The end of September brings hope for cooler weather to Nature Coast. The heat of summer is waning and fall harvests are beginning. There are many festivals and activities going on, and it is time to get out and enjoy the bounty and beauty of our area.
Then there is Halloween, a uniquely American holiday that revolves around costumes, witches, goblins and trick-or-treating – or spooky haunted houses that range from kid-friendly to mess-your-pants adults only.
My favorite of all the offerings is the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park’s Haunted Tram Rides on October 27-28 from 6-10pm. The Haunted Tram Rides are a blast, although they can be a little much for those who are easily frightened.
After boarding one of the park’s trams, guests are toured through 45 minutes or so of spooky scenarios created and staffed by local organizations. Each year these elaborate, live scenarios provide plenty of fright, without the bite of actual contact with visitors. It’s only $5.00 for ages 13 and over and $3.00 for those under 12 and it is great!
Park at the Visitors Center and participate in a myriad of family-friendly activities, including Halloween costume contests, a fun slide, and refreshments. Haunted Hogwarts is the theme of this year’s haunted house with a $2.00 suggested donation.
Best of all, this event is put on by the Friends organization supporting the park and all funds raised go toward maintaining and improving the park!
For a great fall celebration, join the Masaryk Winery at their First Anniversary Party October 14! Enjoy an afternoon out on the Upicktopia farm, where a pumpkin patch will be open, and eclectic, electric live music by the Pauly Gee Band will entertain from 4-8pm.
Located at 19125 Phillips Rd. in Masaryktown, the Masaryk Winery features fruity table wines that are fermented on-site from fruit grown right on the farm. It’s a beautiful place. Very peaceful, yet open and lively.
At the Masaryk Winery, blueberry, strawberry, and blackberry table wines are crafted by “Farmer Dan” and his team. Free tastings are available and the wines are sold by the glass or the bottle. To add to the festivities, Clay Carpenter will have his bodacious barbecue smoking up pulled pork, ribs and burgers. Guests can bring a lawn chair and enjoy a relaxing afternoon under the giant oaks with friends. The event is free, but bring some scratch for the food and wine.
The 51st San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival will be held Oct. 21-22 in the tight-knit community off State Road 52 in eastern Pasco County. This community festival raises funds for non-profits throughout the area and has live music, rattlesnake shows and lots of good food.
The May-Stringer House in downtown Brooksville offers ghost tours every Friday and Saturday, but October 21-22 and 27-28, they kick things up a notch with their Annual Haunted House and Fall Festival form 7-11pm.
May-Stringer is a four-story, 12-room house, built more than 150 years ago that is said to be inhabited by the spirits of long-deceased residents. Enjoy a bonfire, marshmallow roasting, and storytelling. $5 for the haunted house, and/or a $1 children’s maze, free children’s games, face painting, hot dogs, and a fortune teller.
There are corn mazes in Masaryktown. Both Sweetfields Farm and Harvestmoon Farm are open most weekends from the end of September through the end of October. Be prepared to wait in long lines at both locations for these farm-based events.
If you want to be really, really scared, Scream-A-Geddon in Dade City, offers a huge haunted attraction that competes with those put on by theme parks in Tampa and Orlando. It’s adults-only in my book.
October 7, from 11am-4pm, is the Pasco Pet Fest, a fun-filled event at the Florida Estates Winery where you are welcome to bring well-behaved pets on leash (must be vaccinated) to enjoy pet-themed vendors and live music by Frank “the Geezer” Hewlett, as well as winery tastings, and adoptable pets – all to benefit the Florida Skunk Rescue. NatureCoaster.com is a sponsor of Pasco Pet Fest and we are proud to help promote this nonprofit event.
On October 22, Barktoberfest is a similar pet-friendly event that combines with a 5k walk/run in New Port Richey at the Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park. There will be games, a dog kissing booth, adoptable pets, and the largest dog costume contest! Only $2 to get in the park. For details on the 5k and the 1 mile Bark Bash, click here. Barktoberfest is one of a series of “super-fun” and fitness events put on by Mayor and Princess, LLC in the New Port Richey area sponsored by NatureCoaster.com.
There are many, many more events happening in October and you can stay up-to-date at our NatureCoaster.com Calendar. Bookmark it and check back often.
We are entering the best time of year to live in Florida’s Nature Coast. Get out and enjoy Fall-O-Ween and let us know what your favorites are for next year!