Soon, there will be a crisp chill to the air as the hills in the Valley turn bright shades of russet, amber and scarlet. Fall is a beloved time in the Valley as locals transition from shorts and t-shirts, air conditioning and rain (did I mention rain?) to layers of cozy clothing, outdoor fires and the first flakes. Valley residents look forward to fall not only because of the beauty and slower pace of life but also because of the many festivals and celebrations that are held at this time of year.
Here is a sample of some of the larger fall festivals and activities, as well as some that are not as well known but equally fun:
AUTUMN HAWK WATCH at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – Now through December 15
Bring your binoculars and watch birds of prey soar above your head as they prepare to fly south for the winter. The Annual Autumn Hawk Watch begins at the Sanctuary’s famed North Lookout and is conducted daily, weather permitting, through mid-December. An official counter and interpreters will be on hand to point out and identify birds and explain hawk migration. For more information and costs, visit http://www.hawkmountain.org.
EXHIBIT: "NATIVE AMERICANS: A DIVERSE & EVOLVING HISTORY – Now through December 29
A newcomer needs to only look at some of the city names in the Lehigh Valley – Catasaqua, Macungie, Hokendaqua – to realize the influence Native Americans have had on our community.This exhibit, featuring hundreds of authentic Native American artifacts, explores what archaeology tells us about the Native Americans of Eastern Pennsylvania. Visit http://www.lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org for costs and more information.
OKTOBERFEST - October 5-7 & 12-14
If you’re looking for a little German culture done Pennsylvania style, you’ll want to experience Oktoberfest. Sample some brews at two Yuengling Biergartens; listen to live polka, rock and party music; and eat your heart out with authentic German food. You can also experience axe-wielding lumberjacks of the Great Lakes Timber Show, cheer for your favorite dachshund as they race against each other and find that special piece from a local artisan to take home with you. Or, limber up and lace-up your sneakers for the German themed Yuengling Oktoberfest 5k Run / Walk. For more information, visit http://www.steelstacks.org/festivals/oktoberfest/
EASTON GARLIC FEST – October 7
If your goal is to keep vampires at bay this Halloween, stock up on the best know repellant for the creature at the Garlic Fest. Vendors will sell it, chefs will cook it, musicians will sing about it, and you can eat it at this event. Come see what is new this year including a garlic bites and cocktail pairing, The Big Cheese Wheel tasting and hands-on culinary experiences with a local chef. For more information, go to eastongarlicfest.com.
TRICK-OR-TREAT PUMPKIN TRAIN RIDES – October 20, 21, 27 and 28
Bring the kids out for some fall fun on a family-friendly train ride in Kutztown, PA. Each child will receive a treat and will be able to pick out a pumpkin to take home. Trains run between 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM for two weekends prior to Halloween. For costs and more information, go to http://allentownandauburnrr.com/event/trick-or-treat-pumpkin-trains-2/
EASTON FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL – OCTOBER 21
The Greater Lehigh Valley Mobile Food Alliance and the City of Easton will host Easton's 3rd Annual Food Truck Festival this fall. Come out and enjoy larder, libations and live music – with no admission fee.There will even be some friendly competitions amongst the trucks with guest judges. For more information, go to www.discoverlehighvalley.com/event/easton-food-truck-festival/48572/
PA BACON FEST – NOVEMBER 3 & 4
Visit historic Easton as it transforms into a squealing, sizzling affair. With over 150 vendors and a dozen plus musical acts, the two-day festival attracts nearly 100,000 guests. While admission to the festival is free, a donation of $2.00 is suggested. For more information, visit http://pabaconfest.com/.
CHRISTKINDLMARKT BETHLEHEM – Mid-November to late December
In the mood for some holiday cheer? Christkindlmarkt will get you in the spirit. Shop for handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans, enjoy the heart-warming sounds of live Christmas music, feast on delicious food and more. The event is also home to jolly, old St. Nicholas, who’s eager to greet children and hear their holiday wishes, and Germany’s Käthe Wohlfahrt, renowned for its authentic German ornaments, nutcrackers, smokers and collectibles. For more information, go to http://www.christmascity.org.
— Tracie Spence
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