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Fall for Festivals Throughout the DC Area

The corn maze at Montpelier Farm is, in a word, EPIC

The corn maze at Montpelier Farm is, in a word, EPIC



There are so many things to love about fall, crisp weather, the brilliant colors of foliage, and football (for many) among them. And then there are the festivals, celebrating everything from the season to city neighborhoods to farm harvests to medieval times. Here’s where you can join the autumn fun all throughout the area over the next couple of months. (And if this list looks familiar, that’s because it’s from last year, but with updated dates and details.) Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where:
Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md.
When:
Weekends through October 20
Admission:
Thru 9/17: $17/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under.
Take a day trip back to medieval times at Renn Fest. Besides the amazing variety of entertainment — jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters and sword swallowers, juggling acts, Celtic music, and much more — walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an interesting little jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy (well, maybe not the mead). Get a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, Md
When: September 7 – November 3, Fridays 5-11pm, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, Sundays 11am – 7pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. A tip based on our experience last year: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Adams Morgan Day Festival
Where: 18th Street NW, between Columbia and Florida Avenues
When: September 8
Admission: Free
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse community. The 35th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival offers a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. Arts on Belmont will feature original artisans and a variety of art mediums. And various stages throughout the neighborhood will showcase local live entertainment that all ages can enjoy. Details and the schedule of performances are available on the festival website.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: September 2 – October 22
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under
The website promises a wonderful farm experience, and from the looks of it, they’ll make good on it. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). The apple picking also comes highly recommended.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, Md.
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 21 – November 3, 10am – 5pm daily
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds spattered with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, a reptile show, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ticonderoga Farm Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Chantilly, VA
When: September 21 – November 3, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $8.95/weekdays, $14.95 or $16.95/holiday and weekends
This festival has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE
When: September 21, 12-7pm
Admission: Free
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features lots of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: September 14, 12-6pm
Admission: Free
This free event celebrates the 17th Street Corridor and surrounding community with musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 28 – November 5, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9/weekdays, $14/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up
This festival is huge. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue that contains five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. It’s a blast, especially the giant slide that takes you swooping down several humps over a hillside. (I know firsthand because parents can enjoy many of the festival activities just as much as kids.) There is also a Kiddie Zone, especially for little ones aged 5 and under.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
When: September 28, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). The DC State Fair joins Barracks Row Fall Festival again, this year showcasing unique categories: Funkiest-Looking Vegetable Grown in DC, Best Home Brew, Best Bike Accessory, Best Pie, and more.

Butler’s Orchards 32nd Annual Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, Md
When: Saturdays & Sundays September 28 – October 26, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under
Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food costs extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

SW ArtsFest
Where: Southwest DC (several venues)
When: September 28
Admission: Free
This annual celebration will highlight art and culture in Washington’s smallest quadrant, Southwest. The lineup of festivities will include a central art market, music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, and more. Find more details here.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms
When: September 28 – October 31, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free
Great Country is known for it’s awesome festivals, and the Pumpkion Harvest is sure to be no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a schedule of activities here.

Marker-Miller Orchards – Multiple Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
Admission: Free
There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with three different festivals taking place. It starts with the Fall Farm Fun Festival September 28-29, which will include apple-picking, wagon rides, a cow train, and music. Next is the Apple Harvest Festival October 12-13 offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. Finally, October 26 is the Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

20th Annual Fall For Fairfax KidFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: October 5, 10am – 7pm & October 6, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds
When: September 28, 11am – 10pm & September 29, 11am – 6pm
Admission: $5, free for ages 2 and under
The Frederick Fairgrounds are transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of kids activities here. This all benefits Frederick County charities.

Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field
When: October 5, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free
The neighborhood’s 7th annual festival will celebrate the season and the community. There will family activities, live entertainment, local artists and vendors, food, and fun. More detailsand the schedule of events is available here.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, Md
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And can’t-miss caramel apples.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Eats, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

I’m Going to… Strawberry Fields

Forget farm to table...  farm to belly is the way to go

Forget farm to table… farm to belly is the way to go



The strawberry picking season is off to a slow start this year. Only a couple of the well-known farms have opened their fields so far, while most are usually welcoming the public to reap the harvest by now. The cooler weather delayed the blooms, so it’s taking longer for the berries to ripen. But all of the pick-your-own places will be open eventually, and the upside is that we’ll get to enjoy the fruits — and the fun of picking them — for many weeks to come. Here’s the scoop on the strawberry season at several local farms (most of it duplicated from last year, but with updated info). And I’m always interested to hear about new places, so if you have a favorite farm that isn’t listed, feel free to mention it in the comments. Happy Picking!

Schlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own berry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms. Their fields have been open to the public since early May, despite rumors that they had closed for the season, and they should be open until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse and treat the kids – and yourself! – to ice cream. Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
Their strawberries are now ripe for the picking, and they expect them to be available for another couple of weeks (then blackberries come in!). You can pick your own on Saturdays and Sundays, and a hay wagon will transport visitors to the picking fields. A goat walk is a also fun sight for kids. The farm is open 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, and 10am – 5pm Sunday.

Hartland Orchard
Just recommended by a KFDC reader, this farm located in the scenic hills near Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Mountains, will open its strawberry fields on May 18. They recommend calling ahead to check on availability of ripe berries, because they expect more customers than ready-to-pick fruit (which makes sense, since we’ve all been anxiously awaiting). Call 540.316.7715 for minute-to-minute info. Hours at the farm are 8am – 6pm.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. They are opening their u-pick strawberry fields this weekend on May 18, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. The weekend of May 25-26 is the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies four to nine months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open their farm to the public on May 25, hopefully with access to their strawberry fields (be sure to check the website or call for an update). Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm. Open daily from 8am – 6pm.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season in the popular pick-your-own fields opened in late May this year. Along with berry picking, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s bestial residents. Along with the fun, Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. The farm is open seven days a week from 9:30am – 6pm, though pick-your-own ends at 5:30. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email, so you can stay up to date on their crops.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season opened in early June with strawberries and spinach and is being reported as very good. Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. As of June 2, strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday. During strawberry season their hours are 8:30am – 6pm during the week, and 8:30am – 5pm on weekends. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms will kicked off its strawberry picking season on May 29, and it should last several weeks after that. Hours are 9am – 5pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

 

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Farm, Festival, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

2012 Fall Celebrations from City Streets to Country Farms

A scenic ride on the Clark's Elioak Farm cow train

 

Fall is right around the corner, and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it, celebrating everything from the season to neighborhoods to medieval times. Enjoy local art and culture, pick pumpkins and take a hayride on the farm, eat turkey legs with characters straight out of the 16th century. Most of the hoopla begins in a couple weeks, but you can start planning now with this list of fall festivals. (And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the National Book Festival — I’ll post details for that soon — but if there are any other good ones I’ve missed, feel free to let me know in the comments.)

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where:
Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md.
When:
Weekends through October 21
Admission:
Thru 9/16: $17/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under.
Take a day trip back to medieval times at Renn Fest. Besides the amazing variety of entertainment — jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters and sword swallowers, juggling acts, Celtic music, and much more — walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an interesting little jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy (well, maybe not the mead). Get a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, Md
When: September 1 – November 4, Fridays 5-11pm, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, Sundays 11am – 7pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, corn maze, animals, hill slides, and plenty more. And right now, you can get it all at a discount with this LivingSocial deal: Get four general admission tickets for $20!

Adams Morgan Day Festival
Where: 18th Street NW, between Columbia and Florida Avenues
When: September 9
Admission: Free
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.  The 34th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival offers a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more.  Arts on Belmont will feature original artisans and a variety of art mediums. The Green Pavilion will house eco-friendly wares and vendors. The Health & Fitness Pavilion will showcase clinic and hospital services, holistic and exercise regimens, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.  Little ones will love the Kids Fair at the Marie Reed School field with loads of games, bounces, face painting.  Details and the schedule of performances are available on the festival website.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: September 8 – October 28
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under
The website promises a wonderful farm experience, and from the looks of it, they’ll make good on it. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). The apple picking also comes highly recommended.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm

Where: Ellicott City, Md.
When: Ongoing, pumpkin patch is open September 24 – November 6, 10am – 5pm daily
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds scattered with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, a reptile show, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ticonderoga Farm Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Chantilly, VA
When: September 15 – November 4, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $8.95/weekdays, $14.95/holiday and weekends
This festival has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE
When: September 15, 12-7pm
Admission: Free
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor has lots to celebrate this year — the completion of the streetscape project, the opening of many new businesses along the corridor, and the survival of the businesses that have been part of the community for years. The event will feature live entertainment on five stages, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces.

Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: September 22, 12-6pm
Admission: Free
This free event celebrates the 17th Street Corridor and surrounding community with musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 22-23, September 29 – October 31, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9/weekdays, $14/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up
This festival is huge. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue that contains five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. It’s a blast, especially the giant slide that takes you swooping down several humps over a hillside. (That’s right, I know firsthand because parents can enjoy many of the festival activities just as much as kids.) There is also a Kiddie Zone, especially for little ones aged 5 and under.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
When: September 22, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. This years details will be available soon, but we can likely count on tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). And chefs from all branches of the military will be back again for a Military Culinary Competition. Check their website soon for updated info.

