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Fall for Fall: The 2021 guide to autumnal fun around the Front Range

From pumpkin patches and weigh-offs to intimate farm dinners, here's a wide range of family-friendly events

Field trip manager Crystal Sutherland grabs pumpkins at the top of the pumpkin cart for, from left, Ryan Schultz, 9, Kellan Schultz, 7, and Rueger Trostel, 8, at Anderson Farms on Oct. 28, 2020, in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
Field trip manager Crystal Sutherland grabs pumpkins at the top of the pumpkin cart for, from left, Ryan Schultz, 9, Kellan Schultz, 7, and Rueger Trostel, 8, at Anderson Farms on Oct. 28, 2020, in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
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Summer in the Front Range means chilled cocktails on rooftop bars, bike rides to farmers markets to obtain the sweetest peaches and afternoons spent wading in the waters of local reservoirs.

Elijah Holly, left, and his cousin Hudson Wolfe try to pick their pumpkins from a cart at Anderson Farms on Oct. 28, 2020, in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

Fall brings a bevy of new autumnal activities to look forward to. Some would argue it’s the most wonderful season, especially in mountain towns. Who doesn’t love crisp air, golden leaf peeping, apple picking, hot cocoa, butternut squash soup and the arrival of those aromatic cinnamon brooms? You know the ones.

I’ve been known to start decorating for Halloween in September and am guilty of purchasing pumpkins a tad too early — when my AC is still going strong.

“Edward Scissorhands” and “Practical Magic” are on rotation in my house long before Halloween candy can be found on markets’ shelves.

While January is the month most consider a clean slate as it ushers in a new year, I feel refreshed when the slight night-time chill of fall calls for an extra blanket.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” and I couldn’t agree more with the iconic novelist.

Fall is certainly my Super Bowl or Oscars, seasonably speaking.

No matter where you stand on the concept of pumpkin spice and its labeling of “basic,” this list is sure to offer up some inspiration for how to spend cooler days. From bread-baking classes to farm dinners and a giant pumpkin weigh-off, there are many opportunities this year to fall for fall in Colorado.

Boulder area

Fall Festival — This event will have a raffle, food truck, dancing in the barn, a photo booth with miniature horses, kids’ obstacle course and more. All proceeds go to assisting individuals with physical, cognitive and/or emotional challenges to reach their fullest potential through equine-assisted therapies and activities; 5:30-10 p.m. Sept. 26; Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy; $35; 66 S. Cherryvale Road, Boulder; rmridingtherapy.org.

Rock Creek Farm — Explore hundreds of pumpkins for the picking at Rock Creek, then when the sun goes down, explore the corn mazes. Also available at the farm are corn maze mystery games, farm animals and pumpkin bread; 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily Sept. 25-Oct. 31, 2005 S. 112th St., Broomfield; $7; rockcreekfarm.com.

Community Harvest Festival — Enjoy activities like pumpkin and face painting, lawn games, check out dairy goats and more. A bluegrass band will be play while attendees feast on cuisine from local food trucks and sip drinks from the Biergarten; 4-7 p.m. Oct. 6; Hawthorn Farm, 1630 Hawthorn Ave. Boulder; $5-10 per family suggested donation; growinggardens.org.

Munson Farms Pumpkin Patch — Peruse the gigantic pumpkin patch at no charge and select from many varieties of pumpkins. Six varieties of winter squash and ripe apples can also be purchased. Enjoy classic hay rides and a corn maze; 9 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. daily; Munson Farms, 7355 Valmont Road, Boulder; munsonfarms.com.

Savannah, 3, and Jax Branson, 1, ride in their cart as their grandfather John Branson pulls them out of the mud next to the walk-in pumpkin patch at Anderson Farms on Oct. 28 in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

Burgundy Wine Festival — As the temperatures start to dip, one’s craving for rich red vino may increase. Boulder Wine Merchant has an array of events featuring visiting sommeliers, winemakers and paired meals from local eateries. The fest concludes with a grand tasting featuring over 200 wines at Embassy Suites Hotel in Boulder; Oct. 22-24; various locations and prices; boulderburgundyfestival.com.

Weaving Workshops — Cozy nights go great with a new hobby. Textile artist Sara Goldenberg will lead three Tuesday workshops for those interested in learning more about the art form. Looms will be provided by local manufacturer Schacht Spindle Co. and can be taken home after the session to work on projects between classes; 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Oct. 5, 12, 19; Boulder JCC, 6007 Oreg Ave., Boulder; $196 registration fee, includes $16 kit fee, boulderjcc.org.

Great Big Challah Bake — There’s something about baking bread in the fall that just makes perfect sense. Whether you are skilled at baking Challah or have never attempted it before, this is a great opportunity to gather and create something delicious; 6 p.m. Nov. 4, Boulder JCC, 6007 Oreg Ave., Boulder; $18 boulderjcc.org.

Open Studios Fall Tour — Over three art-packed weekends, tour the creative workspaces of 140 artists; noon- 5 p.m., Oct 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, various locations throughout the Front Range; free; openstudios.org.

