If you ask someone what they like about living in Pennsylvania, one of the top answers that you’ll hear is that there are seasons.
Who doesn’t love going from blistering, surface-of-the-sun temperatures to only a few months later having to swap out your entire wardrobe to fend off potential frostbite?
But between those two extremes lies a sweet spot known as autumn (“fall” to the layperson).
We’re fortunate to live in a part of the country where fall is in full force, and there are plenty of ways to experience it: two of the best being festivals and local attractions.
If you’re the type of person that loves a festival, then there’s good news for you: There are lots of them all over Central Pennsylvania. Here are a few happening over the next couple of weekends, but you can find even more listed here.
If you’re a fan of apple-centric festivals in particular, well, then your head is about to explode…
On October 13, you can take a quick drive over to Grantville’s H.M. Levitz Memorial Park for their Annual Apple Cider Festival. They’ve got a pie baking contest, apple dumplings, wagon rides, and petting zoo, and while it wasn’t listed, it’s probably a safe assumption that apple cider will be present as well.
If you’re planning on going it’s probably not a bad idea to brush up on the difference between apple cider and apple juice. Ned Flanders explains:
Little Buffalo State Park is located in Newport, PA; about 40 miles west of Lebanon. It may be a bit of a drive, but if you find yourself in the mood to see demonstrations of cider squeezing, apple butter boiling, and corn grinding at historic Shoaff’s Mill on October 19 or 20, it’s the place to be.
They’ll also have live entertainment and activities for kids.
Also happening on October 19, but a little bit closer to home is Choctoberfest in Downtown Hershey.
You get three guesses as to what the theme for this one is…
…that’s right; chocolate.
Choctoberfest is free to attend and will be held from noon-6pm on the corner of the appropriately named Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues. It’s a family-friendly event highlighted by food, entertainment, craft beer and more.
Whether you just like to eat some chili, or you have a chili recipe that you think will throttle the rest of the competition, you may want to check out the 4th Annual Palmyra Area ChiliFEST & Chili Cook-Off from 11am-2pm on October 19.
If you feel like you’ve got the intestinal fortitude to tackle it, and don’t mind signing a waiver, you can sign up for the festival’s hot pepper eating competition!
Whether you like you like things that are tame and relaxing, or spine chilling and blood-curdling, there are plenty of options in Central PA.
Chainsaw-wielding maniacs, criminally insane asylum patients, and more await you at America’s self-described #1 haunted attraction.
Field of Screams can be found just off of Route 30 in Mountville, Lancaster County. Not for the faint-of-heart, Field of Screams features four terrifying attractions: Haunted Hayride, Den of Darkness, Frightmare Asylum, and Nocturnal Wasteland.
Field of Screams also features an entertainment area with music, games, and food, as well as some special events throughout he season.
If your preference is attractions that take place in daylight and without murderous circus clowns, right next door to Field of Screams is Corn Cob Acres.
Corn Cob Acres is a non-scary attraction and is geared toward kids and families. There are six themed areas to explore including Pumpkin Alley and Pasture Playland, as well as entertainment and food.
Most people have been to Hersheypark before, but have you been to Hersheypark… In The Dark?
Hersheypark puts on its Halloween best on weekends from October 18 through November 3. All 13 of the park’s renowned roller coasters will be in operation, offering up some thrills. There will also be some special events like a glow dance party, fall food and drink menus, and of course an opportunity to do some trick or treating.
Also included in the your admission is access to ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night, a night-time trek through the zoo to check out some nocturnal animals.
Located just north of Annville, Sycamore Springs Orchard has a multitude of fall offerings. Check out the bakery, purchase some produce from the market, or if you want to cut out the middleman, you can pick your own apples. Sycamore Springs offers 10 varieties of apples to choose from.
Nothing can bring a family, couple, or group friends together quite like getting lost in a corn maze, and Lebanon’s got a doozy of a maize maze (feel free to use that to elicit groans from your friends).
The maze in constructed on a 14-acre corn field, making it one of the largest corn mazes in the area. The maze is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until November 3. The cost of admission is $8 for those over 6 years old.
If we were to do some sort of word association exercise and you were given the word “fall,” there’s a good chance that “jack-o’-lantern” would be one of the first things to pop into your head.
Hershey Gardens will be offering a special event called “Pumpkin Glow” on October 18, 19, 25, and 26. More than 200 jack-o’-lanterns will line the walkways throughout Hershey Gardens. This is a family-friendly, non-scary special event.
What are some of your favorite fall attractions and festivals? Let us know in the comments!