For people who consider autumn their favorite season, there is nothing better than seeing those first changing leaves, feeling the slight chill in the air on a sunny day, pulling sweaters and jeans out of their hiding places and knowing that fall festivals – with their apple cider pressings and pumpkin carving and hayrides and haunted houses – are just around the corner.
With its blend of urban and agricultural land, Clark County is ideal for celebrating the harvest season: There are dozens of ways to ring in autumn at local festivals and Halloween-inspired events.
We’ve compiled a list of a few October happenings that will please everyone from the hardcore haunted house enthusiast to the lover of fresh-hop beers to the fall-leaf-gathering, apple-cider-pressing folks who are probably getting giddy just reading the words “fall” and “leaf.” (Disclaimer: That’s me.) Enjoy!
Old Apple Tree Festival
When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sat., Oct. 1
Where: Old Apple Tree Park, 112 S.E. Columbia Way, east of Interstate 5 bridge within Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Cost: Free – hosted by Urban Forestry Commission in partnership with the city of Vancouver’s Urban Forestry program, Clark Public Utilities, Bartlett Tree Care and the National Park Service
What’s Happening? This festival celebrates the glories of one of autumn’s most delicious fruits, the apple, with a nod to the 190th birthday of Vancouver’s tough-as-nails Old Apple Tree, which has withstood two centuries’ worth of floods, droughts, winds, ice and snow. The community festival features a free apple cider pressing (bring your own clean apples and clean containers to take home freshly pressed cider) and the Urban Forestry Commission will give away a limited number of tree cuttings from the Old Apple Tree. There will be live music, food, arts and crafts for children, tree care workshops and a tour of Vancouver’s Land Bridge.
More Info: Call Urban Forestry at (360) 487-8308 or click here.
Vancouver Brewfest’s Fresh Hop Festival
When: 4 to 10 p.m., Fri., Oct. 7 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. Oct. 8
Where: Vancouver Landing on the Columbia River, 100 Columbia St., Vancouver
Cost: Weekend passes are $30. Friday passes cost $20 and Saturday passes are $22. All passes cost $5 less if purchased in advance. There are also “designated driver” passes available for $8 on either day. Ages 21 and older.
What’s Happening? This two-day festival features fresh-hop beers created by local Southwest Washington brewers, as well as five unique German, fresh-hop beers. Fresh-hop beer is beer made with freshly harvested hops used in the boil during the last few minutes as flavor and aroma hops. Festival organizers say this type of beer is seasonal and only made during the fall (when the hops are freshly harvested), so hosting a fresh hop festival in October is a perfect fit.
More Info: Visit the Vancouver Brewfest site for more information about the hop festival or to purchase advance tickets.
Haunted Walking Tours at Clark County Historical Museum
When: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through month of October
Where: Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main St., Vancouver (Tour starts at Slocum House)
Cost: $10 ($8 for CCHM members) Space is limited to 25, so RSVPs are required
What’s Happening? Take a spooky tour of historic, downtown Vancouver on this haunted walking tour. Good walking shoes, rain gear (on those dark and stormy nights) and a trusty flashlight are recommended.
More Info: RSVP required. Call (360) 993-5679, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use PayPal to pay online and reserve your spot, here.
Camas Pumpkin Pageant
When: 5 to 8 p.m., Fri., Oct. 7
Where: Throughout downtown Camas
What’s Happening? Participating businesses will have an artfully carved pumpkin and you can vote for your favorite. Cast a vote and be entered to win great prizes from local, participating merchants. There also will be a Star Wars costume contest with prizes for children and adults, fall crafts for the children and festive fall shopping on Camas’ First Friday event.
More Info: Visit the Downtown Camas Association page here for more information.
Clark County ScareGround’s Haunted House Scream Park
When: 7 to 10 p.m., Oct. 7 through Oct. 30
Where: Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield
Cost: Weekday tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 10 and younger. Weekend tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for children. Tickets include all four “haunts,” taxes and free parking. There are add-ons like VIP passes to get you to the front of the line for additional costs, and you can save money by bringing canned food for the Clark County Food Bank.
What’s Happening? The Clark County ScareGround’s is an all-ages Halloween event located on 170 acres at the fairgrounds in Ridgefield. This year’s event features four new haunted houses, a “Scream Parlor,” photo ops and other exhibits.
More Info: Call (503) 807-3322, email email@example.com or visit the website for more information.
17th annual BirdFest and Bluegrass Celebration
When: Fri., Sept. 30 through Sun., Oct. 2
Where: Throughout Ridgefield, Wash.
Cost: Costs vary, depending on event
What’s Happening? So much! To read an article on this year’s BirdFest and Bluegrass Celebration by our reporter, Joanna Yorke, click here.
More Info: Visit the Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge site for more information.
When: 4 to 10 p.m., Fri., Sept. 30 and Sat., Oct. 1
Where: Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main St., Washougal
Cost: Free admission
What’s Happening? Come celebrate the season at the Washougal Oktoberfest with German food, live music and beer featuring brews from local, Southwest Washington breweries. Sponsored by Riverview Community Bank, Triple C Auto Brokers Country Financial, Lions Club, DWA and Columbia Litho Printing, the festival also features dancing and costume contest winners. A “Superhero 15K Relay” race also takes place in Washougal on Sat., Oct. 1, ending at the Oktoberfest. The race begins at 5 p.m. and features three-person teams, running 5K each.
Riverside Christian School’s 26th annual Apple Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun., Oct. 9
Where: Riverside Christian School, 463 N. Shepherd Road, Washougal
What’s Happening? The main fundraiser for the Riverside Christian School in Washougal, this annual festival features more than 30 vendors selling everything from food to soaps to locally made art. Last year’s festival drew more than 1,000 visitors and offered a pie-eating contest, a bounce house, a cake walk, pony rides and, of course, the chance to purchase fresh apples by the pound as well as apple dumplings and apple pies.
More Info: Call (360) 835-5600
Downtown Washougal Pumpkin Harvest Festival
When: 3 to 6 p.m., Wed., Oct. 19
Where: Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main St., Washougal
Cost: Free admission and free pumpkins
What’s Happening? Family-friendly pumpkin festival featuring free pumpkins, a Halloween hunt, refreshments, prizes, treats, games and entertainment. Remember to wear your costume!
More Info: Visit Washougal’s Pumpkin Harvest Festival page.
Cedar Creek Grist Mill Apple Cider Pressing
When: Starts at 9 a.m., Sat., Oct. 29 and ends when they finish pressing 8,000 pounds of apples
Where: Cedar Creek Grist Mill,
What’s Happening: Come watch an old-fashioned apple pressing and enjoy a glass of fresh-pressed apple cider at the historic grist mill outside Woodland in northern Clark County. A national historic landmark, the grist 140-year-old mill is the only grain grinding mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity, grinds with stone and is powered by water. Throughout the year, the grist mill volunteers offer special events such as the apple cider pressing on the last Saturday in October.
More Info: Click here for more information about the mill, or here for more information about the apple cider pressing event on Oct. 29.