We recently attended the Jim Thorpe Fall Foliage Festival, and had a wonderful family day filled with delicious food and fun entertainment!
Even though it’s only a short 2 hour drive from my house, I have only been to Jim Thorpe, PA one other time in my life. It was probably 10 years ago, and we spent a nice afternoon grabbing lunch and browsing some shops before heading back to our vacation rental in a different area of the Poconos.
So when the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau invited us to visit Jim Thorpe as their guests, I jumped at the chance to really see what all this quaint town had to offer! The fact that our visit fell on the same weekend as the Fall Foliage Festival was a huge bonus!
The Fall Foliage Festival runs the first 3 weekends in October. Which means for 2017, you still have one weekend left to go on Oct. 21-22! If we didn’t already have plans this weekend, we would probably consider heading back up, because we enjoyed it so much!
Entertainment at Fall Foliage Festival
There were 4 stages set-up throughout town with live music playing throughout the day. You can see the full line up on the Jim Thorpe site, but the live music mostly ran from 11:00 am until about 5:00 pm.
There was a stage down by the train tracks where the food trucks are and another stage at the other end of town outside of the Mauch Chunk Opera House. Two more stages were set-up between those two and tucked back in between shops.
There are also performances at the Opera House in the evening during the festival.
Food at Fall Foliage Festival
There are a number of restaurants and eateries throughout the shopping district in Jim Thorpe that are open during the festival. Take some time to peak in even if it’s just to catch a quick drink at a pub. The buildings themselves are so interesting and worth seeing!
You can also head down towards the train station to Josiah White Park to see all the local food vendors and food trucks that are there specifically for the Fall Foliage Festival. There is not a huge number of food trucks, but the ones that are there are very unique and delicious!
There is an Egyptian food truck, a noodles truck with jerk chicken on a stick, gator strips (my son had these and they tasted just like chicken), roasted street corn (it was AMAZING!), and so much more! Be sure to also check out the Italian Bakery stand for dessert. I mean, seriously…
Activities at Fall Foliage Festival
Our favorite activity by far was a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway!
When you enter the train cars, sit on the far side away from the station. This is the side the river will be on and will provide you with the best views!
Before we left for our train ride, the bike outfitters right across the street from the train station was loading up rental bikes and the riders.
On our train ride, we passed so many bikers that would race the train and wave! It was just such a friendly, welcoming atmosphere everywhere we went!
If trains aren’t really your speed, there are also horse and carriage rides throughout town! We’re hoping to do this the next time we visit to get a better view of the town itself.
We didn’t have time on this visit, but there are also tours available during the Festival of the Old Jail, Asa Packer Mansion, Mauch Chunk Museum and St. Mark’s Church.
Shopping in Jim Thorpe, PA
There is no shortage of unique boutiques and shops scattered throughout town. It was fun just to window shop some of them and see the displays they had set up for visitors.
During the festival, there are also local artisans and crafters set up outside the train station with their products. We spent quite a bit of time at the stand with clay pieces and wanted to purchase nearly everything!
You can also visit some of the wineries throughout town for wine tastings during the Fall Foliage Festival.
Parking for the Fall Foliage Festival
It’s no secret that parking is very limited in Jim Thorpe. It is a small town built into the side of the mountain, and there just isn’t enough parking.
What we did, and what I highly recommend, is driving out to Mauch Chunk Lake Park and parking there. The GPS address to find it is: 625 Lentz Trail Jim Thorpe, PA. The parking is $15/car and then they provide a free shuttle that drives you a few minutes into town.
The shuttle drops you off and picks you up right outside of the Mauch Chunk Opera House. It is incredibly convenient and you completely eliminate the hassle of trying to find parking in a town with very limited parking during a very busy festival! Just be aware that the last shuttle run is at 6:00 pm, so you need to leave by then to catch a ride back to your vehicle.
Be sure to check out the Jim Thorpe website for more information on the festival including Ghost Tours, the Scarecrow Contest, FAQ and more!