Fall Festivals in 2006 in Bavarian Village of Leavenworth, Washington

If you’re looking for an ideal fall vacation destination in the Pacific Northwest filled with fun, festivities, and great food, the beautiful town of Leavenworth, Washington is the perfect place to go. Bavarian Leavenworth celebrates three very popular fall festivals in September and October every year that attract tourists from as far away as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Russia, Canada, England, and a host of other countries worldwide. This year (2006) is also Leavenworth’s Centennial Year and each month, including September and October, something special has been added for tourists and local folk to enjoy. For such a small sized town, it seems incredible that approximately 900,000 tourists are attracted to the enchanting Bavarian village of Leavenworth annually.

And, it’s easy to see why!

Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian village nestled in a lovely scenic valley on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Washington. Surrounding Leavenworth is the Wenatchee National Forest comprised of 2.2 million acres, which definitely adds to the natural beauty of this renowned tourist town. When you first enter Leavenworth and observe the captivating Bavarian theme depicted on all of the storefronts, businesses, and places of lodging throughout the town, you are apt to think you accidentally stumbled into a small village in Germany, Switzerland, or Austria! Further, you are greeted by friendly shopkeepers in traditional high country Bavarian attire, many with a definite German accent. Live accordion music and Swiss yodeling float through the air from the gazebo in the center of town, while tourists, locals, and children dance in the streets to the lively tunes. The tantalizing fragrances of sausage and sauerkraut, fresh baked bread and cinnamon rolls will lure you into one of many choice restaurants where you can sample a wide array of authentic German cuisine. Artists, both local and out of town, display their beautiful artwork and paintings outdoors in the city park from early spring to late fall. How great is all of this for starters in the quaint Bavarian Village of Leavenworth!

However, this wasn’t always so! Just a tad bit of Leavenworth’s early history . . .

Leavenworth was once supported by logging, railroads, and agriculture. However, that all changed when the new 6-mile railroad tunnel was built that bypassed Tumwater Canyon and the town of Leavenworth, and instead went directly to the city of Wenatchee. This devastated Leavenworth’s economy and as a result many businesses closed and by the 1950s, the town became all but a deserted ghost town. It was in the mid 1960s that the community, along with some help from the University of Washington, worked together and formed Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) with the goal of keeping Leavenworth alive by transforming the town to reflect a “Bavarian” theme. Through careful planning and hard work by many different people, Project LIFE proved to be a huge success.

After word spread about Leavenworth’s new look it wasn’t long before tourists began to arrive to check out this “new Bavarian town.” Tourism dollars definitely sparked the economy, which in turn brought in new businesses. More events and festivals were scheduled, many additional recreational activities were developed, and with many more tourists arriving every year, the need for additional accommodations in Leavenworth had to be met. Today, there are many inns, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, and hotels in or near downtown Leavenworth that accommodate the most discerning tourists. Leavenworth is not just a town for travelers to visit these days – it’s a destination for tourists from around the world!


2006 AUTUMN LEAF FESTIVAL – September 22, 23, 24

Leavenworth’s original festival was the Autumn Leaf Festival held in 1964 when the town started its Bavarian theme. The ALFA (Autumn Leaf Festival Association), a non-profit organization, was formed to promote the town of Leavenworth and administrate the festival. The festival is now held every year during the last full weekend of September to celebrate the brilliant fall colors of the leaves that turn yellow, golden, and red. Each year a different Royal Lady of the Autumn Leaves is selected to reign over the festival. This year’s lovely Royal Lady is Nancy Piestrup who represents Leavenworth at many different events throughout the year. The 2006 Autumn Leaf Parade float will also depict the Leavenworth’s Centennial year.

Some of the many events scheduled for this year’s festival include the Grand Parade, Autumn Leaf Festival Heritage Exhibit, Drill Team Competition, Autumn Nights Front Street Dance, Music and Yodeling at the Front Street Gazebo, Autumn Leaf Craft Bazaar, Art in the Park, and many others. For a complete schedule of events during the 2006 Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth, Washington, visit this web site: http://www.autumnleaffestival.com/

2006 WENATCHEE RIVER SALMON FESTIVAL – September 28th to October 1st

The Wenatchee River Salmon Festival is a 4-day natural resource educational festival that takes place just outside of town at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Many thousands of Chinook salmon are raised at this hatchery every year, and then released into the nearby Wenatchee River. The Salmon Festival is held here every year to celebrate the annual return of the Chinook salmon from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the fresh waters of the Wenatchee River.

