Three fall festivals sure to satisfy

Cooler temperatures may put an end to summer fun, but fall’s crisp air and colorful scenery offer a different charm, providing the perfect backdrop to a variety of festivals in the Southeast. Whether you’re interested in family activities, cultural enrichment or musical inspiration, this season’s festivals, from Virginia to Alabama and Georgia, are sure to satisfy.

International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va.

The International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., provides children a chance to learn about cultures from all over the world with music and dance performances by their peers. The 2010 festival lineup includes performers from Chechnya, Poland and Mexico, as well as local and national groups. Performance troupes will showcase skills ranging from clogging to choral singing, with the New York Goofs, a professional clown troupe, also taking the stage.

The festivities will unfold at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the country’s only national park devoted solely to the performing arts. Vienna, in Fairfax County, is nestled in northern Virginia, south of the Potomac River and west of Washington.

While you’re there, visit Fairfax Square for high-end shopping and dining. Stores include Hermes, Tiffany & Co., Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Fairfax Square, 8065 Leesburg Pike. 703-821-2050, www.theshopsatfairfax square.com.

Festival info: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 18-19. $12 adults and teens, $8 children and seniors, free for ages 2 and younger. Wolf Trap National Park, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. 22182. 703-642-0862, internationalchildrens festival.org.

Stay: Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel is 10 minutes from the festival grounds and includes continental breakfast, Wi-Fi, a business center, cable TV and the Tequila Grande Mexican Cafe. Rates start at $69. 430 Maple Ave. W. 703-281-2330 or 800-541-5164, www.vienna wolftraphotel.com.

Eat: Rose Kabob, a popular Middle Eastern restaurant serving up an extensive range of kabobs, as well as hummus, pita bread and salads. 126 Maple Ave. W. 703-255-2557, www.rosekabob.com. 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. daily. Entrees $9 to $27.

Info: Visit Fairfax. 703-752-9500, www.fxva.com.

BayFest, Mobile, Ala.

BayFest, a three-day music festival featuring Reba McEntire, Godsmack, Mary J. Blige and Lady Antebellum, hits Mobile Oct. 1-3. More than 125 acts perform on nine stages, with genres spanning country, classic rock, alternative, pop, jazz, R&B, rap, gospel and modern rock. The musical extravaganza is expected to draw more than 200,000 visitors to the downtown area.

Classic festival food, including corn dogs and funnel cakes, will be available for refreshments. The festival will kick off with a pre-event 5K fun run through the streets of downtown Mobile at 8 a.m. Sept. 25.

Festival info: Hours vary, Oct.1-3. $45 weekend pass, $30 single-day pass.

Downtown Mobile along State Street, St. Francis Street and the intersection of Conti and South Royal streets. www.bayfest.com.

Stay: My Victorian Bed and Breakfast offers accommodations in the Church Street East historic district of downtown Mobile. The fully restored, Victorian, painted lady-style mansion dates to 1899. Amenities include Wi-Fi, a full breakfast, canopy beds, a hot tub and antique furnishings. Rates are $159 during BayFest. 504 Church St. 251-219-9961, www.myvictorianbedand breakfast.com.

Eat: The Brick Pit is an award-winning barbecue joint that’s been featured on the Travel Channel, Food Network and Turner South. The Brick Pit specializes in smoked barbecue, with pulled pork, barbecue ribs and chicken, as well as coleslaw, beans, potato salad and homemade banana pudding. Entrees $7-$13. 5456 Old Shell Road. 251-343-0001, www.brickpit.com.

Info: Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau. 1-800-566-2453, www.mobile.org.

Georgia National Fair, Perry

Georgia National Fair offers 11 days of festival fun, complete with rides, musical performances, circus acts, agriculture shows and fireworks. Fair-goers will flock to see top names in country music, such as Miranda Lambert and Josh Turner, as well as new and local acts.

In addition to entertaining visitors, the fair promotes education and showmanship of agricultural activities, paying tribute to Georgia’s strong agricultural past and present. Youth competitions such as 4-H contests, as well as livestock shows and horse shows, give fair-goers a glimpse of the agriculture industry’s scope.

Festival info: 3-10 p.m. Oct. 7, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 8-17. $8 adults, $7 seniors 60 and older, free for children 10 and younger. $12 for two-day pass, $20 for three-day pass, $50 for 11-day pass. Concert tickets sold separately and include gate admission with advance purchase. Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, 401 Larry Walker Parkway. 478-987-3247 or 1-800-987-3247, www.georgia nationalfair.com.

Stay: New Perry Hotel offers a historic place to stay with old Southern charm and modern conveniences. The hotel includes a bar, pool, gardens, cable TV and a business center. Rates start at $59. 800 Main St., Perry, GA 31069, 478-987-1000, www.newperryhotel.com.

Eat: Oil Lamp Restaurant serves up Southern-style fare, Entrees $7-$14. 401 General Courtney Hodges Blvd. 478-988-2643, theoillamp.com.

Info: Perry Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. 478-988-8000, www.perryga.com.