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Sound Fall Fun: Things to Do This Autumn in Seattle and the Puget Sound Area (2020 COVID-19 Edition!)
Wow! What the year 2020 has been, and here we are in Autumn again. I had so many plans for this fall! Some of the activities I was planning to attend are still happening on some scale, with distancing measures in place (like Halloweentown in Oregon). I had toured a bunch of Pumpkin farms last year, and I had video clips I was intending on editing together for an overview of some of the choices -- but things are likely to look very different this year, even at places, like open pumpkin patches. This post covers some Puget Sound Autumn activities in 2020.
At the time of this writing, Jay Inslee has relaxed some of the rules for "agritourism" a bit, and animal viewing, hayrides, corn mazes, and the like are once again allowed if the farm meets specific requirements. I'm not sure I'll be jumping on that tractor this year, but the thought of a walk in the pumpkin fields on a brisk Autumn day is calling me.
So I've deconstructed this post for 2020, and I've been looking into what types of Autumn activities are available right now. You might find that your Oktoberfest needs to be virtual this year. Doing a "virtual Oktoberfest" might be a great way to support a local community business or organization. However, while I'm thankful that we have things like Zoom, drinking your beer while looking at a screen seems a bit...enttäuschend (disappointing.)
And I'm avoiding trick-or-treat as the thought of multiple small hands dipping their hands into a candy bucket seems to be the opposite of physical distancing. And kids will hate me if I string up individual toothbrushes on the porch! (How are you handling trick-or-treat this year?)
Puget Sound Autumn Activities in 2020
I'll be trying to lift my spirits and enjoy this autumn by:
- Going to a small pumpkin farm, taking a stroll, picking a pumpkin, and carving it. I may add to this fun by trying to transport the thing home on my e-bike. We'll see.
- Sampling some local ciders. I might miss the Gig Harbor cider swig drive-through tasting box, but I may make my own collection from the store and have a mini-tasting at home. Some of my favorite local ciders I've tasted in the past were a pumpkin pear cider (I think from Pear Up), and most of Finn River's ciders.
- Taking a walk in the fall leaves. I'm going to force myself to get outside on a lovely autumn day, find a park, and do some serious leaf-stomping this year.
- Virtual turkey trot. I hate to say it, but I've not used this "opportunity" to get into better shape. But it's time to start. I can do a virtual turkey trot at turtle-pace without feeling any shame.
- Virtual craft shows and fairs. Not sure if I'll do this or not -- but if you like to shop for handmade gifts, some annual craft fairs are taking their show virtually, so you can still shop online for indie craft items.
- Trying to go to a local park to try to view the salmon. In Kitsap county, WSU usually holds salmon tours. This year, they're hosting virtual events, but that doesn't stop one from going to try to view the salmon on your own.
- Other than that, I'll be celebrating fall by making some seriously yummy butternut squash soup, blogging, finding a good book to read, taking a bike ride.
What follows below is an edited version of the "post-previously-appearing-in-this-spot." It includes notation of some events that have been cancelled (I completely deleted the seafood festivals, which are all off) and changing some events to virtual versions.
I may be listing more events this Autumn on our events calendar which may not show up here as I've made a significant change to the events calendar here and haven't yet worked out a system for auto-listing events on a post. If you know of events that readers may be interested in, consider adding it to our calendar.
Do you have any suggestions for things to do this year for Halloween, Oktoberfest, or other usual Autumn activities?
Leave a comment, or discuss it in the forum.
For 2020, most Oktoberfest activities have been cancelled as they involve large groups. This includes:
- The Great Wallingford Wurst Festival
- Fremont Oktoberfest
- Oktoberfest Northwest
However, Edmonds is keeping the spirit alive with a Virtual Oktoberfest which benefits community projects.
Autumn's a great time to taste local ciders. Here are a few socially-distant ways to enjoy this year:
The Gig Harbor Cider Swig - Drive-Through Edition
Usually held at Sehmel Park, the Cider Swig has a Drive-through edition late September this year. But wait until you get home to taste the cider.
It’s worth a drive to Chimacum just to go to this cidery and farm on 80 acres. Finn River IS open Fri-Sun from 12-8 with safety measures in place, but please check in advance for any changes.
This annual event is still happening in modified form. Several locations around Jefferson county are offering pick up boxes, ciders, and there's a live-streamed dance party (dance at your own home.) October 9-11.
Go Pumpkin Hunting
Pumpkin farms are mostly open; some may not have their usual festivities in place.
Remlinger Farms is holding its annual Pumpkin Festival. This year, it's only on Saturdays and Sundays from September 26 until Halloween, masks are required and admission is via timed-entry ticket, which you must purchase in advance. Pony rides must also be purchased in advance and ride tickets are limited to 5.
Northwest Glass Pumpkin Patch
Instead of having eight small glass pumpkin patch events, Tacoma Glassblowing has rented a large space in Tacoma and is having one BIG shop where you can buy glass Pumpkins this year. Tickets are by reservation. Click here for more information.
