Our Favorite Festivals, Events, and Activities Around Times Square, NYC

Vibrant Times Square. This energetic and dynamic part of New York City with its shops, shows, and lights showcase so much that New York City has to offer. Whether a visitor or a local resident, you don’t need to go too far from here to see and do it all. Read on for some of our favorite autumn festivals, events, and activities around Times Square. 

Curtain Up! at Broadway

Like other major performing venues in New York City, Broadway’s collection of famed theaters has quite the packed schedule throughout the autumn, making this another great addition to any autumn plans. Broadway being one of the most esteemed locations for theater in the world, this is another one-of-a-kind experience to catch here in the Times Square area. Broadway kicks off autumn with the Curtain Up! series, finishing in a live, outdoor concert by the biggest faces on Broadway. This autumn alone, visitors can catch Chicago, Aladdin, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, and The Lion King. If you’ll be in the Times Square area during the autumn, we recommend clearing a spot in any plans to go to Broadway. 


Times Square Expo

The Times Square Expo marries the feel of the crowded open-air market with the bustle of New York City and Times Square, where hundreds of booths turn Times Square into a day without cars, bikes, and construction, but instead endless food vendors and artisans selling rare wares. This is a unique moment that changes the otherwise rushing feel of Times Square, and it is completely free! So get ready to dress for the crowds and the October sun, and wander out into Times Square to browse pizza slices, gourmet desserts, one-of-a-kind metal statues, African baskets and intricate jewelry and fashion articles. 

Broadway’s Back!

Another celebration of Time Square’s proud history with Broadway, this autumn also kicks off the autumn and winter season with Broadway’s Back! bringing live theatre to homes and the world once again. After the closure of Broadway’s activities last year, New York and thespians everywhere are elated for Broadway’s Back! event. Whether from the comfort of your residence, hotel, or on the streets of Times Square, this is a memorable moment in Broadway’s history for locals, visitors and travelers to attend and add to the myriad experiences one can find here in Times Square.


Attend a Taping

New York City is still home to many famous television shows, being the place where the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah are all taped. If you’ll be staying in the Times Square area, catching tickets to be on one of these television staples is a rare and special opportunity, despite operation occurring nearly year-round. Tapings usually occur in the early evening, leaving time afterward to plan out other activities for a night out. 


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Our Favorite Festivals Around Sacramento, CA

Sacramento. This proud hub of Northern California quietly boasts ample outdoor activities, charming and independent neighborhoods, and a creative melting pot with so much to do year-round. Whether you’re a visiting tourist, returning to see friends and family, or a curious local, if you’re in Sacramento for Autumn, read on for some of our favorite festivals and events in the area, and get ready to explore!


Not that kind of aftershock, but sure to shake the region, Aftershock is an intense and electrifying staple of the Sacramento area that is something all concertgoers should catch if given the opportunity. Big names in rock and hip hop perform on multiple stages, including appearances from Slipknot, Korn, blink-182, System of a Down, Alice In Chains, Tech N9ne, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Weezer, and Metallica, that’s only the start. Aside from the music, a number of local restaurants, breweries, vineyards, and greenhouses also join the mix, providing for a varied experience. For any visitor that wants to rock out and party to intense beats well into the night, come to aftershock!

Big Crush Harvest Festival

Experience the beauty of Amador Wine Country and participate in the grape harvest firsthand! Each year, Amador County invites the people of California to see the processes that go on with the annual harvest and is a memorable way to tour the beautiful landscapes around Sacramento. Up and down the vineyards, and into the rustic wineries, and last but not least, the crush pads! Participate in crushing your own grapes and get purple feet in the Sacramento air. Aside from the tours, there are also food and wine pairings, live music, and delicious tastings of the many wines and produce of California. This is a great way to meet the agricultural diversity of the sunshine state with visitors and locals of all backgrounds. 


Fiesta En La Calle

One of Sacramento’s biggest block parties is a proud and lively celebration of Latin music, true to the state’s strong Hispanic heritage. Enjoy Norteno, Bachata, pop, and covers by bands from California and across Latin America. Visitors of all backgrounds are encouraged to experience Latin music and culture, with dance performances, arts, food and drink, and crafts also accompanying the scene here. Bring the whole group to Fiesta En La Calle for an option for all ages and interests and enjoy Sacramento’s strong sense of community at the Fiesta En La Calle.


