By Adam McCully
If you’re one of the thousands of people traveling the Western PA section of I-80 any given day, you might be familiar with Exit 62 towards Clarion, also known as the Traveler’s Oasis. With its wide array of hotels, restaurants, and shopping options, Clarion is a hotspot for travelers all year round, but in the fall this college town becomes a mecca for travelers from across the globe thanks to its world-famous Autumn Leaf Festival.
The 2017 Autumn Leaf Festival (or ALF as the locals call it) is a nine-day, internationally award winning festival that attracts over 500,000 visitors to the area. Instead of asking what does the Autumn Leaf Festival have to offer, a better question would be what doesn’t the Autumn Leaf Festival have to offer. Carnival rides, art vendors, an antique tractor show, Miss Teen and Miss Junior Teen ALF, the Farmer’s and Crafter’s show, food, food, and more food, live music, and of course, the crown jewel of this event, the Tournament of Leaves Parade.
This fantastic festival of fall foliage is fun for the whole family, with events and attractions that will appeal to any age group. And what would a fall festival be without a football game? A lot less fun. The Autumn Leaf Festival coincides with Clarion University’s homecoming week. The events of the week will culminate with the big Tournament of Leaves Parade on Saturday, October 1 at noon. This time-honored parade features marching bands, floats and many community organizations. At 2 p.m. the action will move to Clarion’s Memorial Stadium where Clarion’s Golden Eagles will take on the Seton Hill Griffins.
You know how no two leaves are exactly the same? Well, no two Autumn Leaf Festivals are exactly the same either. Each festival has its own theme, and this year’s theme celebrates the prestigious Clarion University. Leaves of Blue and Gold: Celebrating 150 years of Clarion University is the theme for 2017 and you can be sure that this will only add to the already high levels of school spirit present during ALF.
Along with plenty of local sponsors, the Autumn Leaf Festival is made possible thanks to sponsorship from the US Army. For up-to-date information and a complete schedule of events check out the festival’s link at ClarionPA.com or call the Clarion Area Chamber at (814) 226-9161.
Find more information to plan your trip to the PA Great Outdoors online at VisitPAGO.com or call (814) 849-5197.