Autumn is in full swing as we settle into October, and there are tons of ways to enjoy the marginally cooler weather, from fall festivals, pumpkin patches, and other family-friendly seasonal activities. I saw multiple billboards around Houston for Apple Fest debuting this month, and I decided my son and I would attend its opening day after realizing one of the festival's locations is a short drive from our home in Katy.
Every weekend in October, master-planned community Cane Island in Katy as well as Meridiana in Rosharon are hosting Apple Fest, which is a family event featuring a variety of kid-friendly activities, prizes and giveaways, vendors, and a chance to tour the communities' model homes.
The first Saturday of October dawned clear and bright, so my toddler and I headed over to check out the event and spent the morning taking advantage of the different activities offered. Before we even turned into the parking lot, I knew my son was going to love it because I could see the bounce house. What I couldn't see was that they didn't just have one bounce house, but three different moon walks, including a traditional bounce house, an obstacle course moonwalk, and a giant double slide.
Tearing my son away from the different moon walks to check out the other activities proved to be no small feat; every time I got him to leave one, he immediately darted over to jump into another one, and it was only after I explained that we were going to turn an apple into candy that I was able to lure him away. We headed inside to try our hand at the self-serve candy apple bar, which featured candy apple coatings like chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, sprinkles, and nuts we used to coat our ripe, red apples.
Fueled by sugar, we then attempted the hay maze. However, one turn in my toddler decided mazes were not his idea of fun. So we backtracked, watched some kids compete in potato sack races flanked with apples, and then headed over to the mini pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin for painting. The mazes are better suited for older children and are a good opportunity for family bonding and problem-solving; we just aren't there yet.
Pumpkin painting proved to be a huge hit with my son, and after multiple layers of red and green paint were applied strategically and repeatedly on the same spot of the pumpkin, he deemed his work a masterpiece and we left it to dry while we checked out the rest of the festival. Face painting, a scarecrow on stilts, free cookies while touring the local vendors, and of course, more bouncing rounded out our festival experience, and we both left tired and happy.
If you're in either of the areas hosting Apple Fest or just looking for something fun and free to do one weekend day in October, heading out to this fall festival is definitely a must. Each weekend is packed with different activities, free food and drinks and music, which ensures a day of fun for the whole family.
A few helpful tips for festival fun:
- The vast majority of the festival is outdoors, so check the weather beforehand.
- Bring socks for the bounce houses.
- There are free drinks (water, apple cider and wine tastings, and St. Arnold beer tastings). However, we brought our own water bottles, which ended up being a good thing because the water table was empty when we were constructing our candy apple.
- Make sure your kid actually wants his face painted before standing in line for 20 minutes, otherwise you may end up doing what I did - waiting in line while he bounced his heart out just to have him change his mind about wanting to sit for face painting right when it was his turn. Not even encouragement from everyone behind us in line could change his mind once he decided against it!
All photos by Rachael Cherry