From pumpkin picking to equestrian competitions and music festivals, the Main Line comes alive in fall. Here, a rundown of the biggest events for your social calendar.
Though pumpkins reign in fall, the true spirit of Linvilla Orchards falls from its apple trees.
Every fall, the Main Line hits its seasonal stride once school buses start winding down its sinewy roads and the majestic trees turn from verdant green to golden shades of red and orange. But after a sleepy summer, the Main Line also starts buzzing with a litany of autumnal events sure to fill up your calendar, a fall lineup as varied as its residents. Whether you’re part of the patrician horsey set or you’d rather spend your Saturdays throwing back some beer and barbecue, there’s an early fall event out there for you.
To any Main Liner, the name Linvilla Orchards (137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116) has long been synonymous with brisk fall days full of apple picking and hayrides, endless fields of pumpkins, and, to the chagrin of the dieting masses, bagfuls of sinfully addictive apple cider doughnuts. Linvilla is the epitome of autumnal charm, and there’s no better way to kick off the season than with a trip to the 300-acre family farm that dedicates itself to agriculture, entertainment, and education.
Pumpkinland, which is open at Linvilla from September 12 through early November, displays over 100 tons of pumpkins, ranging from cute hand-sized versions to massive, boulder-like gourds. Wander through the scarecrows and bales of straw to find a few pumpkins to take home. And be sure to stop by Linvilla on September 26 and 27 for the annual Apple Festival and Pie Eating Contest. Held at the peak of the season, it’s a weekend of all apples all the time, with a bounty of caramel and candy apples calling out for fillings, along with other apple treats. And catch the famed pie-eating contest for some gluttonous fun.
For equestrian lovers, the Devon Fall Classic (23 Dorset Road, Devon, 610-964-0550), held at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair grounds from September 10 to 13, offers three days of equine fun on the very site that used to host the American Gold Cup every fall. At this Level 4 Jumper show, horse-lovers can visit the grandstand for a series of events, including the high jump, low jump, pony jump, children’s classic, and adult classic, throughout the festival.
Transition from the horsefilled summer into autumn with the Devon Fall Classic.
But even if you care more about dresses than dressage, there are a slew of things to entertain you as the kids ride the carousel and Ferris wheel, play games in the midway, and ride the ponies. Shop your heart out with vendors peddling equestrian-themed clothes, jewelry, housewares, antiques, and art. Or take in some food in a range of styles, from the gourmet to downhome barbecue.
If you’re looking for fun of a bit more raucous nature, head to the Haverford Township Historical Society’s annual Oktoberfest (Karakung Dr., Havertown, 484-452-3382), held on October 2 from 7 to 10 pm at Nitre Hall, the headquarters of the historical society. Like a little slice of Germany’s Black Forest right here on the Main Line, partiers can munch on snacks and appetizers and sample beers from local microbreweries like Downingtown’s Victory Brewing Company and West Grove’s Evil Genius Beer Company. (Evil Genius is the mastermind behind the aptly named, and seasonally appropriate, Pumplestiltskin brew.) There’s also live music and a silent auction where the proceeds go to benefit the Heritage Festival.
Lest we forget the Main Line’s music lovers, the Paoli Blues Fest and Street Fair on October 3 is sure to get the Upper Main Line in a soulful mood. Held at the Paoli Village Shops in the heart of the town, the festival will include more than 120 vendors selling everything from jewelry and clothing to wares for kids and pets. Plus, there’s a beer garden to get your drink on, and a KidZone, moon bounce, and face painting to keep the kids busy.
But a Blues Fest is nothing without blues bands, and this year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint. Some standouts include the Tommy Froelich Trio, described as a “diverse mix of blues and rock, fused with a little bit of funk”; The Little Red Rooster Blues Band, a group that melds Chicago blues with West Coast Jump blues; and Lisa Chavous & The Philadelphia Blues Messengers, a Philly band with an avant-garde take on the blues, combining classic electric blues with R&B and jazz-funk.
photography by bill Cramer. opposite page: brenda Carpenter photography