Good Life

Celebrations of the season: Fall festivals plentiful across region

Ethan Dull, 2, searches for a pumpkin at Wasson Farm Market during its 2013 fall festival. Visitors took a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to select their perfect fall decorations.
Ethan Dull, 2, searches for a pumpkin at Wasson Farm Market during its 2013 fall festival. Visitors took a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to select their perfect fall decorations. CDT file photo

Pull on your warm sweater, jeans and comfortable walking shoes and embrace the cool weather of autumn while sampling some of the season’s best beers and bratwursts. Or take the kids to a pumpkin patch so they can pick out an orange monster large enough inside for her and five friends to have a tea party.

The Centre Region offers an abundance of events, food festivals and German-style Oktoberfests in the next month. With the cool air and fiery pop of the trees in their fall colors, it’s a perfect time for family and friends to load up on some outdoor fun before the winter begins its icy grip.

“People come here because it’s something they can do with family and experience the farm. It’s just a great family day,” said Candy Wasson from Wasson Farm Market, which is in its 12th year of its annual fall festival. “And what kid doesn’t like a pumpkin?”

Because of the event’s popularity, the Wasson Farm this year expanded its fall festival to two weekends — Oct. 11 -12 and Oct. 18-19. The festival will have hayrides through the fields where people can pick their own pumpkins for $6, farm animals to visit, a corn maze, fire trucks to promote fire awareness month and the Centre County Dairy Princess with her court. Plus, Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery will feature its finest wines for tasting.

“What we’re about is promoting the local economy, so it’s a way for us to do that in a setting people enjoy coming to,” said Linda Carroll Weaver, whose parents own the winery.

The vineyard will hold its own harvest festival from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 4, featuring music from folk band Picker & Papa and 12 food vendors, including Tait Farm Foods and Gemelli Bakers. The vineyard will offer free tours and tastings all afternoon.

The annual festival coincides with the vineyard’s grape harvest, which started in September and runs for about a month, Carroll said. The vineyard also runs an annual harvest photo contest that gives photographers the opportunity to visit the vineyard and capture the season. The winners receive a $50 gift certificate to the winery.

If you’re looking for a hoppier event, then pull on your lederhosen and fraulien outfits and head over to Tussey Mountain Amphitheater’s third annual Oktoberfest. The Oct. 4 event will feature beer from around the East Coast and Germany, more brats than you can shake a hotdog at and plenty of music to keep you merry in between stein fill-ups.

“We’re gearing it up to be as true of an Oktoberfest as we can,” said Aaron Weyman, Tussey Mountain’s marketing director.

That means not only Bavarian-style beers and polka music from John Stevens’ Doubleshot, but also traditional Oktoberfest games including keg rolling, keg tossing, stein-holding and stein races. There’s a theme here, but grab your favorite beer-loving female friend and enter the team competition of fraulein races as well.

“We’re learning as we go with these Oktoberfests,” Weyman said.

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