Visit the many farm and community festivals close to home

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Visit the many farm and community festivals close to home

“The Earth’s distances invite the eye. And as the eye reaches, so must the mind stretch to meet these new horizons. I challenge anyone to stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see a new expanse not only around him, but in him, too.”

Hal Borland

Autumn is here, the weather is getting cooler, the sun sets earlier, and trees are beginning to take on the beautiful colors of the season. The Last Green Valley’s annual “Walktober” program is now in full swing with more than 200 walks, hikes, talks, paddles and experiences throughout The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. To top it off, the weather at this writing has been fantastic – great for weekend getaways with family and friends.

Along with walks, hikes and paddles, Walktober also helps to promote an array of local community events and farm festivals. These day-long and in some cases weekend-long events herald the change of the season while celebrating our local communities and agricultural heritage.

Over the next few weeks there are many opportunities to get out and enjoy a fun festival. Here is a list of some of the events you may want to check out this autumn season.

From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., today, the Downtown Norwich Historic District is host to an International Food Festival on Main Street, Broadway, and Franklin Street in Norwich. Eat around the world in Downtown Norwich. For more information, please visit globalcitynorwich.com.

From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 11 and repeating on Oct. 12 is “Spooky Nights” at the Brooklyn Fairgrounds, 14 Fairgrounds Rd., Brooklyn. Enjoy the annual spooktacular Spooky Nights, including a hay wagon ride, haunted houses, bonfire, music, food, vendors and more. Contact Brooklyn Recreation for tickets. Sponsored by the Town of Brooklyn Recreation Department. brooklynct.org, 860-779-3411.

Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 12 through Oct. 14 is always a great time to get out and enjoy the many community events and farm festivals in The Last Green Valley. Foliage should be in full color and with crisp air and tasty apples the farms are always a great place to enjoy the weekend.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., visit Horse Listener’s Orchard, 317 Bebbington Rd., Ashford. Enjoy the beautiful orchard, train rides for kids, cider donuts, homemade pies, the fall harvest and, of course, apple picking. Admission is free. Pay only for what you buy.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, stop by Buell’s Orchard Harvest Festival at Buell’s Orchard, 108 Crystal Pond Rd., Eastford. Enjoy music, hayrides, food and much more family fun. Admission is free, but you may want to spend a little to pick some apples, pumpkins and local delights. Call (860) 974-1150.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., visit Lapsley Orchard Fall Harvest Festival at Lapsley Orchard, 403 Orchard Hill Rd., Pomfret Center. Welcome the fall at this Columbus Weekend family-friendly event. Enjoy free hayrides along with live music. Entry is free, but there are tons of apples, cider, pumpkins and more for picking and purchase. Call (860) 928-9186.

From 11 a.m. to dusk, visit the Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm Harvest Festival at Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, 227 Ekonk Hill Rd., Moosup. Come enjoy family fun on Columbus Day weekend with kids’ games, moon bounce, face painting, barnyard animals, hula-hoops, pumpkin painting and lots more fun. (All included with normal corn maze admission.) Getlostinthemaze.com & ekonkhillturkeyfarm.com or call (860) 564-0248.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 12, come to Old Home Day on the Canterbury Green, 6 South Canterbury Rd., Canterbury. Canterbury’s favorite way to welcome fall! On the town green featuring demonstrations of traditional crafts and trades, live music, friendly animals, period reenactors, great food, antique autos, exhibits inside the circa 1840 one-room schoolhouse, children’s activities and more. Admission and parking are free, held rain or shine. At the First Congregational Church, across from Prudence Crandall Museum. Call (860) 917-1979.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 12, the Big Apple Cabaret kicks off at the Killingly Grange, Rt. 101 and Dog Hill Rd., Dayville. The festival includes live music of “Back by Popular Demand;” apple-based culinary delights; Salon de McIntosh silent auction, including a beautiful a custom-made quilt; themed basket raffle items; pumpkins, mums, apples, cider donuts, cider and candy apples for sale. Call (860) 412-9811.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 12, visit the Sprague Three Villages Festival, Babe Blanchette Field in Baltic. This is a free community event that promises to be a fun day for the entire family. Bounce Houses, Nerf Battle, Face Painting, Pumpkin Painting, Petting Zoo, Music, Magic Show, Hayrides, and more. Come experience a fall tradition. The Three Villages Fall Festival is affordable entertainment for all ages. And best of all it is all free.

You can enjoy more local community events and festivals the weekend of Oct. 19 and 20.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 19, the Great Pumpkin Festival is on Main St., Putnam. A community celebration of fall featuring The Great Pumpkin, train excursion, craft and art vendors, fantastic live music, activities for the kids and much more. Get more info at Discoverputnam.com or call (860) 605-1512.

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the same weekend is the Roseland Cottage Fine Arts and Crafts Festival at Roseland Cottage, 556 Rt. 169, Woodstock. One of the premier fine arts and craft festivals in New England features 175 artisans and their wares — jewelry, woodworking, pottery, glass, toys, paintings, clothing, metalwork and much more. Enjoy live music, a food court, and first-floor tours of Roseland Cottage. Go to Historicnewengland.org or call (617) 994-5914.

Oct. 19 and Oct. 20 also includes the 30th annual Sturbridge Harvest Festival, Town Commons & Publick House, Sturbridge, Mass. An ongoing, lively event each fall features family fun, crafts, live music and entertainment, a mini-food truck festival, farm fresh harvests and the popular Publick House Scarecrow Contest. Call (508) 764-5426.

For a full listing of Walktober hikes, walks, paddles, talk and events checkout the TLGV website and download the Walktober guide. Be sure to check the Walktober webpage frequently for bonus walks and last minutes changes:
https://thelastgreenvalley.org/explore-the-last-green-valley/walktober/

We live in a beautiful place called The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. This is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy all we have to appreciate about our local communities and farms.

Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at bill@tlgv.org

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