We scoured the country for some of the hottest outdoor events. It’s never too early to start thinking about organized gatherings of spiced corn on the cob, live music and cultural activities throughout the country during the last few months of the year.

Now is the time to gather your family or group of friends (festivals are best enjoyed with at least one co-attendee), to secure the best tickets (always check discount sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial), to plan your wardrobes (walking shoes are essential) and get ready for the experience!

1. California and New Jersey – Rock The Bells (San Bernardino: August 18-19, Mountain View: August 25-26 Holmdel NJ: September 1-2,) – Don’t even think about missing this one! It’s three different weekends of live hip-hop with legendary artists like KRS-One, Nas, and Ice Cube!

2. Brooklyn – Afro-punk Fest (August 25-26, 2012) – The highly anticipated New York-based festival presents new Black alternative and independent artists.

3. Atlanta –  One Music Fest (September 1, 2012) – Musical performances from local and national talent that features a food truck park and sounds from artists in the genres ranging from alternative to hip-hop. Currently billed artists include Eric Roberson, MC Lyte, and Marsha Ambrosius.

4. Birmingham – Birmingham Food & Wine Festival (October 14, 2012) – Hosted by a consortium of Birmingham restaurateurs, this festival will showcase over 25 courses emphasizing regional flavors and locally grown foods.

5. Charlotte – Great Grapes Wine, Arts and Food Festival (October 6, 2012) – This annual event features wonderful wines, great bites and a variety of art vendors.

6. Chicago – Ravenswood Remix (September 1-2, 2012) – This festival celebrates artists who incorporate used or recycled items in creating original handmade art, clothing, household items and other collectibles.

7. Dallas – State Fair of Texas (September 28 – October 21, 2012) – Howdy, sure enough! Grab your cowboy hat and enjoy arts, music, gardening and livestock exhibits. Hey! You only live once.

8. Washington D.C – Blocktober Fest (September 29, 2012) – Billed as the Mid-Atlantic’s premier fall festival for the DMV set, enjoy good music and delightful hops.

9. New Orleans – Bayou Bacchanal (November 3-4, 2012) – Second Line directly to this weekend long celebration for those with roots in the Caribbean and New Orleans.

10. Oakland/San Francisco – Monterrey Jazz Festival (September 21-23, 2012) – Simply the best jazz in the world on one stage!

Take this cross-section of fall festivals and mark your calendars.

Shameeka Ayers is an Atlanta-based lifestyle blogger and author who dispenses entertaining, shelter and food & wine anecdotes and advice via her alter ego, The Broke Socialite. She also produces a national tour of curated dessert-tasting experiences, Sugar Coma Events™.  Her first novella, Instantly!: How Quickly I Realized I HATE My Job was released this summer.