Full Belly Farm Hoes Down Festival

With a name like this, we already know this is a good time. Out in the Capay country of Northern California, the Full Belly Farm lives up to its name providing delicious dishes and fresh produce in an event celebrating agricultural tradition and farm-to-table deliciousness. Aside from this, visitors can personally enjoy carving their own pumpkins, personally harvesting their own picks, participating in dances and games, and watching stunt performers! This is a great option for families, large groups, and couples alike with the variety of activities here. 

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Our Favorite Festivals Around Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City. Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of Utah, between mountains, saline waters, forests, and flats, and a dynamic community, Salt Lake City is on the come-up with more to offer each year! Whether you’re a visitor, returning to see friends and family, or a curious local, you’ll be delighted to know there is a great variety of activities to do here around the year. Read on for some of our favorite autumn festivals and events here in Salt Lake City, and get ready to explore!


Like many regions of the nation, Salt Lake City has a proud heritage of Central European immigrants, and this is remembered in the festive Oktoberfest! Though on the other side of the world, the laughs, food, music, and scenery at Oktoberfest around the Salt Lake City area clearly resemble the original tradition in Bavaria. At Oktoberfest, visitors can enjoy myriad beers with hearty German fare, such as bratwurst, mettwurst, pretzels, strudel, knoedel, spaetzle, all in the stunning views of Utah’s autumn mountains. Try on traditional German costume, Polka and German music and dance, or watch the horse races! The proximity of many of the festivals to the outdoors makes it an easy addition to any itinerary and provides opportunities to experience Utah’s outdoors. 


Utah State Fair

The Utah State Fair is one of Utah’s largest events, where the fun, food, and rides meet with Utah’s agricultural community in a celebration of everything Utah. Various shows such as cowboy-western style quickdraws to daredevils and animal shows are just the start of the entertainment here. Kiddie rides to thrills, daring festival food and fresh produce, and plentiful interactive opportunities in home craftsmanship and gardening provide something for every interest. For the varied group or the traveler who just wants to see and do everything, the Utah State Fair is a festive and memorable way to tour all the activities of Utahns.


Christmas Lights at Temple Square

One of Salt Lake City’s most well-known communities is the strong presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who maintain a stunning campus of worship at Temple Square. Each year, after Thanksgiving, the church changes the lights in honor of the holiday season, in a captivating light show all over the grounds. This attraction is a rare event to catch, but quite the memorable one nevertheless. Travelers of all ages and accommodations will enjoy this light show and get to see Temple Square in its beauty.


Salt Lake City Greek Festival

The Greek community of Salt Lake City also puts on a welcoming and fun festival dedicated to celebrating and sharing Greek-American culture, complete with dances, music, food, and crafts. For those who want to experience a fun (and delicious!) community atmosphere with all the people of Salt Lake City, we recommend taking the group to the Salt Lake City Greek Festival.


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Our Favorite Festivals Around San Francisco, CA

San Francisco. This city needs no introduction, across storied and unique neighborhoods, charming corners, cool weather, and the center of the Bay Area, it comes as no surprise that there is always something happening here. Whether you’ve made San Francisco your autumn travel destination, visiting friends and family, or a local who’s curious to see what’s around home, read on for some of our favorite festivals and events, and get ready to explore!

Castro Street Fair

One of San Francisco’s most famous neighborhoods shines in the annual Castro Street Fair, where the creative and eclectic activities of the city come together in this welcoming display of the arts. Street performers, magicians, vendors, craftsmen, musicians, and DJs team up with the small businesses and artisans of the Castro neighborhood in a street festival of pure fun. Visitors of all backgrounds are very welcome to join in the festivities with the Castro, including delicious eats (Hot Cookie!), areas of the street literally dedicated to just dancing, costumes, and plenty to do! All visitors will enjoy the festive character of the city here in the Castro during the Castro Street Fair. 


