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Curtis Orchard

It’s the first weekend in October and, with rain in the local morning forecast, I set out to find the nation’s classic fall traditions. The farms that are packed with families willing to drive an hour because that’s where they’ve always gone. The cider mills that are cranking out the fresh apple cider and donuts that you will be hankering for every fall for the next thirty years. The locations that draw giant pumpkin farmers and guests from across the region to see who has the heaviest pumpkin.

From farms which could be best characterized as amusement parks, to classic working farms and apple orchards with u-pick apples and pumpkins, to a country store with a hayride that has built a loyal following, these 25 farms, apple orchards and cider mills are favorite fall destinations for thousands of guests every year.


Vala’s Pumpkin Patch – Gretna, NE
If you got up early this morning and headed to Vala’s, you could have had from-scratch buttermilk and pumpkin pancakes. Is there a better way to start the morning? I don’t think so! Started in 1984, it’s grown into a 212 acre fall festival that one online reviewer called the “Disneyland of Pumpkin Patches”.. Thousands of Omaha and Lincoln residents descend every fall on Gretna, population ~ 5,000, to pick out their pumpkin and have fun at the 60+ activities around the farm. That’s plenty of activities, from the Pumpkin Creek railroad to pig races and pumpkin chunkin’, to keep kids of all ages entertained. They have all your fall favorites, from hand-dipped caramel apples to warm chocolate chip cookies and pie. And true to their roots, they grow 55 acres of pumpkins and squash every year. Visit their website for more information or get the latest updates on Facebook.


Davis Family Farm – Sterling, MA
This seven-generation, working family farm opened its doors to visitors in 1996 and has proven a hit among families. Davis Mega Maze was named by CNN one of the 7 coolest mazes in the world! Want to get frightened before Halloween? Take on the maze during Fright Nights the last three weekends of October. Add in pick your own apples and pumpkins for those who want to enjoy fall west of Boston. For those members of your family that don’t care about farm fun, there’s outdoor activities like laser tag and a zip line to keep them occupied. If you have kids in the Boston area, take note! Davis Family Farm in Sterling (25 minutes north of Worcester) will have Anna and Elsa from Frozen there tomorrow (Sunday, October 5th). They were supposed to be there today as well for Pirate and Princess Weekend, but Mother Nature intervened and they had to close the farm. That’s farming though and part of the charm! Learn more on their website or stay up to date on Facebook.


Yates Cider Mill – Rochester Hills, MI
This Metro Detroit fall classic made the list even though it isn’t technically a farm. The exception is definitely warranted. Located in Rochester Hills along the Clinton River, it dates back to 1863 when it was known as Yates Grist Mill. Cider, donuts and a stroll along the river are the staples that have been bringing families back for years. In recent years, they’ve added a petting zoo, pony rides and diversified the food and bakery selection. They’ve been making cider for Michiganders for more than 100 years. Want to give it a try? You can order online and they will ship it! Check out their website or get the latest updates on Facebook.


Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm – Homer Glen, IL
If you are going to spend a full day on the farm, you need fantastic food to keep your energy up. And Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm doesn’t disappoint, with Uncle Bub’s cooking up its award winning, Food Network featured, bbq for guests of the farm in October. The eats & treats, which will include apple cider donuts in 2014 because of customer demand, aren’t the only reason to visit their pumpkinfest just 45 minutes outside Chicago. The farm fun includes a three acre corn maze, simulated cow milking, pig races, petting zoo, hayrides and even a mega slide. The farm has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Visit their website to learn more or follow them on Facebook.


Burt’s Pumpkin Farm – Dawsonville, GA
Thousands of Atlanta residents make the one hour trek into the North Georgia mountains in the fall and stop in Dawsonville, population 619, to buy their pumpkin and baked goods from this 50+ acre pumpkin farm and country store. Unfortunately, they don’t allow you to pick your own from the field (they are prepicked in the barnyard), but you can still enjoy a hayride daily in October. Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast at a drop of 729 feet, is around the corner. And make it a day by continuing on to Buck’s Corn Maze, a 12 acre cornfield also located in Dawsonville. Keep your eyes open on the drive to Burt’s too, because you’ll be able to see 30 acres of sunflowers in bloom. For additional information, visit their website or Facebook.


The Great Pumpkin Farm – Clarence, NY
Want to see a bunch of giant pumpkins? Then The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence, NY is for you. This weekend, on October 5th, they will have the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off that will pay $10,000 for a world record pumpkin. Last year, there were seven pumpkins weighing over 1,000 pounds! According to Wikipedia, the population of Clarence, located 30 minutes northeast of downtown Buffalo, was 30,624 in the 2010 census. The Facebook page for this farm, however, has more than 40,000 likes. As a law school graduate, my math skills have always been suspect. But even I can tell you that means the place is popular. With fun competitions like the Pumpkin Olympics, Trebuchet Contest, and a Costume Contest taking place on the weekends, there’s probably a reason. A corn maze, petting zoo, hayride, haunted house and amusement rides also await your family’s visit. Their website says they have a zillion pumpkins. I’m not sure that I believe them, but the pyramid of pumpkins looks frighteningly big. There is a $5 per person admission on weekends with an additional cost for individual attractions. If only they had a pick-your-own patch and made their own cider! Oh well. Did I mention they have a lot of big pumpkins? Visit their website to learn more or get updates on Facebook.


County Line Orchard – Hobart, Indiana
Forty acres of apple trees for pick your own apples less than an hour southeast of downtown Chicago? Now that’s worth crossing state lines for! Wagon rides, corn maze, barnyard tunes, and a bakery making 10,000 donuts every day add to the appeal of this Indiana apple orchard. You know how you know the donuts are pretty good? There are only two varieties listed on their website: an apple spiced donut dusted in cinnamon and sugar or a pumpkin spiced donut glazed with pumpkin frosting. They both sound delicious and definitely worthy of their billing as “something of a local legend.” They even have u-pick pumpkins in the field. Their website has additional information or get updates on Facebook.


Tanners Orchard – Speer, IL
Thirty minutes north of Peoria, you can catch a covered wagon ride out to a 11,000 tree u-pick apple orchard and 20 acre pumpkin patch. Family owned and operated since 1947, they’ve also got a corn maze, farm animals, bakery and Back 40 Fun Acres. Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date on Facebook.


Mapleside Farms – Brunswick, OH
Who has the largest jumping pillow in Ohio? America’s Longest Slide at 311 feet? Why, Pumpkin Village at Mapleside Farms south of Cleveland. But these probably aren’t its best features. It received top honors from Choose Outdoors as “America’s Most Beautiful Farm”. Adults can enjoy a drink at the Cider House bar, select a few bottles at the Wine Loft, or enjoy a rustic dining experience at the Orchard House. Kids will enjoy the best Playground in Cleveland according to Cleveland Scene Magazine. As if you needed more reasons to swing by this fall, they also have a pumpkin patch, corn maze and hayrides. And they finish the season off in November with pumpkin smash weekend. Visit their website or Facebook to learn more.


Orr Family Farm – Oklahoma City, OK
This farm in Southwest OKC has been a tradition in Oklahoma for many years. They spent nearly $2 million last year to rebuild the farm after much of it was destroyed by a May 2013 tornado – so show them some love! They’ve de-mangled the carousel, replanted the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, and even got a Spookley the Square pumpkin corn maze for kids (and adults) to enjoy.It was voted by Metro Family readers (an Oklahoma City parenting magazine) as the best pumpkin patch in its 2014 family favorites competition. Save the farm from the undead with zombie apocalypse paintball in the evening, too. Visit their website for additional information or stay up to date by following them on Facebook.


Tougas Family Farm – Northborough, MA
USA Today named Tougas one of the top 10 pick your own apple orchards in the nation a few years back. Prefer pumpkin picking, playgrounds, barnyard animals and farm baked goods to apple picking? They have these staples of fall farm fun too! The farm has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years, since it was purchased by owners Maurice and Phyllis Tougas in 1981. Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date about what’s going on at their Facebook page.


Johnson’s Corner Farm – Medford, NJ
Pumpkin ice cream, apple cider slush and a day on a farm? Sign me up. Johnson’s Corner Farm lies east of Cherry Hill in the Greater Philadelphia region. They have hayrides, apple picking and a pumpkin patch. Started as a flat wagon selling produce on the corner of Church and Hartford Roads in the 1950s. It has grown into a farm market and u-pick area that is loved by families every fall. Their website has additional info or check them out on Facebook.


Cox Farms – Centreville, VA
USA Today called Cox Farms one of the country’s coolest pumpkin patches this year. And there’s a reason. Located just west of Fairfax in Northern Virginia, it’s one of the closest agritainment experiences to Washington, D.C. residents. Hayrides, farm animals, cider, donuts and caramel apples? Yep, they have all the fall festival favorites. Want to do a moonlit hayride, get scared in the cornfield or tackle the torch-lit giant slide? You can do that too at their Fields of Fear. Get the details on their website or Facebook page.


Dewberry Farm – Brookshire, TX
Have you ever taken a stroll past 500 lit jack-o-lanterns? You can do that in the Pumpkin Hollar at Dewberry Farms, a 100 acre farm located west of Houston established in 2002. There’s an 8 acre corn maze, children’s play area and country store with baked goods and “straight from the hive” unpasteurized honey from their own bees. A one mile train ride and pedal karts are two more of the 35+ activities. This year, they’ve added eight restored antique windmills. Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date on their Facebook page.


