By Amanda Cooney
It’s finally here, whether the Western Pennsylvania weather forecast wants you to believe it or not: Fall. Fall is the best season of the year and you can fight me on that. It’s not just the apple cider and pumpkin-flavored everything, it’s the crispness in the air that makes us bring out boots and over-sized sweaters. It’s the smell of dead leaves and decaying plants that spring gave to us and thrived through the summer. It’s also the joy of the festivities that celebrate all that the autumn harvest brings. Not to mention Halloween is, hands down, the best holiday.
Most of my weekends from now until the end of October are filled with plans of celebrating my favorite season and I think yours should too. Here are some of my favorite fall festivals, in no particular order.
Soergel’s has been a staple of fall festivities in the Pittsburgh area for quite a while. Located off route 79 in Wexford, the 167-year-old orchard is one of the best places in Allegheny County to spend a fall afternoon. Every weekend beginning September 23rd to the end of October, Soergel’s hosts their annual fall festival. Activities include hay rides, pick your own apples and pumpkins, kids activities, barbeque, and so much more.
Must see: Arsenal Cider has a tap room located on the left side of McIntosh Hall at Soergel’s. Adults over 21, with valid ID, can select from nine varieties of hard cider made from apples grown in the orchard nearby and two locally-brewed beers. Cider and beer can be consumed on site, by the glass, or you can take home a growler of your favorite!
If you prefer wine, don’t worry. Arrowhead Winery is also on site and offers a wide variety of dry, sweet, and specialty wines!
Located in McMurray, PA, Simmon’s Farm has a seemingly endless amount of fall activities that the entire family will enjoy from now to November 5th. Two corn mazes, a hay maze, a petting zoo, a 100 ft slide, and live music are just a few of the things you can experience for $12.25 per person. They also offer pick your own apples and pumpkins for an extra fee.
Must see: Simmon’s offers nighttime hayrides for groups. Each wagon holds 30-35 people and takes you through their fields to a bonfire where apples and marshmallows are waiting to be roasted. For details on reserving a hayride, contact the farm market at 724-941-1490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beginning September 30th until the end of October, Trax Farms, located south of Pittsburgh in Finleyville, PA, will be celebrating their 48th Annual Fall Festival. Fall Festival activities begin at 10 am and go to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They offer kids activities, a farmer’s market, live music, great food, and much more.
Must see: Trax offers hay rides ($10 for adults, $8 for kids 3-12, free for kids under 2) that drops visitors off at the pumpkin patches, 3-acre corn maze, and petting zoo.
Pedal tractors, hay mazes, hay rides, two 40’ mountain slides, and a life-size board game are just a portion of the activities that Coolspring Corn Maze in Mercer, PA has to offer. For an additional fee, activities such as the pumpkin blaster, cow train, gemstone mining, and mechanical bull rides are offered and highly recommended by yours truly.
Must see: “The Greatest Maze on Earth”. Based on the year’s theme, a new maze, with an incredible design, is cut into their enormous corn field. Since this year’s theme is the circus, the maze design is a clown face, acrobat, an elephant and a ringleader which can only be seen if you are in a plane. Access to the corn maze is included in general admission. I recommend taking a snack with you because this year looks tricky!
I have never been to Triple B Farms, but based on their website, I will definitely be making a trip there this year. Beginning on September 23rd until the end of October, Triple B Farms has fun fall activities every weekend from 10 am – 6 pm.
Located in Monongahela, PA, Triple B Farms sells wrist bands for $14 per child (kids under 2 are free) and $9 per adult. These wristbands give you unlimited access to hayrides, kids activities, and educational programs. Check out their website and view the fall calendar because each weekend they offer something different for everyone including Halloweekend on October 28th and 29th.
I hope to run into you at a fall festival soon. Follow @boldpittsburgh on Instagram to find out where I will be this weekend! Tweet at me and let me know where I should go next! Happy fall, y’all!