9 of Brooklyn’s Coolest Fests and Forums of the Fall

Our crisp guide to a season exploding with colorful ways to expand your horizons, whether for business or pleasure

Atlantic Antic, Brooklyn's largest street fair, returns this Sunday with 500 vendors and 100 local businesses along a one-mile stretch (Photo by iStockphoto/Getty)

Goodbye to summer, when everyone’s doing their own thing, and hello to Brooklyn’s new fall season, when people are hunting and gathering for new experiences. A cornucopia of fairs, festivals and conferences is on the calendar. We bring you a quick rundown of early autumn’s coolest events for business and pleasure.

1. Atlantic Antic

It’s the biggest street festival in Brooklyn, celebrating its 43rd year on Sun., Sept. 24. Like a longitudinal carnival, the fest stretches over a mile across four neighborhoods: Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Downtown Brooklyn.  More than 500 vendors and 100 local businesses are scheduled to take part. The festival runs from 12 pm to 6 pm, with live music and performances. For the kids: pony rides, bounce houses, face painting.

2. Photoville

Photoville is a photography festival arranged as a mini-village of more than 55 shipping containers showcasing the work of more than 500 visual artists. Now in its sixth year, the festival is situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park right under the bridge and runs from Sept. 21-24. Free and open to the public, the event includes panel discussions, workshops and food-and-drink vendors.

3. FAD Market

FAD Market is a roving, pop-up marketplace–FAD stands for fashion, art and design–that started last year with a pop-up at Issue Project Room. More events followed, and now FAD has found a venue for two fall festivals at the new Bklyn Studios at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. This Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24, FAD celebrates New York Textile Month with a show of ten NY-based artists and a selection of textile and fabric makers. On Oct. 21-22, FAD and the Invisible Dog Art Center will present an exhibition of the works of Brooklyn sculptor Abraham McNally. Bonus attraction: a giant coloring-wall installation.

4. Brooklyn Comes Alive

Brooklyn Comes Alive, now in its third year, is a musical smorgasbord featuring more than 100 artists performing over two days, this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24. With flavorings of both Brooklyn and New Orleans, the fest includes jam sessions and special tribute sets. Each ticket grants attendees in-and-out access at three venues in the heart of Williamsburg: Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Schimanski.

5. Maker Faire

OK, this one’s not actually in Brooklyn, per se, but it’s worth a trip to our neighbor borough. Maker Faire, which launched a decade ago in the Bay Area, calls itself “a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” You’ll find tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, students and exhibitors of all stripes, “showing what they’ve made and learned.” The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24 at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

6. Platform

Platform is a contemporary art show, book fair and film festival with a special focus on “emerging and mid-career” artists who have a unique voice and message. The dozens of artists are described as “necessary, important, relevant.” The festival will be Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint.

7. BRIC JazzFest

The third annual BRIC Jazzfest is a three-stage, live-music marathon that also includes film, dance and a panel discussion. The events will take place Oct. 14-21 at BRIC House at 647 Fulton St., in what has become known as the Brooklyn Cultural District. BRIC says that is has designed the event to let the audience move freely among performances and catch all of the artists each night. Food and drink are available from the BRIC House café and bar.

8. Culture Forward

Culture Forward is a brand-new event this year, celebrating Downtown Brooklyn’s arts-and-cultural institutions. The 10-day festival, Oct. 14 to 23, is designed to showcase the depth of cultural offerings from more than 15 organizations including BRIC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and St. Ann’s Warehouse. Jazz concerts, poetry slams and even glass-blowing will be offered at an array of downtown venues.

9. Brooklyn Podcast Festival

Podcasts have become so big that fan communities have formed around them–so why not make it a festival? City Farm Presents, the producing team behind Brooklyn venues The Bell House and Union Hall, has launched the Brooklyn Podcast Festival for Nov. 14-19. Details have yet to emerge, but the team promises “a celebration of the innovative, engaging, and informative podcasts of all genres, the artists who create them, and the community surrounding them.” The fest will take place in several Brooklyn venues.

Arden Phillips is a New York-based writer and a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she received a degree in Television, Radio, and Film.