News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Harvest festivals, pumpkin pickin’ and more: Get pumped for the fall season
IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED.
The trees are transitioning from uniformly
green to an explosion of reds, browns and oranges. Bare arms and legs are retreating behind sweaters and long pants or leggings, and the air holds the subtle hint of bonfire smoke.
Autumn is here!
And with it comes an array of ways to celebrate the season.
FALL HARVEST FESTIVALS
Nothing says fall quite like hay rides, pumpkins and bonfires. Here are just a handful of the many fantastic festivals going on in the area.
Stand up for change this fall—and I’m not just talking about the leaves. Join Massaponax High School to stand up to bullying at the “Bully Free Starts With Me” Fall Festival, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities include karate demonstrations, moon bounces, live performances and games. Admission is free, and unlimited game play is $5.
Pick a pumpkin and sip a cider at Braehead Farm’s first annual Fall Harvest Festival, happening through Nov. 3. Not far from downtown Fredericksburg, Braehead offers a pumpkin patch, corn and sunflower mazes, sand piles to play in, pumpkin carving and decorating, hay rides, fire pits and other farm and fall-themed activities.
“It’s an actual working farm, so [it’s] very laid-back, very family-oriented,” said Roxanna Snead, one of the farm’s owners.
Braehead Farm is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is $5 during the week and $7.50 on the weekend. (braeheadfarm.com)
If you’re more interested in a historical perspective on the harvest, celebrate it George Washington-style at Mount Vernon’s Fall Harvest Family Days, Oct. 26–27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Harvest Days feature wagon rides, wheat-treading, a straw bale maze, apple-roasting, corn husk doll-making, music and more. You can even chat with President Washington himself. The activities are included with general admission. (mountvernon.org)
TOAST TO THE SEASON
October is Virginia Wine Month, so, if you need a reason to enjoy a taste of the grape, now’s the time. Here are a few ways to celebrate.
The 23rd-annual Fredericksburg Wine Festival will take over Old Mill Park on Saturday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 13, 12–5 p.m. The festival offers more than 100 Virginia wines to taste from 10 wineries, as well as a beer garden, food vendors, live music, barrel train rides and other entertainment. Drinking adults pay $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. (fredericksburgwine.com)
You can experience the Taste of Culpeper at the ninth-annual food, wine and arts festival taking place in historic downtown Culpeper on Sunday, Oct. 13, noon to 5 p.m. The festival includes sampling of over 40 wines and delicacies from some of the area’s best restaurants, live music, children’s activities and the first-ever Waiters Race, which will test the speed and agility of local waiters—while carrying full trays. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the gate. (culpeperdowtown.com)
If you’re more of a beer person, be sure to mark your calendar for the Fredericksburg Brewfest on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. (fredbrewfest.com)
GET LOST IN A CORN MAZE
Test your navigation skills by braving a corn maze.
Belvedere Plantation’s Maize Maze theme this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Great Pumpkin Patch. While you venture through the walls of corn, stop at the rubbing stations to make a souvenir map. In addition to the giant main maze is the newly added Little Farmer’s Maze, designed for the young’uns. Belvedere also offers bonfires, hay rides, a slide, pedal tractors and more farm-themed fun. (belvedere
Navigating a corn maze is bound to set some stomachs growling, so why not explore with the aid of some free pizza? Cows–N–Corn in Midland hosts the “Domino’s Delivering Dairy Goodness” maze. Domino’s provides free pizza with admission on Friday nights. General admission is $9. (cows-n-corn.com)
Make sure to get in your outdoor exercise before the winter weather drives you into the gym.
Run for a cause at Ebenezer United Methodist Church’s Go for Bo! 5K run and 1-mile Fun Run/Tot Dash on Saturday, Oct. 12, starting at 8 a.m. The $25 advance registration fee goes to support Helping Children Worldwide, an organization that funds the Child Rescue Center and Mercy Hospital in Sierra Leone, West Africa. (ebenezerumc.org)
Find your Zen among the fall leaves at an outdoor drop-in yoga class in the James Monroe Museum’s courtyard garden from 9–10 a.m. every Saturday through Oct. 26. Classes are $8, and don’t forget your yoga mat!
If you thought pumpkins are only good for decoration or making pies, think again! They also have an unexpected competitive side. Head to Curtis Park in Stafford for the Great Pumpkin Derby to watch pumpkins race to the finish line on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2-3:30 p.m.
Want in on the action, but aren’t sure how to prepare your pumpkin racer? Attend the Pumpkin Derby Workshop in Room B of the Rowser Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 22. It’s B.Y.O.P. (bring your own pumpkin) and axles and wheels will be provided. (540/658-5114)
Take advantage of the cool weather and colorful foliage by taking part in one of these outdoor activities.
Join Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation at Motts Run Reservoir for Spooky Stories by the Shore, featuring ghost tales, roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, on Saturday, Oct. 19, 6:45–8 p.m. The program is $6, and pre-registration is required.
If you’d rather admire the leaves by day than be scared under them by night, the parks’ Autumn Leaves Hike on Sunday, Oct. 27, 3–4:15 p.m. is for you. The program is $4, and pre-registration is required. (540/372-1086, ext. 213)
For those more adventurous types, admire the leaves from a different perspective—a canoe or kayak on the Rappahannock River. Take one of Virginia Outdoor Center’s Fall Colors Canoe and Kayak trips, offered by reservation on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October and ranging from $25–$35 for trips that can last anywhere from three hours to two days. (540/371-5085)
“The changing of the leaves on the Rappahannock is just breathtaking,” said Bill Micks, part-owner of Virginia Outdoor Center.
Bridget Balch: 540/374-5417