Thursday October 4, 2012

Berkshire Botanical Garden

The annual Harvest Festival at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge is the granddaddy of fall festivals. This Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the festival marks its 78th year of celebrating the season with family activities that will include the hay jump and haunted house, as well as a hay wagon and horseback rides.

Continuous live music and magic shows will join the Pocket Lady and petting zoo in entertaining the crowds, while the cherry picker lifts young visitors to see the best view in the Berkshires. Navigate the obstacle course and jump in the bounce house for more fun.

Shoppers can buy colorful chrysanthemums and spring bulbs for their gardens along with handcrafted wares from dozens of area artisans or delicious baked goods, and they can browse at a huge tag sale filled with clothing, books and knick knacks.

Join the line for the famed Red Lion Inn Butternut Bisque, and enjoy tasty treats from barbeque and farm-fresh sausages to spiral-cut fried potatoes and cotton candy.

Be sure to take time to explore the 80-year-old garden and exotic greenhouses. Wander through the shady woodlands, around the froggy pond and along the herb garden terraces, not forgetting the children’s garden designed especially for the young ones.

This year, parking is free and admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.


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Information: www.berkshirebotanical.org, (413) 298-3926.

Old Austerlitz

On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., travel back to the early 19th century at the 16th annual Autumn in Austerlitz Festival. Held in the historic hamlet of Old Austerlitz, N.Y., this old-time event is run by Historical Society volunteers dressed in vintage costumes and features live musical entertainment as well as old-fashioned handcrafters demonstrating their wood and tinwork, quilting and hand-tied fishing flies, weaving, blacksmithing, artwork and stained glass.

The festival includes traditional children’s entertainment to let little ones experience games and activities of the past centuries, along with a petting zoo and border collie duck herding. A highlight of the food offerings is the famed soup kitchen, with all manners of warming concoctions from creamy chowders to hearty vegetable soups, accompanied by a variety of home-baked breads.

Admission is $6 adults, and free for children under 12. Please leave pets at home. Infor mation: old
austerlitz.org, (518) 392-0062.

Ventfort Hall

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., lords and ladies, knights and damsels all are invited to the fourth annual Medieval Faire at historic Ventfort Hall in Lenox. Led by "Sir" Jeffrey Mann, members of the Barony of Bergental living history organization will present displays of armored combat, feats of horseback agility, and medieval arts, crafts and costume, as well as re-enactments of everyday life of the Middle Ages, with entertainment provided by strolling musicians and troubadours.

Mann, a re-enactment veteran, will display and talk about his personal area of specialty, medieval armor, and how it was used for tournament combat.

The Robbins-Zust Family Marionettes will perform the classic fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin" for the enjoyment of all ages. With the imposing Gilded Age mansion as the backdrop, the fair promises to offer a taste of times past to young and old.

Advance tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 5 to 17 and free for children ages 4 and under and include museum admission. (Tickets on the day of the fair are $22 for adults and $12 for ages 5 to 17.) Information: www.gil-ded
age.org, (413) 637-3206.

Bidwell House Museum

Nothing says fall quite like piles of pumpkins, and the bright orange gourds will take their place in Monterey on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the annual Bidwell House Museum Pumpkin Fest at the 18th-century homestead museum of Colonial history.

Bidwell House will offer plenty of age-appropriate activities for young ones including storytelling, face painting and a fun science table. Kids can climb a hay mountain, pick and decorate pumpkins, and enjoy s’mores and seasonal foods. Admission to the festival is free. The museum building will be closed for tours on that day. Information: www.bidwellhousemuseum.org, (413) 528-6888.