photo: City Farmers Nursery 

The fall spirit is in full-swing this weekend with a pumpkin growing contest for kids, a scarecrow building contest, a pumpkin patch chocolate making class, a ride on the Pumpkin Express train or a Haunted Harvest hayride! Read on for the details on these events and more!

Valley Center

Friday Nights on the Farm
Come after school or work and get your weekend started in the Pumpkin Patch at Bate’s Nut Farm. Enjoy live music, great food and all of the regular pumpkin patch fun including the straw maze, tractor hayrides, farm zoo, and retail stores. Grab a bite to eat from “What’s Cookin’” BBQ or the Valley Center Optimist Club taco grill and listen to live music by favorite local bands. Be sure to bring your camera and flashlight! Play flashlight tag in the straw maze, and pick that special pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. Fri. Event details.

Scarecrow Contest
Are you ready to join the tradition of building a scarecrow for the annual Bates Nut Farm Scarecrow contest? You or your group can start your own fall tradition. Your scarecrow can be any theme you like—traditional, scary, a movie character, even your favorite teacher! Each entry will receive a free jack-o-lantern pumpkin and a certificate of participation. Sat. Event details.

City Heights

Fall Harvest Festival at City Farmers Nursery
Celebrate the season at this annual harvest festival! Dozens of artisans line the paths and walkways of City Farmers Nursery with their gorgeous wares – the perfect way to holiday shop, amid the nursery plants and animals. Go cheer on local growers at the annual contests. Don’t miss the Zucchini Growing Contest for Adults at 10 a.m. and the 30th annual Pumpkin Growing contest for kids at 11 a.m. Sat. Event details.


Pumpkin Patch Chocolate Making Class
Celebrate fall with a “Taste of Thanks” themed chocolate making class. Secure your spot at this reservations-only class to learn the art of making fantastically flavored chocolates and bark over the course of two hours while creating nearly 1.5 pounds of confections. During this class, students will play with guest-favorite flavors like salted caramel and peanut butter cup alongside house-made hazelnut ganache and tart cranberry caramel. Students will also select from more than two dozen ingredients as they personalize a chocolate bark – with options including oatmeal crumble, dried figs, candied walnuts and freeze dried cranberries alongside savory pretzels, potato chips, nuts and more. Parent-child teams are welcome to attend! Sat. Event details.


Pumpkin Express Train Ride & Pumpkin Patch
Start your spooky day off right with a train ride. The Pumpkin Express will wind down the hill through some of the most scenic parts of the historic San Diego and Arizona Railway. Keep your eyes open for the Grim Reaper who may be stowed away onboard. After the train returns to the museum grounds, passengers will be let off at the Display Building where kids and their parents will enjoy decorating pumpkins from the indoor pumpkin patch and a walk through one of two haunted trains. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Old Town

Old Town’s Fall Festival
Enjoy pumpkin-carving demos, pumpkin games, races, free crafts and activities reminiscent of an old-fashioned harvest celebration. Sat. Event details.

North Park

Taste of North Park
Home to culinary innovation and cutting-edge brew-masters, North Park is a go-to San Diego destination for everything food and drink. The Taste of North Park invites culinary enthusiasts to enjoy over 50 food tastes from San Diego’s best restaurants and some of the region’s best craft beers from 15 local breweries. Foodies and connoisseurs of the craft can get a spot at this delicious event by visiting Sat. Event details.

Santa Ysabel

Haunted Harvest
Prepare to go on a spooky adventure in Julian! The Haunted Harvest includes an eery haunted hayride (at night’s end), pumpkin seed spitting and apple bobbing contests, jug band lessons, a hoedown with a jug band, apple cider pressing and tasting and refreshments and snacks. Prepaid reservations are required. Sat. Event details.


Fallbrook Harvest Faire
Enjoy hay rides, a display of scarecrows, pumpkin contests, handmade crafts, pony rides, a pie- making contest, delicious food and a petting zoo. Sun. Event details.

Where are you enjoying the weekend? Let us know in the comments.

––Beth Shea