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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pumpkins, cranberries and gourds galore highlight fall festivals

    One-Tank Trip for Oct. 7/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Big orange pumpkins and little red acidic cranberries complement Thanksgiving Day meals and star on their own in festivals at this time of year.
Visitors to the Bala Cranberry Festival can watch berries being harvested at an area marsh.
   Stratford Tourism has expanded its Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail to include 21 stops in the Festival City and five in St. Marys.
   “The flavour of pumpkin is synonymous with autumn and for many, this is the most anticipated trail,” said Cathy Rehberg of Stratford Tourism.
   Now in its third year, there are 26 offers presented by culinary artisans and shopkeepers on this self-guided trail with participants selecting any six.
   These range from savoury offers of Thai pumpkin curry soup and fries in a spicy pumpkin dip to decadent pumpkin cupcakes, creamy pumpkin fudge and pumpkin pie spice brittle made by local artisans, Rehberg said.
Junction 56 Distillery offers its Pumpkin Spice Liqueur along the Savour Stratford Pumpkin Trail.
“Enjoy chef-made pumpkin desserts and a warm pumpkin tart and even pumpkin tipples,” she added.
   There are pumpkin scented natural soaps, decorative candles, fall posies and napkins to complete a fall decor.
   Trail passports cost $25 plus tax. visitstratford.ca/pumpkintrail; 1-800-561-7926.

   Beware of dark spaces
   Pumpkinferno returns to Discovery Harbour, the original British naval and military base in Penetanguishene, but beware.
   Visitors can experience the phenomenon of “hauntingly magical and stirring outdoor exhibits of hand-carved pumpkins,” set against the night-time backdrop of Discovery Harbour (93 Jury Drive).
   Be wary of new characters lurking about in the expanded Terror Zone.
A huge dragon is one of the many creative hand-carved jack o’lanterns at Discovery Harbour.
   Not recommended for children younger than 12, it’s called “an absolutely amazing scare zone, if you dare to enter.”
   New is the Coffin Ride, a 3-D burial simulator, “where you lie in a coffin and go on a ride, as if you were being buried alive,” said publicist Nathalie Canto.
   Hand-carved jack o’lanterns are plentiful, with “countless stirring exhibits and extravagant scenes” including a western town and huge dragon.
   The outdoor exhibit spans the historic attraction and includes a maze and crafts for young children.
   It’s open Thursday to Sunday through Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
One of the scary characters at Discovery Harbour’s Pumpkinferno.
   Admission is $8 with a non-perishable food item and no charge for children to age five. discoveryharbour.on.ca; (705) 549-8064

   Jack O’lanterns shine
   A towering pumpkin pyramid of about 1,500 carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns is the centrepiece of the Waterford Pumpkinfest in the community south of Brantford.
   Hosted by the Waterford Lions & Lioness, it’s a family event from Oct. 13 to 15.
A gigantic tower of carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns is a highlight of the Waterford Pumpkinfest.
   There are fireworks on Friday, a parade on Saturday and car show and soap box derby on Sunday with the Creepsville Spookhouse, pumpkin carving, live music and a marketplace.
   The huge gourds are creatively displayed throughout town at decorated houses and businesses.
pumpkinfest.com; (519) 443-4944

   All about crans
   For a “berry-good time” head for Bala on the scenic shores of Lake Muskoka and the Moon River for its Cranberry Festival, Oct. 13 to 15
   A highlight is a visit to Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery for a “true appreciation of our beloved cranberry,” fest organizers say.
   “The best way to experience the festival is to start at one end of town and stroll your way to the other, taking in all of the vendors, attractions, entertainment and food along your way,” they suggest.
   Visitors can enjoy cranberry crepes and bread, candied cranberries, cranberry and cran-maple syrup, cranapple cider and even cranberry wine during the activity-packed festival.
   There are fireworks, “continuous entertainment,” plenty of meal options, a midway, children’s petting zoo, farmer's market, craft show, bazaar, games and vendors.
   Weekend admission is $10, with children to age 12, free. balacranberryfestival.on.ca; (705) 762-1564


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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