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Mr. Funtober

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My name is Robert Melton and I founded Funtober in 2012. I started this website on nights and weekends while working as an Attorney. This is our third year and every year gets better. If you have comments, suggestions, or complaints about the site, direct them to me. Or just say hello because you are bored!

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We’re tracking the release date for the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2015. The Starbucks drink that has come to signal fall for millions of Americans is typically released the first week in September however the past few years it has been available early. The official release is September 8, 2015 and we’re still waiting for any news about a game to get early access. NBC News said the early access will be September 4th in select cities.

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Update
No announcement about the unofficial game yet! We were sure that we would get a tweet today but the one we got wasn’t the start to a game. It seems likely at this point that Starbucks is using the extra week before Labor Day to push the end of summer seasonal Frappuccinos that it announced on August 27th. We will have more information for you tomorrow!

August 30, 2015 Update
It’s the last weekend before Labor Day and we’re expecting an announcement either today or tomorrow about the game that will unlock a PSL on September 4, 2015. We expect that the game will start tomorrow regardless of when the announcement is made as the unlock code is traditionally revealed over several days.

August 26, 2015 Update

The Starbucks newsroom has announced that September 8th will be the official return of fall’s official drink. It also says that “Just as in year’s past, PSL’s biggest fans may have an opportunity to taste the beverage before it’s officially available, and are encouraged to following the official Twitter, Tumblr and new this year, Instagram accounts for ‘TheRealPSL’ for the latest.” That sounds like confirmation there will be game to permit access a week early again this year.

The Twitter account has been updated with a video of a PSL in a bubble bath next to candles that says it is hard work being on vacation 9 months a year.

August 21, 2015 Update

Major media outlets have announced that select cities will have early access to the Pumpkin Spice Latte on September 4, 2015 and it will become generally available on September 8, 2015. I haven’t seen any indication online of what cities are participating in the early release. And there is no mention of a game in order to gain access to the drink. The news broke last night by NBC. We had been predicting that early access to this fall favorite would start September 1st or 2nd.

Starbucks has announced today that it is changing the recipe on its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is going to start using real pumpkin and stop using caramel coloring. The twitter account for the PSL says this decision was made in between a yoga retreat and a vision quest (I assume the spirit animal search from the prior tweet?). Note: the sand castle tweet is no longer pinned but the post on the Starbucks blog says “enjoy the rest of summer” so it seems unlikely we are getting an announcement concerning any early release this week.

August 16, 2015 Update

The most recent post for the Real PSL on Twitter was on August 10th.  It is searching for its spirit animal and is looking for the animal form of a pumpkin.  The pinned tweet is still a sandcastle. There’s been no mention of anything pumpkin-like on the Starbucks Facebook page.  They are still promoting summer drinks on their banner photo.  

Labor Day is on September 7th this year, so we expect the full release date for the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte will be Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  We’ve been doing some additional analysis.  If they follow last year’s timeframe, they will be offering drinks “early” on Tuesday, September 1, 2015.  That puts us about 10 days away from our expected press release announcement date of Wednesday, August 26, 2015.  Last year the twitter game was announced on August 20th but Labor Day was a week earlier.

In 2011, when Labor Day was similarly late (September 5th), Starbucks stuck to this pattern and allowed Chicago to get the drink a week early – on Tuesday August 30th.  Given the popularity of the drink and the lateness of Labor Day, we don’t think that the Seattle coffee shop is going to restrict early access to its drink to one metropolitan region – that would stir up a real storm elsewhere in the country!

August 8, 2015 Update

We’ve seen no word yet. With Labor Day 2015 less than a month away, we expect to see Starbucks start to leak hints about a possible early release within the next two to three weeks. If there is a game this year, we expect it will start around August 20th as it has the past few years. And we’ll post here as soon as we see anything so that you don’t miss out on a day of your coffee fix.

In the past, the official opening day for the drink has been the Tuesday immediately following Labor Day. However, the precedent for the past few years has been to allow people to buy the drink starting the week before as long as they have the secret password obtained online by solving a challenge.

