13 Must-Dos for October 2023

In the opinion of many, October is the unofficial start of the holiday season, as it entails decorating, social gatherings, food and drink and plenty of activities that celebrate the season. As October is marked by a Friday the 13th date, this month we’re providing you with 13 events to check out.  

Photo courtesy of Lancaster Creative Factory, Meals on Wheels of Lancaster

1.Empty Bowls

October 1 | Lancaster Creative Factory

Proceeds from this event will benefit Meals on Wheels of Lancaster. The unique aspect of this event centers on the fact that ticket holders will be able to select from more than 400 ceramic bowls – all made my artists associated with the Lancaster Creative Factory – which they can fill with soup made by local restaurants. Fresh bread and baked goods will round out the menu. Live music will be provided by Easily Amused. A live auction will be held, as will glass-blowing demonstrations. 4-7 p.m. 580 South Prince Street, Lancaster. For ticket information, visit Eventbrite.com/e/682156226637.

Photo courtesy of Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

2.Garden Railways Tour

October 1 | Sponsored by Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

This self-guided tour of operating model trains in various outdoor and garden settings explores an aspect of gardening that became popular in Britain at the turn of the 20th century and was ultimately embraced by America’s gardening and railroading enthusiasts. While its popularity waned in the U.S. during the ’50s and ’60s, garden railroading made a huge comeback in the ’80s and shows no signs of abating. This year marks the museum’s 16th-annual tour. It’s a fun outing for all ages! A roster of Garden Railways Tour homes and their addresses will be emailed to you following your ticket purchase. This event supports the nonprofit Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. 1-5 p.m. Information: Tickets available at Eventbrite.com/e/garden-railways-tour-tickets-681042766247.

Photo courtesy of Strasburg Rail Road

3.Legacy of Sleepy Hollow

Thursday-Sunday, October 7-November 5
Strasburg Rail Road

A professional cast of actors brings a new perspective to the classic tale, Legacy of Sleepy Hollow, with the help of grand special effects, live horses and the scariest train ride of the season. Join Isabel Crane, the great-great-granddaughter of the legendary Ichabod Crane, as she takes you on a frightful journey filled with sword fights, ghosts and a centuries-old curse surrounding her family. Note: not recommended for children under the age of 8. 301 Gap Road, Ronks. Information: 1-866-725-9666 or strasburgrailroad.com/special-events/legacy-of-sleepy-hollow.

Photo courtesy of Historic Ephrata Cloister

4.Apple Dumpling Days

October 6-7 | Ephrata Cloister  

In Lancaster County, the quintessential fall treat is an apple dumpling, which is a warm, juicy apple wrapped in pastry and covered in sweet cinnamon syrup. Enjoy the delicious Pennsylvania Dutch treat (made by Achenbach’s Pastries) while supporting the Ephrata Cloister. All proceeds benefit the Back to the Cloister Fund, which is used to return original items to the historic site. Apple dumplings can be purchased for $5.50 each at the Museum Store. (Large orders can be made online.) The sale will run from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. until sold out on Saturday. 632 West Main Street, Ephrata. Information: 717-733-6600 or ephratacloister.org/events/apple-dumpling-sales.

Photo courtesy of The Lancaster Central Market

5.Harvest Breakfast

October 7 | Central Market

A culinary and social event all in one! Standholders will be preparing special seasonal breakfast fare, while outdoors, long tables provide seating and the opportunity to meet friends old and new and enjoy the food. Live music and face/pumpkin painting round out the festivities. 8 a.m.-12 noon (rain or shine). 23 North Market Street, Lancaster. Information: centralmarketlancaster.com

Photo courtesy of Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.

6.Harvest Days

October 7-8 | Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum

This celebration of a year’s worth of hard work is the oldest and largest family-friendly event held at Landis Valley. Festivities include food demonstrations (apple butter, sauerkraut, processing pork, bake oven and hearth cooking), exhibits, craft demonstrations (coopering, blacksmith, leather, brooms, pottery, millinery, weaving, woodwork and more), craft sales (jams & jellies, pottery, soap, candles and more), live music and children’s activities. Visit the pumpkin patch and decorate the pumpkin you have chosen. Tickets available at the gate. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. 2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster. Information: 717-569-9312 or landisvalleymuseum.org.

