Fall Festival

Families wait to go canoeing during Quarry Hill’s Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, at Quarry Hill Park in Rochester.

Welcome in the season with a visit to Quarry Hill Nature Center's Fall Festival. Always a family favorite, the annual event is designed to get family members of all ages outside and into nature.

“Fall Festival highlights those things that are uniquely Quarry Hill,” said Lori Forstie, QHNC public relations and outreach coordinator. “A lot of kids know Quarry Hill from our summer day camps and school field trips. Fall Festival is a great opportunity for the entire family to come out and see and enjoy everything the nature center and park has to offer.

Held rain or shine, admission to Fall Festival is free of charge. Families purchase tickets ($1 each, $20 for 25) that can be used to play games, do activities or purchase food. Money raised through ticket sales goes to Quarry Hill’s general operations fund helping feed the nature center’s animals, helping the nature center remain admission free.

“We’ll have plenty of fun sit-down activities, like candle rolling, pumpkin painting, and eco-friendly crafts,” said Forstie. “There’s also opportunities to get up and get moving with cave tours, canoeing on the pond, and rock climbing on our outdoor rock wall.”

With most activities taking place outside, families will also have the opportunity to see live animal presentations, study a constellation, climb a tree, and sing campfire songs.

“The National Eagle Center will be here on Sunday doing a live eagle presentation and Maier Tree will be here Saturday offering tree climbing,” said Forstie. “A fun new family piece this year is campfire songs at the Prairie House. Families can also visit our star lab at the Prairie House. Star Lab is a portable planetarium families can go into for an out of this world experience.”

Fall Festival is a popular place — last year there were more than 6,000 attendees. Helping make it all possible is Quarry Hill Nature Center staff, volunteers, and board members as well as dozens of local high school students.

“Kids from all three public high schools come out and work three-hour shifts. They run the games, work the cookie decorating station, help with canoes. We couldn’t do it without them,” said Forstie. “If you are looking for a relaxed, family-friendly activity Fall Festival definitely the place to be. It’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the park — and the fun things we have to offer.”

Lindy Lange is a licensed school social worker. Family Time appears every Wednesday. Up next: There's more than a listening ear at Seasons Hospice Drop-in Teen Days grief support group.

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