Fall festivities abound in the Capital Region
For Hillary Fink, this fall is less about pumpkins than carrots.
Longtime organizer of the Congregation’s Carrot Festival Agudat Achim has spent the past few months helping bring back the popular Niskayuna Festival on Sunday, October 10.
Usually held in September, the festival’s mix of delicious carrot cakes, tasty tsimmes and a full roster of children’s activities has drawn thousands of people over its 43 years. Even last year, organizers persisted during the pandemic, hosting a lean version of the drive-through event. This time it will look a bit more like a traditional party, with a few key changes.
“We always keep in mind that even though there are no limits, we are still in the midst of a pandemic,” said organizer Fink. “We want to be safe, not only for our volunteers who work, but for the people who come. So we continue to be very careful in planning this year. “
Live music will not be part of the festival and the organizers have limited the number of vendors and activities for children. That’s not to say there won’t be plenty for kids and families to do. Kids can go pony rides, see a reptile exhibit, participate in miSci activities, and have the chance to explore an airplane from the Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Glenville as well as the News 10 ABC Storm Tracker.
As the name suggests, food tends to be the star of the show and this year is no different. Festival volunteers have prepared 700 carrot cakes to serve, and they will also be offering potato latkes, chicken shawarma, a carrot festival breast sandwich, and a Mediterranean platter (falafel, hummus, pita and gravy. tahini) among others. Food will be taken out and there will be a drive-thru option for carrot cake and produce.
Scheduled from 10 am to 4 pm, the festival will also feature a CDTA “Stuff the Bus” event and organizers are requesting that specific items be donated to local non-profit organizations (the full list is available at Agudatachim.com). Carrot Festival is dedicated to Rose Westheimer, one of the festival’s founders who passed away earlier this year.
Further afield in Saratoga Springs, fall festivities return this year with a mix of in-person and virtual programming.
Hosted by the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, the celebration will take place over two weekends (October 23-24 and October 30-31) instead of one.
“COVID is still around and it’s a big event for the kids. So we really wanted to make sure people flocked downtown rather than coming in mass gatherings, ”said organizer Caelen Brott.
While the festivities do not include the traditional pumpkin roll, organizers are bringing back the big pumpkin hunt from Saratoga. Ten pumpkins, each decorated with historic spa town landmarks by artist Cathi Anne M. Cameron, will be displayed in downtown store windows. Entrants who find them all and hand in a completed sheet to Kilwins or Impressions of Saratoga will be entered to win a Saratoga Springs Prize Package.
“We think we’re just going to bring back the scavenger hunt every year because we got a great response last year,” Brott said.
The festivities will also include pumpkin painting sessions at Scallions, which will take place every day of the festival, except the last Sunday. Registration is required via Scallions.
Joe Haedrich of Haunted Saratoga will be taking virtual tours of Hattie’s Restaurant and Adelphi Hotel via the DBA’s Facebook page (@downtownsaratogasprings). The costume party photo booth and costume contest will also be returning this year at the Spa City Motor Lodge parking lot. Artists like Crazy Christine Balloons, Sean “The Prankster” Magician, Mr. Twisty and Sparkles the Juggler will be on the go downtown throughout the festivities.
For the full schedule, visit saratogaspringsdowntown.com.
Beyond festivals, the region’s orchards and farms welcome more fall traditions.
” It was [popular]especially when the weather is nice, ”said Isabel Prescott of Riverview Orchards in Rexford. “Last weekend was wonderful because [people] like to have a little coolness in the air and just that feeling of falling.
This week there is a mix of McIntosh, Empire, Cortland, and Macoun apples for visitors to pick. To get there, visitors can take a hay tour in the orchard.
Prescott has decided to bring back the popular bee display this season after removing it over COVID-19 concerns last year. It was first installed in 1990 to allow children to learn about the bees that help pollinate the orchard and has become a mainstay of the facility, with young visitors trying to catch a glimpse of the queen bee. bees.
Prescott also brought back the Corn Maze, rather than the Riverview Hay Maze hosted before the pandemic.
“It just seemed like something new for the kids to do outside…[and] they could be separated from each other. It was so popular that we decided to continue, ”Prescott said. For hours and more information, visit rivervieworchards.com.
In Johnstown, Rogers Family Orchard presses 800 to 900 gallons of cider each week. Then there are the picking apples, the corn maze, farm animals and more.
“The season is always good for us, but last year was an exception because nobody had anything to do. . . the business was up a bit, ”owner Todd Rogers said. “This year is still very busy but not as busy as last year.”
The orchard, at 260 County Highway 131, has Empire, Cortland, Gala and more apple varieties ready for picking this week and will have a Snapdragon variety soon. The latter is similar to Honey Crisp in terms of sweetness, although it is a bit smaller. For more information, call 518-762-8736.
At Ballston Spa, Elms Family Farm continued a tradition born out of a pandemic: driving experiences. Throughout October, the farm hosts the Pumpkin Glow & Light Show, which features large, illuminated pumpkin display cases, including a farm scene, alien scene, and Christmas scene in October.
More than 10,000 cars took part in the show last year and the farm’s communications director Kimmy Jaski said with all the uncertainties that remain with the pandemic, they felt like they had to bring back the Pumpkin Glow. .
“We thought it made sense to remake the event and give people a place to be able to enjoy the spirit of Halloween and be safe and enjoy it from the comfort of their own car,” Jaski said. .
Tickets range from $ 26.99 to $ 66.99 per car. It operates from Thursday to Saturday in October, as well as Sundays 10 and 31 October. For schedules and more information, visit ellmsfarms.com.
Here’s a look at other upcoming fall events in the Capital Region:
Maple Ski Ridge in Schenectady will host a fall festival on Saturday October 9. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the grounds will be filled with vintage cars and new and old tractors. There will also be a craft show and flea market, as well as chairlift and hay cart rides. All participants will go through a COVID screening before entering. There will be an entrance fee of $ 5 per car. For more information, visit mapleskiridge.com.
Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park will host several walks and hikes throughout the month, including a Nature on the Move walk on October 4-18, as well as a moonlight hike on October 19, among others. To register, dial 518-450-0321 or send an email [email protected]
The Schenectady County Historical Society will be hosting candlelight walking tours of the Stockade District on October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 from 32 Washington Ave. Tickets are $ 13 for one of two tours available: Colonial Hauntings at 6:30 p.m. and Ghostly Victorian at 7:30 p.m. which feature different stories and venture to different parts of the neighborhood. Candlelight tours are co-sponsored by the Schenectady Heritage Foundation. Pre-registration is required at schenectadyhistorical.org/programs. Space is limited. Refreshments and live music will follow.
Wintergreen Park Harvest Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 9 in Canajoharie. Hosted by the Friends of Wintergreen Park, it is expected to include a craft fair, free crafts for kids, food, and more. For more information, visit Wintergreen Park Harvest Festival on Facebook.
The Hollowed Harvest is back at the Altamont Exhibition Center, with new pumpkin displays and vendors. Participants can tour the grounds and see exhibits spanning two floors and 50 feet long. There are scarecrow screens as well as a massive Titanic screen, among others. Tours take around 35 to 40 minutes on foot, and on some days there will be cider donut vendors and tarot card readers. The show runs from Thursday to Sunday until Halloween. General admission tickets cost $ 20 for adults and $ 16 for children 4 and older. For hours and more information, visit HollowedHarvest.com.
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