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Falling for Festivals

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
The monthlong pumpkin festival at Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Md., packs a lot of fall favorites into one place. For $11, visitors can explore a straw maze, interact with farm animals and enjoy a hay ride. The farm also sells pumpkins and other fall decorations, as well as treats.

WHEN: Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Haymarket, Va.
COST: Free 

Pumpkin Festival
Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Md., offers family fun and fall produce in its 32nd annual Pumpkin Festival. 

Admission is $11 per person, and children under 2 are free. It will take place from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October, plus Columbus Day. 

Free activities include a spider web, a corn bin, hay rides, a straw maze, giant slides, a pumpkin coach, pumpkin polls, farm animals, a twisted corn pumpkin maze and pedal tractors. 

The pumpkin cannon, pony rides, face painting and pumpkin picking cost extra. Visitors can also pick their own flowers and apples. 

The orchard will host a farmer's market that sells mums, straw bales, maize, gourds, corn stalks, pumpkins and apples. Pre-made goods at the market include apple cider, pumpkin and apple butter, local honey, fresh baked fruit pies and caramel apples. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Butler's Orchard, which has operated as a family-owned farm for 60 years, grows more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers on 300 acres of land.

WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays in October
WHERE: 22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, Md. 
COST: $11, free for kids 2 and younger

Renaissance Festival
For District residents looking to step back in time, the 36th Annual Maryland Renaissance Festival will be held Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Crownsville, Md., through Oct. 21.

The festival - one of the largest renaissance festivals in the United States - teleports visitors to the year 1514 in the "royal village" of Revel Grove. Visitors can dine on medieval fare, watch period plays and shop the offerings of artisans selling everything from leather goods to swords. 

Tickets cost $22 a day for adults ages 16 to 61, with discounted prices for seniors and children. If a one-day trip into the past isn't enough, the festival offers two-day, six-day and nine-day passes for Renaissance buffs looking to spend their October days at the 25,000-acre fairgrounds. And this month brings an Oktoberfest celebration Oct. 6 -7.

Festival-goers seeking to truly immerse themselves into the time period can rent costumes and attempt to act like a 16th-century beer wench or blacksmith while watching performances of  Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" or the daily jousting matches that have become a staple of the event. 

Each year, the festival follows a story line, with this year's being King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon's court visiting Revel Grove for the royal couple's annual summer progress.

WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 21
WHERE: Crownsville, Md. 
COST: $22, $19 for seniors over 62, $10 for kids ages 7-15

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