Neighbors: County offers so much in the fall

  • A previous demolition derby at the Franklin County Fair. STAFF FILE PHOTO/Shelby Ashline

  • Children ride the merry-go-round at the Franklin County Fair. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • An array of fall foliage colors are displayed in Northfield in 2018. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

  • Trees with vibrant foliage sit before a bank of evergreens adjacent to Route 202 in New Salem in 2016. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

Published: 8/19/2019 5:50:19 AM

Good morning neighbor!

Fall is almost upon us — it begins a little over a month from now on Monday, Sept. 23.

Of course, the unofficial start to fall here in Franklin County is our beloved fair. The 171st annual Franklin County Fair will be held Sept. 5 through 8 this year, and the theme is “Let the Good Times Grow.”

The Coleman Brothers Midway returns, and you can, as always, purchase unlimited ride wristbands. My days of going on rides are over — except maybe the merry-go-round with my grandchildren, and even that tends to make me a little dizzy — so I’ll leave the Ferris wheel and more exciting rides to my children.

The Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby will be held Saturday and Sunday, and there will be lots of entertainment and demonstrations throughout the weekend. There will also be lots of food — fried dough, cotton candy, candy apples and all that delicious fare made by local organizations and restaurants. And, what would the Franklin County Fair be without its kickoff parade at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5? The parade, as always, will make its way through downtown and up to the fair with many of us watching — and following.

Did you know that in 2015, the fair was named by Globe Magazine as one of the “10 Great New England Fairs.”

Please stop by the Greenfield Recorder booth that weekend and say “Hi.” We’ll be there all weekend — I’ll be there from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Hope to see you.

Other fall events

There are plenty of other things to do throughout the county this fall.

There’s the Old Deerfield Craft Fair on Sept. 21 and 22 in Old Deerfield. Visit:

The North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival will be held on Sept. 28 and 29 at 60 Chestnut Hill Road in Orange. Check out the lineup at:

The Festival of the Hills will be held in Conway on Oct. 6. If you’d like to know what’s being offered this year, visit:

Celebrate the Harvest in Orange will be held Columbus Day weekend; check it out at:

The annual Franklin County Pumpkinfest, now called the Great Falls Festival, will be held in Turners Falls on Oct. 24. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Franklin County Cider Days

On Nov. 1 through 3, the county will welcome back Cider Days, so mark your calendars. The event is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — doesn’t seem possible that it has already been a quarter-century.

For those of you who don’t know about Cider Days, it is an annual community celebration of all things having to do with apples, including cider making, cider tasting, workshops and much more in orchards and other places throughout the county from Ashfield to Turners Falls to New Salem.

Whether you like hard or sweet cider, this is the event for you. There is a charge for some events, so check out the website before you head there later this fall. Visit:

Let’s face it, Franklin County is absolutely beautiful in the fall — you can’t beat it.

So, take a walk on the Quabbin Reservoir or through one or more of our many state forests. Take a ride up the Mohawk Trail before too many leaf peepers arrive — it’s a destination for many in- and out-of-state adventurers who love the colors of autumn. Plan a breakfast outing with your friends or family to one of our delightful sugar houses — I can taste that sweet, local maple syrup in my mind.

Though it’s always sad to say “Goodbye” to summer, autumn has so much to offer here in the Pioneer Valley — especially in Franklin County. It happens to be my favorite season, because it’s not too warm, not too cold, and it’s colorful and abundant. I could go on and on, but instead, I’ll be going to many of the events and places I just mentioned, so I hope to see you at them.

Senior Reporter Anita Fritz grew up in Franklin County after moving from Spokane, Wash., when she was just a few weeks old. She is the regional reporter for the Greenfield Recorder, after covering Greenfield for eight years and serving as features editor for the Recorder and editor for the Athol Daily News. She has also written for Yankee Magazine, the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover and other publications. Reach her at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or

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