Boulder Ballet Fall Concert — In this program, Artistic Director Lance Hardin creates two world premieres performed to live music with Soprano Michelle Areyzaga, pianist Jamie Shaak and the Lee Hoiby Chamber Ensemble; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder; $23-54.50; chautauqua.com.

Leaf Peeping — Marvel at golden and red fall colors without traveling many miles. Stroll around Boulder’s historic Mapleton Hill, Mesa Trail or Wonderland Lake.

Johnstown

Hankins Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch — Enjoy a “Farm Scene Investigation Game” in the maze, a corn cannon, hoppy horse and more; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays Oct. 2-31, 26745 Weld County Road 17, Johnstown; $12 admission, pumpkin prices vary; Hankinsfarms.com.

Longmont area

Witoberfest End Performance — Jam into fall with this open-air pavilion show featuring Kyle Hollingworth of String Cheese Incident. Enjoy a Bavarian pretzel and even relax in one of Wibby’s oversized kiddie pools while enjoying the show; 6-9 p.m. Sept. 25, Wibby Brewing, 209 Emery St., Longmont; $20-$28; wibbybrewing.com.

Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch — Savor a carnival atmosphere every weekend in October with pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay maze, cornstalk tunnel, a fire truck slide and more. Feast on hand-spun cotton candy, old-fashioned caramel-dipped apples and hot pretzels; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with free self-guided tours of the farm stand Monday-Friday; 9059 Ute Highway CO 66, Longmont; free admission, pay per-activity basis; rockymtnpumpkinranch.com.

Sunflower Farmfest — Visit adorable farm animals while learning more about how they are raised and loved. Feed the goats, sheep and llamas, and enjoy the free-roaming chickens, peacocks, turkeys and guinea pigs. Visitors can also kick back on a tire swing, sit in a tractor and help out on the farm; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. various dates through September, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. various dates through October; reservations required; 11150 Prospect Road, Longmont; $17; sunflowerfarminfo.com.

Hergenreder Farms — Enjoy a pumpkin patch, corn maze, bale maze and corn sand box at this family farm; 12:30 p.m.-dusk every weekend in October, 13332 County Road 5, Longmont; free; 303-349-5711.

Interfaith Quilters’ Fall Quilt Sale — Shop fall and holiday items including wall hangings, table linens, small blanket quilts and baby quilts; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 9, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 805 3rd Ave., Longmont; interfaithquilters.com.

Molly McGee’s Fall Market — Get a jump on holiday shopping with over 160 booths filled with handmade artisanal crafts; Boulder County Fairgrounds,9 a.m.-5 a.m. Oct 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct 17, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont; $5 admission good for both days, children under 12 free; molliemcgee.com.

The 51st annual Pumpkin Pie Days, Vintage & Antique Market — St. Vrain Historical Society hosts this two-day event that will feature tons of art from all over Colorado — ranging from rustic to shabby-chic pieces. After purchasing a few treasures, stop by the SVHS café for lunch and a few slices of pie — because nothing revs up the appetite like the sport of shopping; 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Oct. 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 10, Boulder County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont; $5 (children under 12 free); stvrainhistoricalsociety.com/vintage-antique-markets.

Longmont artist Fran Gordon shows her work to Sherry Clark, of Boulder, during Pumpkin Pie Days at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in 2019. (Kelsey Hammon/Staff Writer)

Ollin Farm Dinners with Bin 46 — Savor exquisite meals featuring farm-fresh ingredients; 5 p.m. Oct. 9, 5 p.m. Oct. 16 (a benefit for Firehouse Art Center) 8627 N 95th St., #7718, Longmont; $75-$85; ollinfarms.com.

Autumn’s Soiree — Enjoy a seasonal three-course meal and music from Pioneer Mother, Danny Evans and Corey Simmons; 2-9:30 p.m. Oct. 2; MetaCarbon Organic Farm, 4640 Hygiene Road, Longmont; $25; metacarbonorganicfarm.com.

Ya Ya Farm and Orchard — While the option to pick your own apples is already sold out this year as prior reservations filled up fast, this historic century-old farm is still welcoming folks looking to enjoy a unique setting. Visit the farm stand, orchard and Percheron Draft Horses, mini donkeys, chickens, ducks and peacocks; through September-October: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; November: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; 6914 Ute Highway, Longmont; free; yayafarmandorchard.com.

Apple Fest — A ticket includes a plate from Nordy’s BBQ, plus apples and apple cider doughnuts, live bluegrass music from Stirrup Trouble and unlimited hay rides; 3:30-6 p.m. Oct. 16-17, Ya Ya Farm and Orchard, 6914 Ute Hwy., Longmont; $5-$36; yayafarmandorchard.com.

Erie

Anderson Farms — Check out Colorado’s longest-running 30-acre corn maze and pumpkin patch that’s sure to boast some real beauts that are ideal for carving. To add to the experience, visitors can check out the private campfire sites, do some gem mining and take in the underrated pastime of gourd launching; Daily through Oct. 31, 6728 County Road 3 1/4, Erie; $15-$23, kids 3 and under are free; andersonfarms.com.

