FYIDC: DC’s Fall Festivities

by Editorial

The seasons may change, but the district remains the same: filled with fun activities to do and events to attend.
By Brittni Guevara

One fun and free Fall activity to do in the area is picking leaves and admiring the scenery in one of the DMVs parks and forests. (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Get ready for the season with our top Fall activities. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With the leaves changing and the temperatures slowly dropping, we say goodbye to summer.  But don’t be upset.  Your tan may go away and your beach body might gain a pound or two, but there’s still lots of fun to be had in the Fall in the district.  Although it seems like the rain just won’t let up, check out these fun outdoor Fall festivities that will have you appreciating the season change:

Collect Colorful Leaves

There are plenty of parks in the surrounding areas that are seasonally gorgeous, scattered with rust orange, yellow and red leaves.  Take advantage of these local oases and make a day trip.  Whether you take a romantic stroll or hike with the family, the Fall scenery of community and national parks are ones you don’t want to miss.  Where should you go? The C & O Canal National Historic Park, which begins in Georgetown and stretches to Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia, is a gorgeous retreat within the city.  For Marylanders, the Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg is a bit smaller but includes a 90-acre lake.  Whichever you choose, be sure to go before it gets too chilly!

Oktoberfest brings German beer, food and dancing to local DMV areas. (photo courtesy of Jasmine Sneed, Frederick Oktoberfest)

Go to Oktoberfests– There’s Plenty!

Germany is pretty far to be traveling for a festival, even if it is Oktoberfest.  But don’t fret.  Several communities in the DMV area hold their own versions of the famous festival filled with food, beer, music and dancing.  Although there are plenty more than just these two, here are some communities celebrating this Fall:

  • Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest in Fairfax, Va. will be held from Saturday, October 1st to Tuesday, October 4th.  The 14th annual festival is free and open to the public and will feature authentic German food, live entertainment, kids’ activities and carnival rides.
  • Held on the Frederick Fairgrounds on East Patrick Street, the Frederick Oktoberfest will feature live music, German food and fun for the kids.  Admission is $5 with children ages 2 and under for free.  Frederick’s festival is held on Saturday, October 1st from 11 AM-10 PM and Sunday, October 2nd from 11 AM-8 PM.  Check out these and many other Oktoberfests; it’ll save you the plane ticket cost.

For more information about other local Oktoberfest, check out our Oktoberfest Blog.

Pumpkin, fruit and veggie picking, at farms like Butler's Orchard, is a fun fall activity for the whole family. (photo courtesy of Karlene Southard, Butler's Orchard)

Pick Your Own Fresh Fruit… and Pumpkins

Forget the grocery store! Why not pick your own fresh fruit on a beautiful Fall day?  With so many apple, berry, and peach farms nearby, this opportunity for family fun is hard to resist. Looking for a bigger harvest? Halloween will be here before you know it, so pumpkin picking is also a must.  Farms in Maryland include Butler’s Orchard22200 Davis Mill Rd. Germantown, Md., and Rock Hill Orchard28600 Ridge Rd. Mt. Airy, Md.  For Virginia residents, try out High Hill Farms933 Barley Lane Winchester, Va., or Hollins Farms1408 Snowden Rd. Delaplane, Va.  Many orchards and farms have special seasonal events and festivities that could make your picking trip that much more exciting.  Be sure to call ahead to find out more!

Over 80 of DC's best restaurants, food trucks and eateries are participating in this year's Taste of DC festival. (photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes)

Indulge in DC’s Best Food

Taste of DC: Saturday, October 8th-Monday, October 10th

Some of the best restaurants and chefs in the country are right here in the district, so why not sample their cuisine?  The 2011 Taste of DC festival is your chance to try their delicacies.  The festival will feature the Amstel Light Bier Garden, with live bands and cultural activities; the Culinary Stage, with demonstrations from some of the area’s best chef’s; Family Zone, with music and games for younger attendees; and Restaurant Row, which will feature almost 100 of the district’s best restaurants.  Held on Saturday, October 8th from 11 AM-10 PM, Sunday, October 9th from 10 AM-10 PM and Monday, October 10th from 10 AM-6 PM, this festival is free of charge for general admission and only $15 for 10 Food & Beverage tickets.  Located between 9th and 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Ave., this festival is sure to keep you in the fall mood.

The Washington Light the Night Walk in front of the Capital. (photo by Alfredo Flores Photography)

Walk For a Cause

Walking is a great way to keep those washboard abs ready for next summer, but it could also help benefit the lives of many people in need.  The many walks for charity this season are a perfect way to exercise for a cause.  Here are a just a few of the ways you can give back:

  • The annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk pays tribute to the millions of Americans battling cancer everyday.  Participants in the walk are encouraged to raise $100 or more to help fight blood cancer: those who raise enough become Champions for Cures and are given balloons (white for survivors, red for supports and gold in memory of lost loved ones) to walk with during the walk and a voucher for food and drink.  The event includes live music, food and games for the kids.  The walk in Reston, Va. will take place on Saturday, October 1st at Reston Town Center.  In D.C., the walk is on Saturday, October 15th at Freedom Plaza, and in Montgomery County, Md. at Rockville Town Center.  At each location, festivities begin at 5 PM and the walk starts at 7 PM.  For more information on registration, click here.
  • The AIDS Walk Washington is a 5K walk that benefits the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a nonprofit health organization committed to ending the spread of HIV/AIDS and the suffering of its victims.  On Saturday, October 29th, the walk will begin at 8:30 AM and end at roughly 9:15 AM, both at Freedom Plaza.  The quilt display and other activities will begin at 7 AM, at 10 AM, top fundraisers will be announced and musical performances will follow.  General walker registration is $25.  Walkers who raise over $1,000 will be honored as a Capital Walker and will receive a cap and hooded sweatshirt.  The more you raise, the more you get and the more you help someone in need!  For more information, click here.
  • Also on Saturday, October 29th is the Out of the Darkness Walk at the National Mall & Tidal Basdin.  The 3-5 mile walk will help raise money with all proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their efforts in educating and increasing awareness on depression and suicide prevention.  The walk will begin at 5:30 PM and end at 7:30 PM at the Sylvan Theatre.  Participants will take a walk through the national monuments, including the Thomas Jefferson memorial and the recently-opened Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.  Walkers who raise at least $150 receive a t-shirt.  For more information on registration and the walk, click here.

So while your favorite Fall activity could be sitting in front of the TV every Sunday, cheering on your Redskins, there’s plenty more activities to do and charities to help during this beautiful season.  Plus, you can always check the score from your phone if you absolutely have to. So, welcome back, Fall!  We’ve missed you.

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