The Autum Equinox occurs on September 22nd (Northern Hemisphere) this year kicking off my favorite season. Yup, it’s FALL YA’LL!! It doesn’t mean much in Orange County due to our summer vibes year round but sometimes if we are lucky, we get chilly weather! We still put on our Uggs and sweaters and like to pretend. Here is what made my top 5 for fall events!
- Mid-Autumn Festival – This is the second most celebrated holiday in several Southeast Asian countries. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and is supposed to have the biggest and brightest full moon! Mooncakes are the must have food item to celebrate this holiday. The round cakes symbolize reunion. Therefore, common customs are lighting colorful lanterns and watching the full moon with your family while enjoying tea and mooncakes. I feel very fortunate that there are many ways to enjoy this festival around town. I can always count on South Coast Plaza to do something special. This year they decorated the Garden Terrace and Bridge of Gardens with lanterns and lights. The Bowers Museum is hosting a Mid-Autumn celebration on Oct. 16th (their first one in person since COVID) with more to come!
- Apple Picking – Yes, I get it. You can buy a bag of them for $5 at the grocery store. But remember, it’s about the experience!! Especially with COVID and electronics overload, it’s nice to do something outdoors. Apple picking season usually runs from August through as late as November depending on region. The two main areas are Julian and Oak Glen/Yucaipa area. If you go to Julian, Julian Farm is popular and you must get pie from Julian Pie (Caramel Dutch Apple is my favorite) or Mom’s Pie. If you are REALLY crazy about pie, go to Apple Alley Bakery, too! Julian is almost 2 hours from OC (NE of San Diego). Oak Glen isn’t incorporated so sometimes an address is listed as Yucaipa. This confused me to death. That area is about 1.5 hours from OC (east of San Bernardino). Willowbrook Apple Farm and Los Rios Rancho seem to be pretty popular. These farms usually have plenty of other activities on the weekends such as cider press, petting zoos, corn mazes, and if you time it right, you can overlap your visit with pumpkin picking (next activity on the list). Side note: 123 Farm in Cherry Valley is only 15 minutes away and does Lavender Market Nights from Sep. 2nd to Oct. 24th. It’s a great place to stop for dinner, beautiful lights, entertainment, and the market!
- Pumpkin Patches – It’s a fall thing, ya’ll! Gotta do the pumpkin patch pics. Luckily these are closer to home than apple farms. Probably the closest and most popular one is Tanaka Farms and they currently have pumpkin and flower picking through the end of October! Please note you DO have to book parking reservations! The next most popular one is at Irvine Park Railroad but it’s actually in Orange – not Irvine! This park is HUGE and has lots of other activities to do so you can definitely make it an all day activity.
- Monarch Butterflies – It’s also butterfly season! The South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes has Soar Monarch Migration through the end of November. Other places with butterfly habitats include The ENC in Newport Beach and NHML‘s Butterfly Pavilion in Los Angeles. Monarch butterfly seasons runs from October through March so you can see them around the area at different parks as well.
- Fall Festivals – There are ALWAYS festivals year round, so here are some of the really popular ones: Ohana Festival in Dana Point, the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Pacific Air Show and Oktoberfest – both in Huntington Beach.