Apple Annie’s Orchard – Willcox, AZ
Every year, thousands of Arizona residents pile into the car to make the one hour road trip east of Tucson, through the beautiful Southern Arizona countryside, to one of the best u-pick apple orchards and fruit farms in the Southwest United States. Willcox, population 3700, is home to 25+ year old family farming operation of John and Annie Holcomb known as Apple Annie’s Orchard. The fruits and vegetables may be the draw, but the food gets rave reviews as well. All-You-Can-Eat pancake breakfast on weekend mornings? Sign me up! Pick a pumpkin out of the huge pumpkin patch or get lost in the corn maze with three levels of difficulty to ensure that it’s perfect for your family. Check out their website to learn more or follow them on Facebook to stay up to date.


Shady Brook Farm – Yardley, PA
This farm northeast of Philadelphia was founded more than 100 years ago and is now being run by the fourth generation of the Fleming family. It has been named one of the top 10 pumpkin patches in America by MSN and one of the top 13 scream parks by Haunt World. Start in the morning at PumpkinFest, where you can pick your own pumpkin, get lost in their corn maze, take a wagon ride and enjoy other farm fun. Stay for the evening with HorrorFest or PumpkinFest in the Dark. There’s four haunted attractions at this Bucks County farm. Get scared at the Hayride of Horror, Barn of Horror, Carnage Corn Maze and 3-D Alien Encounter. Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date with what’s happening on the farm via Facebook.


Uncle John’s Cider Mill – Saint John’s, MI
Enjoy fresh cider and homemade donuts thirty minutes north of Lansing at Uncle John’s, a fifth generation family farm. In an old cattle barn converted into a cider press, their cider is made the old fashioned way, with no additives, preservatives, or pasteurization. They also have a five acre corn maze, PYO pumpkin patch, wagon rides and kid’s play area. While you are there, be sure to stop by their tasting room for wine and hard cider, which has received rave reviews online. Visit their website or Facebook page for additional information.


Pumpkinville – Great Valley, NY
Most popular farms sit a short drive outside a major city. Pumpkinville is located in Great Valley, NY, population 1,947. Great Valley, before you check your map, is one hour south of Buffalo and 90 miles east of Erie, NY. But if you make the drive to this 200 acre farm in the hills of Western NY, you get the opportunity to visit New York’s oldest continuously operating working pumpkin farm. Open every single day in October – you have 31 chances to visit Pumpkinville. Enjoy the fresh milled cider from their 120 year old cider press. Find your way through the six acre corn maze. Take a helicopter ride on weekends to view the beautiful fall colors. Or enjoy the rest that the farm has to offer, and pick up a pumpkin to take home and carve. Did I mention that you can get in free and only pay per activity or buy an all day activity wristband? Sounds like it’s time to make a trip to Great Valley! Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date on Facebook.


Jackson’s Orchard – Bowling Green, KY
An hour north of Nashville in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the land for this 105 acre farm has been producing apples for over 100 years. It has been owned by Bill and Shirley Jackson for nearly 50 years. This year, they’ve decided to allow pick-your-own apples in addition to their classic u-pick pumpkins, corn maze, hayride and other fall fun. The pumpkin festival is on weekends for the month of October. No admission fees to get in and no parking fees? Don’t miss it if you are in the area! Get more details on their website or learn more on Facebook.


McCall’s Pumpkin Patch – Moriarty, NM
Growing up in Michigan, I always imagined that the Southwest United States was a bit of a barren desert without camels. Not true! As I came to find out when I started Funtober, there’s fall farm fun to be had across the country. One shining example is McCall’s. This pick your own pumpkin patch located thirty minutes east of Albuquerque rivals the popular ones of the Midwest. Take a hayride to the patch. Get lost in their 16 acre corn maze. And take your kids down the Wee Wild West for fun. At night, it gets pretty scary. McCall’s transforms into a haunted farm with three terrifying attractions – a haunted cornfield, barn and zombie hunt. The people of Albuquerque must love it because the website warns of three or four hour wait times on their busiest nights! It opens on Friday, so get your tickets. Visit their website for additional details or support them on Facebook.


Curtis Orchard – Champaign, IL
When you are in the mood for cider and donuts in central Illinois, there’s a place in Champaign that will more than satisfy your craving. They are only 15 minutes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a quick 2 hour drive from Indianapolis and Chicago. With a u-pick apple orchard and pumpkin patch, you’ll be able to burn off some of the calories from their bakery. They aren’t organic, but say they are as close as possible for the region. They’ve reduced their pesticide usage over the past 15 years. Hopefully, additional advancements will lead to pesticide-free techniques to control the few pests which they still must spray for when they show up. The Curtis family has been living in the area since 1873, watching the land transform from prairie to farmland to apple orchard. Paul and Joyce Curtis planted their first apple tree here in 1977. The orchard is now owned by their daughter Debbie and her husband, Randy Graham. Visit their website to learn more or get updates about the farm on Facebook.


Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm – Wheatland, CA
There’s tons of worthy farms in California – but this is the one that made the list this year! It’s a favorite of teachers for school trips on weekdays and families on the weekend. Online reviews indicate that almost everyone has been coming here for years. For 2014, they’ve made a bunch of improvements. They added a carousel! There’s a new space dedicated to chocolate chip cookies called Babe’s Cookieactory. And they recognized that the lines at the bakery can get long – so they are now offering online pre-ordering so that they will be ready for your arrival. They still have the classics that have made them so popular. Friday and Saturday pig races in October at the Porko Arena. A corn maze that highlights deserving local charities. Hayrides to the 72 acres of pumpkin fields. And enough delicious food and baked goods to feed an entire farm of people! It is located just north of Sacramento. Visit their website to learn more or stay up to date on Facebook.


Triple B Farms – Monongahela, PA
Just 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh, there’s a pick-your-own farm offering the ability to pick fruit from May through October. Starting the year with strawberries and raspberries, they offer apple and pumpkin picking on weekends in September and October. They have the standard farm fare of course, with hayrides, farm animals and a playground for kids. But they offer so much more. This weekend, for $20 (with RSVP), they are offering Build-Your-Own Scarecrow with everything included for just $20. It’s also Spookley, the Square Pumpkin Weekend (October 4th & 5th)! Take a walk through Storybook Pumpkinland, with 250 pumpkin-headed characters from nursery rhymes and children’s, too. We’re sure they have more fun planned for the rest of October if you can’t make it this weekend, when it will be action-packed! Learn more on their website or get updates on Facebook.


Edwards Apple Orchard (Poplar Grove, IL) and Edwards Orchard West (Winnebago, IL)
Edwards Apple Orchard is a family owned orchard in Poplar Grove. Edwards West is the smaller, Winnebago location that has been operating since 1990. They are situated on opposite sides of Rockford, two hours northwest of Chicago With fresh pressed apple cider, cider donuts, apple and pumpkin picking, it doesn’t have the same amusement park atmosphere that has become popular with some farms as they have grown. To learn more about Edwards West, visit their website or stay up to date on their Facebook page.


As soon as I hit publish, someone pointed out that I missed an amazing farm. And when I looked back at it, they were right. A quick search revealed two other orchards just like it. So here are the four that should have been included on the first pass of the list.

Linvilla Orchards – Media, PA
A pick your own apple orchard outside of Philadelphia that has a small corn maze, hayrides, and plenty of delicious baked goods. Learn more on their website or Facebook page.

Mercier Orchards – Blue Ridge, GA
A fourth generation family owned and operated apple orchard now offering pick your own apples. Get updates on their Facebook page or learn more on their website.

Lyman Orchards – Middlefield, CT
This central Connecticut farm was started in 1741 by John and Hope Lyman. Now in its ninth generation of the Lyman family, it is now known for its PYO apples and pumpkins as well as its baked pies. Check out their website and Facebook page.

Cornbelly’s – Lehi, UT – 12 Acres – 3 Mazes
2014 Theme: The Wizard of Oz – 75th anniversary
Open for the 2014 Season from October 3rd until Nov 1. Closed Sundays. General admission is $9.95-11.95 which includes all non-haunted attractions. This is the corn maze of Brett and Nicole Herbst, who have been cutting at farms across the country under the name of their company, The Maize. Past themes have featured Rivals Forever: Utah vs BYU (2013),Vote 2012 – Pick Your Prez! (2012) and Exploring Space (2011). Their original location at American Fork was the largest in the Western United States at one time. At night, there is a separate haunted maze and other haunted attractions here. Screamn’ tickets are $19.95. There’s lots of other fall fun here, including pig races, slides, a pumpkin courtyard, zip line and cow train.

Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed other amazing farms!


Image of Halloween Horror Nights zombies.

Here are some of the top amusement parks in the country with Halloween events.  Our number one attraction is Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando.  They continue to pour money into this fall attraction with scary scenes from the Walking Dead, Predator, Alien and so many more. 

However you don’t have to do to Disney, Universal, or Florida to take advantage of these extra special events.  All across America there are Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and popular local parks with terrific Halloween activities.  Some have great rides while others go all out on music and fun.  Most makeover their park for the Halloween season.  Some like Universal go all out for a really scary event meant only for adults.  Others have scare free zones ideal for children. 

If you are looking for an hour of fun try your local haunted house.  If you are looking for an entire evening of fun then these just might do the trick.  They cost more but it is hard to beat the entertainment value.

Amusement Parks By State With Our Favorite Halloween Events.


