Family friendly fall festivals | September 21, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - September 21, 2012

Family friendly fall festivals

Three upcoming events offer adventures in art and nature

by Carol Blitzer

Over the next couple of weekends three annual fall festivals will take place nearby. Some take some advance planning (if you want to eat or get tickets), but the others are strictly drop in. Plan to spend some time perusing the goods, tasting the unusual or taking a hike.

The festivals are geared for all ages, with something for everyone to enjoy.

Great Glass Pumpkin Patch

For four days, visitors to the 17th annual Great Pumpkin Patch can wander around the concrete bowl and surrounding grassy areas at Rinconada Park, marveling at the brightly colored and exquisitely designed glass pumpkins.

Then comes the moment of truth: Will the one you had your heart set on still be there during the sale phase?

Visitors have been known to line up long in advance on sale days, just to make sure they can choose between all 8,000 pumpkins, created by more than 30 glass artisans.

"This is a community event and we want everyone to enjoy the installation for free; during the sale days, it's first-come, first-served. There are plenty of pumpkins. We never run out of pumpkins. There's a beautiful, perfect pumpkin for everyone," Rebecca Barbee, operations manager at the Palo Alto Art Center, said.

In addition to the glass-pumpkin art installation, during the week there will be flame-working demonstrations aimed mainly at school tours, but open to anyone.

And, on sale days, food trucks will be on site "for people to enjoy a lunch as they shop," Barbee added.

Proceeds of the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch support the Palo Alto Art Center, the Bay Area Glass Institute and participating artists.

What: Great Glass Pumpkin Patch

When: Exhibition: Tuesday to Thursday, Sept. 25-27, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Candlelight Cocktails and presale for members of the Palo Alto Art Center, Friday, Sept. 28, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sale: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto

Cost: Free exhibition; pumpkins range from $15 to $250.


Autumn at Filoli Festival

At the annual Autumn at Filoli Festival on Saturday, Sept. 29, children can not only view pumpkins, but choose one, decorate it and take it home.

They'll even be greeted by a "strolling pumpkin."

And there's face painting or helping volunteers operate a cider press.

Billed as a family-friendly harvest celebration, the festival offers something for every generation. Besides strolling through the historic garden, visitors can tour the Gentleman's Orchard, where more than 650 trees and vines are brimming with heirloom fruit, according to Christina Syrett, Filoli media and public relations associate.

Entertainment, too, has appeal for all ages, with three performances of the Happy Birds Performing Parrot Show, autumn-themed puppet shows by Nick Barone in Filoli's ballroom, a magic show by Ravioli the Clown and sterling the bubbLesmith in the North Field.

Nature education docents will lead hikes through the property, and garden information docents will be on hand to answer questions about gardening both at home and at Filoli.

No festival would be complete without music and food. Listen for the "Amigos" playing on Filoli's Tennis Court. Although picnics are not allowed at Filoli, lunches will be available with advance reservations, and Filoli's Café will be open for those who missed the deadline.

What: Autumn at Filoli Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Filoli, 86 Canada Road, Woodside

Cost: Advance purchase recommended. $25 adult nonmember; $20 adult member; $5 child (ages 5-17); free for children 4 and under. Lunch tickets may be ordered by 4 p.m., Sept. 24: $18 adult BBQ lunch, $9 child bag lunch

Info:; 650-364-8300, ext. 508

Arts & Olive Festival

If you think you're listening to the Beatles, you may have stumbled into the 2:30 p.m. performance of The Sun Kings, a Beatles tribute band that's been performing since 2001. The band's repertoire spans 150 songs, which they describe on their website as "from Hamburg to the Rooftop" and as an "uncanny channeling and respect for the music they perform."

But the music is just a small part of the 15th annual Arts & Olive Festival, Canada College's annual fundraiser for student scholarships.

Close to 80 arts and crafts and food vendors will fill the space on both the upper and lower quad, the heart of the campus, noted Robert Hood, Canada's director of the Public Information Office. Visitors can park free on any lot on campus.

What sets this annual event apart is its emphasis on olives, with close to 30 olive vendors offering tapenades, soaps, cosmetics, even ice cream, according to Hood. In addition, there will be booths for nonprofits, for students and sponsored booths.

Free children's activities include two performances of a puppet show, face painting and balloons.

Musical entertainment begins from 11:30 a.m. to noon with the Zambalita Middle Eastern Dance Company, followed by Terry Hiatt and the Big Science Band's gumbo fusion from 12:20 to 1:30 p.m. After a short break, the Samba Mundial Brazilian Dance Troupe entertains until 2:10 p.m.

Then comes The Sun Kings, performing two sets until 5 p.m.

What: Arts & Olive Festival

When: Sunday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

Cost: $5 suggested scholarship donation



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