Leap’s Sandcastle Classic

Ocean Beach and its gorgeous views are already reasons to visit this end of San Francisco, but Leap’s Sandcastle Classic really brings a sense of community to this beautiful beach. Each year, schools, companies, teams of architects and engineers, friends, family, and neighbors come together to craft outlandish and jaw-dropping sandcastles! These creations are not strictly sandcastles, however, and visitors can see the full range of sand art from imposing sand sculptures of Jabba the Hut to giant turtles, octopi, and virtually anything else that can be imagined. The open nature of this event means it is welcoming of participants of all backgrounds and skill levels, so don’t hesitate to join your group even if you may not be an engineer. Come out to Ocean Beach and enjoy the wonders of sand sculptures with the city!

Wharf Fest

If the famous Fisherman’s Wharf didn’t already have enough going on a regular day, the action dials up to eleven during the annual Wharf Fest! Among the charming Musee Mecanique, numerous stalls, and eateries, a fierce chowder cook-off competition comes to the Wharf, as well as live music and games. If there wasn’t enough to do at this end of San Francisco, this is easily a day’s worth of activity for groups, families, couples, and solo travelers alike. No matter who ultimately claims the crown for best chowder, we all win. Aside from the various landmarks in this area, the walkability and public transport to other waterside destinations of San Francisco also make this a great addition to any itinerary. We recommend taking a leisurely ride on the streetcars if you can to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as a delicious way to wind down after the excitement of this event. 


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Our Favorite Festivals Around Seattle, WA

Seattle. This verdant corner of the nation boasts pleasant temperatures, majestic peaks, evergreen forests all in a dynamic and independent city, and with more than plenty to do. Whether you’ve made this your autumn getaway, are returning to see friends and family, or are a curious local, you’ll be pleased with the variety of options when it comes to what Seattle has to offer. Read on for some of our favorite festivals and events here in the Seattle autumntime.


A year-round staple of Seattle is Festal, a series of events open to the city dedicated to sharing the cultures of the people of Seattle. During autumn, this includes festivals celebrating Korean, Hawaiian, Latin American, Italian, Croatian, South Asian, Turkish, and Hmong culture, each a great opportunity to enjoy the diversity of Seattle and get to know the city. Because of the recurring nature of this series, this is something sure to pop up for any traveler here in Seattle throughout the autumn. Whether as a group, as a couple, or as a solo traveler, embrace the identities of Seattle here at Festal.


PAX West

In line with the city’s reputation with technology giant Microsoft, Seattle is one of the lucky cities to host PAX, a massive festival of all things gaming, whether it be tabletop, arcade, mobile, console, or computer. Here, exciting premieres and previews of the latest in gaming and gaming technology are revealed to fervent crowds. This is a must for any gamers and techies traveling to Seattle. Aside from the exhibitions by tech companies, game developers, and gaming teams, this is also a congregation of gamers and gaming culture from around the world. The brave can participate firsthand in freeplay by different platforms, various eSports tournaments, and LAN parties, or visitors can just enjoy trying out the newest in gaming. Panels, interviews, signings, and Q&As are also available for those closely following gaming and technology, as well as concerts. For the cool and rare sights alone, we recommend catching PAX if you’re in Seattle.


Freakout Festival

Freakout Festival is one of the biggest parties in the Northwest, bringing famous faces across various genres and bigger crowds each year. Light shows, multiple stages, and an intense atmosphere gather around names such as Liz Cooper, Big Business, Death Valley Girls, Elephant Stone Worn-Tin, Carrion Kids, Triptides, and more! For any visitors to Seattle who love a concert dialed to eleven, Freakout Festival is definitely something to add to your list. 


Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival

This display of craftsmanship and community along Lake Union is a great way to enjoy a laid-back day with the people of Seattle. Admire the works of sailors and wooden boats in a colorful and relaxing getaway to this corner of Seattle. For those wanting to step away from bustle or excitement, this is a great low-stakes option where you can unwind into a charming corner of Seattle’s heritage. 


