Bethany Montgomery, Editor-in-Chief
To the anticipation of many, the start of fall ushers in a whole new era of seasonal expectations. Bonfires, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses become the cliché of fun autumn activities. But for students who are unaware of what sorts of must-goes are in the broader Olympia area and its surrounding cities, there are actually quite a few options for fall fanatics and just general fans of the “spooky season.”
Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm is a Thurston County classic when it comes to family friendly pumpkin-themed activities. Every weekend in October, Lattin’s hosts its traditional “Apple Fest” in celebration of the Washington Apple harvest. At $5 per vehicle, this affordable adventure includes face painting, pumpkin picking, petting various farm animals, a “Goat Walk,” and booths from many local vendors. Most notably, perhaps, is the variety of delicious food and drink for purchase. As described on their website, “We have our national award-winning cider. Lots of good things to eat, bbq, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple pie, hot and cold cider, berry cider, cider donuts, apple cake, and our famous apple fritters.”
In addition to a traditional pumpkin patch, Schilter Family Farms in Nisqually Valley offers numerous interactive activities for all ages. Every day in October, the 180-acre farm offers hay rides, U-pick pumpkins and other fall treats, and decorations for sale, games like pumpkin bowl and corn hole, homemade fudge and cider donuts, and a petting barn of traditional farm animals. Each year, their famous five-acre corn maze takes on a unique theme and shape. This year, the maze honors a friend of the family who was diagnosed with ALS. Basic admission is $8 per person, with additional activities for purchase. Weekend specials include Pumpkin Blasters and corn cannons, as well as pony rides for an additional fee. With such a vast area to explore, Schilter’s is the perfect place for taking fall photos or spending a Saturday afternoon.
The Rutledge Corn maze, specially known for its frightening mazes, offers both a traditional day and night corn maze, at $8 and $12 respectively. However, anyone daring enough take on a scarier experience can explore the haunted corn maze. The $20 tickets also including two runs through the regular maze. Zombie paintball, also at the price of $20, can be purchased for a more interactive haunted experience. For students craving the bonfire experience, fire pits can be rented at $60 for two hour slots, and include four picnic tables, an abundant supply of wood, and a 10×20 tent.
Further down south in Lewis County, the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum hosts Pumpkin Train Ride via online reservation. Rides on this vintage 1916 locomotive include pumpkin picking, a costume contest, and an old-fashioned train travel experience on one of the few remaining steam-powered passenger trains in the state. As described on the website: “A ride on the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad is a pleasant, scenic, and relaxing journey back in time. Gaze at the scenery as the nine-mile, former Milwaukee Road track winds through the scenic upper Chehalis River valley, crossing over several wooden trestles, and passing many historic farms.”
Also down south, the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds in Centralia is hosting the annual Country Chicks Fall Market on Oct. 5. At $5 a person the fair includes “…farmhouse style, vintage and repurposed items, rusty good junk, shabby and country furniture, industrial and metals, unique handmades, food, and a chicktastic thyme,” the perfect embodiment of fall.
Anyone searching for fun weekend fall activities need search no further than the local area for events and locations that are sure to fulfill everyone’s fall dreams.