Butler’s Orchards 32nd Annual Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, Md
When: Saturdays & Sundays September 29 – October 28, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under
Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food costs extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

SW ArtsFest
Where: Southwest DC (several venues)
When: September 29
Admission: Free
This annual celebration will highlight art and culture in Washington’s smallest quadrant, Southwest. The lineup of festivities will include a central art market, music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, and more. Find more details here.

Great Country Farms Fall Harvest Festival
Where: Bluemont, VA
When: September 29 – October 28, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free
Great Country is known for it’s awesome festivals, and the Fall Harvest is sure to be no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a schedule of activities here.

Marker-Miller Orchards – Multiple Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
Admission: Free
There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with three different festivals taking place. It starts with the Fall Farm Fun Festival September 22-23, which will include apple-picking, wagon rides, a cow train, and music. Next is the Apple Harvest Festival October 6-7 offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. Finally, October 27 is the Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

20th Annual Fall For Fairfax KidFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: September 29, 10am – 7pm & September 30, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds
When: September 29, 11am – 10pm & September 30, 11am – 6pm
Admission: $5, free for ages 2 and under
The Frederick Fairgrounds are transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of kids activities here.) This all benefits Frederick County charities.

Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field
When: October 6, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free
The neighborhood’s 6th annual festival will celebrates the season and the community. There will family activities, live entertainment, local artists and vendors, food, and fun.  Check back for more details soon.

Larriland Farm Fall Festival
Where: Woodbine, MD
When: All through October, Weekdays 9am – 6pm, Weekends 9am – 5pm,
Admission: Free, but there may be fees for some activities
Enjoy the changing colors of the season as you select a pumpkin, pick apples from the orchard, take a hayride (weekends only), and find your way through a straw maze. Kids ages 4-9 can play in the Boo Barn filled with animated (but not too scary) ghosts and goblins.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, Md
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And caramel apples.

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Nothing to Get Hung About this Strawberry Season

Think we picked enough strawberries?

 

The 2012 strawberry picking season has officially begun!  As of this week, just about all area farms offering pick-your-own opportunities will be open to visitors.  And I keep hearing how the unusually warm winter and early spring made for an extra bountiful crop this year.  Our experience at Schlagel Farms today definitely supported that theory — the berries were just as abundant as they were gorgeous. If you’re planning to hit the fields for some picking of your own, here’s the scoop on the berry season at several local farms (most of it duplicated from last year, but with updated info).  And if you have a favorite farm that isn’t on this list, feel free to mention it in the comments.  Happy Picking!

Schlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own berry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms. Their fields have been open to the public for a couple of weeks, and as of today the pickings are excellent! (We’ve got several large bowlfuls to prove it.)While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse. And you no longer have to worry about hitting the ATM before going—they started accepting credit cards (everything but AmEx) last year.  Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season begins here on May 14 with what they call “seek and find” picking, but they expect a rapid increase in ripeness. Along with berry picking, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s bestial residents. And Homestead scores high on aesthetics — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. The farm is open seven days a week from 9:30am – 6pm, though pick-your-own ends at 5:30.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. The weekend of May 19-20 is the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies four to nine months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley opened their strawberry fields to the public this past weekend, and they claim the early and warm spring brought their best crop in years. Plan on lunch while you’re there—along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a new trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm. Open daily from 8am – 6pm.

Pick-n-eat?

Westmoreland Berry Farm
Their strawberries have been ripe for the picking since this past weekend, and they expect them to be available for another few of weeks. Right now, you can pick your own on Saturdays and Sundays, but check back soon to see if weekdays open, too. On weekends a hay wagon transports visitors to the picking fields. A goat walk is a also fun sight for kids. The farm is open 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, and 10am – 5pm Sunday.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms has gotten really good reviews on Yelp for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season begins with strawberries, and it expected to start around May 17-20 — as it gets closer, call or check online to confirm the opening date. Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm, closed Mondays (but open Memorial day 9am – 1pm).

Huber’s Farm
If you want to celebrate strawberry season, head to Huber’s Farm May 19-20 for an Old Fashioned Strawberry Festival. The farm is kicking off the start of the season with a weekend of fun—the Strawberry Express Hayride, a moon bounce, face painting, strawberry shortcake, and more.  The festival will run from 12-5pm both days. The berries will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks along with many other spring veggies. Hours will be from 9am – 6pm seven days a week.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Their strawberry season officially starts May 14, and the fields will be open to visitors everyday. During strawberry season their hours are 8am – 6pm during the week, and 8am – 5pm on weekends. 

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms kicked off strawberry picking this past weekend and expect it to last through mid June. Hours are 9am – 5pm, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

 

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