Jumpstart October: Harvest Fest at Roaring Camp

The autumniest month choo-choos into high gear, in Felton.

Roaring Camp Railroad

IT CAN BE CHALLENGING... if you're a dyed-in-the-wool, wool-wearing, cider-sipping, leaf-loving October fan. Well, let's amend that, slightly: It can be challenging to be an October superfan if the calendar happens to show that it is any other month beyond the month you moon over. Co-workers cock an eyebrow when you play Halloween-themed soundtracks in June, and family members rib you over the pumpkin smoothies you blend in March. So when the autumn arrives, and, a week later, glorious October, you are beyond ready. You've got your wool scarf out, and your cinnamon-scented perfume, and your apple-spiced muffin recipe at the ready. And if a cool, crisp, nature-close harvest festival should pop up just when October begins, well, by jack o'lantern, you're going to be at it, front and center, wearing all of the orange and brown and fall-leafy hues you can wear. Roaring Camp Railroads near Santa Cruz is assisting all autumn-obsessed people on this front by hosting its two-day Harvest Festival & Steam Faire over the very first weekend of the month. There's no waiting on this one, fall fans, as the seasonal doings crank up on...

SATURDAY, OCT. 3 AND SUNDAY, OCT. 4: We've got just three words for you, plus an ampersand, and here they are: "Make & Take Scarecrows." Right? This is what you daydream about back in the sunny days of summer. There shall also be a pumpkin patch, gold panning, the making of candles -- perfect ahead of those long winter nights ahead -- and other cozy/comfy/homespun happenings that put the zest in a classic harvest fest. You can buy a ticket and hop on a steamtrain, to commune with the redwoods, as one should do whenever one has the opportunity, or you can stick close to the festival to soak in the autumnal-meets-ye-olde doings. This is more harvest-y than Halloween, do note, if you're hoping for a costume-and-candy thing, though a Halloween feel shall be in the air. But don't harvest time and Halloween make rather swell neighbors? Being all snug together and sharing the month, as they do? And shouldn't the first weekend of October always be saved for those October aficionados who can't wait another minute to get their autumn on? "Yes" and "yes" are the correct answers, in case you're wondering.

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