand Haven historic displays through the Tri-Cities Museum and hands-on children’s activities.

The three-day event is presented by D&W Fresh Market and hosted by Grand Haven Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Zeeland Pumpkinfest
Oct. 6–7

The annual Pumpkinfest in downtown Zeeland has celebrated community, family fun and fall activities for more than 30 years. This year’s festival is themed “Pumkinfest Goes to the Zoo.” 

The two-day event will feature a number of free and low-cost events that can be enjoyed by all ages, including food, music, children’s activities, contests, an outdoor movie showing and a parade.

More details will be available as the event gets closer.

Saugatuck Ghoulfest 2017Saugatuck Ghoul Fest
Oct. 21, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

For the first time in five years, Saugatuck will be home to a specific fall festival event — Saugatuck Ghoul Fest.

The pre-Halloween, family friendly event in Downtown Saugatuck will feature coffin races, pumpkin carving, a children’s activity area, live music, and a beer and wine tent. Attendees also can shop for Halloween and fall décor at the craft show. Food options will be available as well, and will be announced later.


Holland Fall Fest
Oct. 13–14

Fall Fest returns to Downtown Holland and the Holland Farmers Market for the third year in a row.

During this two-day event, the community is invited to celebrate everything there is to love about fall, with professional pumpkin carving, hayrides and pumpkin painting.

Fall Fest, Holland
Photo: Downtown Holland

Eight of the nation’s best professional pumpkin carvers will make a return appearance at this year’s Fall Fest. On Friday, the carvers will spend the afternoon and evening carving jack-o-lanterns along 8th Street. On Saturday, they will create incredible, three-dimensional pumpkin displays.

Also on Saturday, children can play fall-themed games, paint pumpkins and participate in fun activities all afternoon long. Hayrides to and from the Holland Farmers Market will be available. While at the farmers market, don’t forget to visit the vendors selling seasonal decor items, produce, baked goods, farm-raised meats, maple syrup and other fall goods.