In 2014, Starbucks opened a twitter account for the real Pumpkin Spice Latte. It gained tens of thousands of followers. For those that completed the #spotthespice challenge, they were given access to the drink on Tuesday, August 26th. They tweeted one clue a day and the Tumblr game board kept track of the hints.

In 2013, Starbucks celebrated the 10th anniversary of the PSL with a code that allowed anyone that told a barista the special code, PSL10, access to the drink early.

In 2011, Starbucks offered the city that earned the most points playing games on their Facebook page with the opportunity to grab the drink a whole week early. Chicago residents earned more than 10 million points to beat out Seattle in a close competition that earned them the right to drink the most popular pumpkin coffee drink before the rest of America.

Early Consumption Tip

If you want to be the first to taste the sweet and spicy espresso and steamed milk latte with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping, the you had better call around. We’ve occasionally found that the local coffee shops here in Philly don’t always get their deliveries by the early release date.

We’ll see you in Starbucks soon!

Progress hit a virtual standstill last week as I was wiped out by a nasty little virus.  It’s hard to work when you don’t even have the energy to get up to get a glass of water.  But that’s just one of the many setbacks that I expect to have on this journey and I’ll persevere.

This weekend, I finished up the list of fall and harvest festivals that I was working on last week.  There’s nearly 300 fall festivals across the United States on the list.  I can’t make any claims that it is comprehensive, but I’m happy to be able to hit publish and fill in the gaps in the research later.

That leaves two tasks next on the to do list.  Finish up the list of festivals organized by state.  And plunge back into the corn maze directory.  About 20% of the nation’s corn crop has been planted so far.  And I’d like to have the corn maze directory out by the beginning of May.

There’s only 151 days until the start of Oktoberfest.  I’ve got to get to work!  Last week’s storm is over and it is time to look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. ;)

Halfway

When I posted the information about Oktoberfest, I had only researched the most popular German festivals in the United States.  For the past couple of days, I’ve been working to expand the list to include the other celebrations of Oktoberfest in America.  And I finished the list up last night.

From Maine to Hawaii, you’ll find festivals in September and October to celebrate your German heritage.  Or simply enjoy a good German beer with some bratwurst.  And if you are really looking for a party, try California or Ohio.  So if you can’t fly to Munich, I’ve just posted the next best way to celebrate.

Aubrey enjoying her first liter

 

It’s perfectly OK if the answer is no.  You still have six months to get in the mood to party during October.  But when the end of September rolls around, you had better have that frown turned upside down!

If you said YES – then you should reserve space on your calendar for one of the fall festivals that I have been researching recently!  I expect that the October festivals that I added today will be some of the more popular ones with Funtober readers.  I added my lists of beer, wine and music festivals for you to check out.  You’ll just have to check them out yourself under the festivals section.

Treasure Island Music Festival

How did you get down here?  You were supposed to go see the fall festivals that I didn’t highlight.  Not intrigued enough to check out the others yet?  Well you are missing out on the opportunity to book a trip to a fun film festival, lift off land in a hot air balloon, or consume gourmet food at a packed street festival.  Don’t be lame – see what other fall festivals you might be missing.

Happy Easter!  Another major holiday passes in the countdown until the best holiday of the year.  There are 206 days left until Halloween.

I took a few minutes this morning from my Easter celebration to add a new logo to my Facebook page and twitter account.  I expect that I’ll spend the money to have a graphic designer create a more professional logo before September rolls around.  But until that time, this free logo that I created at Logo Snap will work just fine.  What do you think?  Is it appropriately amusing and cheesy enough for Funtober?  Could you do better?

This morning, I’ve updated the policies and governing legal documents for Funtober.  You should take a few minutes out of your day and check them out.  They govern your use of this website.  So they are kind of a big deal.  I know that most people don’t read them unless they have to hire an attorney for a legal dispute.  But you are bound by them even if you don’t read them.  Because I wouldn’t be able to provide Funtober to you free of charge without some protections in place.  And this legal nonsense is my protection against the people in the world who would take what is essentially free information and sue a guy for them.  Don’t be that person.

