While many consider the Labor Day holiday weekend to be the unofficial end of the summer season, we choose to look forward as the unofficial start of an amazing autumn! We know fall doesn’t technically start for a couple of weeks, but September and October bring some treasured annual festivals, unique events, and a number of ways to immerse yourself in traditional fall activities such as apple and pumpkin-picking, hay rides, corn mazes, and more. Plus, it’s all happening on the beautiful Lake Erie coast, which affords temperate weather, with warm days and cool breezy nights. Here are nearly 20 special events with which to embrace a Shores & Islands fall. So, grab your pumpkin spice beverage of choice and get out and enjoy the season!
29th Annual Cruisin’ by the Bay Car Show
Sep 10-11, 2021
The 29th Annual Cruisin’ by the Bay Car Show with over 500 classics and hot rods expected. A DJ will be spinning the classics with great food and beverages available throughout historic downtown Sandusky. A portion of event proceeds help support the North Coast Cancer Patient Services Fund.
Murder Mystery Weekend
Sep 10-12, 2021
This exciting and interactive weekend includes two nights in a historic Victorian hotel overlooking Lake Erie, participation in the spine-tingling Murder Mystery Adventure, hors d’oeuvres receptions, breakfast buffets, plated lunch and dinner Saturday, and a meet-and-greet and book signing with mystery writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins.
Pioneer Days at Historic Lyme Village
Sep 10-12, 2021
Experience the past at Pioneer Days as Historic Lyme Village comes alive with reenactors, demonstrators, and craftspeople. This event also features sutlers, musicians, free mansion tours, pioneer games, and more.
Special Olympics Ohio 2021 State Softball Tournament
Sep 10-12, 2021
The Special Olympics Ohio 2021 State Softball Tournament will take place at Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center on September 10-12. Special Olympics Ohio is looking for volunteers in the Sandusky area for the tournament! Come help the athletes compete and cheer them on. Interested volunteers can sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0b44aeaf2ba2fc1-state6
Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends
Select days and nights September 17 through October 31 (Thursday-Sunday)
This fall, there will be EVEN MORE HalloWeekends to enjoy with expanded operating days and hours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays! HalloWeekends includes the daytime Tricks and Treats Fall Fest, complete with activities perfect for the little ones, plus the Tricks and Treats Food Tasting Tour for those looking for delicious twists on fall eats. At night, Haunt takes over select areas of the park with scare mazes, haunted attractions and the creepy nighttime atmosfear of America’s Spooky Roller Coast!
Feathers & Foliage Festival
Sep 18, 2021
Enjoy fall’s splendor at Jones Preserve on Long Point with a beginner’s bird walk geared to all ages, a tree identification walk through Kelleys Island State Park, a guided bird walk at the North Pond Preserve and Boardwalk, and more. View a variety of migrating birds with this bi-annual bird banding event. Watch the trees for leaves and birds all day long!
Annual Put-in-Bay Music Festival
Sep 18, 2021
Family-friendly festival that features different genres of music, to celebrate peace through music. Field games, corn toss, and music workshops throughout the day.
Wine, Art & Food Faire
Sep 18, 2021
This event combines all you love about fall events! Island vendors featuring handmade gifts, art items, fair food, free wine tasting, and raffles make this event fun for the whole family. Come out and leave the island with a special gift for you or someone you love!
Lighthouse and Islands Tour
Sep 26, 2021
Embark on a narrated boat tour of the Shores and Islands region on the Jet Express! Learn about the history of Lake Erie and its lighthouses, islands, and more!
Shake, Rattle, and Stroll
Oct 1-31, 2021
Vermilion shops, restaurants, and stores create a whole month of “skelefun" and you’re invited! Local businesses adopt silly skeletons that you’ll find in windows, stores or storefronts, all dressed up, ready to surprise and make you laugh. It’s free, fun, and sure to put you in the mood for Halloween.
Lake EERIE Fearfest
Oct 1-30, 2021
Lake EERIE Fearfest at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center is one haunted event you don’t want to miss this Halloween! With six attractions in one, Lake EERIE Fearfest is rated as one of the top haunted attractions in Ohio!
51st Country Harvest of Antiques and Crafts
Oct 2-3, 2021
Antiques including primitives, furniture, glassware, china, quilts, and linens. Crafts including stained glass, wood carvings, dried flowers, jewelry. Homemade soups, pumpkin rolls, bakery-fresh donuts, apple butter, and specialty food vendors.
Island Wine Festival
Oct 2, 2021
Join the party at the Put-in-Bay Winery at the Doller Estate. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass and some sample tickets. Additional sample tickets will be available for purchase. Winery tours will be available and a silent auction will be held to benefit the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society.
25th Annual Lighthouse Festival
Oct 9, 2021
The Annual Lakeside-Marblehead Lighthouse Festival is a peninsula-wide festival that includes a variety of activities for the entire family to enjoy: tours of Marblehead Lighthouse and Keeper's House, live entertainment, pie contest/auction, arts and crafts vendors, farmer's market, historic walking tours, children's crafts, hayrides, free miniature golf and shuffleboard, family movie, and shopping/dining opportunities.
Oak Harbor Apple Festival
Oct 9-10, 2021
Come celebrate our 42nd year, where there is something for everyone. The Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors this family-oriented festival with over 30,000 visitors attending annually, with all activities located within a one-block walking area.
Oct 9-10, 2021
The annual German-style festival features German food, hot spiced wine and cold beer. Fantastic food including, brats, potato pancakes, apple dumplings, pierogi, cabbage and noodles, chicken paprikash and wonderful desserts. Live polka and German-style music entertain both days. Souvenir apparel and glasses will be for sale as well as many great raffle items.
Oct 10, 2021
The Woollybear Festival is the largest one-day festival in the state of Ohio. Enjoy the Woollybear 500 race, Woollybear costume look-a-like animal contest, or child Woollybear costume look-a-like contest. The festival features food, Woollybear crafts, live entertainment, and the wonderful, wacky Woollybear Parade.
Apple Peak Harvest Celebration
Oct 16, 2021
Don't miss the Apple Peak celebration at Quarry Hill Orchards! Apple picking, farmers market, live music, food trucks, hayrides, wine tasting, crafts, local shops, and so much more.
Halloween at the Bay
Oct 23, 2021
Downtown taverns decorate for Halloween at the Bay. People in costumes flood the downtown streets for Put-in-Bays Final weekend of the season. Some establishments will have costume contests and prizes.
See all the fall fun in store for you on our full events calendar: https://www.shoresandislands.com/events/ Lake Erie Shores & Islands PR Manager Jill Bauer recently joined the private Facebook group, Day Trips in Ohio, to talk about the top 20 events for October 2021: https://youtu.be/16FVvnpljpw