There are plenty of little pumpkin patches and farms in Kitsap (closer to Valley Nursery is Scandia Patch — recommended if you want to visit a small historic farm), but one of my favorites is Pheasant Fields. Their pumpkin patch and corn maze are open daily October through November 1, and the farm includes various farm animals and a corn maze. Masks required to enter the farm.
This pumpkin farm has events that aren’t just for the kids! Yes, there are pumpkins, farm animals, and a corn maze. However, there are ALSO fire pit rentals, zip lines, a pumpkin cannon, a giant Pumpkin Pad, and a haunted house. The pumpkin patch and corn maze are open daily — the other activities are reserved for weekends. Late September through the end of October. They're open, but activities are available by appointment only.
Autumn glows but also lends itself to ghost stories. If you want to learn more about PNW hauntings, or are a Bigfoot Believer, here are some Puget Sound Autumn events to satisfy your supernatural inclinations.
Port Gamble Paranormal BootCamp, Ghost Conference, and Ghost Walks.
Normally, by October, the ghost tours in Port Gamble are in full-swing on weekends. This year, of course, things are different...but I'm assuming the ghosts are still there if you want to take a nighttime stroll on your own. But it looks like they're still having the annual ghost conference -- virtually this year -- from November 6-8. I haven't been able to get more information about tickets as of yet. Ghostly Zoom meeting, anyone?
Sadly, bigfoot believers will have to wait this year. The annual sasquatch summit has been postponed for 2020.
Last year, I wrote quite a bit about ghost tours. However, the ghost tours I researched had been cancelled due to COVID this year.
Except for Pumpkin Farms, large events such as Halloween parties, haunted houses, and the like have been canceled. If you want a drive, I did note that Halloweentown in St. Helen's, OR was still going on this year, only with timed admission tickets. I'll put that one on my to-do list again for next year and keep my hopes up.
Trick or treat
The CDC has recommended against traditional trick-or-treating in 2020 due to COVID. Having multiple kids reaching into a vat of candy isn't exactly socially distancing. This year, we'll probably just carve pumpkins and make cider at home.
Still, I'm looking for alternative Halloween activities -- virtual events and the like -- and will update this post if/when I find them.
How to spend Thanksgiving Day? Watching football or parades, overeating and falling asleep?
Many people go volunteer on Thanksgiving — so much so that usually shelters and food backs are overrun with volunteers. Food banks and other service organizations still depend on volunteers -- check first to see what changes they've made due to COVID-19. If you want to help, are unable to volunteer and want to help, donations to your local food bank -- nonperishable food or money -- is a way to help. But consider that they may need your help just as much or more at time of the year that are NOT Thanksgiving.
Turkey trots are one thing that CAN happen this year -- at least virtual ones!
- In Seattle, the Seattle Turkey Trot usually runs near Golden Gardens and benefits the Ballard Food Bank. Their website, however, doesn't list a 2020 race, even a virtual one, so we're not sure it's happening in any form this year.
- You can also do the Hi5K Thanksgiving Apple Cup 5K at Greenlake which benefits Northwest Harvest.
- A bit earlier than Thanksgiving Day (Nov 22), you can do the Tacky Turkey Sweater 5K, also at Greenlake.
- In Kitsap County, the Silverdale Rotary Turkey Trot benefits the Central Kitsap Food Bank.
- Bainbridge Island's turkey trot has gone virtual this year.
- The Tacoma City Turkey Trot is working on a virtual event, but we don't have details at this point.
Seattle Autumn events include the beginnings of holiday craft shows, in case you want to get a head start on your holiday shopping.
Here are a few that we know of so far:
Normally, this event helps you do your holiday shopping early -- in late October. Due to COVID-19, the organizers have had to cancel the in-person event, but they're working on an online presentation of items to present over the same weekend that the show was planned -- October 22-25.
Gobble Up Seattle, Urban Craft Uprising's annual craft food fair, has gone virtual for 2020. Vendors will have their own virtual booths where you can purchase their wares and have them shipped on time. Preregistration is required, though the event is free (except for the stuff you buy, of course.)
Some Other Miscellaneous Ideas for Puget Sound Autumn Activities in 2020
Here are some other miscellaneous ideas for Puget Sound area and Seattle Autumn events to to this season.
Usually, throughout the year, the Seattle Center holds its Festál series of cultural events. For 2020, they've been either canceled or turned into virtual events. The popular Dia de Muertos festival is one such event. On November 1, there will be a virtual presentation all day.
Though perhaps Seattle doesn’t have the fall colors of New England, there are places to catch autumn colors around here. Perhaps the best place is the Washington Park Arboretum. The Japanese gardens, in particular, show stunning fall foliage. While I haven’t been there for many years, in my younger days, I recall frequently stomping through maple leaves in Autumn on the trails at Carkeek Park.
Usually Fremont Art Council's procession of luminous art happens at Greenlake around the Autumnal Equinox. For 2020, it's a virtual event on October 10. Show off your own lanterns and see those of others.
Wishing you a lovely and safe Autumn 2020.