October 2 through 4: Wine Festival and Sunset Tour at Mount Vernon
Sample pours from Virginia wineries and take an evening tour of George Washington’s home. Colonial-garbed tour guides will share tidbits of history and take visitors into the mansion’s cellar, where the first president stored his wine in brick vaults. There’ll also be a live blues performance. Food such as fruit-and-cheese boxes, sandwiches, and desserts will be available for purchase. Tickets are $30 and go on sale September 1.
October 3: Taste of Bethesda
More than 50 restaurants participate in this annual event that includes food samples, entertainment, children’s activities, and giveaways. The event runs from 11 to 4 along Norfolk, St. Elmo, Cordell, Del Ray, and Auburn avenues in Bethesda. The festival is free, but tasting tickets are sold in booklets of four for $5.
October 3: Fall for Fairfax KidsFest
This free annual festival at the Fairfax County Government Center includes two stages of family-friendly entertainment and dozens of interactive exhibits focusing on health, fitness, safety, educational, and environmental issues. There’ll also be hayrides, a petting zoo, carnival rides, crafts, bounces, and a climbing wall. Most of the activities are free, but some—such as the train and pony rides—have a nominal fee. You can also buy a wristband ($6 to $12) for unlimited rides at the carnival and admission to other paid attractions. The event runs from 9 to 6.
October 3: Art on the Avenue
Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood celebrates art and culture with this annual festival featuring arts, crafts, and music. Each year, hundreds of artists participate, and highlights include a pie-baking contest, samples of international food, live music, and face painting, spin art, pumpkin painting, and more for kids. The festival runs along Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume streets from 10 to 6.
October 4: Army Ten Miler
This ten-mile race brings more than 20,000 runners to Washington every year. It starts at the Pentagon at 8 AM and snakes around the Mall and parts of Northwest DC. For more info, visit the race’s Web site.
October 9 through 11: Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Gaithersburg
This juried fine-art and craft show features the work of 200 artists from across the country. Items on display usually include clothing, handbags, sculptures, photography, pottery, glass, and more. The show is open from 10 to 6 on Friday and Saturday and until 5 on Sunday. Admission is $8 and is good for all three days; under 12, free.
October 10: Taste of Georgetown
More than two dozen Washington restaurants gather in Georgetown for this annual food-and-wine event. Samples of signature dishes are $5 each, and bracelets for the wine pavilion cost $10. There’ll also be entertainment and jazz performances compliments of Blues Alley. The festival runs from 11 to 4 along Wisconsin Avenue between M and South streets, Northwest.
October 17: Rockville Antique and Classic Car Show
Four hundred antique and classic cars are on display at this annual show, which brings out more than 20 area car clubs and hundreds of auto enthusiasts. It’s held at Glenview Mansion at Rockville Civic Center Park. The field opens at 8:30 AM, with judging and events throughout the day. In the event of rain, the show will be held on October 24. Call 240-314-5022 for weather updates.
October 17 and 18: Bethesda Row Arts Festival
Featuring the work of 180 artists and craftspeople from around the country, this juried outdoor festival includes displays of ceramics, fabrics, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings, and more. Art will be on sale to benefit NIH Children’s Charities, but there’ll also be artist demonstrations, children’s art activities, entertainment, street performers, and food vendors. The festival opens at 11 AM both days and closes at 6 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday.
October 20 through 25: Washington International Horse Show
Celebrating its 51st year, this indoor show features 500 horses and riders competing for championship titles and $400,000 in prize money. It’s held at the Verizon Center, with events throughout the day starting at 7 AM. Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster in September.
October 23 through 25: Boo at the Zoo
Head to the National Zoo from 5:30 to 8:30 and trick-or-treat among the animals. There’ll be treats galore plus festive decorations, haunted trails, keeper talks, and animal encounters. Tickets go on sale September 3.
October 25: Marine Corps Marathon
This race packs a full weekend of events throughout Washington. There’s a 26.2-mile course for marathon runners and a 10K course for shorter-distance athletes. Kids and nonrunners can enjoy a two-day health-and-fitness expo at the Washington Convention Center, a race for kids, and the Finish Festival, welcoming the runners as they cross the finish line.
This article is part of Washingtonian.com’s Visitors’ Guide. For more articles like it, click here. If you’re visiting in a different month, check out our City Schedule for events happening throughout the year.