This fall, students are planning to take advantage of the festive events that Chapel Hill and Durham have to offer.
Beyond the traditional events and attractions, there is much to appreciate about this fair-weathered season.
“I'm really excited to watch fall-themed TV shows and movies while eating fall foods,” sophomore Adel Berhe said. “For example, 'Gilmore Girls,' 'When Harry Met Sally...,' 'Twitches'— those are just the highlights.”
While some will be cozying up on the couch with their favorite series or films, sophomore Tatum Pryor said she can’t wait to go outside this season.
“My favorite thing about fall events is the community and being able to talk to people and be away from screens — and typically be outdoors,” Pryor said. “I always feel the best when I’m around people who are passionate about things and in a very communal atmosphere.”
Turn over a new leaf with this guide to all of the best pumpkin patches, festivals, spooky spectacles and more.
Pumpkin patches and farms
While Chapel Hill may not be home to Charlie Brown’s great pumpkin, it has many local farms and patches that students can visit with friends, family or significant others.
Just a 15-minute drive from UNC's campus, Spring Haven Farm has a wide variety of farm animals to feed — including Peppa Pig, Annie the Donkey and cows Wilbur and Orville.
Berhe said she plans on visiting the farm with her roommates to play with the goats and pick pumpkins. She has big plans for what she will carve: Mickey Mouse.
Another family-owned destination, Holder Hill Farm is a Durham pumpkin patch with animals, a nature trail, hayrides and other fall activities that cater to guests of all ages.
Ashley Walker, the wife of co-owner Jereme Walker, said the farm has seen many college students visiting to try to solve its corn maze.
“They like it because they go in thinking it's geared towards kids and it's going to be easy, and then they come to find out it’s actually a challenge for them,” Walker said.
Another one of Holder Hill’s biggest attractions is a collection of pumpkins called ‘Weird and Exotics,’ Walker said.
“We don’t have just standard jack o'lanterns," Walker said. "We have bumpy pumpkins, striped pumpkins, white ones, some that are short and wide and dark green. One of them that seems to be a favorite around here is called a warty goblin.”
Fairs and festivals
“This fall I hope to go to a horror movie film festival,” Pryor said. “I've just recently found out that film festivals are a thing that the general public can attend. I think it’s really cool to go to places in which I can view people’s art.”
Centered on Franklin Street, the Festifall Arts Market will be held Oct. 30 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
It will celebrate local and diverse art makers with a collection of pop-up tents in Chapel Hill, featuring an array of 20 to 30 artists and craftspeople alongside food and drink vendors, dance groups, poetry and music.
The Chapel Hill Harvest Festival is a fundraising event that includes pony rides, hay rides, pumpkin carving, festival games and a bonfire at the end of the night.
All proceeds go towards need-based scholarships for local children to attend the farm's camps and afterschool programs. The event will take place on Oct. 23 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Pryor said that, no matter what you end up doing this season, it's important to take a break from work and enjoy everything fall has to offer.
“Especially with school starting and stuff, fall activities definitely serve as something you can look forward to and enjoy even if school is kind of stressful,” Pryor said. “I think it's important to be around friends and family as much as possible and to spend time with the people that you love whenever you can.”
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