Fall festivities in Western New York

Seasonal events near Buffalo that won’t hurt your wallet


The leaves are changing color and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes fills the air on campus.

There are many great seasonal spots to explore within an hour’s drive and The Spectrum is here to tell you about a few that won’t break the bank.

The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Fest

Located in Clarence, this festival is (more or less) right around the corner from campus. It has a variety of different activities for people of all ages, including scarecrow making, pie eating contests, pumpkin slingshots and a corn maze.

With one of the world’s largest pumpkin patches and a great selection of ciders, the Great Pumpkin Farm is the epitome of all things fall in the Buffalo area.

It runs every weekend until the end of October and best of all, it’s free.

Ellicottville Fall Festival

This event is the largest and oldest fall festival in the area and features an array of different activities and attractions. Festivalgoers can enjoy the craft vendors, food, carnival rides, musical entertainment, local shopping and ski lift rides at the local ski resort Holiday Valley.

The festival runs on Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9. There is a $3 charge for the shuttle bus from various parking locations to the festival itself. The festival is about an hour’s drive from campus.

Fall Fest at Canalside

This Saturday Oct. 8, downtown Buffalo’s Canalside will be having its annual Fall Fest, with attractions for people of all ages.

The festival has everything from food trucks to crafts to a 27-foot-high inflatable pub with an extensive beer garden.

The festival also includes amusement park rides and Halloween movies and a haunted house for later in the evening.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. so there’s plenty of time to fit it into your schedule throughout the day. The festival itself is free of charge, so you can spend as much or as little money as you’d like.

Haunted hayride at Becker Farms

Halloween also plays an important role in the fall festivities as the holiday looms closer.

Gasport’s Becker Farms gets spooky for the season. Starting on Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. on weekends, the farm provides a creepy haunted hayride, a labyrinth, campfires and other nighttime activities.

The “Phylotec Biogenetic Testing Station” is new this fall.  The station is a genetic plant engineering experiment gone wrong and creates terrifying man-eating monsters. Guests navigate the biogenetic disaster area, hoping to survive the fallout.

The station is just $10 a person and a 30-minute drive from campus.

Hallowine Murder Mystery Weekend

If you’re of age this fall, celebrating over a glass or two of wine sounds appealing. This spooky spin on the traditional wine trail makes for a fun Halloween-themed activity.

Guests follow several wineries along the Niagara wine trail. They can sample and interview different suspects of a murder mystery. At the end of the trail, everyone submits their final guesses as to who was the murderer for a chance to win different wine prizes.

It costs $30 a person for three samplings at each winery.

The Haunted Fortress fundraiser

Arguably the scariest event on the list, the Haunted Fortress is perfect for anyone looking for a good scare.

Old Fort Niagara has plenty of ghost stories to captivate its guests, including a headless ghost that allegedly haunts the nearly 300-year-old French castle.

The event offers a nighttime tour of the grounds, with animated ghosts that tell the story of the Fort’s gory and violent history.

The tour is followed by a bonfire of true stories of supernatural sightings in the fortress and ends with a walk through the Fortress’ cemetery, which dates back to 1755.

At $20 a person and a 40-minute drive away from campus, this tour isn’t exactly a steal, but all of the proceeds from the event will benefit Old Fort Niagara’s educational programming, which caters to more than 13,000 children each year.

If you’re planning on going, make reservations as soon as possible; there are only two dates for the event – Oct. 15 and 22.

Lindsay Gilder is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com