Nothing screams autumn like the sound of crunching leaves and the fun festivities that this season has to offer. Read on to learn about a few of these fall happenings, and feel free to add info about other upcoming harvest or Halloween-themed events in the comments section below.
This Saturday, Oct. 6, the Staff of Life Harvest Festival will ring in the tasty fall season with a slew of seasonally appropriate activities, such as pumpkin decorating, cider pressing, and pie tastings. Bluegrass and a beer tent will also be on the scene. Staff of Life Harvest Festival, Saturday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Staff of Life, 1266 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8632, staffoflifemarket.com.
Good Shepherd Catholic School’s Annual Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This fun-filled family day will include magic shows, carnival games, face painting, a petting zoo, and numerous crafts for kids. There will also be raffles held and prizes given throughout the day, not to mention food and music. The Good Shepherd Catholic School Annual Harvest Festival, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 at 2727 Mattinson Lane, Santa Cruz. Admission is free. For more information, visit gsschool.org or email Kaia Roman at [email protected]
The Happy Halloween & Harvest Fair is happening at Roaring Camp in Felton on Oct. 13 and 14. Come celebrate harvest time and Halloween with activities for the entire family, such as making your own scarecrow and taking home a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. The fair hosts a steam train ride up to Bear Mountain, and children with a train ticket may select and take home a coveted pumpkin from the mountaintop patch. There will also be a tasty chuck wagon barbeque lunch available, featuring burgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs. The Happy Halloween & Harvest Fair at Roaring Camp, Oct. 13 and 14. Train rides depart for Bear Mountain at the following times: 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $24 adults, $17 children (2-12 years). Scarecrow materials cost $7, and parking is $8 per car. Roaring Camp is in Felton, six miles north of Santa Cruz. Take Mt. Hermon Road, exit #3 from Hwy 17. For more information, call Joanne Hirasaki at 335-4484 ext. 118 or email [email protected]
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Comes to Life on Roaring Camp’s Ghost Train on Oct. 26 and 27. Formerly named one of USA Today’s top 10 Halloween events, the re-enactment of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place aboard vintage railway cars through a creepy redwood forest. Costumed actors re-create scenes from the story as it’s narrated during the 115-minute train ride. The event is designed for young children, as well as the young-at-heart, and is a light and lively adaptation of the famous tale itself. In addition to the Sleepy Hollow Ghost Train ride, other festivities will include a haunted house, games, and costume contests. The event is set to take place on Oct. 26 – 27, and trains will depart at: 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. Reservations are required for entry. Tickets are $26 adults, $20 children (2-12 years). Parking is $8. For tickets and other information, call 335-4484 or visit roaringcamp.com.
The Watsonville Public Library will be hosting “Scary Movie Night” the night before Halloween. Tweens and teens are invited to the library for a pre-All Hallows’ Eve showing of a scary movie in the Meeting Room on the second floor of the library. The movie is rated PG, but promises to scare your socks off. Other scares, crafts, snacks and prizes will also be in plenty. Scary Movie Night, Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Watsonville Public Library, 275 Main St., Watsonville. For more information, call 768-3400.
Make sure to get Santa Cruz’s full fall experience by hopping aboard the Santa Cruz Pumpkin Pedicab this October. This pedicab company has cleverly revamped their carriage to look like a pumpkin, and just so happens to be an excellent (and not to mention green, emissions-free) way to get around town. The Pumpkin Pedicab itself is a six-seater that dons an orange canopy in the shape of a pumpkin, stem and all. Not only is the Pumpkin Pedicab available for simply getting around, but it’s also available for special events, such as weddings or birthday parties. Also, one mustn’t worry the least bit, because unlike Cinderella’s magic carriage, the Pumpkin Pedicab can still roll you home if you’re caught out after midnight. For reservations or for more information contact Santa Cruz Pedicab at 222-0789 or visit santacruzpedicab.com.
If you feel like taking a day trip, check out some of the fall fun happening up the coast in Half Moon Bay. (And be sure to stop at the pumpkin patches along Highway 1 on your way.) On Oct. 8, Half Moon Bay’s 39th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off takes place. Here you can admire superstar pumpkin growers in this “Super Bowl of weigh-offs” as they vie for the world record for heaviest pumpkin. In a pay-by-the-pound system, the winner will take home a hefty $6 per pound for the champion mega-pumpkin. The grand champion gourd (along with the top five overall) will be on display at the at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, which takes place Oct. 13-14. The festival will feature a special display of gigantically enormous/heavyweight champion pumpkins, the Great Pumpkin Parade, and some smashing musical entertainment, including headliners The California Cowboys, Big Cat Tolefree, The Megatones, Caravanserai, and The Daniel Castro Band. The festival also welcomes expert pumpkin carver Farmer Mike, who will sculpt a monster 1,200-plus pound pumpkin, and the parade’s honorary Grand Marshal, Hall of Fame quarterback and all-time 49er great Steve Young. Other fun activities will include a bone-chilling haunted house, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, pie eating, costume contests, pumpkin carving, “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands,” and wine and ale tasting, courtesy of Half Moon Bay Winery and Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale. The Pumpkin Weigh-Off will commence on Oct. 8 from 7 to 11 a.m. The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival takes place Oct. 13-14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both are free and will be held at IDES Grounds, 735 Main St., Half Moon Bay. For more information, contact the Info line (650) 726-9652, or visit miramarevents.com/weighoff.