Seven Springs celebrates fall with Autumnfest weekends
For 35 years, Seven Springs Mountain Resort has been celebrating the season of Jack Frost, pumpkins, hearty fare and Halloween.
Autumnfest returns this year for four weekends, beginning on Sept. 28-29 and concluding Oct. 19-20, with food and entertainment centering on the season.
The weekends feature more than 80 artisans and crafters, children’s activities, pumpkin carving demonstrations, face painting, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, pony rides, magicians and axe throwing.
Autumnfest is one of the longest-running fall festivals in the region, Katie Buchan, resort spokeswoman, says.
“We have folks who came when they were children now bringing their children and grandchildren,” she says.
Fun for all ages
Children ages 4 to 7 who already are anticipating winter fun can try their skills at snowboarding for the first time at the free Pirates Riglet Park.
“Riglet Park is designed to get kids onto a snowboard and feel that sensation,” Buchan says.
A professional instructor guides children through an obstacle course via a rope attached to a snowboard.
“It’s noncommittal, fun for the kids, and if they enjoy it they can come back (and try it) in the winter,” Buchan adds.
It’s not yet time to strap on the skis and tackle the slopes, but rides on the chairlift will transport visitors up and over the resort for an aerial view of the colorful trees.
The Alpine Slide will provide a thrilling ride down the mountainside.
Specialty events guests can check out include NamastHay Goat Yoga, Foggy Brews Oktoberfest and Seven Springs Mixology Class.
Sept. 28–29 and Oct. 5–6 are Oktoberfest weekends, with Bavarian games, German food, German beer tastings and more.
Games will include the Pumpkin Carry and the Hofbrau Obstacle course. Those achieving the highest scores — male and female — will each win a 2019-2020 Seven Springs season pass.
At 7 p.m. Sept. 28, those 21 and up can sample craft beers and enjoy live entertainment at Foggy Brews Oktoberfest. Tickets are $40.
NamastHay Goat Yoga will be held Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, with pygmy and full-size goats getting in on the fun. Tickets are $20, all experience levels welcome.
“We had goat yoga for one day last year and it sold out. This year we have two dates for that,” Buchan says.
An Oktoberfest buffet will serve a feast of bratwurst with sauerkraut, chef-carved top round and beer brined turkey breast, BBQ pork spare ribs, Chicken Kiev with supreme sauce, homemade noodles and more.
On Oct. 5, enjoy a warming bonfire to welcome in the cooler weather.
Planned entertainment includes The Stickers, The Hobbs Sisters and Jane West on Sept. 28; Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors, The Locke Boys and Denise Baldwin on Sept. 29; The Grid, The Brighton Boys and Shelley Duff on Oct. 5; and Match City, Chris Higbee Acoustic Experience and Meredith Holiday on Oct. 6.
Chili, not chilly, weekend
During Chili Weekend, Oct. 12-13, the resort’s culinary professionals will feature a chili extravaganza of hearty creations.
New this year will be hot metal happenings aluminum pour demonstrations. Sparks will fly as Rivers of Steel experts demonstrate an aluminum cast pouring.
With autumn’s brilliant colors for inspiration, visitors can explore their creative side by participating in a Plein Air Painting Workshop. No experience necessary, but space must be reserved in advance.
Back by popular demand is the mixology class. “We introduced that last year. One thing we have here at Seven Springs is a full staff of bartenders,” Buchan says.
Would-be bartenders — professional or for home entertainment purposes — will learn to make five classic cocktails, she says.
Admission is $40 and includes sampling, light hors d’oeuvres and instruction.
The weekend’s entertainment includes Hillbilly Way, Flow Band, Rob Bayne, Oct. 12; Black Dog Hollow, Donny Irish and Tim Stacey, Oct. 13.
Kids’ Halloween Weekend
The one the younger set anticipates, Oct. 19-20, includes a costume parade, pumpkin swim, mac and cheese tent, Bavarian games and more.
“The pumpkin swim is an extremely popular event. We fill the pool with pumpkins, and cap the number of swimmers at 45, so reservations are required. And if you didn’t know that pumpkins float, they do,” Buchan says.
New this year is a free Halloween puppet show unlikely to frighten even the youngest visitors. “It involves Inky the Black Cat, who’s too adorable to be scary,” Buchan says.
A family magic show will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 19, with free admission for those 7 and under, $10 for those 8 and older.
Taking the stage (s) this weekend will be Airborne, Told Ya So! and Rob Bayne, Oct. 19; and Chris Higbee, Right Turn Clyde and Kevin Dale Band, Oct. 20.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .