The kids are back in school, there's a chill in the air and fall fruits and vegetables are plentiful -- it must be autumn festival season.
This October, local art and culture organizations will host festivals featuring artists, food, entertainment and children's activities. Read on for a preview of the upcoming festivities.
Great Glass Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkins get the Cinderella-slipper treatment at the 15th annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch at the Palo Alto Arts Center. More than 30 glass artisans display 8,000 glass pumpkins -- some small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and others life-sized; some traditionally orange and others brilliant shades of every color of the rainbow.
Visitors can browse the artwork during the first four days of the festival and make purchases on the last two days. Local glass artist Demetra Theofanous will give a torchworking demonstration on exhibition days and artists will be available to talk about their work.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the artists and nonprofit art education organizations -- Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and the Bay Area Glass Institute. According to Louise Carroll, COO of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, it's the foundation's largest single fundraising event of the year.
"It's a great way to showcase the artists. It's been a rough go for glass artists because of the economy," said Mark Murai, executive director of the Bay Area Glass Institute, adding that he doesn't expect a shortage of interested buyers at this event.
"Some people get there at three in the morning to buy pumpkins at 10," he said.
What: The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch
When: Exhibition: Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 28-29, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, Sept. 30-Oct.1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sale Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 2-3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto
Cost: Free exhibit
Autumn at Filoli Festival
Families are invited to picturesque country estate Filoli in Woodside for a day of orchard tours, pumpkin-picking, games and crafts. Kid-friendly entertainment includes the Happy Birds parrot show, puppets and a magic show.
Visitors can taste rare apples, pears and grapes from Filoli's orchards and purchase special food items from local vendors. Guests may also sign up for an hour-long hike through the beautifully landscaped grounds of the estate.
"Just coming here is like being on vacation," said Christina Syrett, Filoli public relations representative. "Seeing apple and pear orchards is an experience a lot of kids don't get anymore. There's no other place in California like Filoli. It's one of a kind."
A barbecue lunch will be served on the property's tennis court, with child and adult meals available. The Café at Filoli and Filoli Garden Shop will also be open all day.
What: Autumn at Filoli Festival
When: Saturday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Filoli, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside
Cost: Event tickets: $25 adult nonmember, $20 adult member, $5 children 5-17, free 4 and under. Lunch: $16 adults, $9 children. Lunch tickets must be purchased before noon on Sept. 27.
Arts & Olive Festival
The Cañada College campus is home to 350 olive trees. Not surprisingly, its fall arts festival is inspired by the olive, though a diverse lineup of activities is planned. Don Landis will present a Home Cured Olive workshop, which will include the history of the olive in California, Greek-style olive curing and tasting with cheese and crackers. Visitors can also taste a variety of artisan olive oils.
A suggested $5 donation from each visitor will also go towards a good cause. "It's the largest scholarship fundraiser for students on campus all year," said Robert Hood, Cañada College's director of marketing and public relations. "Plus you can find great pieces of art by local artists at great prices and awesome food."
Kids can participate in face painting, crafts, marionettes, balloon art, juggling and storytelling. Music and dance groups, including the acoustic band Barton Tyler Group, will also take the stage throughout the day.
What: Arts & Olive Festival
When: Sunday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Cañada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City
Cost: Suggested donation $5
The Palo Alto Jewish Community Center brings Jewish culture to California Avenue with its annual To Life! Festival, brought back after a one-year hiatus. Vendors and artists will sell fine Jewish arts and crafts, kosher and vegetarian cuisine and other goods. There will also be performances by Jewish musicians and dancers.
The JCC's J-Camp staff will be on hand to lead games and other activities for children of all ages. Other Bay Area Jewish day schools may also host crafts and activities.
To Life! also offers attendees the opportunity to get involved in local Jewish organizations through the Koret Tents of Community, which will host representatives from various Jewish businesses and services.
What: To Life! Festival
When: Sunday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: California Avenue, Palo Alto
Allied Arts Guild Harvest Fest 2010
The quaint artists' center in Menlo Park will host its annual Harvest Fest for children and families. Proceeds will support the Guild's mission to raise funds for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
"This event is a good way to build awareness of our property, get to know the community and spread the word about our cause," said Tiana Wong, Allied Arts' events director. "It'll be a nice community and family event."
Adults can enjoy wine tasting and beer tasting from local microbreweries while kids have fun with arts, crafts and a pumpkin patch. Live entertainment will be provided and food is included in the price of admission. Guests will also go home with an Allied Arts Guild Souvenir Glass.
What: Allied Arts Guild Harvest Fest 2010
When: Saturday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road at Cambridge Avenue, Menlo Park
Cost: $25 adults, $5 children. Reservations are requested.