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Our Favorite Festivals Around Raleigh, NC

Raleigh. At this corner of the research triangle, there’s more than meets the eye, the region quietly marching forward in academics, sport, medicine, the arts, and growth. Whether tourist, returnee, or local, if you’ve chosen the Raleigh area as your destination, you won’t be disappointed. Read on for some of our favorite autumn festivals and events in the area and get ready to see Raleigh like never before.

North Carolina State Fair

One of the largest events in the Carolinas, the North Carolina State Fair is a fun, colorful (and delicious!) way to celebrate all facets of North Carolina’s identity. Games, rides, vendors, competitions, exhibitions, stunts, and shows are just some of the things visitors can experience at the North Carolina State Fair. Sample famous North Carolina-style barbecue, fresh catches and oysters from the coast, gator and shark meat, and festival fare staples such as deep-fried candy bars. Or enjoy the many stunts and adventures of North Carolina performers, including pig races, lumberjacks throwing axes, floating log runs, and livestock competitions. In addition to the rides, there are a number of edutainment exhibitions showcasing the life and activities of North Carolina of a bygone era. The daring can also ride in a real monster truck, in the dizzying starship, or a number of extreme coasters! Take the group to the North Carolina State Fair, where there’s something for everyone. 


Hopscotch Music Festival

This event is noted for its scope as well as its scale, bringing over one hundred and twenty bands in various genres to growing crowds each year. If you can catch this event in September, get ready to enjoy the pumping atmosphere and appearance by major names such as Animal Collective, Flying Lotus, The Flaming Lips, CHVRCHES, Pusha T, James Blake, and more! Any concertgoers in the Raleigh area during autumn will want to mark this one on their calendars.


Wendell Harvest Festival

This festival is a great way to learn about the agricultural heritage of North Carolina and the Raleigh area but in a more laid-back manner. Community is at the forefront of the festival here in neighboring, quaint Wendell, where visitors can spend the day with charming small businesses and food trucks, live concerts, and a family area. For travelers with a group of varied ages and interests, this is a great low-stakes addition to any itinerary.

International Festival of Raleigh

The International Festival of Raleigh is a great way to learn about and celebrate the diverse and varied identities of the Raleigh area, a tradition of sharing and unity held since 1986. Here, visitors can sample and learn about the many groups that have come to Raleigh and made it the city it is today, with shows, dance, and cooking classes, small business, and of course, tons of delicious food. Raleigh boasts a stunning diversity of gastronomy, and it truly is something to enjoy if you get the chance, from papaya salad to momo to Sudanese karqadeh, Hungarian goulash, and Vietnamese bun thit nuong. 

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Our Favorite Festivals Around Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix. Between the Sonoran Desert, low Mountain ranges, and rapid growth, this Southwestern city only gets more exciting every year. Between an increasingly young and diverse population and breathtaking landscapes, there’s something for everyone here in the Valley of the Sun. So whether you’re a visiting tourist, returning to see friends and family, or a curious local, read on for our favorite autumn events here around Phoenix, and get ready to explore!

Junk in the Trunk

A truly unique experience for those in the Phoenix area is the elusive Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market, a charming hodgepodge where independent artisans, small businesses, and antiques put one-of-a-kind wares on sale. The colorful and varied scene of the Junk in the Trunk makes for a relaxing and interesting stroll, browsing the stalls at the market for the opportunity to take something home like none other. Aside from supporting small businesses and artists from Arizona and across the nation, this is also a good way to get to know the artists and craftsmen of the Phoenix area. Bring the whole group to the Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market to snap some pics and browse a truly eclectic collection.

Arizona State Fair

One of Arizona’s oldest traditions, the Arizona State Fair is a great way to experience a fun day out for any number of travelers! This is one of the biggest events in the state, with so much to do. Play fun games, enjoy festive (and daring) festival fare, go on a number of rides thrilling and gentle, listen to live music, and attend livestock shows, there’s something for everyone here at the Arizona State Fair. Giant turkey legs, deep-fried candy bars, Navajo tacos, Mexican corn, and barbecue are just some of the treats you can find over the fair. This is a great photo op and accommodates travelers of all ages and interests. For an event sure to entertain everyone, catch the Arizona State Fair.

