Practicing my archery technique | AE Photography

After a long, hot summer, there’s just something about those orange-tinted leaves dancing to the brisk wind under a warm sun that seem to make many of us feel excited and calm in the same moment. The fall season is always the softest of changes—a gentle and comforting guide into the next season, almost as if the breeze was whispering, “Good morning, sweet human; I hope you enjoy this euphoric space I’m providing you. Just make sure to get your shit together, because winter is coming, my dear.” While it’s true that we should be preparing for the winter months during this time, we also get to enjoy the weather and activities that come along with the season. Listed here, you can find some of my favorite fall activities for adults, kids, and pups. Let the festivities begin!

Harvest Faire

Sacramento Waldorf School, 3750 Bannister Road, Fair Oaks
Saturday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

This one is dear to my heart as I grew up going to Sacramento Waldorf School. The emphasis on this faire is directed toward kindergarten to fourth graders, but I go almost every year and have just as much fun as the last time. Activities include candle-dipping, cake walks, archery, zip-lining, crafting and more. There is live music, great food and if you don’t know much about Waldorf schools, this is a great chance to see what it is all about. Entry is free, individual tickets are sold for activities and food.

Playing in the haystacks at the Harvest Faire | Photo by Ellen V. Baker

Sacramento Turn Verein Oktoberfest

Sacramento Turn Verein, 3349 J St., Sacramento
Friday, Oct. 11, 6 p.m.–midnight & Saturday, Oct. 12, 3 p.m.–midnight

This is the closest experience Sacramento offers to a traditional Bavarian Oktoberfest. Family friendly and a wealth of German beer, food, music and dancing! Leave the car at home if possible as there is one parking lot for $5—all other parking is on the street and is limited to one hour. Grab your bike, scooter, borrow one from JUMP bikes or get dropped off if you don’t want to start the night off worrying about parking. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for children ages 6–12 and free for children under 6. Food ranges from bratwursts to roasted chicken dinners to pretzels and everything in between. Dress up and enjoy this German night!

Apple Hill

Carson Road, Placerville
Multiple farms open September to December. Peak season is October!

If you’re from Sacramento, you most likely know about Apple Hill. It is our pride and joy of fall and continues its wondrous season through December for pick-your-own Christmas trees as well. Once arriving at the Carson Road loop in Placerville, a plethora of farms to choose from sit just behind the main highway. Get your fill on apple donuts, pick-your-own apples from the orchards, grab a jug of homemade cider and stop by the Lava Cap Winery for a local taste of heaven.

Kaia posing as an apple at the High Hill Ranch at Apple Hill | Photo by Ellen V. Baker

Halloween at the Farm

Soil Born Farms, 2140 Chase Dr., Rancho Cordova
Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Mainly presented for kids, this admission-free festival is a celebration of the changing seasons. Wear your Halloween costumes and partake in trick-or-treating, a haunted enchanted garden walk and other fun activities. There is amazing food provided from the farm and live music to enjoy as you make a beautiful autumn wreath.

Spookomotive Train Rides

Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station, 930 Front St., Sacramento
October 12 & 13; 19 & 20; 26 & 27
Hourly departures 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Varying themes throughout the weekends bring opportunity for you and your little ones to choose the best suited weekend. Into witches and wizards but not pirates and princesses? No problem. $15 for adults and $8 for youth gets you aboard the Spookomotive train in Old Sacramento with games, costumes and treats.

Hand painted signs for the Sacramento Waldorf Harvest Faire | Photo by Ellen V. Baker

Don’t miss out on the bountiful corn mazes and pumpkin patches that surround the city, as well! There are (at least) a handful of festivals not listed here because they have either already passed, or I have no experience with them. If you know of a festivity that just cannot be passed up, share it with us in the comments of this article. Eat pie, carve pumpkins and adventure on.

**This write-up first appeared in print on page 10 of issue #302 (Oct. 9 – 23, 2019)**

    Ellen Baker

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    Rock scrambling, exploring and taking photos along the way.