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Welcoming Fall, the Sunshine State way! Ideas for celebrating the change in seasons around Sarasota.

I saw a meme recently that read: “It’s Fall in Florida! Do you know what that means? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. It’s still 90 degrees outside.” 🤪 Made me giggle.

It’s no secret that there is basically one season represented throughout the entire year in Sarasota, and that is: summer. Give or take about 2 or 3 months out of the year, it is HOT in Southwest Florida. As more and more families move to the Sarasota area from around the country and are finding themselves adjusting to their new normal of wearing shorts and t-shirts basically year-round - I can’t help but wonder how all of these new Floridians will feel about the Florida Fall, or lack thereof. 🥵

As we approach the middle of October, in an effort to help Sarasota newbies, natives, and longtime locals alike find some ways to embrace the changing of the seasons, I have compiled a list of some fun, family-friendly (albeit hot!) ways to celebrate.

Included below are website links to each of the events and festivals!

UTC Fall Festival and Carnival - Address: University Town Center Drive (Parking Lot 4) Date: 10/21-10/24 Time: 10/21: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM 10/22: 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM 10/23: 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM 10/24: 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Pictured below: Every year, in the beginning of October, Nathan Benderson Park (across from the University Town Center) installs a hay maze near the playground. My son LOVES it. This year, UTC is hosting a Fall Festival AND Carnival. There will be costume contests, food trucks, a beer garden, live-stage performances, and trunk or treat for the kiddos!

Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival - Address: 5500 C.R. 675 Date: 10/16-10/17, 10/23-10/24, 10/30-10/31 Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

We attended this festival last year and had a total blast. The property is HUGE - there is SO much to do for kids of all ages, like pony rides, a corn maze, a barnyard playground, and a train ride. There is also live entertainment on different days of the festival- circus performances, a pumpkin cannon, and even monster truck shows! Oh - and Peachy's donuts makes an appearance every year. Admission is $12/person this year, with kids 10 and under free. Parking is $5.

Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival - Address: 7410 Fruitville Road Date: 10/16-10/17, 10/23-10/24, 10/30-10/31 Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

We make a tradition of going here every year. My son loves the hay ride, feeding the goats, and riding the train! Be sure to bring cash because it is $5 to enter.

Florida Railroad Museum’s Pumpkin Patch Express - Address: 12210 83rd Street East Date: 10/16, 10/17, 10/23, 10/24 Time: 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM

If your little one is as obsessed with trains as mine is, then this event is for you and your family! Once you depart from the Museum, you will enjoy a short train ride to a pumpkin patch! In addition to picking your own complimentary pumpkin to take home, you can ride a hay ride, play games, purchase food and beverages, and participate in arts and crafts activities. Tickets do sell out, so I definitely recommend reserving your ticket ahead of time.

UTC Trick or Treat Parade - Address: University Town Center Drive (Parking Lot 3)

Date: 10/30/2021 Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

This is an annual tradition at UTC! Personally, we have never been before as a family, but I know many families that have gone and have had a great time! Rumor has it there will be goodie bags and surprise giveaways for kiddos dressed in costume!

St. Petersburg Pier Pumpkin Patch - Address: 521 2nd Ave NE, St. Pete Date: 10/12 - 10/15: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM, 10/16: 12:00 PM - 9:00 PM, 10/17: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

If you are willing to drive about 45 minutes north, the recently renovated St. Petersburg Pier is hosting a Pumpkin Patch for a few weekdays and weekends in October! There will be vendors selling fall refreshments, a photo booth, and hay bales for kids to play on. The pier has a picnic area, a splash pad, a playground, beach access, and a restaurant for you and your family to explore!

Lastly, for the Grownups... the Sarasota Rocktoberfest Downtown - Address: 199 Bayfront Drive Date: 10/15/2021 -10/17/2021 Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Be sure to bring your appetite because there will be loads of food options, live music, and, of course, beer!

I hope this list of Autumn-themed fun brings a bit of joy to your October. If you end up attending any of these events, let me know! Happy Fall!

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