By Niki Gregoriou
As another summer is behind us and the crisp fall air has rolled in, Long Islanders have begun the annual tradition of weekend trips to local farms for the harvest season. Between the fall festivals, corn mazes, pumpkin picking, hay rides, pig races, haunted houses and petting zoos, there is no shortage of family fun this October.
In other parts of the nation, such as the Southeast and Midwest, the weather is causing a scary situation as Halloween approaches: It’s too wet for pumpkins to grow. But fear not. Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, tells the Press there are no pumpkin problems locally.
“We’re in good shape and we’re optimistic for a good fall,” he says. “I know the farmers are excited,” adding that there are “plenty of pumpkins.”
It seems that there will be no shortage of neither jack-o-lanterns on L.I. stoops this year. But first, those pumpkins must be picked.
Here is a selection of the various upcoming fall activities on L.I..
Harbes Family Farm on Sound Avenue in Mattituck, offers a Wizard of Oz themed corn maze, mini-mazes for small children, pony rides, live music and hay rides. Roasted corn and delicious homemade candy apples will also be sold throughout the season. From Sept. 19 through Nov. 1, every weekend will offer Fall Pumpkin Festivals at Harbes.
Schmitt’s Family Farm, 29 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, has their biggest attraction: the Pumpkin Patch, which offers a well organized, pre-picked field of pumpkins, organized by size, to make pumpkin picking easy. Hay pyramids, corn mazes, wagon rides, farm tours, and a pirate ship-themed playground, is set up for children. For adult’s enjoyment, the farm has a Haunted House and Haunted Corn Maze. All these fun activities are offered seven days a week, from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m.
White Post Farms, 250 Old Country Rd., Melville, offers sing-a-long hayrides, stage performances, pony rides, kid’s karaoke, bouncy-houses, as well as train rides surrounding their indoor farm. Their new exhibit, “The Mining Village,” gives children a chance to find gemstones and fossils, by using a giant sluice to discover these hidden treasures. Memorable photographs are also available in the Mining Village.
Hicks Nursery, on Jericho turnpike in Westbury, has a petting zoo, a horse-drawn hay ride, and children’s story hours. On Oct. 4, Hicks will offer a free Pumpkin Weigh Off Challenge, open to all Long Islanders. Prizes will be given to the owners of the top three biggest pumpkins. The Hick’s Fall Festival will also offer an animated story for children called, “Otto the Ghost,” which will include live animals.
The annual fall festival in Center Moriches offers pumpkin picking, 3-D corn mazes, haunted houses, hay rides, a petting zoo and a costume contest. This abundance of fun will be offered every Saturday and Sunday in Oct., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Oct. 10, starting at 10 a.m., the Sweet Hollow Harvest Fair will present crafts, pumpkin patch’s , hay rides, face painting, bouncy rides, and a petting zoo. Activities will last until 4 p.m. at the church fair located in Melville, on Old Country Rd..
The Harvest Festival, on Oct. 11, has cider making, folk music, games, crafts, storytelling, hayrides, pumpkin picking, and plenty of food. The fun will last from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Benners Farm in Setauket.
The Haunted Tunnel, on Woodside Avenue, is over 300-feet of terror. This includes special effects and frightening images. This event will also include kid friendly activities such as pumpkin picking, balloon bounces, roasted corn, face painting, and scarecrow making. These festivities will last from Sept. 25 until Nov. 1..
There will also be a pumpkin patch festival lasting throughout the month of Oct.. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Hempstead Tpke. will offer pumpkin picking, storytelling, face painting, entertainment, and food.
Come to the Belmont Park Racetrack throughout the months of Sept. and Oct. to watch eleven games, which will include the top racehorses, jockeys, and trainers. The races will take place at 2150 Hempstead Tpke in Elmont. Saturday, Oct. 24, will be the New York Showcase Day. All are welcome to attend and watch the seven final races featuring the top bred horses.
If you are looking for a more kid friendly atmosphere, then Little Farmers, at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center in Yaphank, is the right place. Kids, age’s three to five, get the opportunity to learn and meet different animals, as well as participate in wagon rides, songs, crafts, and stories. This will start in early Sept. and end in Dec., everyday from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Pumpkins are in abundance this year at the Garden of Eve Organic Farm on 4558 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. This farm offers a wide range of pumpkins to pick with various sizes and shapes to choose from.
Gabrielsen’s Country Farm is another Fall Festival that features corn mazes, hay rides, and pumpkin picking. This farm is located on 1299 Main Road (Route 25) in Jamesport. If you have any further question you can call (631) 722-3259.
Another pumpkin picking spot with many activities is the Little Red Farm Stand. Not only is there pumpkin picking but there is also corn mazes, hay rides, roasted corn, candied apples, and all Halloween necessities. Little Red Farm is located at 210 Yaphank-Middle Island Rd. and can be reached at (631)205-9579.
With unlimited wagon and tractor rides, Hank’s Farm Stand and Pumpkin Town is a hot spot for the month of Oct.. Corn mazes, cow milking, mountain slides, cart races, and duck races are offered all day long. Hank’s Farm is located at 149 Montauk Hwy., in Water Mill and can be reached at (631) 726-4667 or by visiting their website, www.hankspumpkintown.com.
Opened on weekends throughout Oct., Verderber’s Farmstand includes many fall activities. Pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and hay rides will all be offered at 459 Main Rd. in Aquebogue. For further questions please call (631) 722-2011.
Borellas Farm Stand will be holding its annual Harvest Fall Festival throughout the month of Oct.. Every Saturday and Sunday will give families the opportunity to pick pumpkins, go on hay rides, walk through corn mazes, get their faces painted, enjoy DJ entertainment, and eat plenty of food. There will also be inflatable rides, and many photo opportunities. Borellas Farm Stand is located at 485 Edgewood Avenue in St. James and opened from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost twelve dollars for adults and seniors. For further assistance call (631) 862-7330.
