Fall Fun for the Family Near Eastmark
It is hard to believe, but fall days are almost upon us! As we say goodbye to the dog days of summer and hello to sweater weather and the start of the 2021 holiday season, there are plenty of events coming up in the Eastmark area that are perfect for a family friendly way to welcome the change of seasons.
The first fall themed event is the Annual Pumpkin and Chili Party hosted at Schnepf Farms. About 10 miles south-east of Eastmark in Queen Creek, Schnepf Farms is known for their fall festivities and was recently voted by Phoenix Magazine, New Times, and Sunset Magazine as ‘The Best Fall Family Event in the Greater Phoenix Area’. This year will be the 24th year of the event and some of the activities they have at the farm include amusement rides, zip lining, train rides, hayrides, outdoor games, plus a 4-acre and 10-acre corn maze, a petting zoo and of course, a pick your own pumpkin patch. A new feature this year is the Wreckoning Haunted Bus Ride, which is built inside a school bus and takes riders down a twisting and turning path through a series of haunted scenes. Chili dinners will be sold at the main food area and they also have a wide variety of other food options including burgers, BBQ, wood-fired pizzas, mac and cheese, funnel cake, and kettle corn. The Pumpkin and Chili Party runs from Thursday – Sunday through the entire month of October starting October 1. Tickets are available online for $23.95, admission does not include food, pumpkins, or the haunted bus and train ride.
Another fun and authentic farm experience is also not too far from Eastmark at Vertuccio Farms. They will be hosting their Annual Fall Festival and Corn Maze all throughout the month of October. A mini hay maze, pedal race cars, barrel train ride, giant spider web, and extreme air pillow round out the ride offerings at this event. New this year is a petting zoo in addition to mini-golf, duck races, a 5-acre corn maze, and a pumpkin patch so your family can select the perfect pumpkin. Tickets can be purchased online and are $12 per person. The event runs Monday – Thursday, 3pm-9pm, Friday – Saturday, 9am-10pm and Sunday 12pm-7pm.
There will also be a couple Halloween themed events in Downtown Mesa. The Trick or Treat and Sprits Stroll on Main Street will be in Downtown Mesa on Saturday, October 30. This event will be free and more details on both afternoon and evening events are coming soon on the Visit Mesa website. The Mesa Arts Center is also putting on a Dia de los Muertos Festival in celebration of Latin American Art and culture related to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. This is a free event and will offer an array of cultural performances, live music, delicious food, and community altars (called ofrendas) created by local artists, where attendees can leave mementos in honor of their loved ones who have passed. This even will run both Saturday and Sunday on October 23 and 24.
Meanwhile, Queen Creek will be hosting a Trunk or Treat event on Saturday, October 16 from 5pm-9pm at the Town Center. At this event you will find carnival games, inflatable attractions, escape rooms, nerf wars, food vendors and entertainment. Children can trick-or-treat by going from car trunk to car trunk on “Trunk or Treat Street”. Community ghouls, business goblins, and resident ghosts will host a trunk at the event and are encouraged to dress in costume to pass out candy to attendees. On Nightmare on Ellsworth, you’ll find a new and improved attraction of mazes made up of scenes from well-known horror movies. Another new attraction is Haunting on Heritage, a thrilling experience where you’ll encounter terrifying circus clowns, ghostly graveyards, and test your survival skills through a zombie outbreak. They are selling VIP Experience tickets that are $75 and include 1 VIP parking pass, $20 in carnival tickets, and 4 no-wait trunk line wristbands that can be purchased at the Recreation Annex in Queen Creek. Tickets can also be purchased for the other events individually.
Outside of the Eastmark area, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is hosting its fall festival Pumpkin Fest. The event is running now until October 31 and includes mini carnival rides, a pumpkin patch, fireworks, and a hay maze. Also new at this year’s festival is The Cider Orchard with flaming ciders (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic), kettle corn, and caramel apples. Adults can also grab a few spirits at “The Spookeasy” at the Plaza Bar. The festival is included in admission for overnight hotel guests and the public can gain admission by dining at one of the resort restaurants or purchasing tickets online. Another spooky Scottsdale event is the Halloween Spook-Track-ula at the McCormick Stillman Railroad. This event runs from October 8 to 31 from 6pm-9:30pm. This is a family-friendly event perfect for kids of all ages, with a spooky train ride that is not too frightening for the smallest family members. Families can purchase tickets during a 1.5 hour time block from 6pm-7:30pm or 8pm-9:30pm and visitors will be able to ride the train and carousel as many times as they’d like during their time block. Tickets for this event are $15 per person and also include a meet and greet with Bones the Engineer, access to Halloween photo pods, and the Model Railroad Building for a look at the Railroad’s smallest trains.
Even further north where the fall leaves will really be changing, you can find a handful of family friendly events as well. Mortimer Farms is located in Dewey, AZ about 2 hours north of Eastmark. Full festivities at the Pumpkin Fest and Corn Maze begin on October 1 and activities include a hay maze, rides, games, cinnamon-sugar donuts, and farm-inspired attractions such as a ropes course, swings, slides, and train rides, and a U-Pick pumpkin patch. Admission ranges from $12 to $22.50 per person throughout the month depending on what day you visit. Similarly, around 3 hours south-east of Eastmark in Wilcox, AZ is Apple Annie’s Orchard. Their Fall Pumpkin Celebration is currently running each weekend from now until October 31. They have a 12.5-acre corn maze, a hayride that will take you on a ride through the farm to the pumpkin patch, and a sunflower field that boasts the “best and biggest sunflowers in Arizona” that you can also take home to enjoy.
There are also a few fall events coming up that are not Halloween related in the Eastmark area. First, is I Love Mesa Day on Saturday, September 25. This free event will take place in downtown Mesa and hopes to support and promote the businesses in the area. The day begins at 8am with the Downtown Mesa Farmers Market and will continue throughout the day with live music, Main Street activities, and free entry to the i.d.e.a Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History, and the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum. Two free concerts in the evening at the Mesa Amphitheater will showcase ‘Michael Franti Trio with Quetzal’ and ‘Young the Giant’. Free tickets to each evening concert will be offered on a first come first serve basis.
Also on Saturday, September 25 is the Rockin’ Taco Street Fest in Chandler, AZ. This event will have tacos, margaritas, live music and Lucha Libre performances with more than 20 local food trucks, restaurants, and other food vendors in Downtown Chandler. Advanced tickets are $12 or $20 at the door. Children 12 and under are free, while food, drink and games area separate cost. The event runs from 12pm-9pm.
Finally, Mesa Riverview Park will be hosing its 7th Annual Arizona Margarita, Mojito, Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival on October 2 from 4pm-10pm. The festival has family friendly kids’ activities such as bounce houses and face painting, plus margaritas and mojitos for the adults. Food will be provided by 20-25 local food trucks, as well as live music and awesome vendors. Children 18 and under are free! Tickets cost $10 for General Admission and a Tasting Ticket is $35 online which includes all-inclusive tasting tickets for margaritas, mojitos, and craft beers and a souvenir tasting cup.
However you and your family like to ring in the cooler weather and fall spirit, one of these activities nearby is sure not to disappoint!