Things to Do

Seven Can't-Miss Fall Events in Phoenix

Pose with the pumpkin patch truck at the Fairmont Princess.
Pose with the pumpkin patch truck at the Fairmont Princess. Fairmont Princess

We're finally here, all. It's officially fall, and even though the Valley is a few weeks behind when it comes to cooler temperatures, the October mornings have a little hint (maybe) of a chill in the air. Celebrate the arrival of autumn with a host of activities including pumpkin festivals, tea time, and candy crawls in the city.

Pumpkin Fest at the Fairmont Princess

A pumpkin patch. Jack-O-Lantern Lane. Apple cider. These are a few highlights at Pumpkin Fest at the Fairmont Princess, 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale. You know there will be opportunities to pick out a small or large pumpkin, pose with a pumpkin patch truck, and stand next to the friendliest scarecrows. Have fun navigating the hay mazes with the family or hop on one of the rides — Dizzy Dragons, Black Widow Spider ride, or the Happy Swing ride. Adults can partake in some libations like apple cider, a first at the pumpkin festival this year. Located in Scottsdale, Pumpkin Fest continues through Sunday, October 31. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday to Sunday. Tickets are $72 for four wristbands and self-parking admission or $108 for four wristbands and valet parking.


Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival

A mobile petting zoo is the latest attraction at Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival, 4011 South Power Road, Mesa. Kids can pick their favorite pony as they trot around on the grounds. If that doesn't hold your kid's attention, there are giant tube rolls, barrel train rides, duck races, a five-acre corn maze, and pumpkin bowling. Hop on a giant jump pad, play some Ping-Pong, or head to the food court to indulge in some carnival grub. The festival continues through Sunday, October 31. Festival hours are Monday to Thursday 3 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person and kids under 2 are free.



click to enlarge Eat pastries and drink tea at the Drink Me! Tea Room. - DRINK ME! TEA ROOM
Eat pastries and drink tea at the Drink Me! Tea Room.
Drink Me! Tea Room

October Literary Tea Party at Drink Me! Tea Room

Who says you can't celebrate fall in an unconventional way? Come sip on some tea and talk everything books during a literary tea at the Drink Me! Tea Room, 1730 East Warner Road, #5, Tempe. There will be a pot of tea, gluten-free, plant-based savories, and sweets. Be certain to dress up, since the theme is all things Halloween, and take pictures with unique photo backdrops and pose with plenty of pumpkins. And bring your best book selections to share with others and add to your TBR pile, too. Reservations are encouraged since tea times sell out quickly. Tea reservations can be made on Wednesday, October 27 to Sunday, October 31. Times are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $35. 

Mortimer Farms Sunflower & Pumpkin Fest

If you want to escape the city limits and go rural for the day, Mortimer Farms, 12907 AZ-169, Dewey, is hosting a sunflower and pumpkin fest. Located about 90 minutes north of Phoenix, the fest highlights farm-inspired rides like rope courses, buckaroo ponies, redneck swing, pillow jumps, and ziplines. If you want to get lost for a few hours, try the corn maze. There is also an option to participate in tetherball, giant race slides, and a family hayride. Farm-to-table food is featured at Mortimer Farms. The festival continues through Sunday, October 31, and hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets vary from $12 to $22.50 per person. Certain rides, food, and drinks might have extra costs.

click to enlarge Children enjoy the Flying Farmers ride at Schnepf Farms. - AMANDA MASON
Children enjoy the Flying Farmers ride at Schnepf Farms.

Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party

Share your scary stories with a bonfire at the Schnepf Farms Pumpkin & Chili Party, 24810 South Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. The corn mazes at Schnepf Farms aren't messing around; be careful, or you could get lost in the 4-acre or 10-acre mazes. Hopefully, it'll be cold enough to enjoy some chili in between the petting zoo, live music, super slides, and rope courses. For the hardcore attendee who likes a good fear factor, there's a haunted bus and train ride. Make it a goal to experience all 45 rides on the property. The party continues through Sunday, October 31. Hours are from noon to 9 p.m. on Thursday, noon to 10 p.m on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $23.95 per person.

Anthem Autumn Fest

Crafters rejoice, because Anthem Autumn Fest, 41703 North Gavilan Peak Parkway, is a love letter to everything handmade. Here is an unexpected surprise — hayrides are free. You can roam around the grounds while listening to live music. Adults can relax in the beer garden with their favorite brew, and kids can decorate a pumpkin, watch the roaming magician who pulls quarters out of his ear, or get a treat from the balloon artist who makes animal art out of colored balloons. The festival begins on Thursday, October 21, and ends on Saturday, October 24. The hours are 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Wristbands are for rides only and cost $25.

click to enlarge Creepy candy crawl is happening at Desert Ridge Marketplace. - RUDRI BHATT PATEL
Creepy candy crawl is happening at Desert Ridge Marketplace.
Rudri Bhatt Patel

Desert Ridge Marketplace Creepy Candy Crawl

If you want to nab some candy, but don't want to drive too far out of the city, Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard, is hosting a candy crawl where kids can go store-to-store and trick-or-treat. There will be live music and a chance at prizes. Make sure you wear your costumes. The event takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19. Admission is free. Be certain to grab boba on your way out at Share Tea or a slice of pizza from Slices.
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Rudri Patel is a lawyer turned writer and editor. She is the co-editor of the online literary journal The Sunlight Press and on staff at Literary Mama.
Contact: Rudri Patel