Photo courtesy of Millersville Parade Committee

7.Millersville Parade

October 14 | Millersville Borough

Travel the World is the theme of the 26th edition of the parade that was originally established by volunteers whose goal was to improve community relations among Millersville University, the borough and neighboring communities. Since then, the parade has grown into one of the county’s largest and most dynamic events of its kind. The parade features high-quality marching bands from across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. You can also expect to see antique cars, animals, floats, civic organizations, clowns and more in the lineup. The route starts at Penn Manor High School, travels along Herr Avenue, turns onto Landis Avenue and continues to North George Street. Parking is available in university lots and on borough streets that are not on the parade route. 8:30 a.m. Information: Millersville.edu/parade.

Photo courtesy of Albatwitch Day

8.Albatwitch Day

October 14 | Columbia

What’s an albatwitch you ask? It’s a small, hairy, human-like creature that has a fondness for apples. (Albatwitches are known to throw apple cores at humans who pursue them.) Rooted in both Germanic and Susquehannock Indian folklore, the albatwitch’s favorite stomping grounds is the Columbia area, notably around Chiques Rock. Since 2014, Columbia has been the scene of a fall festival that pays homage to the albatwitch (and other things that go bump in the night) through lectures, author appearances, music, a wide range of vendors and food trucks. Trolley tours are offered, including those hosted by Chris Vera and Rick Fisher, who delve into the haunted history of the area. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Columbia River Park, 41 Walnut Street. Information: Albatwitchday.com.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Witt and Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

9.Halloween Days & Spooky Knights

Weekends, October 14-29
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

The PA Renaissance Faire will be hosting a Halloween spectacular that includes costume contests for adults, nipperkins and royal hounds, a Halloween treasure hunt for nipperkins, and trick-or-treating in the shire! 2775 Lebanon Road, Manheim. Information: 717-665-7021 or parenfaire.com.

Photo courtesy of The Shank Shoppe

10.The Bust

October 21 | Columbia

The Shank Shoppe is reviving a favorite fall event, providing it with an abbreviated name (The Bust), a new home (Columbia River Park) and a new focus (maker’s market). The park will be brimming with 100 makers, artists, craftspeople, food trucks/vendors, music and more. Free parking/admission. Pumpkin painting for a donation. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 41 Walnut Street, Columbia. Information: Facebook/com/the shankshoppe/

Photo courtesy of LSJ Studios  and Lancaster City Arts Collective

11.Fall Artwalk

October 21-22
Lancaster City

Lancaster Artwalk is a self-guided tour of downtown galleries and other art-related venues in Lancaster City. Stroll around at your own pace and enjoy special exhibits, live demonstrations, meet-the-artist events, children’s activities and more. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 12-4 p.m. Information: lancastercityartgalleries.com/lancaster-artwalk.

Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Engle

12.Corn Cob Acres

Weekends in October | Mountville

No doubt you are aware of Field of Screams, which can be squeamish for younger children. Several years ago, its owners opened a companion attraction – Corn Cob Acres, a Field of Fun – that offers more than 50 family-friendly activities and special events such as magic shows and a Halloween party (costumes are encouraged). There’s not a ghost or monster in sight! Instead, kids will experience a day of fun in the fresh air that allows them to mine for gems, pick and paint pumpkins, thrill to pig races and much more. New this year is the Hidden Acres Saloon, where parents can enjoy some downtime over an adult beverage. 191 College Avenue, Mountville. Information: corncobacres.com.

Photo courtesy of Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

13.Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Through November 4 | Ronks

The theme of this year’s corn maze – Bee A-Maized – pays homage to the important role bees play in the food chain. Choose from three levels of difficulty and don’t miss the always-popular flashlight-maze nights. But there’s so much more about Cherry Crest than a maze. You can pick your own flowers, pumpkins and ears of corn with which you can make popcorn. There are all sorts of attractions and activities for kids that are both fun and educational. Food? The selection is amazing! Local wineries/breweries are onsite each weekend. Musical entertainment is offered, too. Cherry Crest’s shops are filled with farmhouse-inspired décor, gifts and more. Did we mention there are adorable animals? The season ends with a Pumpkin Madness festival. 150 Cherry Crest Road, Ronks. Information: Cherrycrestfarm.com.

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