Fall Into Fall
It may be October, but in the Valley it doesn’t look or feel like fall. While we’re waiting for the temps to cool down, here are some ways to get into an autumn mindset.
Break Out The Lederhosen
Beer, brats and all things Bavarian can only mean one thing…Four Peaks Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake. Celebrating its 44th year, the weekend event will run from October 13 through 15. Benefitting Tempe Sister Cities, an organization that supports cultural exchanges and humanitarian works, the family-friendly festival will showcase a dizzying number of attractions. Sample beers of the world, watch pure-bred German Dachshunds race, and feast on bratwurst, sauerkraut, hot dogs and strudel. If you are up for it, you can even run in the Das 21st Frank Kush/Oktoberfest Foot Race. Where else can you enjoy non-stop polka with a different band every hour? www.fourpeaksoktoberfest.com
Gather Your Gourds
What would October be without the perfect pumpkin? Whether you are planning to carve a scary jack-o-lantern, decorate your home, bake a pie or roast some pumpkin seeds, skip the supermarket and head straight to a pumpkin patch. Local farms offer a large variety of pumpkins and gourds, along with the freshest vegetables of the season. Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek celebrates the arrival of fall with a Pumpkin and Chili Party every Thursday through Sunday in October. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities including a petting zoo, carousel rides, a rock climbing wall, performances by stunt dogs, a forest zip line, hayrides, miniature golf, pig races and roasting marshmallows over a crackling bonfire. www.schnepffarms.com
If sipping a pumpkin spiced latte at Starbucks doesn’t provide the fall-fix you’re craving, hit the road. A car trip can take you to spots in Arizona where you can admire picturesque autumnal landscapes. Nothing says fall more than leaves turning into a sea of intense reds and golden yellows. Pack a picnic and your hiking boots for a day trip or, better yet, treat yourself to an overnight stay. The aspens and oaks in the White Mountain areas of Greer, Show Low and Pinetop turn in mid-October. Flagstaff aspens put on their colorful show in late-October. Near Sedona, Oak Creek’s assortment of box elders, ash, willows, fruit trees, oaks and maples turn scarlet in late-October. In early-November, take the Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon near Tucson. The maple tree leaves turn a rich, rust-colored red while the ferns and scrubs turn copper and tan.
Bring It Inside
Why not bring the autumn indoors? Changing out some simple decorations is an easy way to make it feel like fall. Throw pillows and table linen in autumnal hues such as rust, brown, gold and orange will set the stage. Candles can fill the room with the seasonal scents of pumpkin, apples and cinnamon. Filling a bowl with pinecones, crisp red and green apples or gourds will make a statement. And, when assembling fresh flowers, select seasonal stems, leaves and berries. The choices are many; red and maroon dahlias, antique hydrangeas, vivid orange and magenta chrysanthemums, golden-yellow bittersweet and rose hips, maple leaves, autumn-toned roses, yarrow, asters, cosmos, viburnum berries and nonflowering seed pods. Visit Camelback Flowershop to select the best of the season’s bounty. https://camelbackflowershop.com/
Lose Your Way
Corn mazes are much like a life-size puzzle. Working your way through the twists and turns of the tall stalks is a fun way to spend time with family and friends. Tolmachoff Farms welcomes the season this year with a haunted-theme maze, Field of Screams, challenging all who dare to enter. For the wee ones, there’s a mini maze.Corn Maze and Pumpkin Days will remain open through November 5. Additional features include a hay pyramid, pedal cart track, jumping pillow and farm-themed activities like grinding corn to feed the chickens. www.tolmachoff-farms.com