Great America’s Halloween Haunt - 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054
The amusement park Great America operates a Halloween haunt on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning September 26th.  The haunt runs from 7 pm to midnight.  The regular park is open Saturday and Sunday in October from 10 am to 5:30 pm.  There are several days and nights that are family friendly including Snoopy’s Trick or Treating.  Check website advance ticket prices.
Dates Open 2014:
September 26, 27
October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 25, 31
November 1

Image of outdoor sign at Knotts Scary Farm

Halloween Events at Knotts Scary Farm

Knott’s Scary Farm - 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, California
Now part of Cedar Fair this Halloween event continues its forty year history of quality family entertainment.  The Scary Farm in the month of October generates so much activity it is responsible for nearly half the annual revenue for the whole park.  The theme is Nowhere to Hide and once you are inside the park the mazes, shows, rides, actors, and haunts really bring the scares to you.  It features 14 mazes and six Halloween shows.  It is one of the largest Halloween events in the country.  Read our article on the Funtober blog about Knott’s Scary Farm.
Dates Open 2014:
September 25, 26, 27
October 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31
November 1

Halloween Time At Disneyland – Anaheim, California
Disney has an actual event called Halloween Time that runs daily from September 12th through October 31st, 2014.  The park has been converted into a not scary but beautifully displayed Halloween theme.  You get all the Disney rides both day and night except for the 13 nights that are reserved for Mickey’s Halloween Party.  Both are lots of fun for the kids and adults alike.  We have written a tips article about Halloween Time , a Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and we have another article comparing the Mickey’s Party in California with that party in Orlando.  Check them out for lots of information.
Dates Open 2014:
September 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
October 1-31

Mickey’s Halloween Party - A themed event at Disneyland during Halloween Time.
Dates Open 2014:
September 26, 30
October 3, 6, 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
Once again Universal Studios runs the Halloween Horror Nights attractions now in its 14th year.  Explore some of the haunted houses and attractions in the theme park.  Tickets online for Horror Nights and park admission are as low as $69.  Don’t miss attractions Walking Dead, Evil Dead, Insidious, Black Sabbath, El Cucuy, or Universal Monsters.  Daytime park admission is separate.  Night time hours are generally 7 pm until 2 am.  Funtober names Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood the #1 Haunted House in California.


Elitch Gardens Fright Fest – 2000 Elitch Circle, Denver, Colorado 80204
Elitch Fright Fest consists of four haunted houses located on the grounds of the Elitch Gardens theme park.  Elitch is family by day and fright by night.  It is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights in October.  The park has a science lab that works with radioactive materials.  Test creatures have escaped and are roaming the grounds.  Save money on Elitch Gardens tickets and buy online for around $34.  The attractions include Ghouls motel, Scream it out, Trick or Treat trail, Vulture, Hay Maze, Hurl, The Awakening, and Freak Show.  They also have three very scary attractions called Flesh Factory, Terror Chamber, and Séance for a separate Fright pass for $15 per person.
Dates Open 2014:
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2


The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce - 822 Lake Ave, Bristol, CT 06010
The Haunted Graveyard is a full entertainment experience at the amusement park Lake Compounce.  It has been open for 13 years.  The Haunted Graveyard runs Friday and Saturday nights from dusk to midnight every weekend in October  and until 10:00 pm on Sunday nights.  The attraction is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from October 4th through October 27th.  The ticket price to the haunted house is $22.99. Lake Compounce has a full assortment of amusement rides.  The ticket price is $22.99.  You can get a combo ticket for both the rides and haunted house for $29.99.  Military and group discounts are available.  There are 17 dark rides during this event.  Also expect to find werewolves, spiders, vampires, witches, demons, and the Grim Reaper among the many attractions at the Haunted Graveyard.  The assortment of attractions includes Reapers Realm, Cemetery, Slaughter House, Cornfield, Bat Cave, Zombie Forest, Jungle, Mayan Temple, Dungeon, Fear of Death, and The Mist.
Dates Open 2014:
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1


Image of Universal world at Halloween Horror Nights in Florida.

Universal Halloween Horror Nights in Florida

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL
Universal Orlando operates their Halloween attraction for a record 28 nights in 2014.  The attraction opens on September 19th.  Ticket prices are as low as $41.99 with a day time ticket purchase or $95.99 for a single night purchase.  We recommend you explore and buy your tickets online.  Many types of park discounts are available in the area.  Don’t miss any of the 8 haunted houses including The Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead, or Resident Evil.  Funtober names Halloween Horror Nights the #1 Haunted House in Florida.
Dates Open 2014:
September 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28
October 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31
November 1

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens – 3000 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa, Florida
Another Florida theme park favorite is Busch Gardens Tampa.  They have run this Halloween event for over 14 years.  HowlOScream runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights beginning September 26th.  The times are 7:30 pm until 1 am.  Event is always a fan favorite for both locals and tourists.  Tickets start at $45 and go up to $65 based on the date.  Check their website for the full range of prices, discounts, and online options.  Busch Gardens has a full range of scream attractions including The Basement, Death Water Bayou, Circus of Superstition, Blood Asylum, Dead Fall, Zombie Mortuary, The Experiment, and Ultimate Gamble.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 26, 27
October 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
November 1

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney World operates a night time Halloween experience called Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  It is a separate hard ticket priced between $58 to $77 dollars.  It features the Hallpy HallowWishes Firesworks and two Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parades each night.  This is one of the best non-scary events in the world.  You can find all the popular Disney characters in the park on these nights.  Trick or Treat your way around the park.  Lots of rides, fun, entertainment, and of course the Haunted Mansion.  The entire park is decorated for Halloween.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28
October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31


Six Flags Fright Fest - 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell, Ga 30168.
Fright Fest is one of the largest haunted attractions in the country.  They convert Six Flags into a full Halloween haunt with lots of scare attractions and entertainment.  Entertainment includes Dr. Fright’s Dead Man’s Party, and Grouchy Griswold Insult Comic.  Fearful Frights include Dr. Fright’s Frightorium, Freak Show, Monster Graveyard, Hidden Horror, ZX-1, Cemetery of the Undead, Asylum, The Last Ride and many more.  Also many of Six Flags great rides have been re-themed and operating during Fright Fest.  Save money and buy your tickets online.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 27, 28
October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2


Six Flags Fright Fest - Gurnee, IL
Great America is one of the Six Flags theme parks located in Gurnee, Illinois about half way between Chicago and Milwaukee. Each October the park re-opens on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the ultimate Halloween attraction Fright Fest.  It has 5 haunted houses, mazes, shows, midway, food, and lots and lots of rides.  They have renamed some of their roller coasters with Halloween themes but others are just too great to change.  So if you are into thrills both the haunted houses and roller coasters will put a scare into you.  Spend the day, get there early, and bring lots of money.  Great America really makes the park a Halloween attractions and has lots of employee-actors dressed to surprise and scare you.  Take your entire family, friends, and that special date.  Good times will be had by all.   Recommended Reading:  5 Travel Tips Six Flags Fright Fest Illinois.
Dates Open 2014:
September 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31
November 1, 2


Happy Halloween Weekends – Holiday World Theme Park – Santa Claus, IN
Did I mention they open the park at 11AM on Saturday and Sunday from September 20 – October 26, 2014 for their Happy Halloween Weekends theme.  Holiday World is decorated for Halloween and includes two amazing corn mazes, hayrides, a 3D Theater presentation, Halloween candy, pumpkins, a Mummy’s Treasure Maze, and stage shows including Graveyard Smash.  During Saturday and Sunday afternoons they feature a costume dance party hosted by Kitty Claws.  On Saturday nights they close at 8 pm with a Halloween themed laser light show.  Since they are open Saturday’s past sundown, they also feature coaster rides in the dark.  Halloween ticket prices online (in advance) are $24.95.  This may be one of the best Halloween party values around the country.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 20, 21, 27, 28
October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26

Image of Halloween sign at Holiday World Theme Park.

Halloween at Holiday World Theme Park. photo www.flickr.com [Jeremy Thompson]


Fright Fest at Six Flags America - 13710 Central Avenue, Bowie/ Mitchellville, MD
Fright Fest is the weekend Halloween event at Six Flags.  Ticket prices vary but generally are around $34.99 for admission without the haunted houses or $46.99 with the haunted houses .  As you might expect in a park this size there are multiple entertainment options.  Entertainment includes Blood Moon stunt terror, theater or Magic, and Dead Man’s Party.  There are many haunt attractions such as Voodoo Curse, Necroville, Spider Outbreak, Haunting of Hall Manor, Twisted Fair Tales, and many more.  Most of the fantastic rides have been re-themed for this event.  It is open September 28-29, October 5-6, 12-13, 18-20, and 25-27.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 27, 28
October 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2


Worlds of Fun Halloween Haunt - 4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64161
The Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun is beginning Friday, September 13th.  Tickets options include the full park.  Check their website for advance purchase discounts.  World of Fun Haunt transforms into a horror filled nightmare on weekends.  It features terrifying creatures and spooky thrill rides that will haunt your dreams.  This is a Cedar Fair park so you know it must be good.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2

Fright Fest at Six Flags St. Louis - 4900 Six Flags, St. Louis Railroad, Eureka, MO 63069
Fright Fest opens October 3rd.  Buy your tickets online for $44.99 without the haunted houses or $59.99 with the haunted houses.  You save $15 from at the door prices.   As with all Six Flags this is their Halloween haunt and entertainment event for October.  While a little on the expensive side with multiple haunted houses and exciting thrill rides it will be something you will remember the rest of your life.  Lots of entertainment value and fun at Fright Fest.  The entertainment includes Deadman’s Party, Love at Frist Fright, Final Freakout, VooDoo Comedy Hypnosis Show, and Freak Out Circus.  Their frights include Insanity Alley, Zombieville, Zombie Paintball Apocalypse, The Slaughter House, Sinister Clowns, and Blind Fury.  Many of their rides have been re-themed for Halloween.
Dates Open in 2014:
October 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, 31
November 1, 2

