Autumn is the time of the year when a chill begins to fill the air, leaves change to present breathtaking foliage and trees show off their finest orange, red and yellow hues.
It is also a time for pumpkin picking, apple cider drinking and family fun, which can be found at various farms and other locations statewide.
Stacey Hoffman, spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Agriculture, remembers fall days as a youth in the First State fondly.
“One of the best ways to appreciate farm families’ effort in raising local products is to be engaged in fun, learning activities for all ages on the farm,” Ms. Hoffman said. “When I think back to my childhood, one of the highlights was going on the fall class trip to our local farm to pick apples, try apple cider and choose the largest pumpkin I could carry out of the pumpkin patch and back onto the hay wagon.”
Ms. Hoffman added that the addition of more on-farm events for families and individuals has really been a boon for the agriculture industry.
“Over the past six years, we have seen agritourism expand in Delaware,” she said. “There is an increased interest by the public to help support local family farms. By participating in agritourism through you-pick operations and on-farm events, residents and visitors get a sense of what it takes for family farmers to grow their food.
“Whether visiting a farm with day care, going on a class trip or taking a family excursion on the weekend, participating in agritourism helps create lasting memories. And ultimately, those will become traditions that help support local family farms and encourage consumers to buy local.”
Ms. Hoffman suggests visiting here to find a farm with activities.
Plus, if you decide to pick up some local fall produce, the Department of Agriculture has “great recipes to make when you get home that everyone in the family will love.”
The fall season is clearly upon us, as Fifer Orchards in Camden already has its annual corn maze and fun park open as the calendar screams toward Halloween.
Of course, at Fifer’s, they like to tempt your taste buds, as well, by offering up fresh burgers, fries, chicken tenders, pizza, cider slushies, cider donuts, kettle corn and soft serve ice cream at its kitchen.
Although there are activities and events year-round at Fifer’s, there just seems to be something even more special about fall at the orchard.
Michael Fennemore, fourth-generation owner/operator at the facility, said it certainly never gets old — especially putting together the corn maze every year.
“It’s always a challenge but something we look forward to each year,” he said. “Each corn maze is like a snowflake. There’s not one exactly alike.”
Here’s a number of fall activities this month:
- Frightland: At 309 Port Penn Road, Middletown, Frightland features eight unique haunted attractions, including a mile-long hayride, a haunted barn, Idalia Manor, Ravenwood Cemetery, Zombie Ghost Town, The Attic and Fear. The venue opens at 6 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 6. For tickets and details, visit here.
- Fall Fun at Fifer’s: A variety of activities is offered at Fifer’s, located at 1919 Allabands Mill Road, Camden. Attendees can visit the Mystery Maze, fun park, you-pick apples and pumpkins and tractor-train rides. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For details and tickets, visit here.
- Fall Fun at Filasky’s Pumpkin Patch: On Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31, Filasky’s Produce and Farm Market, 1343 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown, offers hayrides, a soybean maze, pumpkins, fall decorations, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin donuts, photo opportunities and more. See details here.
- Spooky hayrides: From 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 30, Magee Farms, 34887 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville, will offer hayrides around the farm. The cost is $5 per rider. Food, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase. Visit here.
- BOO! at the Zoo: Through Oct. 30, from 7-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 4 Palms Zoo, 1060 Vandyke Greenspring Road, Townsend, will host this event. The zoo will have a graveyard, ghosts, pumpkins, skeletons, witches and a few other surprises along the way. Guests can also enjoy a hayride around the zoo’s perimeter, where family-friendly spookiness thrives. This is also an opportunity to see the zoo’s nocturnal animals — red, silver and gray foxes, raccoons, coyotes, skunks and screech owls — awake and active in their habitats. Warm cider and marshmallows for roasting will be provided. Admission is $5 per person. Hayrides are $2 per person. Additional donations are welcome to provide for and rescue animals. Visit here.
- OktoBIRDfest x Dogfish Head takes place through Monday. Delmarva Birding joins Dogfish Head to pair fall birding with off-centered ales and adventures by bike, boat and kayak. See itinerary and register here.
- Fall Family Fun Fest: Featuring battling food trucks, tours of the Galaxy Garden, activities and entertainment, this festival takes place Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation, 585 Big Oak Road, Smyrna. Visit here.
- It’s a Great Pumpkin at Killens Pond State Park: Saturday at 2 p.m., children will learn how pumpkins grow and look at what is inside them. Then, everyone will get the opportunity to get creative with a pumpkin. Visit here to register.
- Blackbird Creek Fall Festival: Featured on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a day of free family fun with vendors, informational booths, demonstrations, crafts and more. See here for details.
- Festi-Fall Craft & Vendor Event: Conley’s United Methodist Church, 33106 Road 289, Lewes, will feature 50 to 60 crafters, vendors and business owners from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Visit Facebook event page for details.
- Milford Community Parade: The Milford Community Parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday from 201 S. Walnut St. The “It’s a Retro” parade marches through the city of Milford along Walnut Street. Floats, bands, marching units, civic groups and more will participate. See details on the Milford Parade Facebook page.
- Community Fall Festival at Ross Mansion: Featuring crafts, face painting, trunk-or-treat, games, music and more, the event will be held Oct. 24 from 4-8 p.m. at 23669 Ross Station Road, Seaford. Visit here for details.
- Sea Witch Festival: The annual event returns to Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 29 and continues with a number of events through Oct. 31. Costumed parade, contests, vendors and more will be available. Visit here and click the Sea Witch icon for more information.
- Boos & Brews: The Lewes Historical Society Main Campus, 110 Shipcarpenter St., offers an opportunity to wander the grounds and encounter historic figures of the past and hear their tales of lamentations. Costumes welcome. The event is 3:30-6 p.m. Oct. 29. Tickets available here.
- Wicked Weekend: From 4:30-8 p.m. Oct. 30, at Milton Memorial Park, Milton’s newest tradition, Wicked Weekend, will feature a fantasy trail for younger ghosts and goblins and a haunted walk for older tweens. Each walk will feature themed stations for families to interact with. Visit here.
- A Spooktacular Farmers Market: The last Riverwalk Farmers Market of the season will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 30 at 1 S. Walnut St., Milford. Volunteers and vendors, some in costume, will hand out treats. As always, there will be local produce, handmade crafts and specialty items.