Rainbows Festival

The Rainbows Festival is a celebration of Phoenix’s diverse and storied identity, where the city’s sense of community shines in sharing and enjoying all that makes Phoenix what it is. This event features Phoenix’s LGBTQIA+ community as a focus but is open and welcoming to visitors and residents of all backgrounds. Indeed, in recent years a number of local ethnic organizations representing and sharing the cultures of the various ethnic groups in the Phoenix area have also joined the mix, providing a fun and inviting look into the kaleidoscope of the Phoenix community. Between arts, live performances, live music, food, crafts, and the liveliness that takes over Phoenix’s streets, this is a great way to get to see Phoenix’s downtown personally. Over one hundred and fifty vendors and performers take the stage over two days, with so much to see. Come out and meet Phoenix’s downtown and the people who make it Phoenix, at the Rainbows Festival.

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Our Favorite Festivals Around Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia. This proudly unique and historic city has been a center of activity since the beginnings of the nation and continues this role into the present. From our foundations, through countless episodes of discovery, invention, sport, expression, and chapters of American culture, the common spirit of this city is evident in its happenings year-round. Make the city of brotherly love your destination this autumn, and tour these storied streets with some of our favorite festivals and events. 

Made in America Festival

This being Philadelphia, what better place to hold the ‘Made in America’ festival than the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence? Every year, Jay-Z shows his pride for the country in all the music of America, including rap, hip hop, EDM, rock, and pop. Don’t write off this concert as just a labor day event, however. The names that have appeared at the Made in America Festival are seriously big, from Nicki Minaj to Kendrick Lamar, Gunna, Rihanna, Coldplay, Travis Scott, SZA, Beyonce, The Weeknd, J. Cole, G-Eazy, Kanye West, Imagine Dragons, and John Mayer. This is just the tip of the iceberg for big names at this festival. And with each passing year, the rosters only seem to grow bigger! Bring everyone to the Made in America Festival and enjoy the best American music has to offer!


Ciao Philadelphia

The Philadelphia area boasts a strong Italian-American community, and celebrates this heritage every year at Ciao Philadelphia! This is a festival for all celebrating Italian-American heritage in every aspect and takes place throughout the autumn with different events focusing on each facet of Italian culture. Listen to opera, jazz, and travel along with Italians like Christopher Columbus and Leonardo DaVinci in a number of formats, whether as a musical production or in a walking tour! The former has earned the hearts of many local organizations, most notably the Consulate General of Italy, but the latter is a great opportunity to get to know Philadelphia through its Italian American community, hand-in-hand. 


Midtown Village Fall Festival

Enjoy Philadelphia’s biggest block party and tour the city at the Midtown Village Fall Festival! Party along Philadelphia’s charming streets and enjoy live entertainment, food, drink, small business, and games. Foodies will enjoy the selection, especially the German Brauerei-style main event with bratwurst, knackwurst, pulled pork, and pretzels to go along with hearty ales. Tables and tents line these blocks and are also a good intermediate addition to any itinerary, a good transition between major destinations throughout Philadelphia. This is a great way to support small businesses, see much of the city, and enjoy a street party with the strong sense of community that earned Philadelphia its name, the city of brotherly love. Take the whole group to the streets and enjoy Philly’s laid-back and fun-loving side at the Midtown Village Fall Festival. 

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Our Favorite Festivals Around Penn Station, NYC

Penn Station. At this dynamic hub of New York City and all of its action, there seems to be nothing you can’t find nearby. Thankfully, this is also the case for the autumn, the events and activities don’t stop during this part of the year. So whether you’re a visiting tourist, staying with family for a while, or a curious local, read on for some of our favorite festivals and events during autumn around Penn Station.

Madison Square Garden

Located above Penn Station is one of the largest venues in New York, if not the world, Madison Square Garden! Here, NBA Matches, superstar musicians, A-list comedians, NHL Hockey and UFC Titans face off in this arena of the Big Apple. While these events are quite the spectacle, to Madison Square Garden they’re nothing new, and if you have the means we highly recommend attending any of these blockbuster events right here on top of Penn Station. Just this autumn alone, the Knicks and Rangers are to play their home games while Harry Styles, Meek Mill, Jo Koy, Alejandro Sanz, John Legend, and Enrique Iglesias are all to perform, and that’s only the start of the schedule here at Madison Square Garden. If you’ll be in the Penn Station area during this autumn, take the opportunity to witness an event at one of the most famed venues in the world.