Image of Six Flags Fright Fest hearse

Six Flags Fright Fest Halloween Events

New Jersey

Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure

North Caroliina

Scarowinds Halloween Haunt – 14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28273
Scarowinds is the scare attraction at the popular theme park Carowinds.  A Cedar Fair attraction so you can expect lots of exciting rides, midway entertainment, a clean park and did I mention lots of family type scares.  In 2014, it starts on Friday, September 12th.  The park is open from 7 pm to midnight.  Ticket prices vary greatly from $26.99 to $40.00 for basic tickets online.  Save money online.  Check their website for discounts.  This is a full entertainment park so come early and stay late.  
Dates Open in 2014:
September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1


Halloween Haunt at King’s Island - 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, Ohio 45040
Kings Island Haunt takes over the theme park on Friday and Saturday nights from September 19th through November 2nd.  The Friday times are 6 pm to 1 am.  Most Saturday times are 11 am to 1 am.  Caution since zombies, psychotic clowns, and twisted souls take over the park it is too intense for children under the age of 13 at night. Enjoy the park rides, featured haunts, mazes, and shocks.  New attractions coming for 2014.  If you have a Gold Pass season ticket you get in for free.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2

Cedar Point’s Hallo Weekends at Cedar Point, One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Hallow Weekends has run for 18 years of monster fear.  Cedar Point operates 10 haunted houses that are free with the park ride admission.  Hallo Weekends begins September 12th.  The hours are Friday night from 6 pm to midnight.  Saturday runs from 11 am to midnight.  Sunday’s start at 11 am and finishes at 8 pm.  Check the website for a variety of ticket price options and discounts.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2


Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood Theme Park (Near Pittsburgh)
Now celebrating over 13 terrifying years, Kennywood will once again operate Phantom Fright Nights.  The weekend attraction is open every Friday and Saturday.  This attraction is open from 7 pm until 1 am.  Tickets are $32.99 plus a $1 amusement tax.  Save $3 with online tickets.  They advertise intense spectacles of sheer terror with Biofear, Voodoo Bayou, Mortem Manor, Villa of the Vampires, and many more attractions.
Dates Open in 2014:
September 26, 27
October 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
November 1


Photo Credits:
Knotts Scary Farm www.flickr.com {Park Thoughts}
Six Flags Fright Fest www.flickr.com {Jim Trottler}

Image of glowing cups for Halloween party.
Lilly Deane is someone who loves to have fun and says that one of the ways she does this is by organizing kids parties.  By sharing kiddie party tips at Madfun and in blogs like Funtober.  She aims to help parents be able to organize one on their own.  In this post, she will be giving you some Halloween kid’s party ideas.
When the calendar turns to September, people now start to think of the more fun holidays about to be celebrated in the coming months.  For adults, celebrating may begin earlier with Oktoberfest along the way.  But for kids, Halloween is the time when the holidays begin, put on their favorite costumes, play scary games with friends, and visit the neighbors to ask for some treats.  Want to know how to make this day even more special for your own kids?  Why not throw a big party? 
Here are some ideas you can try.

Kiddie Halloween Party Ideas

1. The Bat Cave.  Halloween is often associated with the color black.  But still, kids would usually want their party to follow a superhero theme.  And who else is more popular at donning a black outfit than Batman?  Since painting the whole house is out of the question, what you can do is just give it a cave feel with the use of bat wall décor just like this one from chengand3kids.blogspot.com.
Image of bats on Bat Wall Decor
2. Crawling Spiders.  And if your kids are not so much into black but still want to have that superhero Halloween party theme, Spidey has the webs that you could use as a party décor idea.  You can weave your own spider webs with the use of white strings or simply purchase ready-made ensembles just like the ones below as seen in College Magazine.
Image of spider web decoration at halloween party.
3. Purple Glamour.  If your kids are girls, pink is out of the question even when this is going to be an exclusive indoor party with their girlfriends for the Halloween.  Choose purple instead and combine this with black.  This one from enterny.com screams spooky royalty!
image of using purple for Halloween party decoration.
4. Cinderella in Black.  One of the most popular princesses to ever grace the big screen is Cinderella.  For Halloween, instead of going for Disney’s blue dress theme, why not get into the Halloween spirit and turn the pumpkin into black like this one from The Dressing Room.  
image of black pumpkins decorated for Halloween party.
5. Scary Photo Adventure.  Aside from the décor, you should also have some fun kids activities to keep them from getting unruly.  Picture taking is one way to do this.  Instead of the usual photo booth, what you can do is provide your own backdrop with carved pumpkins like this one from Kidsomania and hold a scary photo contest.
image of using Halloween decorations as background for party pictures.
6. Let the Dark Glow.  Money should not keep your kids from missing out of the celebration.  One cheap way to decorate for the season is with the use of glow sticks.  SheKnows showed these plastic cups which had glow sticks in them.
Image of glowing cups for Halloween party.

10 Spooky & Fun Halloween Party Ideas

7. Feast for a Monster.  For dinner or snack, you can serve gross food inspired by mutilated human body parts.  Just find some food recipes for kids online that follows this theme.  The ones below are lady fingers made from bread sticks, featured in Living Locurto.
image of lady fingers for Halloween desert.
8. The Mardi Gras Ball.  Let the kids experience being a prince or princess for a night with a masked Halloween party.  Sponsoring their cute masks should be easy since you can easily buy these from Aliexpress for as low as one dollar.  Some sellers even offer free shipping.
image of Halloween masks or mardi gras masks.
9. Christmas Prelude.  Since December is not that far from November anyway, use Halloween as an early celebration for Christmas.  You can make this possible by fusing the two holidays together with your decorations.  This wreath in Designs by Vanessa is evidently Halloween with its extensive use of black tulle.  But notice how it’s evidently Christmassy with its details of green, orange and yellow that pop out from the morbid color.
Image of Halloween door wreath.
10. Owl on the Prowl.  Crows are all-time favorite decors during Halloween.  But you can also use owls as an alternative.  They have mysteriously big eyes that seem to follow you anywhere.  Have these perched on your porch’s railings like this one from HGTV.
Images of black owls as Halloween decorations.
Image of author Lilly DeaneAbout Lilly Deane:
I am one of the content curators at Madfun and other kids websites.  Aside from writing, I also spend most of my time with my young family.  I also love to paint, cook and organize kiddie parties. 
You can also get in contact with me on Google+ or Twitter: @LillyDeane01
Let’s all thank our Guest Author Lilly Deane.  Funtober continues to bring you talented guest writers such as Lilly who are experts in their respective fields.  Thanks for reading our blog as we countdown to Halloween.  There are 48 days left to Halloween.

Fall Crostinis fall party food

Funtober is so fortunate today to introduce attorney and noted food blogger Michelle Hershman.  Her website Healthy Recipe Ecstasy features her lifelong passion of new foods and healthy cuisines. 

Three Sweet and Savory Fall Crostinis 

Fall is in the air.  Can you feel it?  Ok, all I’m feeling right now is the humidity, but I can smell it.  The sweet sugar is releasing from caramelized apples and tickling my nostrils.  Pecans are toasting in the oven until fragrant and fig jam is simmering on the stovetop. 

Maybe it’s just my kitchen.  But I have the feeling that folks across the country are just chomping at the bit for fall and all the festivities that come with it.  Sure, summer is great with its cookouts and pool parties and popsicles, but there’s something special, almost magical, about fall. It’s the changing leaves, the slight chill in the air, the year’s best holidays (who can argue with one holiday based around costumes and another holiday based around turkey and stuffing?), and, most importantly, it’s the food.  There’s something familiar and cozy about fall cuisine. Casseroles and stews bring a lot of people back to their childhoods.  It’s a time for family and it’s a time for gathering. 

While there are plenty of things to celebrate in fall, I love to have fall parties for no good reason other than to celebrate the fall harvest.  And parties mean appetizers – my favorite food group.  There’s nothing better than mingling around a party with a cocktail in one hand and a small plate full of finger foods in the other hand.  To me, there is no finger food more diverse than the crostini.  You start with a little slice of toasted bread and the sky’s the limit from there.

 three sweet and savory fall crostinis

So, this fall, I’m throwing a crostini party to celebrate some of my favorite fall flavors.  I created three crostinis with three unique, but familiar, flavor combinations.  First up is the goat cheese and fig jam crostini with toasted pecans. The tangy goat cheese matches perfectly with the sweet fig jam, and the toasted pecans fill your kitchen with an aroma that screams fall.  This crostini will be a major crowd pleaser.

Three Fall Crostinis

Next up is the pumpkin and ricotta crostini with brown sugar bacon.  Nothing says fall like pumpkin.  But pureed pumpkin can be a strong flavor all on its own, which is why a lot of people choose to bake it into a pie or a muffin mixed with a lot of sugar.  Here, the creamy ricotta tempers the pumpkin flavor while still letting it be the star of the show.  And, brown sugar bacon, do we need a reason? 

Three fall crostinis 4

The final crostini is topped with brie and cranberry-apple chutney.  You knew cranberry and apples had to come into play at some point, right?  The brie is so smooth and creamy and the tart chutney flavors just explode in your mouth.

fall party foods 5 fall crostinis


Tasty fall party foods 6


Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Toasted Pecans


6 teaspoons goat cheese
4 teaspoons fig jam
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
4 slices French baguette


Toast the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.  Spread 1.5 teaspoons goat cheese on each baguette slice.  Top each with 1 teaspoon fig jam and garnish with chopped pecans.  Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cheese and fig jam start to melt.

