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Fall Festival at the Morris Arboretum

Fall Festival

Celebrate the start of fall
at an annual outdoor event,
which is sure to be fun
for the whole family.

Woohoo, the Fall Festival is this weekend!  

Autumn is by far my favorite season of the year.  I love the colorful leaves on the trees.  I love raking up all the fallen leaves, dragging them across our lawn on a giant tarp with such aplomb and with so many little helpers that it feels less like work and more like fun.  I love the bright orange pumpkins and pumpkin pie.  I love the cooler weather and fires in the fireplace, crisp, clean air coming in through open windows, apple picking and apple cider, and something delicious baking in the oven, heating up the house and no one caring a bit.  I love the general feeling of slowing down, of tucking in for the winter.  I love Halloween, and I love Thanksgiving.  I love the month of birthdays - three of my kids’ birthdays are in the fall, so the season is, in my mind, the complete embodiment of love and family and being with the ones I love.  Finally, autumn comes after busy season at my work.  Thoughts of fall activities get me though those 80-hour weeks and working non-stop and not seeing my family, and when it all ends on September 15th, autumn is here and I have time to enjoy it.  I absolutely love it!

The Fall Festival at the Morris Arboretum is my family’s traditional fall season opener.  We first started going when Jack was a teeny tiny, in 2004, and we have gone every year since, rain or shine, warm or cold weather.  I remember when the event was very small, something attended by the few families who had memberships at the Arboretum.  Each year, we have seen it grow and expand, so much that it has become a community tradition.  We have long moved away from the area, and yet the long drive from Medford Lakes is worth it each year.  In fact, the event is so popular that this year, for the first time, it will be held on both Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6 (it was traditionally held on the first Sunday of October).

So what is this Fall Festival?  We were trying to describe it to our new au pair earlier this week, and it became difficult, with all the kids having different impressions and memories.  It is a celebration of autumn, a event of fun fall activities for the family.  Our absolute favorite part of the Festival is the scarecrow making.  The whole family pitches in to make a scarecrow.  We all have a great time picking out the clothes, stuffing them with hay, and making up a name and personality for our creation.  He or she (I admit, last year was the first year we made a girl scarecrow) then stands on our front porch through Thanksgiving.  Another favorite is activity is pumpkin painting (which reminds me, do not wear your favorite clothes to this event, as they may get ruined).  There are also various stands set up where kids can get their faces painted, learn about honey bees, or sample and shop for locally grown (and absolutely delicious) apples.  Finally, when you have had enough fall activities and everyone is ready for some relaxed time, pack the small kids into the stroller and take a walk through the Arboretum grounds. 

For the local readers, the Morris Arboretum is in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, right next to Chestnut Hill College, between Stenton and Germantown Avenues.  It is owned and run by the University of Pennsylvania, and it is a lovely destination year round.  For a few hours a year, on the first Sunday of October, it is the location of the Fall Festival (this year, for the first time, the fall Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday).  The Arboretum is a gorgeous place, a park where you can let the kids run free and yet show them a thing or two about nature.   As you are strolling along, do not skip the seasonal Scarecrow Walk, a long avenue where very creative ‘designer’ scarecrows are on display.  Your kids will definitely enjoy them.

For readers who are not willing to travel to Philly this weekend, I encourage you to find such an event closer to home.  We have been going for years, and we have not grown tired of it yet.  It is a great place to have some simple family fun which does not cost a boatload of money.  I definitely recommend giving it a try. 

My boys and the scarecrow


 Making the scarecrow


Pumpkin Painting


Boys and painted pumpkins


For more information on the Fall Festival, the Arboretum, admission, directions, membership, whatever, please see the Morris Arboretum website: www.morrisarboretum.org.
















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