Fall is the time when the air turns crisp and the foliage changes from green to brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. Or so I’ve heard.
Living in Houston, Texas, I don’t get to experience this transformation. Houston has two seasons: summer and hurricane season. Neither is good for a leisurely stroll in the woods.
However, our temperate climate makes fall a perfect time for outdoor family activities. We enjoy bike riding, visiting pumpkin patches and spending time on our patio. But our favorite activity is attending fall festivals.
Several churches, schools and non-profit organizations hold these festivals to help raise money. They have classic games such as pin the tail on the donkey, cake walks, bag/ring toss and dunking booths. Some of the more elaborate festivals have concerts, demonstrations, hay rides, auctions and carnival attractions.
Not only do we enjoy all of these activities, but we are also big fans of fair food. The fall festivals never disappoint. There is always an abundance of fresh baked goods, funnel cakes, sausage-on-a-stick, giant turkey legs and frozen lemonade.
When October rolls around, my sons seem to sense that it’s festival time.
“Daddy, are we going to the fall festivals?” they ask. I quickly let them know that we will attend some festivals or else they will bug me incessantly for the rest of the season.
The boys enjoy the festivals because they get to wear their costumes, interact with their friends and acquire copious amounts of candy. By the end of the day, the two of them are wired from all of the excitement and sugar.
My daughter is a little more low-key during the festivals. She and I usually walk around looking for interesting art and performers.
At one of the festivals, I noticed an all-female rock band playing in the distance. I grabbed my daughter, who was six years old then, and rushed to the stage. She watched in utter amazement as the ladies cranked out high-energy songs on their instruments.
“Wow,” she said. “I didn’t know girls could play guitars.”
“Of course they can,” I said. “Girls can do anything.”
She smiled and squeezed my hand. Since that day, she has become a huge Taylor Swift fan. Although she hasn’t picked up the guitar herself, she is a skilled pianist and has started playing the clarinet (periodically, I’ll spy her strumming my guitar when she thinks I’m not looking)
The best thing about these festivals is that they are affordable and provide some wholesome family fun. I look forward to spending this time with my family during the autumn season even if the trees remain green.
Join the conversation: What is your family’s favorite fall activity?