Rose Mansion

The Rose Mansion is something difficult to describe in itself. As taken from their website; “Rose Mansion is an interactive wine tasting adventure that combines a wine bar, an Insta-worthy amusement park, and a science museum into one epic dreampark.” Still confused? It’s a wine-tasting bar with plentiful photo ops and a gorgeous, chill interior. Wine, pink, flowers, and this fashionable, surreal step into the Rose Mansion is a truly unique experience to this area. To put this attraction into words is failing to do it justice, so we recommend following the link below and seeing for yourself. 


Events and Programs at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology

The most fashionable museum in New York City is a one-of-a-kind attraction to this neighborhood, where visitors can learn about the intricacies and dialogues of fashion. In line with the exhibits, the Museum at FIT also provides regular online and in-person exhibitions and classes, a great opportunity for visitors and those staying in the area to explore and learn about the world of fashion. From shoes to sneakers to catwalks to insight and in-depth conversions with some of the biggest names in fashion, visitors with an interest in clothing, design, and styles will delight in the variety of programming and inclusive events here at FIT. Aside from these events open to the public, they also have a regularly rotating list of exhibitions and visiting speakers at FIT, so this is worth a revisit throughout the autumn for those staying longer term in the Penn Station area. 


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Our Favorite Festivals Around Portland, OR

Portland. This charming northwestern city punches well above its weight, boasting beautiful and varied scenery, famously independent and unique neighborhoods, and innovation all in a city that’s yet to break 4 million. If you’ve chosen Portland as your autumn destination, you won’t be disappointed, with so much happening here year-round. Read on for some of our favorite festivals and events here around Rose City.

Rose City Comic-Con

Among all the interests represented by the residents of Portland, all things pop culture are anything but forgotten here at Rose City Comic Con, the place to be for all things ‘geek’. Gaming, technology, comic books, cinema, television, and cosplay are all dialed up to eleven here at Rose City Comic Con, where fans, communities, creators, and celebrities come together in an event dedicated entirely to their craft. Visitors can participate in a gaming tournament, shop exclusive merchandise and issues, interact with fan communities, or attend a signing and Q&A session with their favorite actor/author/director. 

The popularity of Rose City Comic Con has exploded in recent years, bringing some seriously big names to the event, including appearances by Wil Wheaton, Carrie Fisher, Stan Lee, Jon Bernthal, Peter Capaldi, William Shatner, Felicia Day, Val Kilmer, Michael Rooker, David Tennant and so many more! Embrace all things ‘geek’ and pop culture and immerse yourself in Rose City Comic Con!

The Wedge

With famous faces such as Umpqua and Tillamook taking the country by storm, The Wedge is a one-of-a-kind (and tasty) event that celebrates all things Cheese! Dairies and cheesemakers big and small compete for the hearts and stomachs of attendees each year in this delicious and charming farmers market festival. Aside from the cheeses, numerous local breweries and restaurants also come out to fill out a mouthwatering roster. All foodies and visitors with a large appetite should keep an eye out for this event.



In line with Portland’s famously green and health-conscious image, VegFest is another culinary specialty of the Rose City, a festival dedicated to vegetarian foods and vegetarian living. Here, visitors can try out the inventions of vegetarian cuisine and explore the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles of the Portland area. Bring the group to VegFest for the more health-conscious party, and chow down on options that are distinctly Portland. 


Portland Book Festival

All bookworms ahoy! The Portland Book Festival is a must for fans of all things paperback, where book clubs, authors, and editors come together in the Portland Art Museum to celebrate all things book. Grab a signed copy from a favorite author, participate in a question panel among the public, meet up with other literature fans or even participate in writing workshops! This is a great option for all ages and readers of all interests, and also includes admission to the Portland Art Museum, a two-for-one, if you will. Bring the party to the Portland Book Festival for a laid-back and memorable experience. 

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