Ask any local and they’ll tell you — fall is the best season on Cape Cod. Traffic is down, excitement is up, the weather is nearly perfect, and the calendar is full of wonderful things to see and do!
There are fun events for adults, family-friendly activities, and the best part is many are free and accessible to all. So what are you waiting for? Check out Cape Cod in the fall – also known as second summer – and enjoy!
A Taste of Cape Cod: Wine, Oysters, and Beer
The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Paws to Celebrate Truro, a fundraiser for the Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center, takes place annually in mid-September at Truro Vineyards,. Tickets include light bites provided by Blackfish, a sampling of Truro Vineyard wines, and live entertainment (in 2022, Cape native and American Idol contestant Natalia Bonfini does the honors).
The annual Cape Cod Brew Fest, scheduled for the end of September at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds, is a celebration of American craft brewers, featuring 60+ breweries, including local favorites like Cape Cod Beer, Barnstable Brewing, Hog Island, Naukabout, and Devil’s Purse, and over 150 styles of beer. Tickets (for ages 21+) include unlimited beverage samples paired perfectly with a variety of participating food vendors.
Wellfleet OysterFest, an annual Cape Cod staple is held the third weekend in October. The popular fall staple offers a chance to learn about one of the world’s great oyster beds, the tradition of shellfishing, and the activities that are sustaining this industry here on Cape Cod. Plus, lots of oysters!
Starting in September, smaller events will take place leading up to OysterFest, including scientific talks, tours of shellfish farms, and oyster and art crawls with restaurant and gallery partners. Sign up for their mailing list to get details as they are announced.
Festivals Celebrate Community Spirit
Cape Cod Wildlife Festival is in early September at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Barnstable. Celebrate Cape Cod wildlife and habitats at this fun, family-friendly festival! Held by the Cape Cod Wildlife Collaborative, a partnership between many of the Cape’s environmental nonprofit organizations, the festival features exhibits, food trucks, and fun educational activities for kids of all ages! Plus, there are live animal demonstrations, book signings from local authors, and live music.
Taking place in mid-September, the Harwich Cranberry Fest Arts & Music Festival is held behind the Harwich Community Center. In the field, there are more than 100 vendors selling handmade craft items. Entry and parking are both free, and there’s plenty of bicycle parking too. The music is under a tent with a wooden dance floor; music on Saturday is from noon until dark when fireworks begin; music on Sunday typically plays through the afternoon.
The fall edition of Love Local Fest, at the end of September, is held at Aselton Park in Hyannis. Featuring local artists and makers, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, and activities for kids on the lawn and at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum. To top it all off, there’s live music. Love Local Fest is a special event that’s free and welcoming to everyone!
Kick off October at Mashpee Oktoberfest on the green across from the Mashpee Public Library. This free family-friendly event includes over 50 crafters, plus delicious food and, of course, an authentic German Biergarten. Kids will love the carnival-style games, stein race, pass the pumpkin contest, face painting, and pumpkin decorating. Mashpee Oktoberfest features live music from the Vagabonds and other entertainment throughout the day including ballet, Irish dance, and a K-9 demonstration.
The free Yarmouth Seaside Festival has been held on Columbus Day weekend since 1978 and is a celebration of Yarmouth community pride. Every day features a craft fair with over 125 crafters and artists, live musical entertainment, children’s events, nature shows, rides and games, and great food. Saturday includes a pie-eating contest for all ages and a beach bonfire in the evening. The Yarmouth Seaside Festival Road Race is Sunday morning, and Sunday night is a spectacular fireworks display at Seagull Beach in West Yarmouth. Monday includes a family sand sculpture contest and a canoe/kayak race.
Oktoberfest in Chatham takes place in mid-October at Kate Gould Park, and includes games for kids, live music, face painting, food, and the Devil’s Purse Beer Garden. While you’re there, you can also check out Chatham’s Pumpkin People in the Park. The Pumpkin People can be found in Kate Gould Park and the bandstand on Main Street, starting in the middle of October and running through the end of the month. The Pumpkin People are created by local businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to be part of the fun!
Outstanding Music & Theater Options
The Cape is renowned for its summer music and theater, but the fall is also packed with wonderful live entertainment! The Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, held at the beginning of September at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, benefits Cape Wellness Collaborative. Past performers have included Zoe Lewis, Melic Moon, Sara Laketa, Naomi Westwater, Thirsty Burlington, Sarah Swain, Tamora Israel, and more!
Other music options for the fall include the Vinegrass Music Festival at Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod in North Truro, and the Washashore Festival in Provincetown, a three-day genre bending queer music festival taking place at the Crown & Anchor, Provincetown Brewing Company, and the Red Room at the Velvet Lounge in October.
While the summer crowds may have left, both the Cape Playhouse and the Cape Cod Theatre Company continue to offer live theater at its best into the fall. Every September, the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival adds to the theatrical offerings, presenting classic plays and new work inspired by the famed playwright, honoring Williams’ connection to Provincetown.
Cape Cod is known worldwide for our summers, but as you now know, our fall season is just as spectacular! You can choose from a wide range of fun activities and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Make this fall special and visit the Cape!
For places to stay on the Cape, click here. For dining options on the Cape, click this link. And for additional things to do during your visit to the Cape, click here.