Pumpkin Ricotta Crostini with Brown Sugar Bacon Crumbles


6 teaspoons part-skim ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons pumpkin puree
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar 
2 slices center-cut bacon
4 slices French baguette


Add bacon to a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Put the bacon in the oven and turn the heat to 400 degrees.  Cook for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp.  Keep your eye on the bacon because the sugar can burn quickly.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel and crumble it.  Mix the ricotta cheese and pumpkin puree in a small bowl until combined.  Season with a small pinch of kosher salt.  Divide the pumpkin ricotta mixture evenly among the baguette slices and garnish with crumbled bacon.  Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.

Brie Crostini with Cranberry-Apple Chutney


1 cup cranberries (fresh or thawed from frozen)
1 small apple, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon all spice
Zest and juice from ½ of one orange
4 ounces of Brie cheese
4 slices French baguette


Add the first six ingredients (cranberries through orange) to a small pot and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn heat down to low and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Spread 1 ounce Brie cheese on each baguette slice.  Top with desired amount of chutney.  The chutney is really tart so keep it light if tart is not your thing or pile it on if you love the tart.  Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees or until the Brie melts.

Authors Bio:

Michelle Hershman 2Our guest author today is Michelle Hershman @Healthy Recipe Ecstasy.  She is an attorney and wife with two adorable cats.  Her passion is food.  She tries to make most of her foods from scratch thereby giving up on most processed foods.  She experiments with lots of recipe types.  I know you will love her recipes.  If you have a question about this recipe she can be reached at:  michelle (dot) hershman (at) gmail (dot) com.

girls in drindls enjoying Mount Angel Oktoberfest

I am sure Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese never imagined the many unique and funny names that US cities choose as Oktoberfest names.  The Royal marriage occurred on October 12, 1810.  Now 200 years later the October celebration begins in Munich in September.  So ok a September festival named Oktoberfest seems a little funny.  Well German weather in October can be a little rough.  So why not move it to the better climate in September.

Top Oktoberfest Names That Will Make You Laugh

Here in the US we have Oktoberfest celebrations beginning in August and running well into November.  Here are some of the 25 funniest names organizers have chosen for their special events.

Porktoberque – Dothan, AL – September 26-27, 2014
Enjoy barbecue, beer and live music at this Oktoberfest celebration in Dothan. Free samples of craft beer from Folklore Brewery and Meadery on Friday from 6-8 in the Man Cave. The People’s Choice Tasting competition is on Saturday from 11-1. The New South Cruisers Car Show will be on Saturday as well. Two stages of musical acts will see performances by Random-Ax, Los Locos, Thrice Pierced, Polka Dots, and Big Jimmy. Cornhole tournament on Saturday with free practice rounds on Friday. Inflatables for kids both days.  Location: Houston County Farm Center, 1701 E Cottonwood Rd., Dothan, AL.

Rocktoberfest - Jacksonville, AR – October 4, 2014
Experience Oktoberfest with live music, an art festival, a car show, beer garden, food booths, golf and more.  Event is held at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

Sactoberfest – October 10-12, 2014
Second annual event on the West Sacramento Riverfront. They have extended it to three days this year and will bring in a giant, Munich-style beer hall tent. Craft beer, local food, carnival rides, stein-holding and other German festivities.

Stocktoberfest – Stockton, CA – October 4, 2014
Beers and brats on the waterfront from 2-9 PM (1 PM for VIPs). 21+ only. Craft beers, home brews, sausage, chicken dance-off, keg lifting and beer stein holding competitions. Live classic rock and accordion music.  General admission ticket prices are $15 on their website.  Save $2 off beer when dressed in costume!  Food vendor Delroy Grill is back with their featured hit grilled oysters.  They have 10 featured beers including Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest.  Located:  Outdoor Amphitheatre, 445 West Weber Avenue, Stockton, CA.

FORToberfest – Fort Collins, CO – September 19-20, 2014
A celebration of Fort Collins with live music, seasonal beer from 6+ Fort Collins breweries and bicycle booths. Music lineup ranges from funk to bluegrass to rock and indie. Friday night headliner is 12 Cents for Marvin (from Fort Collins) and Saturday headliners The Railbenders (Alt Country music) and P-Nuckle (reggae). Costumes are encouraged. Free admission. Thousands are expected to participate. The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant is expected to be back with the remote Rio Patio and their famous Margaritas on Saturday. Location: Downtown Fort Collins (Walnut St. and Old Town Square.

Steamboat OktoberWest – Steamboat Springs, CO – September 19-21, 2014
The 6th Annual Oktoberfest with a western twist. Rocky Mountain beer and local food and festivities instead of German beer. Cruiser bike parade Suds & Grub on Friday. OktoberWest is Saturday with live music, beer garden with over 20 Colorado brewers and the I Love Beef Cook Off. Yampa Street Live on Sunday has more beer, western music and line dancing. Festival admission is free but there is a cost to enter the cook off tasting and beer garden. Location: 2305 Mt Werner Cir, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

OktoBREWfest – Greeley, CO – September 26-27, 2014
Location: Lincoln Park (8th Street & 9th Avenue), Greeley CO
The Greeley Oktoberfest changed its name in 2013 to reflect the focus on specialty brews, VIP tasting tent and expanded musical entertainment. But the same German traditions will still take place. Event kicks off Friday evening with brats, beer, games and a free concert. Huge children’s area on Saturday along with more music, food and specialty beer. Stein lifting, pie eating, volleyball and life size beer pong contests.

Volgafest – Windsor, CO – September 27, 2014
Pretty sure this used to be called an Oktoberfest, but it is up on their website in 2014 as Volgafest, celebrating Windsor’s Volga German heritage. Location: Community Recreation Center, 250 N. 11th Street, Windsor CO

Jaxtoberfest – Jacksonville, FL – October 10-11, 2014

Crosstoberfest – Sun Valley, ID – October 17-18, 2014
This annual event in October combines a cyclocross race with a beerfest. The beerfest features around 100 beers from over 20 breweries. Beer festival garden is for 21+ only, but there are plenty of other acitivities for kids and families. An all access pass for Friday evening and Saturday is $25. Riders get discounted tickets to the festival with race registration. 2014 is the 11th annual event.
Location: Old Cutters Park, Hailey, ID

Blocktoberfest at St. Leonard School – Berwyn, IL – September 27th, 2014
Live Music, food and beer at this family event with kids activities. Free Admission. Rain Date is Sunday.  Location: 3318 Clarence Ave, Berwyn, IL

Fort Wayne OktoBEERfest – September 13, 2014
A beer festival organized by Mad Anthony that has been happening for more than ten years. Try more than 100 Indiana beers from 20 regional craft brewers. Price of ticket includes souvenir glass and unlimited tastings. Golf outing happens the day before, Sept. 12th at Bridgewater at 1 PM. Location: Headwater’s Park West, Fort Wayne, IN

OAKtoberfest – Syracuse, IN – October 11, 2014
Join the Oakwood Resort, Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and Chautauqua-Wawasee for the second annual “Oak”toberfest. This German festival will include children’s activities, German food, live music, beer tent, chicken dance and more! Location: Oakwood Resort

Augustoberfest – Hagerstown, MD – August 23-24, 2014
This annual Oktoberfest pays tribute to the area’s rich German heritage and supports exchange students from its sister city in Wiesel, Germany.  Tickets are $5.  The event kicks off Saturday at 8 am with a 5Km and 10Km Fit Walk.  Activities last all day until 10 pm.  The children’s area opens at noon with a Punch and Judy show, a magic show, arts, crafts, and storytelling.  For adult the hospitality tent opens at 11 am.  Music is provided by the Heidi and Heimat Echo, and Die Schlauberger bands.  On Sunday the huge German Car Show starts at 10:30 am.  Also don’t miss the German Brunch from 11 am until 2 pm.

Crabtoberfest – Cambridge, MD – September 27, 2014
German beer, food, music and dancing from 5 to 10 PM on Saturday. Serving Paulaner beer, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale. Musical entertainment will include Enzian Vokstanzgruppe, Liab’ und Schneid, and Echte Freunde (from Germany!). General admission is $5. Rain location is Minette-Dick Hall in Cambridge. Location: 200 Byrn St Cambridge, MD 21613

Frostoberfest – Frostburg, MD – September 27, 2014.
The little community of Frostburg seems to go all out for events.  Their theme for the city is “Frostburg – It’s Just Cooler Here!”  They will hold their 2nd annual event celebrating German heritage.  This street festival feature German culture, food, music, and bier gardens.  They have a kid zone, local crafts, and more.  It runs from 1:00 pm to 2:00 am.

Parktoberfest – Parkville, MO – October 4, 2014
6th annual day at the park with live music, beer garden and fun for kids including the Little King & Queen Parktoberfest contests. The morning starts off with a 5K run followed by a family run. Admission is free but a suggested $10 park donation helps the Friends of Parkville Parks complete restoration projects. Location: English Landing Park, Parkville, MO 64152

Okto Beerfest – Lincoln – October 9, 2014
Celebrate their 21st year on October 9, 2014 with over 200 different beers from around the world, food from 20 to 30 top area restaurants and caterers, live auction and music featuring bag pipers and the Wilber Alumni Czech band.
Location: Lancaster Event Center

Schnitzelfest – Hillsborough, NH – Sept 27, 2014
The Greater Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce presents our 12th annual Schnitzelfest at Butler Park in the heart of the downtown in Hillsborough, New Hampshire on Saturday, September 27, 2014. They say it is the best German food outside of Germany, right in downtown Hillsborough, NH! Authentically prepared schnitzel, sauerkraut, potato salad, breads and incredible cakes and pastries served under the tent. Beer and wine bar, souvenirs, and craft vendors. Entertainment, including the Zauer Kraut Bavarian band. Enjoy tasty German cuisine, oom-pah music, and shopping in beautiful historic Hillsborough. Buy your tickets early and avoid the lines.

