California: San Diego, Fantastic Fall Happenings with Guaranteed Family Fun Factor.
When autumn arrives and the summer beach crowds diminish, the time is right to enjoy fun-filled fall activities, annual festivals and fairs, haunting Halloween celebrations, and cultural entertainment. Here’s the scoop.
From Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND California and Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld to the annual Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon and the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival in October, the San Diego area comes alive with fairs, festivals, and events ideal for a weekend getaway or an off-season family break. The list of options is long but I have selected a few which look most promising for families with young children. Even better, the month of October is free for kids in San Diego with countless museums and attractions providing free admission. American as apple pie.
The annual Julian fall apple harvest runs from September through October. The historic mountain community, known for its apples, celebrates the season with delicious homemade apple pies, apple ciders, apple picking in local orchards, art shows, horse-drawn carriage rides and live entertainment. Wait for it! Julian Apple Days in early October is part of the fun. (www.julianca.com/events/index.htm)47th annual Borrego Days Desert Festival.
Fall in Borrego Springs - a desert oasis town - is always people-friendly offering cooler temperatures and the picturesque desert landscape. The annual Borrego Days Desert Festival at the end of the month includes a parade with marching bands, floats, classic cars, and equestrian groups. The festival also includes the Miss Borrego pageant, live entertainment, a carnival, food vendors, a beer garden, pony rides, a classic car and motorcycle show and carefree fun. (www.borregodays.com) Brick-or-Treat celebration.
LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad joins in the Halloween fun every Saturday in October with its annual Brick-or-Treat celebration, featuring a one-of-a-kind, 4-ft. tall LEGO jack-o-lantern. Children ages 12 and younger may participate in fun-filled costume contests and trick-or-treat with a souvenir goodie bag along the park's Brick-or-Treat Trail, featuring a kid-sized cul-de-sac of spooky LEGO homes with fun and creepy creatures. (http://california.legoland.com)The Haunted Hotel.
During Sept. 21 - Oct. 31, screamin' good times await in downtown San Diego at the Gaslamp Quarter's popular The Haunted Hotel, where guests venture through rooms and hallways inspired by haunts from Hollywood's favorite horror films. Wait for it! Check out Haunted Trail of Terror in Balboa Park, guests run for their lives through an outdoor maze of walkways patrolled by creepy spooks and spirits. (www.hauntedhotel.com)Scream Zone at Del Mar.
During Sept. 28 - Oct. 31, more thrills and chills await guests at the Del Mar Fairground's massive Scream Zone, with featured frights including a 3-D ghost maze, 25-room house of horror and haunted hayride. (www.thescreamzone.com/dates.html)Spooktacular at SeaWorld.
Halloween makes a splash at SeaWorld San Diego during its Halloween Spooktacular celebration. This family friendly program features trick-or-treat stations, Sesame Street-themed Halloween show, special Halloween-themed sea lion show and interactive Halloween characters along the pathways of the park. The event takes place every weekend in October. (http://seaworldparks.com/spooktacular)La Jolla Art & Wine Festival.
This annual festival is held along upper Girard Avenue in the village of La Jolla. In October it showcases over 150 juried fine artists. The fair also features a wine and beer garden, live entertainment, a gourmet marketplace and the Geppetto's/Witt Lincoln Family Art Center. (www.lajollaartandwinefestival.com)66th Annual Mother Goose Parade.
In November the largest parade in San Diego County brings crowds of spectators to the city streets of El Cajon featuring whimsical floats, clowns, bands, equestrians, and celebrity appearances. This annual parade is a cherished local tradition and the annual kick-off to the winter holiday season. (www.mothergooseparade.org/mgp)33rd annual San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival.
Showcasing more than 25 bands from throughout the United States and Canada, the 33rd annual San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival during November at the Town & Country Resort in Mission Valley presents nationally acclaimed musical performances to kick-off the holiday season. (www.dixielandjazzfestival.org)Location on the planet.
Located about 120 miles south of Los Angeles adjacent to the Mexican border, the San Diego area includes 70 miles of coastline with coves and world-class beaches plus a variety of parks and green spaces punctuated by mountains, marshland, and canyons. It is home to several popular tourist attractions including Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. Make it happen.
For more information on San Diego's offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more checkout www.sandiego.org Information and images provided by San Diego CVB. Comments by Jule Nelson-Duac FTF staff. Copyright 2012.