Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Free NYC Carnivals and Fairs: West Side, Atlantic Antic, San Gennaro and More Street Celebrations

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more futuristic fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

Click through to our listings for all the details, including time, location, and price.

NYC Unicycle Festival – Governors Island
Thursday, August 31-Sunday, September 3
Unicyclists of all ages and skill levels hit Governors Island for races and kooky competitions. Don't know how to ride? Give one-wheeling a go with help from pros—there's even a stationary unicycle to try. Though the main fest takes place on Saturday and Sunday on Governors Island, there's pre-festival fun to be had in Brooklyn and Manhattan, too. FREE

Richmond County Fair – Staten Island
Saturday, September 2-Monday, September 4
Head to Historic Richmond Town for old-fashioned fun, including amusement park rides, country crafts, sideshow acts, four stages of live music, pony rides, a petting zoo, and more.

West Side County Fair – Upper West Side
Sunday, September 10
Best for the preschool set, this Riverside Park South staple features mild carnival rides and games, sideshow performers, aerialists, a green market, and live performances. FREE

Ferragosto – Belmont, the Bronx
Sunday, September 10
Head to NYC's other Little Italy in the Belmont section of the Bronx for a taste of old-world culture with Commedia dell'arte-style street performers, live music, face painting, and the delicious eats for which Arthur Avenue is famous. FREE

African Film Festival's Family Day – Governors Island
Sunday, September 10
Film and fun-lovers of all ages are invited to this family festival, which celebrates the African Film Festival and diaspora of African culture through story-telling, drumming, games, arts and crafts, and, of course, movies. FREE

Boogie on the Boulevard — Grand Concourse, the Bronx
Sunday, September 10
This is your last chance of the season to head to the Grand Concourse where myriad Bronx organizations will be on-hand for a day of free fun including arts and crafts, performances by local artists, an open mic, street games, biking, fitness classes, and more. FREE

Feast of San Gennaro – Little Italy
Thursday, September 14-Sunday, September 24
Though this fest is officially a religious celebration, families come for the food and carnival atmosphere. Top Little Italy restaurants dish out amazing sausage sandwiches, fried Oreos, Italian pastries, and more right on the street. Plus, there's live music, games and rides, including a Ferris wheel. At night, it becomes quite the party scene, so go early in the day to avoid rowdy crowds. FREE admission but there are fees for activities.

RELATED: Best Apple Picking Orchards Near NYC

Catch storytime or load up a book bag with the Brooklyn Book Festival. Photo courtesy the festival.

Brooklyn Book Festival Children's Day – Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, September 16
The Brooklyn Book Festival's popular Children's Day returns in 2017, inviting bookworms young and old to MetroTech commons for readings by kid-lit luminaries, plus theatrical performances, illustrator draw-offs, book sales, food truck eats, and more reading-themed fun. FREE

Submerge: NYC Marine Science Festival – Tribeca
Saturday, September 16
Calling all budding marine biologists. The New York Hall of Science and Hudson River Park team up for this festival that celebrates our local marine life through hands-on experiments, catch-and-release fishing, science demos, kayaking, and more. FREE

Halloween Harvest Festival – Coney Island, Brooklyn
Weekends, Saturday, September 16-Sunday, October 29
Luna Park's annual harvest fest kicks off in September and runs through Halloween weekend with a pumpkin patch, spooky crafts, dance contests, Halloween-themed temporary tattoos, balloon animals, special events, and more. Of course, you'll be able to enjoy all those famous Luna Park rides, too.

Adoptapalooza – Union Square
Sunday, September 17
Meet more than 300 cats, dogs, and other animals looking for forever homes at this annual pet adoption event in Union Square Park. Training demos, pet care advice, grooming, and kids' activities such as face painting and temporary tattoos are also on tap. FREE

Flatbush Frolic – Flatbush, Brooklyn
Sunday, September 17
This community celebration features the usual street fest fun, including delicious treats, live music, a craft fair, and a dedicated kids' area with games and bouncy houses. FREE

Astor Alive Festival – East Village
Saturday, September 23
The East Village comes alive with this fest dedicated to performance arts. There will be multiple stages of live entertainment, plus family-friendly art- and puppet-making workshops. FREE

Breukelen Country Fair – Canarsie, Brooklyn
Saturday, September 23
Hit the historic Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum for a PuppetMobile presentation, pony rides, games, face painting, arts and crafts, a pop-up farmer's market, cider pressing, and farm-fresh foods. FREE admission, but there are fees for some activities.

Head to the beach for the annual NYC Honey Fest where kids can enjoy face painting and more family activities. Photo by Chris Taylor/courtesy the festival.

NYC Honey Fest – Rockaway, Queens
Saturday, September 23
Celebrate bees and honey at Rockaway Beach. Enjoy a marketplace featuring honey-infused eats, themed art projects, beekeeping demos and, of course, lots of honey tastings. Rain date: September 24. FREE

Maker Faire New York — Corona, Queens
Saturday, September 23-Sunday, September 24
Maker Faire is a true Mommy Poppins favorite. Originating in California, Maker Faire debuted in NYC in 2010. The grounds of the New York Hall of Science explode with all kinds of inventions and creations—from knitting to robotics, circus to interactive sculptures, computers to crafts. The Young Makers area is particularly inspiring, with local students showing off their innovative projects. And the crowd is always awed by the flying Drone Zone. While there are a variety of tickets, the best deal is the Sunday Savings Pass, which grants four people admission for $100. You must purchase these tickets in advance online and enter the grounds Sunday between 10am and 1pm, though you can stay as long as you want. Everyone over age 2 requires a ticket.

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival – Chinatown
Sunday, September 24
Celebrate the Chinese harvest season at this second annual fest featuring crafts, live performances, and pan-Asian eats from area restaurants. FREE

RELATED: NYC Classes and Enrichment Programs for Kids

See farm animals, hit the kiddie rides, or try to find your way out of the corn maze at the Queens County Fair. Photo courtesy the Queens County Farm Museum.

Queens County Fair – Glen Oaks, Queens
Saturday, September 23-Sunday, September 24
Enjoy a full-fledged county fair right here in NYC at the Queens County Farm Museum with pie-eating and corn-husking contests, pig races, hayrides, a petting zoo, livestock, produce and craft competitions, and lots of traditional carnival rides. You also can get lost in the Amazing Maize Maze, which opens for the season this weekend.

Festa D'Italia & Motori D’Italia – Staten Island
Saturday, September 23-Sunday, September 24
Celebrate Italian culture at Staten Island's Casa Belvedere with live entertainment, homemade Italian treats, games, rides, crafts, and a display of exotic cars and motorcycles. Can't get enough Italian food? Be sure to enter the all-you-can-eat contests.

Enjoy transportation-related crafts and climbing aboard historic buses at the annual Bus Festival. Photo courtesy the New York Transit Museum.

Atlantic Antic – Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
Sunday, September 24
Hit Atlantic Avenue for the biggest street fair in Brooklyn, featuring multiple stages of live music and a slew of vendors, including plenty of tasty eats. The block between Boerum Place and Smith Street is dedicated to kid-centric activities. If that's not enough of a draw, the nearby New York Transit Museum holds its annual Bus Festival, where you can check out all kinds of retro rides parked right on the street. Kids (and transpo-geeks) climb in and out of the old-fashioned vehicles and can even participate in cool crafts. Admission is FREE but there are fees for certain activities.

Top photo: You can always expect some surprises at the popular West Side County Fair. Photo by Zhen Heinemann/courtesy Summer on the Hudson.

This post, originally published in September 2010, is updated annually.