Falling into autumn festivities

Falafel%2C+Falafel%21+Hummus+Pittsburgh%2C+a+popular+food+truck+at+JFK%27s+Food+Truck+Sundays%2C+serves+a+socially-distanced+crowd.+

Kelcie Herrmann

Falafel, Falafel! Hummus Pittsburgh, a popular food truck at JFK’s Food Truck Sundays, serves a socially-distanced crowd.

Fall fun has arrived for the year, and residents of Washington County can expect some changes to the typical festivities. COVID-19 has changed life in every way this year, and fall activities are no exception. Despite some activities being canceled, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out of the house and celebrate the season.

The Springhouse will be hosting “The Great Pumpkin Festival” this year, which will look different than years prior. They will still have pumpkin picking, hayrides, a corn maze, and plenty of kids’ activities. But, masks will be required, social distancing must be followed and tickets must be booked ahead of time. The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and large groups of 25 or more can book times to attend during the weekdays. Tickets can be purchased directly on the Springhouse website. Hayride tickets are $10 and tickets that include both the hayride and a pumpkin from the patch are $14.

Meanwhile, Trax farms has opted to cancel its annual fall festival but has decided to replace it with “Harvest Days.” This new festivity will include hayrides, a corn maze, a chance to visit with the farm animals, access to the pumpkin patch, and plenty of photo opportunities. Reservations are required, as no more than 250 people will be allowed on the farm at one time. “Harvest Days” will occur every Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Masks must be worn on the hayrides, social distancing will be followed, and there will be hand sanitizing stations available throughout the farm. Tickets can be purchased directly on the website and they are $10 per person. 

Simmons Farm will open its apple orchard, flower fields, and pumpkin fields to the public this year. Masks are required if distancing is not possible. 

Senior Abby Wayman states that she plans to visit Simmons farm with her friends this fall. But, she also expressed that she will miss some of the canceled fall festivals this year, especially the Houston Pumpkin Festival. 

For those looking for something further from home, Oglebay Zoo has replaced its annual October Oglebayfest with “Fall Fundays” for this year. Friday activities will include outdoor fire pits and live entertainment. Saturday activities will include fireworks every weekend except for the 30th, tie-dye workshops, and pumpkin painting workshops. 

Locally, JFK Catholic School will be having “Food Truck Sundays” from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. until October 18. They will have food trucks available as well as crafters who will be selling their products. Masks must be worn at all times during the event.

Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Frazee, says she plans to visit “Food Truck Sundays” as well as the Springhouse. She is also set to attend a virtual 5K for Elana’s blessings, which is an organization that works to help women battling cancer. She explained that her family will find creative ways to celebrate the season if COVID-19 limits their typical activities. 

Unfortunately, not every traditional fall activity has come up with an alternative plan, and some have decided to cancel all together. The beloved Phantom Fright Night, Houston Pumpkin Festival, and the Hickory Apple Festival have all been canceled until next year. 

In light of these cancellations, Junior Savannah Ikach says she plans to stay home and carve pumpkins this year. 

Regardless of what the season will bring, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate safely!