By Patte Smith
Local fun is better than ever this fall. Close by, the Schweiger Ranch Fall Festival in Lone Tree will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival features hay wagon rides, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for $5 each, and free mini pumpkins and gourds for kids, limit of one per child. Tour the beautiful, historic ranch while listening to live bluegrass music. There will be a petting zoo, Cave of Confusion and story time. There is something for everyone to enjoy. The ranch is located on South Havana Street, south of RidgeGate Parkway. For more information, visit https://ridgegate.com/events/.
While not the typical fall festival, the Castle Rock Trail Festival/LiveBIG 5K & Family Adventure Race will offer a chance to run or walk on the soft surface trails at the beautiful Philip S. Miller Park in Castle Rock. Enjoy views of the surrounding buttes and the scenic city of Castle Rock. There will be six races, so all ages can participate. A 50k ultramarathon, a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, the liveBIG 5K and the family adventure race. The events will start at 8:30 a.m. and start times will continue throughout the morning. For race information and to register, visit www.coloradorunnerevents.com/CastleRock/.
Pumpkin Festival at Chafield Farms is a family favorite every year. While it can get a bit crowded, the 10-acre farm is a beautiful place to wander. Buy tickets early so you don’t miss the chance to search through the pumpkin patch for a “soon to become” jack-o’-lantern. Tickets do sell out. Bring a wagon to haul pumpkins. Pumpkins vary in price depending on size. A few of the many activities include pony rides, horse-drawn hayrides, carnival games, face painting, crafts, food trucks, food vendors and a beer vendor for adults. Discounted Corn Maze tickets can be purchased for an additional $8 per child or adult. For more information and tickets, visit www.botanicgardens.org/events/.
Lovers of chocolate unite! The Colorado Choctoberfest will be on Saturday, October 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds in Aurora. The event is indoors, and parking is free. Sample the finest chocolates in Colorado while enjoying live entertainment and fun contests. There will be chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, truffles, fudge, brownies, drinks, toffees, coffees and more. Additionally, there will be a free Halloween craft booth, kid’s activities, fun contests, beer garden and cooking demos. For information and tickets, visit www.cochocolatefests.com/.
Bigfoot is real and he has his own fall festival – Enchanted Hollows: Bigfoot Festival at the Denver Zoo. Watch out, there will be axe throwing (eeek!), cornhole, pumpkin carving and scary-oke sing-along. The event is billed as “perfect for tweens, parents and conspiracy theorists of all ages.” With Sasquatch-themed food and drink, Yeti beer, animal encounters and a frightfully close photo with Bigfoot himself, brave visitors can also look forward to an interactive “night walk” experience and an Owl-O-Ween interactive display. The festival will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings, October 3 through October 25, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visit www.denverzoo.org for more information and tickets. This event is not recommended for children younger than 8 years old.
Experience the beauty of a historic ranch at the entrance to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This is well worth the drive. The Harvest Festival at Rock Ledge Ranch will be held October 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature wagon rides, old-time music, hand-crafted folk art and a tour of the historic home. Enjoy a slice of homemade pie and relax on the lawn as the kids visit the old barn and farm animals. Afterward, be sure to take a drive through Garden of the Gods – registered national natural landmark with towering sandstone rock formations. For more information, visit www.rockledgeranch.com and www.gardenofgods.com.