Syrup Sopping Day
The organizers of this southern-style celebration boast that the rural municipality known as Loachapoka, Alabama swells from its typical population of just 135 to an estimated 20,000 on this special day.
Long known for its prized syrup (made from a combination of locally grown sorghum and ribbon cane) the festival held in its honor now draws crowds from all over the South. Multiple non-profit and community groups started the event in 1972 which is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2012, featuring delicious food, hand-made wares and live entertainment.
For more information, visit the festival online at www.syrupsopping.org
On the Tracks
On the Tracks is a food-and-wine event, held bi-annually in historic downtown Opelika. The event began several years ago with the goal of celebrating the area and all it has to offer. Through the years, it has become an event that folks of all ages anticipate as a fun, fall evening out with friends. Various business owners and merchants band together to form a “trail” that winds through downtown, offering over 25 food and wine stops along the way. Participants purchase a trail ticket and make their way down the trail, sampling a variety of tasty treats and beverages along the way. The event caters to every schedule by offering shopping and live entertainment well into the night.
Recounts event organizer, Pam Powers-Smith, “Richard Patton and myself created the event in hopes of finding an adult activity that would actually get people in our stores so that they could see what everyone had to offer. After the first one, the stores said they had great response so we carried on and have changed very little about the event since then.”
This year’s event is slotted for Oct. 19, and tickets are available for purchase via the organization’s website at www.onthetracks.org. Additionally, Smith encourages advance ticket purchases, as the event often sells out.
Trick or Treat Event
Every year around Halloween, the stock rooms of downtown Auburn stores begin to bare a strange resemblance to a scene from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” — gone are the rows of neatly stacked supplies, replaced by mountains of bagged candy. Of course, it is all in preparation for the Downtown Trick or Treat Event.
So, if you have little ones, make sure to join Auburn Parks and Recreation and the Auburn Downtown Merchants for the 12th Annual Downtown Trick or Treat on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 6 – 8 p.m. This free event features bountiful amounts of candy, giveaways, live music and children’s activities. Downtown Trick or Treat offers children 12 years and younger an excellent alternative to residential trick-or-treating. Participants must be accompanied by an adult at all times, and streets will be closed during the event to ensure safety for all.
“Downtown Trick or Treat is a wonderful community event for children and their families to enjoy. We encourage everyone to come out early, enjoy some shopping and dining in downtown, then stay for trick or treating. We’re grateful to our merchants for providing a unique alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating!” says event facilitator, Meg Rainey. Ingrid Ann, owner of The Villager, agrees, “My favorite part is seeing the creativity in the homemade costumes. I love that!”
at Callaway Gardens
From a Friday Farmers Market to a Hot Air Balloon Festival and a Steeplechase-Callaway Gardens has something for everyone! As if that is not enough, they also offer Twilight 10K and Triathlon, as well as a Harvest Moon Festival!
The Harvest Moon Festival is inspired by ancient traditions centering on the celebration of the harvest. This two-day event takes place at Robin Lake Beach and features live music, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, and locally sourced, farm-to-table foods.
If fitness is more the focus, consider competing in a weekend of races scheduled for early November. The weekend kicks off with the Twilight 10K, which winds through the renowned Fantasy in Lights holiday display. The event is open to the first 1,000 registered runners, so advanced registration is required. The following day features a mountain bike race, held on rarely seen, undeveloped Callaway Gardens property.
Zoo-Boo at the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Museum
Take a short drive west to enjoy this mix of fun and fright offered at the Montgomery Zoo. For the true thrill seeker, it offers a Haunted Hay Ride with some scary surprises. For the more relaxed visitor, it offers a festive Pumpkin Pull-a wagon hay ride open to both adults and children. Throughout the zoo, enjoy holiday themes, games and rides, as well as special nightly presentations.
A variety of events are offered in the month of October, so visit the organization’s website for additional details (www.montgomeryzoo.com).
Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade
Every year, downtown Opelika goes to the dogs and hosts the annual Howl-O-Ween dog parade. Past winner Cynthia Robinson makes no bones about her participation. “I look forward to this parade every year! I love to dress Beemer up in a homemade costume. He’s such a special dog to me, and I try to make his outfit very unique. We love to see what all the other dogs are wearing too!”
This year’s parade is scheduled for Oct. 29 and registration will take place at downtown retailer, Taylor Made Designs. All proceeds benefit Rescue K911.
Cotton Pickin’ Festival
Toward the end of October, make plans to have some fun on the farm at the annual “Cotton Pickin’ Festival” hosted by Old Baker’s Farms. Located in Harpersville, Alabama, the farm was established in the 1800s, and it continues to be operational even today-producing crops like cotton and corn.
Annually, the proprietors extend an open invitation to the public to join them on the farm for some wholesome fall fun. “The Cotton Pickin’ Festival” features exhibitors from all over the South, with artisans gathering to proudly display their hand-made wares, ranging from homemade goat’s milk soap to hand-tied brooms.
Aside from the shopping, there are a range of activities offered-from historic reenactments to corn mazes and live Blue Grass music. The festival also offers a hay mountain, horseback rides and a pumpkin patch. The price of admission includes most of the activities (as well as a complimentary pumpkin), but be sure to visit: www.oldbakersfarm for additional details and ticket information.
So from Loachapoka to Pine Mountain, fun times abound this autumn! Make your plans to get in
on the good times today! EAL