This year there is a special Smithsonian Folklife Exhibit called “INSPIRATIONS FROM THE FOREST.” This is a very interesting exhibit that depicts how forests and natural environment inspires works of art. Artists will be demonstrating many different crafts such as weaving, sculpting, painting, woodcarving, and many others. Since two of these days are school days, many students from North Central Washington schools will be attending the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival. Some of the other scheduled events include a Live Raptor Presentation and a Live Reptile Presentation, Animal Costume Parade, Discovery Hunt, Amazing Salmon Maze, Migration Golf, Art and Craft Fair, and many others. For a complete schedule of events during this great salmon festival, visit this web site: http://www.salmonfest.org/schedule.htm

2006 OKTOBERFEST – September 29-30, October 1 and October 7, 8

Leavenworth’s biggest festival every year is Oktoberfest, featuring 2 full weeks of exciting and educational activities for children and adults of all ages. This festival is truly family oriented and draws visitors from around the world. Musical groups from around the United States and also from Germany are featured together with German food and beer, a Bavarian used clothing sale, arts and crafts, live music and street dancing, yodeling, and of course the Oktoberfest grand parade that includes the official Leavenworth Bierwagen. Restaurants and street vendors offer a wide variety of tasty German food and desserts. Leavenworth boasts an abundance of shops that offer tourists a host of beautiful items such as clocks, jewelry, home dÃ?©cor items from Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Russia and others. Visitors from far and wide are sure to enjoy the daily Art in the Park exhibits where artists display their outstanding artwork and crafts. Oktoberfest 2006 in Leavenworth, Washington promises you a fantastic experience that you will definitely want to capture on your camera, so come prepared! For a complete schedule of events visit this web site: http://www.leavenworthoktoberfest.com/


The town of Leavenworth is located at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and Icicle Creek and is an easy two-hour drive east of Seattle. From Seattle, take U.S. Highway 522 east to the city of Monroe, then continue east on U.S. Highway 2 over scenic Steven’s Pass for 85 miles to Leavenworth. This route is a favorite of travelers from Seattle to Leavenworth as the scenery is superb, especially in September and October when the leaves of the deciduous trees turn from green to a brilliant yellow, gold, and red. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture these gorgeous fall colors during this beautiful autumn season.

When driving to Leavenworth from Seattle via Snoqualmie Pass, travel east on I-90 to a little past the city of Cle Elum, then take the Wenatchee exit at milepost 85. Go east on State Route 970 about 20 miles to the junction at U.S. Highway 97, then go north on U.S. 97 approximately 35 miles over Blewett Pass to Highway 2, then turn left onto Highway 2 and travel the 4 short miles into the town of Leavenworth. The brilliant fall colors all along the Blewett Pass highway are also outstanding during September and October, so be prepared for some magnificent scenery on your way to Bavarian Leavenworth. You will also want to watch carefully for deer and elk that sometimes decide to cross the highway on Blewett Pass.

If you’re coming from Spokane via U.S. I-90, you will exit to Highway 281 near the little country town of George, Washington. Yep, that’s George, Washington!! Drive north on Highway 281 about 10 miles, then turn west onto U.S. 28 until you get to Wenatchee and Highway 2. Finally, proceed west on Highway 2 until you reach the quaint Bavarian town Leavenworth.

Another easy way to get driving directions to Leavenworth (or any other city) is to visit the MAPQUEST.COM web site and enter the information required to the destination city you’re looking for. Mapquest will give you specific directions to your destination, the exact mileage from your home or other place, and also about how long it will take you to arrive at your destination. You can print out the directions to take with you on your trip which makes getting there soooooo easy!!

Lastly, ENJOY your fall vacation in Leavenworth, Washington! There is so much to do and see in and around Leavenworth that you will want to be sure you reserve enough time to cram in as much fun and/or relaxation as you can during your visit. Check out this link for a list of great lodging places (all with toll free numbers) to reserve for your stay:

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