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Falling for Festivals

Apple Festival

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then attending the 48th Annual National Apple Harvest Festival near Gettysburg, Pa., should have you covered for the rest of the year.

The Adams County Fruitgrowers Association launched the Apple Harvest Festival in 1965, after 10 years of Apple Blossom Sundays. It expanded to two weekends in 1975.

This carnival is geared toward the local crop, but you can also munch on barbecue chicken, sweet potato fries and that ever-present festival food, funnel cake.

More than 300 arts and crafts vendors will allow you to call on your inner artist. If that’s not your type of thing, then go on a hayride, compete in an apple-bobbing contest or check out the antique cars.

The festival is held during the first two weekends this month, Oct. 6-7 and 13-14, rain or shine. Kids younger than 12 years old can attend for free. General admission is $9. Senior citizens 60 years and older pay $8. The admission price includes parking and shuttle services and entry into all the attractions and the exhibitions on six stages. Call 717-677-9413 for advance tickets or charter bus rates.

The National Apple Harvest Festival is located at the South Mountain Fairgrounds on Route 234, 10 miles northwest of Gettysburg.

Oct. 6-7 and 13-14

South Mountain Fairgrounds, Arendtsville, Pa.

$9, $8 for seniors over 60, free for kids 12 and younger

Wine Tasting

“By making this wine known to the public, I have rendered my country as great a service as if I had enabled it to pay back the national debt,” Thomas Jefferson once said.

The short drive to Oak Hill Estate in Delaplane, Va., for the John Marshall Tasting Experience will titillate the palate and open eyes to what the former president really meant by that phrase. Unfortunately, it won’t do anything for the debt.

The tasting’s namesake is Chief Justice John Marshall, whose father built the family home on top of a knoll in the middle of an oak grove in Fauquier County. 

All of the wine tastings employ the judicial system in their names, including Circuit, Superior, Appellate, Supreme Reds and Supreme Whites, each beginning with a sparkling wine and ending with a Madeira.

Enjoy an amuse-bouche-sized delicacy of cheese, charcuterie or fruit that has been perfectly picked to bring out all of the notes of flavor in its wine pairing, either from Chief Justice Cellars or one of the many other brands the winery offers.

Tastings prices vary from $25 to $75. 

All wines are available for purchase in the John Marshall Tasting Experience shop.

The tastings are available only for guests 21 years and older. The adjacent property on Barrel Oak Winery welcomes families and pets.

Saturdays and Sundays, reservations suggested.

3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane, Va.

$25 to $75

Concert Series

Argentinian bandoneonist and tango composer JP Jofre is kicking off the Hill Center’s first concert series with pianist Steven Beck and violinist Christiana Liberis.

JP Jofre, whose full name is Juan Pablo Jofre Romarion, arrived in the United States from Argentina four years ago and quickly established himself as a tango expert in New York. He plays at music festivals around the country and the world, traveling to Taiwan, Italy and South America. He performs the works of Ã?stor Piazzolla – a traditional Argentinian tango composer – as well as his own compositions. 

“Tango is a culture and a lifestyle in Argentina,” said Burnett Thompson, director of the Hill Center’s concert series. “It’s almost like the blues in this country. It’s a dance, it’s music, it’s literature.”

Beck plays with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series and has made a name for himself performing demanding new works.

The New Yorker called him “one of the city’s finest young pianists,” and the New York Times described him as “an eloquent and persuasive performer of contemporary works.” Since attending Juilliard, he has become a fixture of the New York performance scene. 

Liberis is a freelance violinist in New York City. Born in Naples, Italy, and raised in Athens, Greece, she has performed with major artists, on Broadway and television and in the studio. Her Broadway credits include “Light in the Piazza” and “Camelot.” She studied at Wellesley College, Purchase College and the Mannes College of Music. 

The trio will perform Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Tickets are $15. Upcoming artists in the series, which runs through June, include violinist Pamela Ferguson, the Sunrise String Quartet and the newly formed Hill Center Jazz Ensemble.

Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE 

The terms “Oktoberfest” and “family-friendly” don’t often go hand in hand.

But on Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the town of Haymarket, Va., a community about 40 miles west of the District, will host an event that does just that, melding the traditions of Oktoberfest with family-friendly activities such as face painting, pumpkin decorating and Halloween costume contests. 

“It’s a really, really fun event, with vendors that line the streets,” said Kim Kennedy Ingalls, one of the event’s organizers. 

Ingalls said this is the event’s second year. Last year, she said, almost 10,000 people turned out.  

Ingalls said the Oktoberfest-themed festivities are geared toward the 21-plus crowd, complete with a biergarten offering $5 beers, the proceeds from which will go toward the Wounded Warrior Project benefiting wounded veterans. A German band called Edelweiss and a German dance troupe will entertain the crowd, and a funnel-cake vendor will donate its profits to Parkinson’s research.

Other events, including a Halloween costume parade and contest, apple bobbing, face painting and pumpkin painting, are all free and geared toward families, Ingalls said.

“This is a fall festival that is comfortable for families to come to, with plenty to do for the kids and plenty to do for adults,” Ingalls said.

Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Haymarket, Va.

Pumpkin Festival

Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Md., offers family fun and fall produce in its 32nd annual Pumpkin Festival. 

Admission is $11 per person, and children under 2 are free. It will take place from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October, plus Columbus Day. 

Free activities include a spider web, a corn bin, hay rides, a straw maze, giant slides, a pumpkin coach, pumpkin polls, farm animals, a twisted corn pumpkin maze and pedal tractors. 

The pumpkin cannon, pony rides, face painting and pumpkin picking cost extra. Visitors can also pick their own flowers and apples. 

The orchard will host a farmer’s market that sells mums, straw bales, maize, gourds, corn stalks, pumpkins and apples. Pre-made goods at the market include apple cider, pumpkin and apple butter, local honey, fresh baked fruit pies and caramel apples. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Butler’s Orchard, which has operated as a family-owned farm for 60 years, grows more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers on 300 acres of land.

Saturdays and Sundays in October

22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, Md. 

$11, free for kids 2 and younger


enaissance Festival

For District residents looking to step back in time, the 36th Annual Maryland Renaissance Festival will be held Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Crownsville, Md., through Oct. 21.

The festival – one of the largest renaissance festivals in the United States – teleports visitors to the year 1514 in the “royal village” of Revel Grove. Visitors can dine on medieval fare, watch period plays and shop the offerings of artisans selling everything from leather goods to swords. 

Tickets cost $22 a day for adults ages 16 to 61, with discounted prices for seniors and children. If a one-day trip into the past isn’t enough, the festival offers two-day, six-day and nine-day passes for Renaissance buffs looking to spend their October days at the 25,000-acre fairgrounds. And this month brings an Oktoberfest celebration Oct. 6 -7.

Festival-goers seeking to truly immerse themselves into the time period can rent costumes and attempt to act like a 16th-century beer wench or blacksmith while watching performances of  Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or the daily jousting matches that have become a staple of the event. 

Each year, the festival follows a story line, with this year’s being King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon’s court visiting Revel Grove for the royal couple’s annual summer progress.

Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 21

Crownsville, Md. 

$22, $19 for seniors over 62, $10 for kids ages 7-15

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