Fall 2018 Events and Activities Around Keowee Lake and Oconee County
Beautiful Oconee County, South Carolina is a fantastic place to visit any time of year! Full of beautiful rolling hills and dozens of lakes and rivers to explore, this truly is “the land beside the water.” Those who live here and those who visit often know that fall is a truly magical time of year, particularly at Lake Keowee.
Lake Keowee is typically known as one of the hottest summertime recreation locations in all of Oconee County. However, you’ll only experience half of this lake’s beauty if you’re just visiting in the summer. Lake Keowee property owners will tell you tales of gorgeous blue waters juxtaposed against hills filled with autumn red, amber and gold. That’s not all, though. There are plenty of activities and festivals to fill up your free time in the fall!
Each of the cities that border this beautiful reservoir has its own taste of fall to show you. Below, we’ll walk you through some can’t-miss events that happen each season, so you can plan your schedule accordingly.
1. South Carolina Apple Festival
Sept. 5th-Sept. 9th, Westminster, SC
For the past 61 years, locals from Lake Keowee subdivisions and beyond have marked their calendars as “busy” the weekend after Labor Day so they can attend this legendary festival; a true celebration of the start of the apple harvesting season. Thousands of people go to the Apple Festival to get their fill of fried apple pie and homemade ice cream, see the famous Apple Festival parade and attend the Apple Fest pageant! This festival has something for everyone in the family.
There will be woodworking demonstrations, shopping, live music, a car show, a quilt show, and even whitewater rafting! Make sure to enroll yourself in the apple baking contest with your grandma’s secret recipe or bring your kids to the annual rodeo. If you’re from out of town, make it a long weekend by renting one of the beautiful Lake Keowee homes and choose what days you go to the festival!
2. Little Cane Creek Farm Corn Maze
Sept. 21st -Nov. 4th, West Union, SC
Especially if you have children, you do not want to miss a visit to Little Cane Creek Farm’s Corn Maze in West Union. Prepare to set aside a big chunk of time because this is a corn maze like you’ve never seen before! The corn maze itself is huge, a whopping 5 square acres. It’s a new experience each year because each year the theme changes. That’s not where the family ends though. Included with your admission into the corn maze is a free hayride! Sit back and relax as you enjoy a ride through Little Cane’s organic veggie farm. You’ll love that you can experience the hayride in a real seat, your kids will love the fact that it’s being pulled by a fancy tractor!
If experiencing nature is more your thing, take a walk through the beautiful sunflower patch. It makes a fantastic photo opportunity when in bloom! For that real fall feel in your photos, though, head over to the pumpkin patch and let your kiddos choose their favorite. Truly, the memories you make on this farm will last a lifetime. This farm is a must for those living in the Lake Keowee subdivisions.
3. South Carolina Foothills Heritage Fair
Sept. 25th-29th, Seneca, SC
If you have never been to an old-fashioned county fair, then you simply must attend the Foothills Heritage Fair! It’s only been around for the past ten years, but it’s like taking a step back in time. Admission is cheap (less than $5, even for adults!) and there’s so much to do and see. The best event to see is the rodeo, featuring some incredibly talented high school students. If your children want to see and interact with animals, there’s a ton of interactive animal exhibits, featuring cows, goats and more. There’s also a livestock show where you’ll see some of the finest farm animals around. Especially if you live in an urban area, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this festival.
The festival has some old favorites that have been left behind at some local fairs. For example, you can sample and cast your vote at the canning and baking competitions! You can also check out some demonstration of antique farm equipment that still works and see some super talented kids do their clogging! And of course, this wouldn’t be an old-time fair if it did not have fair rides. You’ll be happy to know your old favorites, like the Tilt-a-Whirl and a Ferris wheel, are all part of this fun festival.
4. Walhalla Oktoberfest
Oct. 19th 21st, Walhalla, SC
If you’ve never been to an Oktoberfest, specifically this one located in Walhalla, you have been missing out on an exceptionally good time! Grab an apple dumpling, a brat and a good German beer and pull up a seat while we tell you about this awesome festival with German roots!
First off, Walhalla is stunning, with gorgeous views of the water and beautiful rolling hills. Second, you’ll be hard- pressed to find another nearby festival where you can dress up in a costume and fit right in. Many people choose to wear traditional German clothing, like lederhosen and dirndl.
If you don’t have an outfit, don’t worry, we can guarantee that you’ll still have a good time! There’s great food, great drinks and you’ll find lots of local goods, like arts and crafts and handmade items. You can also bring your kids because there’s an unlimited carnival ride pass that you can buy on Sunday for just $12! This festival does a great job of mixing what parents and kids love so everyone can have a good time.
