Finding fantastic, fun fall festivities

Kristina Tsakos
arts editor

November may feel like the month where academics start to pick up speed, but this doesn’t mean students can’t take some time to enjoy the fall season. It was easier as a child to fully experience the season when there weren’t assignments and deadlines to constantly worry about, but there are ways to preserve the nostalgic fall feeling that most students remember. Students can unwind with these autumnal activities:

Apple picking

Butler’s Orchard and Homestead Farm are locations that have rows upon rows of apples to pick from. Homestead Farm is home to animals and holds ongoing hay rides that travel throughout the apple orchard. There are also wood cutouts for pictures, and a market with products ranging from pumpkin bread to syrup straws. After an apple harvest, the fruit can be used to make fall goodies like apple pie, spiced cider or fresh applesauce.

Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Every year in downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County hosts a Thanksgiving Parade. Organizations in the community come together to display floats of various classic television characters alongside performers and a marching band. The event held on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. is televised, and entry is free.

The City of Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival

A three-and-a-half mile path at Seneca Creek State Park will exhibit hundreds of light creations from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. Friends and family can enjoy a cold night drive with holiday music as they drive through the several, intricately-made holiday-themed sections of the festival, including Winter Woods and Toyland. Tickets from Monday through Thursday cost $12 for cars holding fewer than 15 people, while tickets Friday to Sunday cost $17. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Gaithersburg community.

Farmer’s Markets

Local farmers markets have an abundance of seasonal products that can boost fall spirit. Going to a farmer’s market provides an opportunity to experience shopping for food outside of a grocery store, and to meet people who are passionate about their products. Fresh produce allow for even tastier recipes. The Kensington Farmer’s market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. It is a well-known place for people to shop for baked goods, fruits, vegetables and other products.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter

On Thanksgiving, it is easy to forget those who are unable to have the experience of sitting down with loved ones to enjoy a holiday meal. Students can give back to their community by volunteering at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. Assistance is needed for not only distributing food, but preparing them. Locations like Stepping Stones Shelter on Copperstone Court in Rockville and Nourish Now on Taft Street in Rockville provide opportunities to create a welcoming setting for less fortunate individuals to sit down and enjoy a warm meal.

Run in a Turkey Trot

Up until Thanksgiving, there are runs held around the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. One popular trot in particular is the Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger. The 5K run will be held on Nov. 22 starting at 8:30 a.m., beginning at Freedom Plaza in D.C.. As described by the event’s website,, the money earned from this event is used to help people in need in the D.C. area in the form of “food, clothing, and healthcare.”