Xfinity Live Xtoberfest – Philadelphia, PA – September 27, 2014
3rd Annual event with beer garden tent and music from multiple DJs in seven different event areas. Sample 150+ beers from participating breweries in your custom beer stein and enjoy Oktoberfest-style foods. Purchase the X-treme VIP to get in one hour early and taste special vip-only German beers all day long. Contests will include the crowning of Mr. and Mrs. X-Toberfest, eating contests (hot dogs, pretzels, etc), stein holding contest. They are going to have a selection of pumpkin beers as well as exclusive beer launches from Victory Brewing Company. Dance on the tables in Victory Beer Hall, ride the mechanical bull or take part in the complimentary body painting. Silent auction of sports memorabilia with proceeds going to charity. They sold out in advance last year, so don’t rely on being able to purchase tickets at the door. Early Bird tickets are $15 for designated driver, $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP. Tickets include Free Parking in Lots S & T. For those not familiar with the venue, XFINITY Live! is the sports entertainment venue located next to the Wells Fargo Center and across the street from Citizens Bank Park. Location: 1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148

Bloktoberfest – Philadelphia, PA – October 11, 2014
Four blocks of South Street from Broad to 18th Street in Philly will be closed to traffic for this non profit event with live music, craft beer and food.  I have been to this event.  Now celebrating its 6th year it runs from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Admission to enter is free.  This is a big city festivals with well over 100,000 attendees.
Location: South Street and Broad, Philadelphia, PA

AustOberfest – Austin – Sept 27, 2014
Celebrate your German heritage in Central Texas with German beer, sausages, live music and bowling. Austin Saengerrunde will host the 2nd annual event at Saengerrunde Hall and Scholz Bier Garten (1607 San Jacinto Blvd). Nine beer options from Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr. Unlivinted German-style sausages, mustards and sides. Sausage tasting is from 1-5 PM. Rooftop beer garden and live music from Czech polka band Czech Melody Masters and honky tonk band The Derailers. All inclusive tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door.

Butte-toberfest – Butte, MT – September 20, 2014
6th Annual Oktoberfest featuring 15 Montana Breweries, food, stein races, and kids fall festival. This event has been taking place since 2009. Tickets are $15 and proceeds benefit the Silver Bow Developmental Disabilities Council. Their hope to build a teaching kitchen to help individuals with disabilities pursue health and wellness called the Nutrition Education Station. Location: Park and Dakota, Butte, MT.

I debated about putting some of the Wurstfest events into this Oktoberfest list.  New Braunfels, Texas has a wonderful event that rivals any Oktoberfest.  However technically it is not an Oktoberfest.  There are also some great beer festivals with funny names that once were Oktoberfest events that have simply eliminated the German heritage in order to attract a broader audience.

I also left off some funny city names that used the Oktoberfest for their city celebration. 

Here at Funtober we continue to look for things to do this fall as we close in on Halloween.  We love Oktoberfest, fall festivals, haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards.  Hope you like our blog series and event pages.  We have both Oktoberfest Munich and Oktoberfest USA information.

You might also like our:

Top 10 Oktoberfest Celebrations in the U.S. 

Don’t Miss The Top 10 Up-and-Coming Oktoberfests in 2014!

15 Tips To Enjoying Oktoberfest in Munich


Monterey Bay Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest has a long and interesting history, dating back more than 200 years to the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in Munich. Once confined to the Weisn, it has now spread around the country with celebrations from China to Brazil.

In the United States, there are several that have been going on more than 50 years. You can see some of them on our list of the top 10 Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States. Because of their popularity, age and traditions, they dominate the top Oktoberfest lists that are put out every fall.

We decided to dig a little deeper this year and find the up-and-coming festivals that you’ll probably see on these top ten lists in the future. They haven’t been around long enough to acquire the following necessary to break into the upper echelons of the Oktoberfest world. And some of the communities are too small to perhaps ever attract such a large following. But we expect great things from them in the future, and they are definitely worth the drive to visit them right now.

Some of the best times in life happen when a place exceeds your expectations. The new restaurant by an unknown chef that has been overlooked by all of the restaurant critics. The mixologist that makes amazing drinks and interesting conversation at a hole-in-the wall bar with a small but loyal crowd. You stop in to check it out and leave raving to your friends about how much you enjoyed the food.

We think you should add one (or more) of these ten Oktoberfests which are under ten years old to your fall traditions:



Austin, the home of the ACL Music Festival and nearly one million people, was without an Oktoberfest until last year. That’s when the Austin Saengerrunde stepped into the void to throw the inaugural AustOberfest at Saengerrunde Hall. Last year, they were named “Best New Food Event” in Austin. And the Culture Trip listed it as one of 10 “Unmissable Events” in Austin this September. Why is it garnering such accolades? All you can eat sausage from 18+ BBQ places in Central Texas – enough said! Two drink tickets are thrown in as well, with the option of purchasing another for just $1 more. AND each drink ticket gets you FIVE drinks!

They promise that it will be bigger and better this year so get your tickets for September 27th now. The lineup of sausage suppliers is mouth-wateringly good and there will be plenty of beer to wash it down. It wouldn’t be Austin or Oktoberfest without live music. Czech Melody Masters, The Derailers, Jared & The Mill will all be there to make sure you are dancing the night away! Take part in one of their fun games and leave with a souvenir Paulaner tasting glass.

The charitable beneficiary of the event is Foodways Texas. It was founded in July 2010 to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.

You can find more information on the ticket page or Facebook.



After a successful first year, they’ve extended this popular West Sacramento Oktoberfest to a three-day event for 2014. “Come October, a piece of Germany is coming to Northern California in Sactoberfest,” said Rich Clakeley, owner of Finrich Events and event producer of Sactoberfest.

The festivities will kick off on the riverfront Friday afternoon (October 10th) with a parade, keg tapping ceremony and live music. In true Munich spirit, they’ve also added a carnival to the event to bring 16+ rides and amusement games for some family-friendly fun. Sunday is “Familiennachmitagen Day” with special entertainment for all ages, but kids are welcome to attend the rest of the celebration..

The beer will be flowing with German favorites Spaten, Erdinger, Hofbrau and Franzikaner served under the massive bier tent by waitresses dressed in dirndls. Go local with craft beer from breweries such as Sudwerk, Yolo, Bike Dog or Jackrabbit. If you get hungry, they’ll have “some of the region’s best locally produced and German-inspired cuisine,” according to Clakeley. Frickle Brothers, Borderick Roadhouse, Ten22 and The German Deli are all scheduled to be there serving food.

You’ll need to get dressed up if you want to capture the title of Best Lederhosen or Dirndl Dress. If style isn’t your strength, stein holding, wurst tossing and keg rolling are all on the agenda. For those that haven’t practiced their Oktoberfest games, beer pong and corn hole are also scheduled. The musical lineup includes The Internationals, the 21-piece brass Chico Bavarian Band, the Flying Dutchman and Alpine Horns. If you are going, don’t forget to practice your chicken dance!

Get more information on their website, Facebook or Twitter.


Kingsport Oktoberfest

Love to drink? You are in for a treat in Tennessee on September 13th. 45 brewers will offer up more than 100+ obscure and unique craft beers for attendees. “[Y]ou’re sure to feel like you’ve stepped into Bavaria,” according to Festival Director Stephanie Carson.

Two sections of the bier garden will be dedicated to the Beer University. Your sampling ticket and commemorative tasting glass gets you access to unique beers you’ve never tasted. Brewers will also discuss various aspects of their process and different styles of beer. 2012 sessions included discussions of German Lagers, nano breweries, barrel aging and Real English Ales.

On Thursday night, they have a limited seating beer dinner with Sleepy Owl Brewing Co. and Holston River Brewing Co. A Bacon Stout paired with dark chocoate covered bacon with with raspberry compote? A Peach Cobbler Pilsner paired with peach and mango samosas? My mouth is watering already! The Stir Fry Cafe will be serving up some delicious main dishes as well, including fennel sausage and Korean short ribs. Hunter Roberts, the finalist for the 2013 Rocky Top Comedy Contest, will be entertaining diners during the 3rd and 5th course.

Plenty to do besides drink as well. Toss up some fun at the double elimination cornhole tournament with a purse of $1,100 in prizes. Wiener dog races, bier stein hoisting competition and Smoke & Fire 5K run will keep you entertained. Last year, there were over a dozen bands playing on two stages. Bring the kids too as Das Kidzone is an alcohol free family fun zone with four bouncy inflatables, face painting, Stiltwalkers and more.

You can find more information on their website, Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Craig Roberts.

Photo by Craig Roberts.

Bethlehem Oktoberfest

When national media featured World Cup watch parties, Bethlehem’s made the list. They definitely know how to throw a good party at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. You would already know that however if you had attended the Arts Quest Oktoberfest in one of its first three years. They’ve made some changes for 2014 that should expand the event, including changing the name to the Bethlehem Oktoberfest, adding a 5K and reducing the price of admission all the way to FREE! It will be held the first two weekends in October.

