Festive Festivities - Wyoming Magazine

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Festive Festivities

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by Molly Michieli

 

Winter in Wyoming brings snow days, hot cocoa, and naps near the fireplace. Spring brings fresh flowers, new life, and (slightly) warmer weather. Summer around here brings lazy days by the pool, camping, hiking, and countless hours of sunshine. While each of these seasons has its own “something special,” fall in Wyoming is always the stand out.

Colorful changing leaves against stunning mountain ranges is a sight to include on every bucket list. From Sept.22 through Dec. 20  this year, the autumn season and all its beauty will be warmly welcomed throughout Wyoming. Along with the season’s striking shades of oranges, reds, and yellows, fall also brings upon the time of year when we have something to celebrate nearly every weekend.

From the north to the south and from the east to the west, we’ve narrowed down festive fall festivities that simply cannot be missed this year. Grab that pumpkin spice latte and your trendy scarf; let’s get fall started off right!

What would this season be without pumpkins? Experiencing a pumpkin patch is an absolute must for all ages. Choosing a pumpkin fresh from the vine brings great joy that only the fall season can give.

First up is Ellis’ Harvest Home in Lingle. Opening Sept. 30 through Oct. 29, the famous pumpkin patch is best known for their expert-level corn mazes each year. This year, the corn maze will feature a solar eclipse theme as a tribute to the total solar eclipse that took place in August. Guests will follow the tricky path around the stars and sun on a family friendly day at the farm. Ellis’ Harvest Home grows and sells multiple types and sizes of pumpkins fresh from their patch. You are bound to find the perfect one for any Halloween design you have in mind. If carving Jack-o-Lanterns isn’t your thing, other fall decorations are available including gourds, straw, and other members of the squash family. Head to Ellis’ any Saturday or Sunday through October and experience all the best of the early fall season. On Saturdays the corn maze and pumpkin patch are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Traveling even further north to Clark, , you will find Gallagher’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Running now through Oct. 29, hop on a hayride and take it all in every Saturday and Sunday. With their two-acre pumpkin patch, the perfect pumpkin awaits your picking. The corn maze is an impressive eight acres, and there is even a separate hay bale maze for the little ones. Perhaps the best part is that the Gallagher’s own burgers and brats can be found at the concession stand. Known for their natural beef and produce, the entire family can enjoy a delicious meal fresh from the farm after a full day of pumpkin picking and finding your way through the epic corn maze.

Now, what would a fall harvest be without apples? One of the greatest traditions of fall is apple bobbing, and an apple extravaganza is taking place in Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 14. The Circle J Ranch in Ten Sleep, will host this year’s Fall Festival Days with “Jammin-in-the-Canyon!.” At the festival, participants will bob for apples, enjoy carriage rides, and taste slices of paradise: apple pie. This gorgeous ranch is simply spectacular during the fall, when the apple orchard brings vibrant colors to life. If you are looking for a great day in the outdoors, festive activities, and a delectable treat, “Jammin-in-the-Canyon” is the perfect way to welcome fall.

So by now you’ve picked your pumpkin, found your way home from the corn maze, and most likely consumed an entire apple pie. Yet something is missing—the frightening fun of Halloween! If your own shadow scares you, then perhaps these next few places aren’t must sees. If you truly enjoy having chills tingle your spine, feeling your heart race, and cramming enough fear into yourself for the rest of the year, read on!

Head northwest to Casper, where you will find the Green Acres Corn Maze. Now open through Halloween on Oct. 31, take in the corn maze, pumpkin cart rides, apple cannons, a petting farm, and so much more at the kid friendly Green Acres. Proceeds from this year’s corn maze will benefit Natrona County non-profits. Their design for the 2017 corn maze will also pay tribute to August’s solar eclipse, complete with Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. 2017 marks the 75 anniversary for everyone’s favorite monkey. If your little ones need a break from the stroller after the walk through the maze, let them jump, roll, and dig in the festive fun of the Green Acres corn pit! All of the offerings here are affordable and cater to those families looking to celebrate the season together.

A Wyoming Halloween favorite for over 25 years is the Nightmare on 17th Street. Located in Cheyenne, this haunted house is one that will scare your socks off. Fifteen creepily themed rooms await those who seek the ultimate terror. Each year something new can be expected, so whether you’re a first-timer or you’ve subjected yourself to the fright of 17th Street many times, your money will be well spent on this insanely scary adventure.

If the zombies, creepy clowns, and masked maniacs of haunted houses don’t scare you, perhaps you’re in need of a real ghost story? During October, the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley turns into a fright-filled ride for their legendary Ghost Tours. This year you can experience the documented tales of paranormal activity that have taken place throughout the town of Cheyenne on Oct. 20 and 21, and again on Oct. 27-29. Every year, the tour takes new turns through local sites of haunting encounters with the undead. The Paranormal Hunting Observation Group (PHOG) has investigated many of the sites along the route and its members participate in the tours. Looking for a real fright this Halloween? Climb aboard the Cheyenne Street Railway Ghost Tour!

From Halloween haunts to Thanksgiving gatherings, fall has it all. After the trick-or-treating candy has been devoured, it’s time to honor what the season is really all about: being thankful for the harvest and for families. As you prepare your Thanksgiving menu and set the table with festive décor, it may seem as if the fun of fall has come to a close. After all, November marks the beginning of the holiday rush. It’s often easy to forget about fall entirely once we start thinking of Christmas gifts and see tinsel strung through the aisles of every store. Even though the holiday season has unofficially begun, there are many events throughout the rest of the fall season that celebrate all the wonders that only come this time of year.

On Nov. 10, 11, and 12 the free Home and Holiday Show will be in Rock Springs, where shoppers can find the perfect centerpiece for the holiday table. Show up Santa and get a jump start on shopping and stocking stuffing, because five days after fall comes to an end, Christmas Day arrives! Unique finds for the whole year can be found at the Home and Holiday Show inside the Sweetwater Events Complex.

For one last hay ride, head to the Sheridan Christmas Stroll on Nov. 24. Hay rides, mini train rides, carriage rides—you name it! The twinkling lights on Main Street and Grinnell Plaza will keep you in a festive spirit while you explore the retailers’ Black Friday deals. Pick up a “stroll button” at the Sheridan Chamber of Commerce and you might win a prize. If you have yet to experience the Sheridan Christmas Stroll, make 2017 the year you do. You will feel all the warm and cozy feels of the season.

With winter on the way, December officially brings fall to a close. While it is probably colder, and that trendy scarf has probably been exchanged for a full blown parka, there is still time and a reason to get out with the family. The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests offer many areas for Christmas tree cutting. A piney green tree is a far cry from glowing orange pumpkins, but these Tannenbaum beauties are the perfect way to wave goodbye to autumn and welcome the holiday season. You’ve had a thrill this fall picking a fresh pumpkin from the patch. Now, pack up the family, grab your boots, gloves, hats, and don’t forget the saw! Chopping down a Christmas tree fresh from the forest is the ultimate old-fashioned tradition. Permits are available through the Medicine Bow-Routt Forest Offices.

For the next 12 weeks, see, do, eat, and drink in all the flavors and festivities of fall. Statewide, Wyoming is one of the greatest places to experience the season. Crunch the fallen leaves, carve a spooky pumpkin, gather with family and friends, and sip that apple cider. From the northwest corner to the far southeast, happy fall to all of Wyoming. Get out and get festive!

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