From the cranberry fields of Richmond to the pumpkin patches in Langley and the apple orchards in Abbotsford, the Metro Vancouver region is bursting with autumn treasures. There’s plenty of ways to celebrate the season in the coming weeks, from festivals to food, hayrides to hot cocoa.
Here are our top picks for family-friendly ways to enjoy the fall season for kids and adults of all ages:
Olde Harvest Fair at Stewart Farm
Surrey’s first fall fair was held in 1888 and this annual celebration gives a nod to the old-fashioned harvest festivals of the past. Enjoy sack races, live entertainment, cider pressing, and a variety of local vendors selling their wares at Historic Stewart Farm in South Surrey. This free event runs from 11 am to 3 pm.
Heritage Apple Day
Saturday, October 5
This marks the 14th year that Heritage Apple Day has been celebrated at Derby Reach Regional Park. Hosted by the Derby Reach/Brae Island Park Association and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks East Area, this event showcases the legacy of the Brae Island Heritage Apple Orchard, which was planted by settlers in the Fraser Valley in the late 1890s. Much effort and time has gone into preserving the century-old apple trees, some of which are rare species. This free, all-ages event runs from 11 am to 2 pm, and features fiddle music, old-fashioned games, historical re-enactments, and other fun activities. Visitors have the chance to try varieties of apples that you can’t find at local grocery stores, and buy fresh fruit from local farms to take home and enjoy.
West Vancouver Harvest Festival and PumpkinFest
Sunday, October 6
Want a taste of an old-fashioned country fair? Check out the country harvest festival at the West Vancouver Community Centre, running from 10 am to 3 pm. The fun includes games, farm animals, firemen demonstrations, an artisan market, and home and harvest competitions (check out the website to find out how to enter your own pies, jams and more.) There will also be free swimming, skating, and gymnastics at the centre’s facilities – and, of course, food and entertainment.
UBC Botanical Garden Apple Festival
October 19 & 20
This popular event returns for its 28th season on Oct. 19 and 20 and is a great option for those in the city who may not have the time to travel out to surrounding farms. Though not u-pick, there’s more than 60 varieties of apples to purchase (and dozens of apple trees for sale, too) along with family-friendly entertainment, live music, a children’s area, food vendors, craft retailers, and more. Funds from the apple sales go to help support education, research, conservation, and outreach with UBC Botanical Garden. This event runs from 11 am to 4 pm.
Fort Langley Cranberry Festival
Saturday, October 12
What’s fall without the taste of cranberries – or the sight of the many crimson cranberry fields around the region. The Fort Langley Cranberry Festival celebrates this unique plant by welcoming visitors for fun throughout the day. Kick off the day with a pancake breakfast in the town of Fort Langley, along with entertainment, a children’s area, a market, and food trucks. From 10 am to 5 pm, the Fort Langley National Historic Site runs free admission, and visitors can learn more about the history of the area and the cranberry itself, including its importance to Indigenous people. And the Fort Langley Business Association notes that there will, of course, be copious amounts of cranberries for visitors to purchase and bring home.
Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes
Dates and times vary
Want to hit up one of the many local farms that offer autumn fun? Here’s a quick directory of some of the most popular destinations in the Metro Vancouver region. Pricing, hours, activities, and seasonal openings vary:
Maan Farms in Abbotsford offers pumpkin patches, a corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, zip line and more.
Aldor Acres, a family-owned and operated farm near Fort Langley has antique farm machinery on display, farm-fresh goods for sale, a petting zoo area and, of course, plenty of pumpkins.
Willow View Farms in Abbotsford has apples, pumpkins, hayrides, and lots more, all situated on a cozy family farm.
Chilliwack Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm has a unique tradition: each year, the corn maze is designed with an all-new pattern (sneak peek for 2019: it’s based on the Canucks logo to celebrate the NHL team’s 50th anniversary.) There’s also a pumpkin patch, a huge jumping pillow, and more family fun.
Port Kells Nurseries in Surrey welcomes families for free harvest fun including a hay bale maze, pumpkin patch, an outdoor play area, and much more.
Laity Pumpkin Patch in Maple Ridge has two locations, each one ideal for different ages. Check out their site to decide which one is best for your family, then check out all the adventure, fun, animals, and, of course, pumpkins.
Richmond Country Farms has music, entertainment, hayrides, and plenty of pumpkins on a working farm just beyond Vancouver city limits, in Richmond.