Fall Is Festival Season in the Upstate

Note: This article is from 2012. For up-to-date listings of festivals in the Upstate, visit our festivals page.


As leaves change and temperatures drop, festival season in the Upstate gets rolling into high gear. And whether you're looking for music, history, family fun, good food, cold beer or a combination of all of the above, there are plenty of opportunities for both festival newbies and seasoned festival-goers to take advantage of in the coming weeks.

For music lovers, the Albino Skunk Music Fest in Greer always offers up a great mix of musicians. This unique 3-day festival - which has a family reunion-type atmosphere and takes place in a beautiful, natural setting north of town -got its name from the sightings of white skunks (mostly white, they're not true albinos) on the grounds. Originally started as a private backyard party, SkunkFest popularity has swelled, proving its longevity as it gets ready to celebrate its 18th year.  (Thursday, October 4 until Saturday, October 6)

Another festival awash in music (and Dark Corner history) is the Moonshiner's Reunion and Mountain Music Festival. Dedicated to keeping the moonshining spirit alive, the festival is one of the Appalachian region's most authentic annual folk celebrations, highlighted by a diverse bluegrass lineup. Held on Plum Mountain Farm (a.k.a "Woodstick") in Campobello, a covered bandstand and gentle hillside sets the stage for laying on a blanket and getting comfortable when the music begins. (Thursday, October 4 until Saturday, October 6)

For history buffs, the two-day FestiFall at Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck unites over 200 reenactors for a family-friendly festival focusing on the Upstate's rich Revolutionary War history. The largest annual event sponsored by the Spartanburg County Historical Association, FestiFall includes military demonstrations and reenactments as well as dozens of ongoing demonstrations of colonial era crafts and trades. (Saturday, October 6 - Sunday, October 7)

If you're looking for something with an international flair, look no further than the the Spartanburg International Festival. Held each fall in downtown Spartanburg's Barnet Park, the event celebrates and explores the world through food, music, dance and folk art. Started in 1985 to recognize the city's diverse community, the popular event includes an "Avenue of Nations," an "International Boulevard of Food," an expansive "Kid's Zone," a global sports zone, and more. (Saturday, October 6)

Another popular festival in the Upstate, the Belton Standpipe Heritage & Arts Festival, features the music of popular upstate groups, an art show and market, heritage artisans, a road race and fun run, historical tours, fire truck rides, a classic car show, great food, children's activities, over 50 quality craft vendors, and a fireworks show. The event - now in its 25th year -was originally started to raise money for improvements to a historic landmark -the Belton standpipe.  Although the work on the standpipe was completed in 1991, the annual event still remains as a celebration of Belton and the Belton community. (Saturday, October 6)

In the mood for bratwurst and a Warsteiner? Greer Station Oktoberfest has what you need. One of the most popular festivals in downtown Greer, it features German oompah bands on two stages, lots of mouth-watering German foods, and of course, German beer and wine. And if you don't get your fill of Bavarian culture in Greer, you've got another opportunity at the Walhalla Oktoberfest celebration. First held in 1979, the festival features crafts and artisans, carnival rides, German music, dancers and more fantastic food.  Click646, a signature photographic collective event organized by Jon Holloway, will also feature Greenwood's first Oktoberfest. (Greer Station Oktoberfest and Click646 Oktoberfest: Saturday, October 6; Walhalla Oktoberfest: Friday, October 19 - Sunday, October 21)

And if you want to discover a world of tempting tastes, sights and sounds, be sure to check out Fall for Greenville, held each year in downtown Greenville. Along with mouthwatering offerings from the city's finest restaurants, the event features a dizzying array of musical acts on multiple stages, a beer garden, cooking demonstrations, a wine tasting area, a kid's area, contests and more. (Friday, October 12 - Sunday, October 14) 

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month, Selugadu (Cherokee for cornbread) is the biggest event of the year at Pickens County's Hagood Mill. Now in its fifth year, the festival features Native culture interpreted through drumming, dancing, storytelling, demonstrations and crafts. The festival is held in conjunction with Hagood Mill's regular third Saturday event, which features the mill in operation as well as demonstrations in blacksmithing,bowl-digging, cotton-ginning, flintknapping,moonshining, leather-working, quilting,spinning, woodcarving. (Saturday, November 17)

Another example of "too many to list them all," fall festivals held across the Upstate truly offer something for everyone. A more comprehensive compilation can be found below.

(Note: The Albino Skunk Music Fest and the Moonshiner's Reunion and Mountain Music Festival are ticketed events.)

Area Festivals:

Euphoria, Greenville, September 20 - 23

City of Mauldin's BBQ and Family Festival, Mauldin, September 21- 22

Art in the Park 2012, Greenville, September 22 -23 

Wofford College: Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival, September 28

Harvest Day Festival, Inman, Saturday, September 29

Moonshiner's Reunion and Mountain Music Festival, Campobello, October 4 - October 6 (Camping allowed.)

Albino Skunk Music Fest, Greer, October 4 - 6 (Camping allowed.)

FestiFall at Walnut Grove Plantation, Roebuck, October 5 - October 7

Greer Station Oktoberfest, Greer, October 6

Click646 Oktoberfest, Greenwood, October 6

Annual Aunt Het festival, Fountain Inn, October 6

Spartanburg International Festival, Spartanburg, October 6

Belton Standpipe Heritage & Arts Festival, Belton, October 6

Fall for Greenville, Greenville, October 12 - 14

Heritage Arts and Music Festival, Seneca, October 13

Biketoberfest, Spartanburg, October 13

Fall Harvest Festival in Pendleton, Pendleton, October 13

Pumpkintown Pumpkin Festival, Pumpkintown, October 13

Sugarfoot Festival, Honea Path, October 19 - 20

Walhalla Oktoberfest, Walhalla, October 19 - 21

Indian Summer Festival, Pacolet, October 20

Annual Hagood Mill Storytelling Festival, Pickens, October 20

Travelers Rest: Art on the TRail, Travelers Rest, October 27

Balloons Over Anderson Hot Air Balloon Festival, Anderson, Nov 2 - 4

Intertribal Pow-Wow, Gaffney, November 9 - 11

Selugadu V, Hagood Mill, Pickens, November 17

Photos: Cover - Spartanburg International Festival; Top to bottom - Albino Skunk Music Festival, courtesy of John GillispieWalhalla OktoberfestT.R. Tribune staff photo; Fall for Greenville.  

James Richardson is a freelance writer and the publisher of the Travelers Rest Tribune. When he's not writing, James enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two children at any one of many places across the Upstate.