Fall festivals host fun for families
By DYLAN JOHNSON
As the leaves change and the superhero costumes fly off the shelves, thousands of people around the area will don their coats and scarfs in search of caramel apples, hay rides and the perfect pumpkin.
Autumn is one of the best times for festivals in Western Pennsylvania. There are at least half a dozen festivals coming to the area before the holiday season.
Faranda Farm Harvest Festival
The first festival starts Sept. 23 at Faranda's Farm at 1171 Penn Ave., Hollsopple.
Faranda's Farm offers hay rides, corn hole, a duck race, a giant slingshot, horseshoes and other family activities.
Kids can also pick their own pumpkins or make their way through a 5-acre corn maze, which will be cut into a congratulatory message for Pitt-Johnstown's 90th anniversary.
The festival will run from 4 p.m. to dusk every Friday in October, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays from Sept. 23 to Oct. 29.
Hillegas Sugar Camp
The Hillegas Sugar Camp is trying out a new event this year by opening up their sugar camp to visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 7.
The camp at 455 Dividing Ridge, Fairhope, will have pre-picked pumpkins along with new maple treats that visitors will be able to try for the first time.
Owner Kyle Hillegas said that he is trying new products like maple barbecue sauce, maple-coated nuts and maple mustard.
"We wanted to have maple products in the fall. You normally think of maple in the spring, but we'll have available some samples of new products that we're looking to sell," he said. "We're adding sweet to the fall season."
Seven Springs Autumnfest
Seven Springs Mountain Resort's Autumnfest will return for the 33rd year on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 30 to Oct. 22.
The festival will have family activities, live music, local artisans, a crafts bazaar and other activities.
Communications Manager Katie Buchan said that the resorts focuses on bringing in the region's best talent and craftsmen.
"We focus on keeping the entertainment and crafters local," she said. "Seven Springs also has a gorgeous setting. The landscape becomes breathtaking. You can hop on the chairlifts and take a ride up to the incredible views of the foliage."
They will also have pumpkin painting, face painting, a hay bale maze, petting zoo, pony rides, magicians, fire breathers and wagon rides.
Marketing Director Alex Moser said many families attend the festival every year.
"It's all about creating memories and celebrating the mountain's transformation of color and the changing seasons," he said. "The Autumnfest atmosphere is truly unforgettable."
Windber has changed up their annual Oktoberfest celebration at Windber Recreation Park in recent years. The aim has been to create an authentic Hoffbrauhaus dinner.
The German meal will feature bratwurst on cabbage, sauerkraut balls, a warm pretzel and desert. It also comes with spaetzle – a German dumpling noodle poached in Hefeweizen beer. The meal comes with two beer tickets, redeemable for domestic drafts.
Oktoberfest will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at the park along Route 160.
Confluence's annual Pumpkinfest is one of the largest events each year in Confluence. The event from Oct. 6 to 8 will have a variety of vendors selling food and crafts.
The queen pageant will officially kick off Pumpkinfest on Oct. 5.
Activities include a tractor show, car smashing, hay rides, tractor pulls, bingo, pumpkin carving, live bands, a parade, car show and tractor square dancing. The parade will start at 5 p.m. Oct. 8.
Bedford Fall Foliage Festival
Lastly, Bedford's Fall Foliage Festival is returning for the 53rd year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7, 8, 14 and 15.
In addition to the many vendors throughout the streets of Bedford, the festival will also include kids activities, a children's theater, scarecrow making, balloon art, teddy bear making, pony rides, face painting and clowns.
The event will also have live music in different places throughout the day.