When it comes to fall weather, foliage and festivals, locals should feel lucky to live in Central Pennsylvania.
Extreme weather and drought in other parts of the country, and as close as the western part of the state, may have damaged the trees and leaves that create the vibrant backdrop for the season. And though it is crucial for weather in the next few weeks to cooperate, Bill Syrett, manager of the Joel N. Myers Weather Center at Penn State University Park, said the forecast looks like Mother Nature will do just that.
"As long as we can get fairly typical days with lots of sunshine and cool nights that aren't below freezing, we should get some color," Syrett said.
Mirror file photo
Leaves in Central Pennsylvania should turn very vibrant colors this year, according to experts.
When cool temperatures and the first frost of the season came a little early, it made Marc Abrams, a professor of forest ecology and physiology at Penn State, a little nervous.
"This is bringing out some of the fall colors a little early," he said. "I'm not exactly sure what the effect will be over the next two to three weeks."
If things warm up again in October, it could depress colors that have started to come out in certain tree species.
If you go
What: Harvestfest at DelGrosso's Amusement Park
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: DelGrosso's Amusement Park, 4352 E. Pleasant Valley Boulevard, Tipton
Details: $5 admission includes rides and entertainment. Call 684-3538 for more information
What: Potato Fest
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Details: Free admission, call 472-8780 for more information
What: Apple Cider Festival at Prince Gallitzin State Park
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7
Where: Prince Gallitzin State Park, 966 Marina Road, Patton
Details: Free admission
What: Fall Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct 13
Where: Downtown Clearfield
Details: Free admission
What: Hartslog Day
When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13
Details: Free admission. Parking available at the MeadWestvaco plant and the Juniata Valley High School
What: Pumpkin Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct 20
Where: Allegheny Street Hollidaysburg
Details: Free admission
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Oct 20-21
Where: Old Bedford Village, 220 Sawblade Rd. Bedford
Details: $10 admission, children under 14 free.
Though these are things a specialist might notice, Abrams added that to the public eye, fall colors are "really quite resilient."
"We always have something between a good and excellent display," he said.
This should be good news to organizers of the several fall festivals that are poised to take place throughout the area.
The Prince Gallitzin State Park will hold its annual Apple Cider Festival on Oct. 7, and park environmental education specialist Beth Garner said she hopes for a "beautiful fall day" to compliment the festival's outdoor setting.
"The smells of fall will be all around you," she said.
The Apple Cider Festival will feature live entertainment, children's activities, more than 100 homemade craft vendors and 20 food vendors. Garner said this will of course include plenty of "apple goodies," as well as a apple cider pressing demonstrations fit for the festival's name.
There is no admission fee, but Garner said donations will be collected by the Friends of Prince Gallitzin to go toward purchasing new playground equipment for the park. Garner added that the Apple Cider Festival is one of the park's biggest fundraisers.
"Come for a day of fun," Garner said. "It's just going to be a wonderful time."
Anticipation for the annual Hartslog Day Festival in Alexandria, slated this year for Oct. 13, begins building well before the weekend it's held. Rachelle Hopsicker, co-chair for the event, said community members clean yards and streets for the big event days in advance.
"People will say 'Wow, it feels like a Hartslog Day,'" Hopsicker said of community members when the Fall season rolls around. "It's part of everything here."
Hartslog Day has grown in size and popularity since it was started in 1975, and this year will include a parade, a pumpkin pull, new entertainment acts, new displays at the Hartslog Heritage Museum and 175 craft vendors.
"They are by far the best artists we've seen in years," Hopsicker said.
There is something for everyone who attends Hartslog Day, Hopsicker said, adding that the event also draws visitors and natives back to the area.
"It really is a homecoming for this area and everybody looks forward to it," Hopsicker said. "It's the quirkiest little festival around."
As summer becomes a memory and DelGrosso's Amusement Park in Tipton prepares to close, locals are drawn for one last visit by the food, crafters and fun of its annual Harvestfest. The event will take place today and Sunday, and will feature new attractions including a comedy dog show and a kid's game competition.
"I think it's a great season finale," said Amy Mearkle, director of marketing for DelGrosso's.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.