The Garden Spot, at 366 Railroad Ave. in Center Moriches, is a kid friendly annual Fall Festival. This festival will be opened every Saturday and Sunday in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some activities offered will be 3-D corn mazes, haunted houses, hay rides, petting zoos, and costume contests. For further questions, the Garden Spot can be reached at (631) 878-5662.
The 16th Annual Long Island Fall Festival will be held on Friday Oct. 9. The area’s most anticipated community event will include carnival rides and opening acts on the Chapin Rainbow Stage. It will be open for that weekend only at Heckscher Park in Huntington. If you have any further questions contact (631) 351-3250.
To include in the Oct. festivities, Nassau Community College will be presenting “Story Theatre” for children. For times please call 516-572-7676. The shows will take place on Oct. 10,11,16,17, and 18.
The Montauk Fall Festival will offer a Clam chowder-tasting contest, pumpkin decorating, pony rides, wine tasting, children’s art contests, music, “Cash Catch” raffle, food, rides, and carnival games. The festival will be on Columbus Day weekend from noon to 5 p.m. at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce on 742 Montauk Highway. If you have any further questions call (631) 668-2428.
On Columbus Day weekend Deepwells will presents its fall festival. This festival will include many activities for all ages. For more information you may call (631) 862-6080. This festival will be at Deepwells Farm County Park, Rt.25A Moriches Rd. in St. James.
The Syosset Street Fair will also offer many arts and crafts and fun activities for children. From 11 until 6 this free outdoor fair will be overflowed with food and fun. For further information contact (631) 724-5966 or stop by over the Columbus Day weekend at the Syosset Rail Road Train Station.
The Westhampton Beach Fall Arts and Crafts Show will display over 45 different artists. On Oct. 10 and 11 from 10 to 5, this show will offer many outdoor activities with free admission. To contact the Westhampton Village Green for further information call (631) 288-3337 or feel free to attend on Columbus Day weekend at Mill Rd. and Main St. in Westhampton.
The Mill Neck Manor School for Deaf Children on Frost Mill Road will be offering children’s activities along with entertainment and food on October 10 and 11. They will also display the latest in deaf technology and information. This festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you would like ticket information please call 516-922-4100.
On Oct. 12, Blyndenburgh County Park, Smith’s Point County Park, Sears Bellows County Park, and Big Reed County Park, will all offer hikes with a Cornell Cooperative Educator from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m..
Smith’s Point County Park in Mastic will offer a fun time at the Sea shore to kick off the start of fall. On Oct. 12 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the south shore will offer group walks with an educator to teach the public about sea critters, butterflies, and migrating birds. For further questions call (631) 587-2873.
Caleb Smith Park will offer plenty of activities lasting from Oct. until Dec.. The park, located on Jericho turnpike in Smithtown, has planned family walks, and fall foliage walks. For information on dates call (631) 265-1054.
The Hempstead Lake State Park in West Hempstead will offer a family fishing festival on Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This festival will include demonstrations, outdoor exhibits, pony rides, pumpkin decorating, and many other fun activities. For more information call (516) 766-1029.
On Oct. 18, the Sweetbriar Nature Center will embrace the new season with games, crafts and animals. From 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at 62 Eckernkamp Drive in Smithtown, you will be able to see the beautiful leaves on the preserve. For any further information call (631) 979-6344.
The Old Westbury Gardens will be offering kids the chance to listen to fall themed stories on Oct. 18. Starting at 2 p.m., there will also be a follow up arts and crafts project based on the story. Come to 71 Old Westbury Rd. or call (516)333-0048 for further information.
To kickoff fall on Oct. 21, Firefall will be holding a concert for an hour of radio hits. The concert will start at 8 p.m. in the Boulton Center for the Performing Arts on 37 W. Main St. in Bay Shore. For more information call (631) 969-1101.
The Sayville Fall Festival will be the weekend of Oct. 23. Plenty of food and activities will be offered for the weekend. For more information call (631) 567-5257.
The Fall Nature Hike will be held on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will take place on West Hills County Park on Sweet Hollow Rd.. Attendees will be able to go to the highest point of Long Island, as well as explore the woods and ponds nearby. If you have any further questions call (631) 897-3530.
On Oct. 24, come down to the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium to learn about the natural world. Environmental groups will be there to teach children about hatchery, fishing, and conservation. The aquarium is located on 1660, Route 25A. Call (516) 692-6768 for more information.
The Manhasset Fall Fair will also take place on Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. This fair will offer arts and crafts and many antiques. It will be located at the Municipal Lot, behind Mary Davies Green, on Manhasset Ave.
The Great Neck Plaza Fall Festival will be held on October 25 from 11 to 6. This event will also offer arts and crafts. It will be located at the Great Neck Plaza on Bond St.. For further information call (631) 724-5966.
The Fall Dog Festival will feature costume contests, games, and many exhibits, on Oct. 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Following these festivities, there will be a parade to conclude the festival. This will all take place in the Old Westbury Gardens on 71 Old Westbury Road. For further information call (516)333-0048.
The Harvest Fall Exhibit at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational and Cultural Center will take place on Oct. 30. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the public will be able to learn many things about art and culture. This will occur on 111 Main Street in Stony Brook. For more details call (631) 751-2244.
A walk through the woods will be offered on October 31, through Lakeland Park, in Ronkonkoma. The walk will consist of diverse scenery, and beautiful fall foliage. The walk will begin at 9:30 a.m.