Miner’s Blast — This fall celebration features flying gourds, an archery range, hayride, live music, beer, food trucks and more. Free pumpkins will be given to the first 1,000 children; noon-4 p.m. Oct. 2, Coal Creek Park, 575 Kattell St., Erie; $10 for children over age 3 and free for grandparents, parents and babies; eriechamber.org.

Sally Bokal, 4, tries to pick out a pumpkin while enjoying the warm weather at the Cottonwood Farms Pumpkin Patch in 2019 in Lafayette. (Jeremy Papasso/File photo)

Lafayette

Cottonwood Farms Pumpkin Patch — Gather the crew and explore this family farm that has plenty of fall produce and autumn activities, including a fall market that one can visit at no charge. Navigate the 4-acre corn maze or straw-bale maze. Wagon rides take place on October weekends for family groups or other cohort groups only. View farm animals; open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. from Sept. 25-Oct. 31; Cottonwood Farms,10600 Isabelle Road, Lafayette; $5; cottonwoodfarm.com.

LaSalle

Fritzler Corn Maze and Fall Festival — This NoCo favorite corn maze is features a pumpkin patch, pedal go-carts, barrel train, pumpkin cannon and more than 20 other exciting festival events; 4-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 31, 20861 CR 33, LaSalle; $18-$33; Fritzlerfarmpark.com.

Louisville

Fall Fest — Children can partake in festive fall crafts and those dressed in costume will receive prizes; 3:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 27; Steinbaugh Pavilion, 824 Front St. Louisville; free; louisvilleco.gov.

7th Generation Farm — Throughout October, this farm provides folks with plenty of fall fun, featuring a hay-bale maze, a tractor hayride and livestock petting zoo, including goats; noon- 5p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; 1536 Courtesy Road, Louisville; $5 7thgenerationfarm.com.

Loveland

Downtown Pumpkin Festival — This event celebrates the produce of the moment. Shop local farmers market pumpkins, marvel at pumpkin sculptures, enjoy food and art vendors and more; noon- 5 p.m., Oct. 23; The Foundry Plaza, 246 North Cleveland Ave., Loveland; Free to attend, $12 (online sales) to select and decorate a pumpkin; downtownloveland.org.

Osborn Farm — This pumpkin farm has barrel trains, coffee trucks, hayrides and fall crops for sale from vendors, offering great deals on seasonal decorations; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily Sept. 25 through October, 1230 S. Boise Ave., Loveland; free; osbornfarm.com.

Wild Wonderful Weekend — The weekend celebration of Colorado’s first Certified Wild Community — Centerra — kicks off with an interactive party for kids, teens and adults. Enjoy a free live concert by American Authors on Saturday at 7 p.m. A Friday night foam party for kids is $5: Sept 24- 26, Chapungu Sculpture Park, Sky Pond Drive, Loveland; visitlovelandco.org.

Jasper, 6, at front, and his brothers Noah, 4, and Liam, 2, pull wagons full of pumpkins to the check out stand at the Cottonwood Farms Pumpkin Patch in 2019 in Lafayette. (Jeremy Papasso/File photo)

Fort Collins

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off — Want to see some truly impressively massive pumpkins and gourds? Growers will compete for $5,400 in cash prizes and awards in a variety of categories. Hot dogs available for purchase; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 9, Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 East Mulberry St.; free, but registration tickets are required for specific time slots; fortcollinsnursery.com.

Fall Festival — Join Keller Williams Realty NoCo and Andria Porter Homes for this celebration of autumn. Receive a free pumpkin, take a hayride and explore the corn maze; 3-6 p.m. Oct. 8, The Bartells Farm, 3424 E. Douglas Road, Fort Collins; RSVP to AndriaPorterTeam@gmail.com by Sept. 30; allevents.in.

Jack Lantern’s Corn Maze — Celebrate fall with a daytime corn maze, complete with scavenger hunt. Jack Lantern’s invites participants to explore the pumpkin patch, pick up some seasonal decor, bounce in the bounce house, visit farm animals, race pedal cars and enjoy a covered picnic area; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily Oct. 1-31, 2318 S. County Road 5, Fort Collins; $10-$12, children age 2 and under are free; Nococornmaze.com.

Something from the Farm Pumpkin Patch — This family farm features hayrides, a bale maze, a corn cannon and a pumpkin trebuchet. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays through October, 8020 S. Timberline Road, Fort Collins; free admission with paid activities; Somethingfromthefarm.com.

Spooky’s Pumpkin Patch — Spooky’s offers one of the largest supplies of pumpkins that have been specifically bred with thick skins. The farm also sells carving kits, tools, carving patterns and battery-powered candles, along with other fall décor items. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Oct. 31, 2535 S. College Ave., Fort Collins; pumpkin prices vary, spookyspumpkinpatch.com.