By Anna Hazard
Here are a selection of festivities during the fall season taking place throughout Maryland that are particularly suitable for seniors, whole families (often including kid & pet friendly events), or those with mobility or health issues. Many events take advantage of the cool autumn weather (that is neither too abrasively hot or cold ) by having outdoor components to being held entirely outside.
The particular focus is on seasonal autumn harvests (especially the availability of healthy fresh produce), leaf viewing, Halloween themed events, and other festivals, bazaars, and gatherings that have an fall flavor or motif to their activities. More general events that take place during the season have also been included at the bottom of the list.
Pick Your Own Produce (Apples & Pumpkins)
There are many festivals, bazaars, and other celebratory gatherings that are explicitly centered around an autumn theme during this time of year which feature costumes, harvest-based festivities & decorations, and leaf viewing activities. While many take place in the warmer weeks of October, a few can be enjoyed in the later weeks of November (which also tend to have a Thanksgiving based theme). As many festivals take place on farms, in open fields, or within nearby forests, the accessibility for a certain event should be checked beforehand for those seniors in wheelchairs or who have more severe mobility problems. Most festivals an entirely outdoors or have outdoor based components so care should be taken to compensate for fall's more fickle weather patterns (requiring preparation in advance for both chillier or warmer weather).
Fall Food Events
Fall festivities often center around the harvest and other available foods as is represented by this season's two most popular holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Besides the quintessential focus on pumpkins, gourds, apples, and other autumn produce that readily come to mind, sea food in another hallmark of this time of year. In particular many oyster celebrations take place within October & November to mark the end of the oyster's summer spawning period (where they are often thinner than usual due to their reproductive activity). Keep in mind that seniors and others with chronic health issues are more sensitive to the dangers of food poisoning that may arise from consuming raw seafood and thus cooked versions (steamed, broiled, or smoked etc) are recommended over their raw varieties.
Here are a selection of festivals, work-shops, and other events within Maryland that explicitly celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday at the end of the month. Many of these celebrations are sit down events such as meals, crafts & art classes, or lectures & games and are thus suitable for those who may have more mobility issues. There are also senior discounted walking tours, festivals, and site seeing available for those elderly loved ones that are more ambulatory. While they may have spooky themes, none of the included events are particularly scary with most being family friendly (and even pet friendly in certain cases) or suitable for those with more delicate health or heart conditions.
These parks, trails, and other spots of nature are known for providing a good view of brilliantly colored foliage while remaining accessible to those in wheelchairs, scooters, or other mobility aids. Roads such as Skyline Drive feature views that can be enjoyed from within a car while providing accessible accommodations for those who wish to stop along the way. Eastern Neck is also particularly known for their migratory bird watching of flocks heading south for the winter during this time of year. For those who may have mobility or health problems that make walking along trails problematic or who do not have access to automobiles for the road based leaf viewing, there are also leaf viewing tours that can be taken via railroad for a nominal fee.
Other Fall Events
These fall events don't fit neatly into the pre-established categories of seasonal produce gathering, autumn themed festivals & bazaars, Halloween events, food based festivities, or leaf viewing but they still provide potential fun outings for seniors during this time of year. Most of these events are outdoor festivals with more general themes celebrating history, art, or native wildlife. Accessibility to all festival locations should be checked beforehand for those seniors who may have more limited mobility. Free Fall Baltimore includes more indoor based events that may be more suitable for those with delicate health that precludes them from going outdoors in chillier weather.
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