NATURE by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent

The days are getting shorter, the nights are growing longer, and most mornings there is a chill in the air. It’s a long-held tradition in the fall to acknowledge the change of seasons and celebrate the harvest. Between now and Halloween there are a number of local fests and feasts, offering all sorts of activities for young and old. Think: hayrides, corn mazes, visits to the pumpkin patch, plus lots of locally grown food, craft beer, and freshly pressed apple cider. Read on, and mark your calendar!

Weir River Farm Fall Festival – Saturday, September 21st from 10am-3pm at Weir River Farm, Turkey Hill Lane, Hingham. Hosted by The Trustees, this annual event celebrates the harvest on one of the last working farms in town. Enjoy old-fashioned fun by visiting farm animals, riding a Pom Pom Pony, climbing aboard a tractor, and painting your own pumpkin. Hear live music from Milk & Bones, take a Clydesdale wagon ride, learn how to press apple cider, and participate in the potato spoon relay. Plus food trucks, face painting, farm tattoos, and craft brews from Zelus Beer. Visit The Trustees.

Sunday Fun Day at Norwell’s Jacobs Pond — Sunday, September 22nd from 9am-2pm at Jacobs Pond Recreation Area, 81 Jacobs Lane, Norwell. Kayak & canoe tours, guided nature walks, tai chi, local artists, story hour, critter talks, and a geocache treasure hunt, plus face painting, farm visits, concessions, and lots more. Visit www.townofnorwell.net.

12th Annual Harvest Moon Feast: Monday, October 7 from 6-9pm at Mill Wharf Restaurant, Scituate Harbor. Support the NSRWA’s Environmental Education programs while sampling dishes prepared by the South Shore’s finest restaurants and caterers. This benefit event includes live jazz by the Lance Van Lenten Quartet, beer and wine tastings, and a cash bar. Visit www.nsrwa.org.

Levitate presents Flannel Jam – This new, end-of-season celebration takes place at the Marshfield Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 12 (2pm). Featuring live music by Trampled by Turtles, Ballroom Thieves, and Liz Cooper & the Stampede, plus Ward Hayden & the Outliers, and Six Fox Whiskey. Enjoy fall-themed food and drink, hot spiked cider, s’mores, hot cider doughnuts made to order, and special craft releases by local breweries. Bring the kids and check out the hay maze and corn pool. Visit www.levitateflanneljam.com.

Harvest Hoedown: Columbus Day Weekend, October 12-14, 10am-4pm at C.N. Smith Farm, 325 South Street, East Bridgewater. Family fun including Pick Your Own apples and pumpkins, live music, hayrides, moonwalks, pony rides, plus lots of food from the Farm Kitchen. Visit www.cnsmithfarminc.com.

Mass Audubon’s 39th Annual Farm Day – Saturday, October 19, 10am-4pm at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Winslow Cemetery Road, Marshfield. Mass Audubon’s annual event for families features tractor-drawn hayrides, owl demonstrations, live bluegrass music, artisans such as blacksmiths, weavers and wood-turners, local handmade gifts, children’s games and crafts, face painting, hay mazes, home-baked treats, and hot fresh cider doughnuts. Visit www.massaudubon.org.

7th Annual Duxbury Oktoberfest: Saturday, October 19th, 4-8pm (ages 21+) at a new, all-weather location — Camp Wing, Duxbury. Part of the Duxbury Food & Wine Festival, this casual, often boisterous, event features local craft and seasonal beer, plus German wine and traditional Bavarian fare. There will be live music, dancing, and contests for Best Dirndl and Lederhosen, Hefty Stein Holding, and Yodeling. Visit www.duxburyfoodandwinefestival.com.

Nessralla’s Farm Corn Maze: Saturdays & Sundays, 10am-6pm, through October 27 at 139 Hemlock Lane, Halifax. A 15-acre corn maze, plus hayrides, pony rides, face painting, bouncy house, toddler maze, kiddie train, hay bale pyramid, cornhole, sack races, Jenga, tic-tac-toe, zipline, concessions. The Friday & Saturday night (7-10pm) flashlight maze begins October 4. Don’t miss the Colossal Pumpkin Drop on Columbus Day weekend. Visit www.nessrallafarm.com.

Sauchuk Farm Corn Maze: Saturdays and Sundays 9am-6pm, through November 2, plus special hours on Columbus Day and October 11, at 200 Center Street, Plympton. A giant corn maze, a small array of concessions, plus lots of child-friendly activities including a Corn Cannon, Duck Races, the Cow Train, Barnyard Ball Zone, Jumping Pillows, a Tug of War, all set in the middle of a corn field. Don’t miss the hayride to the Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch. Visit www.sauchukmaze.com.

Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 20+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there.