Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - September 23, 2011

Festivals kick off fall season

Art, food, music and children's activities draw crowds

by Janelle Eastman

The burnt orange and rich red hue of fall foliage — even in California — is a distinct sign of the anticipated harvest festival season. The crisp autumn air will complement family activities, live entertainment and yummy food during these upcoming fall festivals hosted by local organizations.

Autumn at Filoli Festival

The historic Filoli mansion in Woodside will host its annual Autumn at Filoli Festival where families can enjoy an array of activities. Children are invited to decorate pumpkins, picked from the estate's privately owned pumpkin patch, and crank the old-fashioned cider press using apples from the "largest heirloom orchard in private hands in the United States," according to Christina Syrett, Filoli public relations representative.

Syrett recommends sturdy shoes for visitors who prefer to enjoy the woodland scenery on a guided nature hike or who tour the famous orchard — where participants are welcome to pick rare types of fruit directly from a variety of 670 vines and trees.

Other entertainment includes a magic show presented by Ravioli the Clown, two puppet shows and the Happy Birds Performing Parrot Show — an extraordinary opportunity to check out exotic birds.

What: Autumn at Filoli Festival

When: Saturday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Where: Filoli, 86 Caņada Road, Woodside

Cost: Event tickets: $25 adult nonmember, $20 adult member, $5 children ages 5-17, free ages 4 and under. Lunch: $16 adult barbecue lunch, $9 child bag lunch. Lunch tickets must be purchased before 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26.

Info: www.filoli.org

Great Glass Pumpkin Patch

Anticipating the Great Pumpkin's arrival wouldn't be a tedious task if Linus and Sally decide to wait at the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch. Hosted by the collaborative effort of the Bay Area Glass Institute, the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation for the 16th consecutive year, this favored Bay Area fall festival will showcase great pumpkins of its own — 8,000 of them, all artfully hand crafted and custom-blown by 30-plus local artists.

During the first four days of the festival, artists will display their one-of-a-kind pieces (each characterized by the artist's own individual style) ranging in shape, size and color. These aesthetic glass pumpkins will complement and add vibrancy to the Halloween/Thanksgiving decor of any home.

"The exhibition days allow viewers to get an idea and narrow down their choices on what to purchase prior to the first sale date on Saturday — also the day of the festival with the highest volume of guests," Joseph Tuohy, director of the Palo Alto Art Foundation, said.

Visitors are advised to come early Saturday morning to ensure getting what they want since there is usually a line of 50 to 60 enthusiastic guests already in line.

Proceeds of the festival are split between the PAACF and BAGI.

Other activities of the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, which include torch demonstrations and artist meet-and-greets, can be enjoyed while listening to live music performances and indulging in gourmet food.

"There is no end to the appetite for these beautiful pumpkins as the crowd and sales continue to modestly grow each year," Tuohy said.

What: Great Glass Pumpkin Patch

When: Exhibition: Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 27-29, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sale Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 1-2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto

Cost: Free exhibit

Info: www.greatglasspumpkinpatch.com

Arts and Olive Festival

To celebrate its special role in olive culture, Caņada College will be hosting its 14th annual Arts and Olive Festival. Since Caņada's establishment in 1968, an abundance of 350 olive trees have settled in its soils giving the campus a signature, rustic feel.

The festival will feature 70 participating vendors who will showcase a variety of olive-related products and activities. Starting at 1 p.m., Don Landis will present the Home Cured Olive Workshop that includes an olive history 101, a detailed description on the Greek style of olive curing followed by olive tasting.

Courtesy of Orquesta Pacheco, salsa music will kick-start the live entertainment available throughout the day including other performances by the Zambalita Middle Eastern Dance Company and the Samba Mundial Brazilian Dance Troupe.

For children, activities include face-painting, arts and crafts, story telling and balloon art with the assistance of student Joe Simbardi.

The festival is Caņada's largest fundraiser for student scholarship money.

What: Arts and Olive Festival

When: Sunday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Caņada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City

Cost: Suggested $5 scholarship donation

Info: www.olivefest.org

Sukkot Harvest Festival

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center will be hosting its first Sukkot Harvest Festival to celebrate the Jewish tradition of gathering among others in a booth-like structure, termed sukkah. The Festival of Booths, Sukkot, is a holiday that emphasizes the fall spirit of feasting and harvesting.

"The harvest portion focuses on food through cooking demonstrations and sampling (by chefs from our local community)," Amy Grossman, OFJCC community events director, said.

One tradition of Sukkot is gathering together the four species, represented by the etrog (a citron, like a big lemon), date palm, willow and myrtle. Each symbolizes a part of the body that will be highlighted at the event with interactive and experiential activities for all ages to enjoy, including crafts and fitness activates, according to Grossman.

Activities for children include a magic show and balloon making on the Jessica Lynn Saal Main Stage where there will also be performances by Kehillah Jewish High School and Peninsula Temple Shalom's Modern Jewish Music Girl's Choir.

This free event will include music, food vendors and a variety of activities and demonstrations suitable for families.

What: Sukkot Harvest Festival

When: Sunday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

Cost: Free

Info: www.paloaltojcc.org

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