Autumn, with its landscape dotted red and gold and brisk, star-filled evenings, is, for many, the most magical time of year. Whether it’s the leaves dancing through the air on a chilly wind, apple picking in the orchards, or savoring the spicy froth of a pumpkin latte, we all feel that special “something” in the air.
If you’re looking for a way to be part of the magic, the local festival calendar brings us a bounty of activities, from fall festivals to harvest festivals to pumpkin festivals.
Aaronsburg Dutch Fall Festival
When: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 4
Where: 315 West Aaron Square, Aaronsburg
What: Nestled in Penns Valley, the Dutch Fall Festival celebrates Aaronsburg’s heritage with crafts, antiques, entertainment and a variety of food, with everything from traditional apple dumplings to exotic Bra
zilian bites. This event is more than just a fall festival — it’s also a fundraiser supporting both the Aaronsburg Civic Club and Wert Memorial Park.
Centre Region Parks and Recreation events
When: Dates vary — the first event, Dark in the Park, is Oct. 14
Where: Various locations
What: CRPR will host a variety of fall activities over the next several weeks. Gather ‘round the campfire for Dark in the Park at Sunset Park to hear local storytellers perform as they read seasonal tales, or build your own scarecrow at Millbrook Marsh’s Scarecrow Stuff-it. There’s also a Sunday afternoon Fall Foliage Walk at Millbrook Marsh, as well as its Historic Harvest Festival, where visitors learn what harvest season was like in the 1800s.
Downtown Fall Festival
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: Downtown State College
What: The 16th annual Downtown Fall Festival is another family-friendly event. While America’s Day for Kids will host activities such as face painting, there will also be pumpkin decorating, a Community Resources Fair, and a dessert contest for bakers of all ages.
Fall Festival at Krislund
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: Krislund Camp and Conference Center, 189 Krislund Drive, Madisonburg
What: The Fall Festival at Krislund gives families free admission to the Krislund Adventure Park, with its giant swing, climbing tower and zip line, among other activities. Located in Sugar Valley, which was named after its surrounding sugar maple trees, the festival promises spectacular views of fiery brilliance.
Harvest Fest at the Winery
When: noon-5 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery, 300 Houser Road, Centre Hall
What: For the over-21 palate, Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery offers free wine tasting and wine tours all day at its family farm winery. Imagine sipping your favorite Bordeaux against a backdrop of the Tussey Mountain Range. And since man cannot live on wine alone, there will also be food and craft vendors.
Penn State Arboretum Pumpkin Festival
When: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16 and 4-9 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, Corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road, University Park
What: In the afternoon, guests can stroll the lush gardens, indulge in scarecrow-making and hear seasonal stories; after dark, the jack-o’-lantern display is the main event. Starting at 1 p.m. Oct. 11, the arboretum will give away 1,000 pumpkins to be carved and entered in its jack-o’-lantern contest. Flashlights for evening events are encouraged.
Punkin’ Chunkin’ Fest
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: Bald Eagle State Park, Howard
What: Boasting more than 12,000 visitors last year, this festival offers dozens of food and craft vendors, hay rides, mini-launchers, a pie eating contest and live entertainment. Admission and parking are free.
Shaver’s Creek Fall Harvest Festival
When: 11 a.m. Oct. 24-25
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, 3400 Discovery Road, Petersburg
What: Known for blending the great outdoors with education, Shaver’s Creek is hosting a fall festival that includes not only live entertainment, food, and pumpkin-carving but also educational programs. Visitors will learn about the harvest season and its history from costumed characters on its family-friendly Halloween Trail.
More fall events
Way Fruit Farm Fall Festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 10 and 17, Way Fruit Farm, 2355 Halfmoon Valley Road, Port Matilda. www.wayfruitfarm.com.
Wasson Farm Fall Fest, 11 a.m. Oct. 10-11 and Oct. 17-18, 2545 Shingletown Road, State College.
Fall Bazaar, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 24, Gregg Township Fire Company, 106 Water St., Spring Mills.
Howard United Methodist Church Fall Bazaar, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 24, Howard United Methodist Church, 144 W. Main St., Howard.
Pennsylvania Furnace Community Halloween Party, 4-6 p.m. Oct. 24, Baileyville Community Hall, 210 Diebler Road, Pennsylvania Furnace.
Trick or Treat night in the Centre Region, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29. Applies to Borough of State College and the Townships of College, Ferguson, Harris and Patton. www.crpr.org.