If you care, check out the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Disclosures, Comment Policy and Guest Post Policy.  If you don’t, you are still bound by them but you can now look at this pretty picture of the Supreme Court.  Enjoy!

us supreme court 4.10.06 - 7

You may have noticed some of the most recent changes here at Funtober.  On Wednesday, I added the Funtober facebook page and twitter account to the sidebar.  Be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW us!  I’ll be haphazardly tweeting and posting updates about the website for the next few months until September rolls around.  At that point, the volume of updates should pick up as I switch to announcing awesome upcoming events that you shouldn’t miss.

In other news, I’ve just added 20 different types of food festivals to the list of things to do in October.  These October festivals are a great way to try fabulous food and enjoy a beautiful fall weekend.  Round up your friends to check them out!  I’ll be adding more fall festivals to the section in the next few months.  As well as publishing a list of festivals by state to help you pick and choose from the festivals closest to your location.  So stay tuned!

Update – April 10 – I’ve now published more festivals!

One of the events that I am looking forward to this October is my visit to a local farm to get lost in their corn maze.  The Funtober corn maze directory was the first section of Funtober that I worked on, but there are a lot of corn mazes in the United States and I had to move on to other areas before I was overwhelmed.  Don’t worry, though.  Now that the ground is warming up, and leaves are beginning to return to the trees here in Philadelphia, I’ll turn my attention back to corn mazes soon.

Most of us may think of April 1 as a day for practical jokes.  But for American farmers, it is the traditional start of corn planting season.  While this year’s warm weather has allowed for farmers to begin to plant their corn crop earlier than usual, the majority of corn is going to be planted in the next few weeks.  And U.S. farmers are expected to plant more corn this year than has been planted in 75 years.

With thoughts of corn going in the ground, my attention has turned back to corn mazes for the moment.  And you can rest assured that I’ll have the directory and other corn maze content up soon.

Corn field

I was asked by one of my friends this weekend what this website was about.  Rattling off the domain name has been easy.  Everybody loves it.  But the next two sentences are much harder.  So I thought I would write a quick post about it so that I could just point people to it.

Funtober provides information about all of the fun things to do between Oktoberfest and Halloween.  But there isn’t really a need for more information about these events on the internet, is there?  It’s just a matter of finding all of the information yourself.  So perhaps Funtober is just a better organization of the available information?  But that sells the idea short though.  Whether you have fun at an event is determined by the friends who attend with you.  Perhaps your willingness to attend an event also depends on whether you can find someone that also wants to go.  That is often the case with me.  Shouldn’t there be an easier way to meet new people to attend these events?  Perhaps Funtober will get there.   Or perhaps you’ll find that I am designing and manufacturing Halloween costumes that don’t suck.  Or throwing big parties during October.  The world is filled with possibilities.  Shouldn’t there be a person/website/company that is doing all of the things that I’ve described above?  Maybe one day you’ll find all that here.

Wherever the road takes Funtober, I know where it begins.  By adding information about the events that make October so much fun.  And listening to what else you, my visitors, would find valuable.

The two sections that I added yesterday were travel and haunted houses.  Today’s addition relates to Oktoberfest.  Since it could go in either festivals or travel, I decided to put it in its own section.  It’s big enough to warrant it.  Six million people attended in Munich last year.  And millions more celebrated outside Munich.

I’ve been wondering recently how many people attended the first Oktoberfest in 1810.  Was it similar to the hype surrounding the Prince William and Catherine Middleton marriage in 2011?  Or the Barack Obama Presidential Oath of Office ceremony in Washington D.C.?  Or was it a tiny event that has grown in size and popularity over the years?

The launch of Funtober will only be celebrated by me, my family, and a few of my closest friends.  But that’s just fine.  I’m positive that we’ll have more fun in October because I took the time to put this together.  And that’s all I really care about anyway.  If other people find it valuable too, that’s just icing on the cake.