“When Yuengling approached us with the idea of transforming Oktoberfest into a free event for our community, we thought it fit in perfectly with our mission, as well as our programming, about 65 percent of which is actually free to attend,” says ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert. “Removing the admission fee at Oktoberfest will no doubt allow even more people to enjoy this unique experience and festival. We thank D.G. Yuengling & Son for all of its support in helping us develop some amazing programming at SteelStacks over the past several years.” Since Yuengling is the primary sponsor, there will no doubt be plenty of beer there. But they are also adding a Craft Brewers’ Village, which sounds very promising. They will have 25+ craft brews from Pennsylvania’s finest breweries to sample. Tickets go on sale for the Brewers Village on September 10th.

Even if you don’t drink, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Throw your hat in the ring for one of the many competitions, like the spielplatz games, scarecrow competition, wiener dog races or 5K run. Grab a card for the 99.9 the Hawk Bingo Bonanza to win Or simply enjoy the entertainment as local bars compete in the Yuengling Bar Skills Challenge and local celebrities go head to head in the Raven 1 to 1 Celebrity Skills Challenge. This event is good for all ages too, with plenty of children’s activities including rides and a hay maze.

Get more information on their website, 5K website or Facebook.


Monterey Bay Oktoberfest

The Monterey County Fairgrounds will be converted into a family-friendly Bavarian festival on September 13th and 14th. In its fourth year, it has already become the Central Coast of California’s largest Oktoberfest. Visitors enjoy “a great time of camaraderie, beer, dancing, Lederhosen, [and] fun,” according to Oktoberfest Monterey Bay Founder Chef Andre.

They’ve clearly been inspired by the Munich festival, with an official parade and keg tapping to start off the celebration. Under the big tent, they’ll have live entertainment by the Flying Dutchman and The Internationals. They have imported Spaten beer from Germany and will serve bratwurst, pretzels, apple strudel and more to the festive crowd. There should be plenty to do and see as well, with a beer stein holding competition and Miss Oktoberfest contest.

They aren’t resting on their past success, either. They have added a bunch of new activities to the schedule for 2014, including a Carnival, petting zoo, dachshund races and a Miss Jr. Oktoberfest contest. Family Day is still Sunday, with a special emphasis on activities to keep the kids busy!

Local non-profits benefit from your support of this festival. They donated over $15,000 to Carmel Host Lion, Cannery Row Rotary and Heritage Foundation last year. Visit their website or Facebook page for more information.


Vegan Oktoberfest

This festival has made a huge splash already and they haven’t even held their first event. The people behind the Vegan Oktoberfest want to show the world that no animals have to be harmed to have a fun time with great beer, great food and great people. If I were on the West Coast on October 4th, it is where I would be.

The menu is the obvious draw. Where else will you be able to find vegan versions of your favorite German foods? Southern Fried Vegan will have beer-brats with fresh kraut in pretzel buns in addition to their classic Fried Chickun and Mac N’ Cheeze. Sage Organic Bistro will be there with German style Soft Pretzels, a gluten free pretzel and Potato Pancakes. Vendors will also have Sausage & Potato Pizza, ice cream and a variety of other vegan options. There will be both gluten free beer and pretzels for those with a dietary restriction.

Although we expect that there will be many vegan and vegetarian attendees, this festival should be popular with foodies and their friends as well. Jill Ryther, an organizer of the event, said, “We are confident meat eaters will be shocked at the taste and quality of our vegan sausages and hot dogs and some may even make the switch to vegan options permanently!” The celebration will happen within sight of the Pacific Ocean, too.

This may be the only event where the beer is not the biggest draw, but they haven’t neglected this important aspect of an Oktoberfest. There are nearly 20 breweries scheduled to participate and more expected. Plus, they will have you singing and dancing the night away while you drink with the music of Stewedsheidzel and Knyght Ryder.

A portion of the proceeds from this Los Angeles Oktoberfest will go to Expand Animal Rights Now.

Visit their website, Twitter or Facebook page for additional details.


Flagstaff Oktoberfest

Northern Arizona comes out in force to enjoy Flagstaff’s last outdoor festival of the year. “[I]t’s a perfect time of year to sit in the warm fall sun, drink some beer, listen to some great music and enter in one of our many contests,” said Jennifer Grogan, co-owner of Peak Events in Flagstaff. The sixth annual event will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014 in Wheeler Park.

It’s no surprise to us that Grogan called out their contests when asked what makes their event special. The photos of their stuff the bug contest were one of the first things that attracted us to the festival. How many people could you pile into a Volkswagen? There’s only one place to find out! Don’t worry, experienced gamers. They also have more traditional competitions like the brat eating, beer stein holding and yodeling contests. Wear your dirndl or lederhosen to participate in the costume contest.

It’s a family friendly event with Mug Root Beer Garden for kids. Live entertainment will include German polka music by Polka Katzen as well as blues & rock by The Buzzard Brothers.

The event benefits the Flagstaff Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team. For more information about the fest, visit their website or Facebook page.


Macon Octoberfest

They serve up Bavarian traditions Georgia style in Macon on the last weekend in October. Nine local craft breweries from Georgia will be serving up beverages in the beer garden. There will also be authentic Bavarian food and even a cyclocross bike race. The event takes place in Tattnall Square Park, across the street from the Mercer University campus.

The musical lineup runs the gamut from “Bourbon fueled, Bayou rock” to a German polka band. Southern artists abound, with a number of Georgia and Nashville-based musicians. It is headlined by Southern rock band The Weeks and Nashville bluegrass band Steeldrivers. The Weeks opened for Kings of Leon last summer in Europe and one of The Steeldrivers songs was covered by Adele. You’ll have to attend both Friday and Saturday night though if you want to hear Buttons AND If it Hadn’t Been for Love.

Did I mention that 100% of the proceeds go to charity? Oh yes. The causes are the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, All About Animals Rescue and LH Harris Ecology Center. Tickets for the Brewers Brunch are already sold out, but you can still get tickets to the beer garden. Get more information about the event on their website


Springboro Oktoberfest

The Springboro United Church of Christ embraces its German heritage with the 2nd annual two day Oktoberfest on September 12th and 13th. The keg tapping ceremony is Saturday from 3-4 PM with the Jagdhorn Blaser Gruppe and the Cincinnati Enzian Dancers. It is one of the more authentic Oktoberfest[s] in the region,” according to organizer John Hanson. This year, they will have an expanded kids zone with rides as well as a German candy store that has 25 varieties of imported chocolate.

Traditional Oktoberfest music is on the lineup card, headlined by The Klaberheads on Saturday night. They were founded more than 80 years ago and have played the area’s largest Oktoberfests, including both Cleveland and (the upcoming) Zinzinnati in 2014. Friday night features the Schnapps Band, a German-American band started in 1978 that played the music when Cincinnati set the record for the world’s largest chicken dance. There will be a nightly chicken dance as well as a Saturday evening Stein Holding Contest.

Beer selection features tasty beverages from Paulaner and Yuengling. There will be a total of 10 different German beers on tap. Traditional German cuisine including bratwurst, roasted chicken, schweinebraten, and schnitzel are available for purchase. There are a total of eight varieties of sausage, including spicy pepper jack metts and apple gouda chicken sausage.

A portion of event proceeds go to supporting The Wounded Warrior Project, the Springboro Community Assistance Center and The Shriners Hospital for Children – Cincinnati.

Learn more about the festival on their website, Facebook page or Twitter.


Oktoberfest Joplin

This two-day festival in Downtown Joplin combines an Oktoberfest beer garden with a fall festival for kids. It’s the regions premier fall harvest street festival with a portion of the proceeds going to local charities such as the Hope 4 You Breast Cancer Foundation, Joplin Family Y, Downtown Joplin Alliance and others.

The beer garden has seasonal craft beers on tap and there’s plenty of fall festival food including bratwurst and giant pretzels. Competitors can enter the Yodeling, hot dog eating, cornhole, stein holding or costume contests. With free admission and four stages of live music, there’s much to like about this October 3-4, 2014 event.

Learn more on their Facebook page.

Ravi Coltrane headlines jazz festival.

This fall take the short drive over to central New Jersey for a full weekend of free live Jazz performances in 3 different venues.  September 12-14, 2014 is the date for the annual Central Jersey Jazz Fest.  This is one of the featured events on the Funtober Fall New Jersey Festivals page.

Enjoy performances by the Bernie Worrel Orchestra, the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, the T.S. Monk Sextet, and many more.

Friday’s event takes place 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm in downtown Flemington, New Jersey at 75 Main Street.  Saturday’s event is at Monument Square in downtown New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Sunday’s event is on the Somerset County Court House Green (corner of E. Main and Grove Streets) in Somerville from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Poster about the Central Jersey Jazz Festival 2014 held September 12-14.

Central Jersey Jazz Festival

Friday’s event in Flemington brings 25 local artists and artisans together with 6 local restaurants for a wonderful art, food, and music event.  There is a big music stage at the Flemington Court House Steps, a festival food court, and a beer garden.  Enjoy local micro-brews and wines.  At 6:00 the Emily Asher’s Garden Party kicks things off.  The Winard Harper Sextet takes the stage at 7:00 pm.  Warren Vache and Harry Allen perform at 8:00 pm.  Finally at 9:00 pm the Bernie Worrell Orchestra headlines the evening.

Saturday’s event in New Brunswick is all about the on stage music and local restaurants.  The Josh Evans Sextet takes the stage at 1:00 pm.  The New Brunswick District Jazz Band plays for a half hour at 2:15 pm before the Jazzmeia Horn Quintet takes the stage.  The Ravi Coltrane Quartet closes out the afternoon beginning at 4:30 pm.

