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Plenty of outdoor fun still to be had in Petaluma

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Having left September behind — with its gentle but firm grip on our memories of summer — we now step cautiously into October, and suddenly summer seems like it happened half-a-year ago or more. A month of lengthening nights, wind-blown leaves crunching between sidewalk and foot, and (for so many reasons) a hint of danger in the air, October is its own special time, especially in Petaluma and Sonoma County.

For one thing, though we’ll soon see the sun setting earlier — an atmospheric and aesthetic change coming just in time for Halloween — and for another, October is the last month of the year in which there are still plenty of outdoor activities to draw us out into the unpredictable maybe-warm/maybe-cold weather.

Here then, from pumpkin patches and mazes, to harvest celebrations and gatherings of humans eager to share their stories, are just some of the events, activities and festivals awaiting us over the next several weeks in Petaluma and beyond.

PETALUMA PUMPKIN PATCH AND AMAZING CORN MAZE

Ongoing through Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Sure, some drop by the famous Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, merely intending to peruse its vast five-acre array of pumpkins, gourds, and squash. And yes, there are kids who can’t get enough of the straw mountain and the corn-kernel sandbox. But let’s face it, what makes people slam on their brakes and stop by for a visit is the Amazing Corn Maze itself. The four-acre maze has only one exit, and can take people 45 minutes or more to find their way out. And that’s in the daylight. With a map. To help, two-story viewing platforms have been added inside the maze, so lost souls can grab a quick view of the terrain before heading back down into the labyrinth. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the maze stays open for bold-and-daring flashlight wielders willing to enter the maze in near complete darkness. Daytime maze entry $6, $9 for nighttime excursions. 450 Stony Point Road. The Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze closes its 2017 season at 6 p.m. on Halloween.

Want to know more? PetalumaPumpkinPatch.com.

FARM TRAILS

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 & 14

Various locations

Explore the farms and ranches of Petaluma and beyond at Sonoma County Farm Trails presents a weekend of agricultural adventure, open barns and guided tours. Some farms will invite visitors to participate in gathering eggs, pumpkins, apples and roses, some will have hands-on demonstrations of composting and jam-making, and others will offers tastings, farm-to-table dinners, and meet-and-greets with farm animals. Most events are free of charge. To get the full list of participating farms, visit Fall-farm-trails.eventbrite.com.

Want to know more? FarmTrails.org.

OKTOBERFEST

Sunday, October 14, 12 p.m.

Hermann Sons Hall

This is one of the most popular local Octoberfest events in Sonoma County. You cannot beat the authentic revelry of the annual shindig thrown by Hermann Sons’ Petaluma Lodge #26. Festivities begin with a parade of flags, followed by the first of two performances by the Nature Friends Schuhplattler Folk Dancers, a big feast of bratwurst and all the appropriate side dishes, dancing to the music of the Steve Balich Band, a big raffle, and amiable German high-spirits. Tickets are $14 in advance, $17 at the door, and $12 for the full bratwurst dinner. 860 Western Ave.

Want to know more? For information call 664-0375 or 778-8066.

CEMETERY WALK

Saturday, October 20, 10:30 a.m.

Cyprus Hill Memorial Park

During Petaluma’s popular annual Cemetery Walk, at Cyprus Hill Memorial Park (430 Magnolia Ave.) true stories of Petaluma Pioneers will be told right at the spot they are buried. As presented by the Petaluma History Museum, their stories will spring to life before your eyes, even if the characters (hopefully) don’t. Donations of $15 accepted

Want to know more? PetalumaHistoryMuseum.com.

WINE COUNTRY SPOKEN WORD FESTIVAL

Friday-Sunday, Oct. 19-21

Downtown Petaluma

Billed as The Second Annual Inaugural Wine Country Spoken Words Festival, this ambitious accumulation of renowned storytellers, poets, performers, speakers and tellers of jokes returns to Petaluma, with an all-star lineup of guests including comedian W. Kamau Bell, storyteller Bil Lepp, performance artists Zahra NoorBaksch, actor/poet Steve Connell, Appalachian storyteller Elizabeth Ellis and New York City poet-performer Denice Frohman. Plus a whole lot more. Shows take place at a variety of locations including the Mystic Theatre, the Hotel Petaluma, and others.

Want to know more? Visit DavePokornyPresents.com

PRONZINI PUMPKIN PATCH

Ongoing through Oct. 31

Pronzini Tree Farm

Hay rides, numerous bouncy houses, giant slides, a petting zoo, Native American village, and the popular “Haunted Trail” all await visitors to Pronzini Pumpkin Patch. 3795 Adobe Rd. Open weekdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Halloween 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Want to know more? Pronzinitrees.com

PUMPKINS ON PIKES

Saturday, Oct. 20 & 27, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Petaluma’s Tara Firma Farms

Pumpkins on Pikes begins with an afternoon of fun, food and pumpkin-carving leads to an evening of jack-o-lanterns displayed on pikes (metal poles) set here and there about the farm, then all lit up as the sun sets. Pumpkins provided to all attendees. Saturday, Oct. 20 and again on the following Saturday, Oct. 28. $20, with a barbecue meal available for $5-$10. Kids under 6 are free. 3796 I St. From 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bring your own carving tools, and a blanket. It gets cold when the sun goes down, so dress warmly.

Want to know more? TaraFirmaFarms.com

McCLELLAND’S PUMPKIN PATCH

Ongoing through Oct. 28

McClelland’s Dairy

Another popular seasonal attraction sees Petaluma’s McClelland Dairy transformed into a Halloween-themed amusement park, complete with hay rides through a Haunted Forest, a target-shooting “pumpkin cannon,” a working dairy farm with activities for kids, hay maze, tire swings, peddle race track, inflatable slides, food shack and more. Fridays 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 6475 Bodega Ave., Petaluma. There is a charge for some activities.

Want to know more? McClellandsDairy.com