1) The 2013 Norwich Pumpkin Festival, looking toward the Chenango County Courthouse. (Norwich Business Improvement District photo)
2) A popular ride at A Taste of The Catskills in Delhi. (Jonah Shaw photo)
3) A view of the 2013 Tractor Fest at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. (New York State Historical Association photo)
4) The Pick-a-Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch in Esperance. (Contributed photo)
5) A carved pumpkin seen in 2013 at The Cooperstown Arts Association’s Pumpkin Glow. (Cooperstown Arts Association photo)
Our senses certainly get an abundant workout during autumn in upstate New York. Foliage, pumpkins and Halloween costumes dazzle the eyes. Apples, cider and donuts and other scrumptious foods please the tastebuds, while the sound of tractors and farm equipment are heard far and wide, bringing in the region’s bountiful harvest soon to be enjoyed at our kitchen tables.
It’s time to celebrate and please our senses with festivals and popular places to visit soon—before the snow flies! Here is a sampling of events and sites in our four-county region.
The Norwich Pumpkin Festival. Oct. 3-4.
East and West Parks in downtown Norwich light up at night with pumpkins, along with many other activities throughout the daytime. The event began in 1999 after some families attended a Pumpkin Festival in Keene, N.H., and for a few years gave that city from the Granite State a run at having the most lit pumpkins for a world record. Although the competition has subsided, the goal of the event in Norwich hasn’t changed—it brings families together for free activities and entertainment during the two-day festival.
Carved pumpkins for lighting are still being encouraged to be brought to the festival, but all are invited to enjoy the live music, street performers, contests, food and craft vendors, and fireworks.
For more autumn events in Chenango County, visit www.chenangony.org/tourism
A Taste of the Catskills. Oct. 11-12, 10 a.m. to closing.
Maple Shade Farm in Delhi becomes a family-friendly showcase for food, beer, crafts and wine of our region. With a variety of vendors including farmers, value-added food producers and restaurants, attendees learn how food travels from farm to fork.
Along with workshops, a puppet show and other kid-friendly activities, participants can enter the second annual “Farm Olympics.”
Each day will culminate with a dinner prepared entirely from local ingredients, paired with local beer and wine. Following dinner, a bonfire and barn dance will take place. A fabulous fireworks display will fill the sky on Saturday evening.
Additional autumn events in Delaware County can be found at www.greatwesterncatskills.com
A bountiful harvest of activities awaits each weekend during October, beginning with Cooperstown Field Day, Saturday, Oct. 4. Main Street in the village will be closed off for the day to celebrate the village and the many forms of art that are found here including music, sculpture and painting, sports and brewing. One aspect of the event that is already drawing attention is the ticketed “food and beer pairing” tasting event. Local restaurateurs will feature some of their finest selections and showcase local flavors alongside a variety of beers from Brewery Ommegang.
Bringing the harvest out from the farm fields and orchards wouldn’t be possible without tractors, which is the theme of Tractor Fest, Saturday and Sunday, Oct.11-12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. See classic tractors and new tractors, some at work thrashing and bailing. Wagon rides will be given, pulled by the Ford Golden Jubilee tractor. A kiddie tractor pull for ages 7 and younger will be held, and one can browse hundreds of farm toys from years gone by in a farm toy exhibit. As always, the museum will have its daily activities to enjoy.
Pumpkins and Halloween costumes will be featured on two weekends, hosted by the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society’s train rides in Milford. A Pumpkin Patch Train will depart at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, and the Halloween Costume Train leaves at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Enjoy a Pumpkin Glow on the front porch of the Cooperstown Arts Association’s galleries, 22 Main St., on Sunday, Oct. 26. Area residents are invited to drop off a carved and decorated pumpkin during the day, to be added to the glow once the sun goes down.
Outdoor frolicking abounds in two great places to visit during October.
For 27 years, generations of residents have come for fun on the farm at The Pick-A-Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch, at 2716 Creek Road in Esperance. In addition to traditional activities—from the four-story treehouse, petting zoo, hayrides, fresh cider donuts, and pumpkins—two new attractions include a 75-ft. burlap sack slide and a corn kernel play pit. The Patch is open Monday through Friday, 3 to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Columbus Day, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and is closed Sundays. The season lasts from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31.
New to the area is Pumpkin Pete’s Family Fun Farm, at 5704 state Route 30 in Schoharie. Feed the animals, take a hayride, and play in the corn maze, kiddie patch and hay tunnel. U-pick pumpkins and a snack shack are also available. The Farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.