Sunday’s event in Somerville features both festival foods on site and fabulous local restaurants.  Also a beer and wine garden at the Verve Restaurant is adjacent to the Somerset County Courthouse Green.  Over 30 local craftsman and artists will present a mixture of prints, photography, cards, woodwork, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, and more.

Sunday’s jazz music starts with Emmet Cohen on stage at 1:00 pm.  The Jazz House Kids will perform short sets between featured performers.  Brianna Thomas takes the main stage at 2:20 pm.  Houston Person performs from 3:40 pm to 4:40 pm.  Finally the T.S. Monk Sextet headlines the afternoon performances beginning at 5:00 pm.

When the Jazz Fest ends the after party spills out onto Division Street for continued fun at the local restaurants.

You are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to both the Saturday and Sunday events.  Even picnic baskets are welcome (without alcohol).  Enjoy the afternoon and listen to wonderful Jazz music.  In the event of light rain they can move any of the three days events under cover.

Check out this You Tube video:

Video performance from last years Central Jersey Jazz Festival.

Images courtesy of Central Jersey Jazz Festival and Flickr [felipe bascunan]


Image of performers at Cleveland Oktoberfest.

Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds plays host to the 10th Annual Cleveland Oktoberfest this Labor Day weekend.  It runs August 29th through September 1st, 2014.  Admission is $10 above the age of 12.  Parking is free.  Location: Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Rd Berea, OH 44017

This Oktoberfest is meant to be a family event.  Children 12 and under are free with plenty of family activities.  They have added kids foods such as pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, lemonade to the midway’s food vendor.

Kids Activities:

  • Frisch Marionette Company
  • gingerbread house building
  • sand castle building for kids
  • hay rides
  • mascot Otto the Wiener Dog
  • Inflatable bounce houses
  • arts & crafts
  • children’s chalk art
  • wiener dog races
Image of Frisch Marionette performance.

Frisch Marionette Company performs at Cleveland Oktoberfest.

Plenty of Adult Fun:

Oktoberfest and beer go hand in hand.  Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr are two of the big six Munich breweries.  Both are sponsors and well represented in the International Beer Garden.  Looking for a great meal then consider the Sausage Autobahn. 

Image of Paulaner beer stein.

Paulaner beer sponsors Cleveland Oktoberfest. photo www.flickr.com [peter baker]

Sample the various brews at the famous microbrew contest.  Enter the 5k Beer Run event.  Browse the Bavarian Shopping Village.  See the clock demonstration.  Watch the international dance exhibition.  Become amazed at the sidewalk chalk artists.

Great food is a stable at most Oktoberfests.  Cleveland brings out an international assortment of foods from around the region.  Enjoy foods from the Polish Kitchen, Schmidts, Der Braumeister, Heini’s Cheese Chalet, Michael’s Bakery, Frank’s Bratwurst, and Balaton (Hungarian Restaurant).

The beer list includes Hoffbrau Light, Hoffbrau Original, Sam Adams, Yuengling, Warsteiner Dunkel, and so many more. 

Image of mona lisa on sidewalk art.

Sidewalk art at Oktoberfest. photo at www.flickr.com [cp_thornton]

Bands and Music Entertainment:

The event has an on stage Glockenspiel clock.  The Schuhplatters of STV Bavaria liven up the crowd as they act out the clock scene.  One of the top German acts in the world.

There are too many bands playing the tents, midway, stages and beer gardens to mention them all.  Some of the top groups include Alex Meixner, the Klaberheads, Deutscher Musik Verein, Fred Ziwich & the International Sound Machine, the Cleveland Donauschwabische Blaskapelle, and Joe Wendel are but a few.

Activities get underway Friday at 4:00 pm, Saturday at noon, and Sunday at noon.  Everything runs until midnight all three nights.  Oh did I mention the Miss Oktoberfest contest, the fireworks display, and the tribute concert series featuring Beetles, Springsteen, Eagles, Bee Gees tribute bands.

Funtober continues to bring you information on more fun things to do as we countdown to Halloween.  Follow our blog series and pages to stay current.  We also have coast to coast information on Oktoberfests, and festivals.


Image of pine cone at Pine Cone Festival in Blue Jay, CA.

The Alpine Camp and Conference Center in Blue Jay, California is the new home to the 8th Annual Pine Cone Festival on October 11th, 2014.  Located near Lake Arrowhead this is the only pine cone festival I am aware of in the country.  It’s free and fun and even has Smokey the Bear making an appearance.

The festival continues to promote the San Bernardino Mountains natural environment.  It was started by citizens of the Rim Communities and simply out grew its previous location in Twin Peaks.

What Makes This Such A Special Event

  • Biggest Pine Cone Contest
  • Pine Cone Craft Contest
  • Pine Cone Olympics
  • Free Games
  • Artisans & Craft Vendors
  • Fun Fair Foods
  • Smokey the Bear
  • Ropes Course adventure
  • Climbing Wall

Pine Cone Contest

Enter to win part of $2500 in prize monies for their famous Pine Cone Contest.  The biggest Sugar Pine Cone based on length and the biggest Coulter Pine Cone based on weight will win the contestants up to $1250 each.  Last years “biggest” cone was 17-1/8 inches long and another that weighed 4 lbs. 8 oz.  The largest sugar pine ever submitted was over 23 inches long.

Craft Contest

What can you make with a pine cone?  Get involved in creating fun craft designs with your kids.  Volunteers are available to help you with ideas.  Make something humorous, beautiful, abstract, or natural.  Enter your creation in the contest for classes 6th grade and under, 7th through 12th grades, and adults.

Pine Cone Olympics

Children and adults of all ages compete for prizes in four categories each for males and females.  The events are Pine Cone Archery, Pine Cone Hoops Toss, and the Pine Cone Shot Put. 


Music and dancing takes place throughout the day.  Smokey the Bear makes a guest appearance to highlight the importance of forest fire prevention.  Volunteers will conduct presentations of fire safety, forest and wildlife information, and preserving our natural resources.  Games, food, and refreshments are available.

Alpine Camp & Conference Center

The home for this year’s event is well known for its mountain top conferences, summer camps, winter camps, ropes courses and mountain adventures.  It is one of the best facilities in California.  The event runs from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Admission, parking, and shuttle service are all free.  The event is located at 415 Club House Dr., Blue Jay, CA 92317.

So if you are looking for a fun event this fall and going to be in the Los Angeles area ten take the drive out to Blue Jay on October 11th.  They seem to have a little something for everyone.  Lots of good food, live entertainment, vendor, fun exhibits, kid’s activities, pine cone contests, and games of skill for all ages.

Funtober continues our countdown to Halloween.  We are now only 68 days away.  Continue to follow our fun things to do blog series and our other pages on Oktoberfest, fall festivals, corn mazes, haunted houses, and so much more.

Image: flickr [waferboard]

Image of front of Hippodrom beer tent in Munich.

The tradition laden Oktoberfest in Munich has banned the celebrity favorite Hippodrom Beer Tent from the 2014 festival.  After 111 years the Hippodrom is out and their spot on the Teresienwiese (fairgrounds) has been taken by proprietor Siegfried Able’s “Marstall” tent. 

New Marstall beer tent takes Hippodrom’s spot at Oktoberfest.

Hippodrom was famous for its celebrity guests including Boris Becker, Wladimir Klitschko, Thomas Gottschalk and many others.  At 4200 seats it was one of the smaller “big” tents at Oktoberfest.  The “hip” attracted a certain type of party crowd and was famous throughout Europe.  Unfortunately its owner appears to have broken German tax laws and the tent was banned.  This was posted on the Hippodrom’s website:

  • “Dear Sir or Madam,
    2014 marks the end of a 111-year tradition. Unfortunately the HIPPODROM tent will no longer be represented at the Oktoberfest.   We would like to thank all of our longtime and loyal guests and staff who have helped making the HIPPODROM a special and popular institution at Munich’s Oktoberfest for the past 19 years.   The tradition of the HIPPODROM will continue at Munich’s Frühlingsfest (spring festival) held yearly on the Theresienwiese (www.hippodrom-fruehlingsfest.de).   We look forward to welcoming you at Munich’s Frühlingsfest,  your Family Krätz  with the entire Hippodrom team.”

The family of Able has operated a small venue on the fairgrounds.  Now with the absence of Hippodrom the Marstall is under construction for the September 20th opening of Oktoberfest.  Marstall is the old German word for the royal riding school.  The Oktoberfest is nothing if not traditional.  They stopped racing horses year ago.  However the original wedding festival, started in 1810, was celebrated with days of horse races. 

Image of Oktoberfest fairgrounds in Munich.

Oktoberfest fairgrounds in Munich.

The Marstall Beer Tent will have a horse type theme with 3200 indoor seats and a 1000 seat outdoor bier garden.  The showpiece of the tent is a carousel musician’s stage.  Music starts at noon with traditional Bavarian songs and the entire tent transforms around 6:30 pm to festive live party music.  Food service ranges from upscale cuisine with top class service to a traditional Bavarian menu.  Marstall will serve freshly poured beer, popular champagnes, and fine wines.

So 2014 finds us out with some old and in with some new at this year’s event.  Say goodbye to the Hippodrom.

Image of the former Hippodrom beer tent at Oktoberfest Munich.

Former Hippodrom beer tent at Oktoberfest.

Find out more Oktoberfest information at Funtober.  We have pages of information on the beer tents, beers, facts, weather, museums, theatres, songs, and so much more.  Read our “15 Tips to Enjoying Oktoberfest In Munich“.  We also have lots of information about Oktoberfest, fall festivals, and fun things to do in our blog series.

photo credits:
Image Flickr [abhijeet rane]
Image Flickr [sebastien launay]