5. Foot Race Marathon, Appalachian Series
October 6-14, 2018; Day 5 (October 10) Seneca, SC
If you’re a runner looking for a good time this fall, look no further than Mainly Marathon’s Appalachian Series, which makes its way through stunning Seneca in October. If you’re not familiar with how this works, the Appalachian Series is a series of nine separate marathon length runs, with one happening each day between October 6th-October 14th. Participants can either choose to participate in just one or be very adventurous and try running all nine of them. It’s quite a feat!
We encourage you to participate on day 5 of the series, which lands on October 10th. This is a gorgeous marathon that runs through beautiful Seneca, South Carolina. The race involves 12 laps around the Shaver Recreation Complex. It’s a beautiful paved path but be prepared! It is also very hilly!
6. Keowee Sailing Club Turkey Shoot Regatta & Last Cat Regatta
Oct. 26th-28th, Seneca, SC
Each year Keowee’s Sailing Club hosts two very popular events, the Last Cat Regatta (typically held in late September) and the Turkey Shoot Regatta (in early November). This year, they’re combining both for double the fun!
This will be an open regatta, open to anyone who can sail within the available racing classes like the open dinghy, Flying Scot and Multihull. You don’t even have to be a member of the Keowee Sailing Club to do the race. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie with the various sailing teams that come from up and down the East coast to be a part of this regatta. This is a two-day event that is filled with much more than just sailing. There are so many activities planned and each night ends with a mouthwatering meal. This will be a race that is so beautiful and so much fun. You will remember it for years to come!
7. Halloween on the Green
Oct. 31st, Seneca, SC
This fun and free event is a citywide event in Seneca put on by the mayor and the city council members! Talk about small town charm! The whole city attends this annual event, filled with kids in costumes, free hot dogs and of course lots of candy! There’s pumpkin painting for the little ones and a costume contest, so make sure you get creative with your costumes and prepare in advance! And it’s always fun to have some trick-or-treat jokes ready to go!
8. Horseback Riding in the Mountain Trails of Lake Keowee
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just want to experience the beautiful fall foliage in a different way, we highly advise that you go for a horseback ride on the trails surrounding Lake Keowee. The Equestrian Center at The Cliffs at Keowee, which is a gorgeous suburban neighborhood in Oconee County is the perfect place for horseback riding! From the Equestrian Center, riders can connect with more than 200 miles of gorgeous trails that weave in and out of the Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area. There are even some trails right in the neighborhood, in Keowee Vineyards.
You should know that you must be a member to take one of the horses out, so if you’re looking to buy one of the beautiful Lake Keowee homes, this is a great place to start your search! For those who own horses and are looking for a new home or vacation property, the staff at the equestrian center promises they will pamper your horse, should you choose them as your primary stable.
9. Ziplining Over the Beautiful Fall Trees
If you have ever seen a bird flying overhead in Oconee County and wished that you had its view of the beautiful fall colors, wish no more! You can zipline over all the trees and hills thanks to the fine people at Chattooga Ridge Canopy Tours. With Wildwater’s tour, you will be ziplining for more than a half mile, even ziplining over Academy Lake! You’ll see all kinds of gorgeous trees and wildlife, and the tour is guided by two canopy rangers who can tell you exactly what you’re looking at and give you some historical background on the area as well. The total trip will take you about three hours, so plan on this being a half-day trip! The tours do end in early November, so this is an event you want to schedule in advance.
It is also important to note that while children are welcomed and encouraged to come, they must be at least ten years old and at least 70 lbs. Wildwater Rafting provides all the necessary equipment like a helmet, gloves and harness but does ask that you wear closed toed shoes.
10. Hike the Waterfalls in Oconee County
If fall festivals are too much for you, there are still plenty of activities you can get involved in that don’t involve dressing up or mingling with thousands of other people. For example, Oconee County is known to have some of the most beautiful, naturally occurring waterfalls in the entire country. The fall colors only enhance their beauty. Whether it’s the Big Bend Falls on the Chattooga River or the gorgeous Secret Falls in Cane Creek, you will be amazed by the rushing waters that surround Oconee. The county has a wonderful website that features an interactive map, so you can plan your trip in advance.
The hikes range in difficulty from very easy to quite challenging, so if you have questions, stop in at the visitor’s bureau before you embark on your hike. There you can pick up a map of the county or you can simply use one of the apps on your phone to navigate between the various falls in the area. Most importantly, the views are stunning! You will not regret making the trip to see any of these waterfalls.
If you own a Lake Keowee property, you already know that the beauty and excitement that this region brings is unmatched. Fantastic weather, small town charm, and so much to do; it’s easy to see why some people come to vacation here and then never leave! The fall brings so many opportunities to come together as a community and do so much as a family. There’s just never a dull moment in Oconee County!