Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer.
While we’re sad to see summer go, especially after what our community has been through this summer, fall brings new hope.
Cool breezes, beautiful scenery, incredible festivals, corny fun, haunts, costumes and some of the craziest events of the year.
Here are 7 things we are looking forward to this fall in Dayton.
1.) FESTIVAL FUN
Summer festival season in Dayton is non-stop food and fun. But some of the best festivals of the year happen in September and October.
The Ohio Renaissance Festival kicked off over Labor Day weekend and will continue every weekend through the end of October.
Also on the horizon: The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest (Sept. 27-29), voted the Best Festival in Dayton in Dayton.com’s latest Best of Dayton contest, Minster Oktoberfest (Oct. 4-6), Hispanic Heritage Festival (Sept. 14), Preble County Pork Festival (Sept. 21-22), Germantown Pretzel Festival (Sept. 28-29), Yellow Springs Street Fair (Oct. 12), Ohio Sauerkraut Festival (Oct. 12-13) and more.
>> PHOTOS: Ohio Renaissance Festival 2018
2.) FALL HIKING
There is no better time of year than now to soak up the natural beauty of our region. There are so many gorgeous spots to choose from for a nature walk. Here are a few of our top picks:
Sugarcreek MetroPark always has something new waiting to be discovered by visitors. The expansive metropark consists of different types of landscapes as hikers trek further along its many lengthy trails.
Englewood MetroPark has three waterfalls with an amazing view of limestone dipping into a wide ravine. If you continue to Patty Falls, you’ll see a large rocky waterfall, which is active year-round, sided by cascade stone.
>> RELATED: More incredible places to hike in Dayton
3.) PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE
Nothing says fall family fun than a day at the pumpkin farm. Take a hayride, pick out your own pumpkin, eat up some fall-flavored treats, pet some farm animals, get lost in a corn maze and more. Some even offer apple picking. A few of our favorite spots are Young’s Dairy, Niederman Family Farm, Bonnybrook Farm and Brumbaugh Fruit Farm. There are also events dedicated to our great pumpkins. Young’s has a pumpkin festival, and so does the community of Bradford along the border of Miami and Darke counties.
4) PUMPKIN-FLAVORED EVERYTHING
Pumpkins aren’t just for picking. You can get pumpkin-flavored everything this time of year, from coffees, to beer, to treats. Pumpkin spice lattes are already out!
5.) VISIT A HAUNTED HOUSE
Prepare to be scared silly. Land of Illusion in Middletown is already open for the season, and the rest are soon to follow. Southwest Ohio has some of the most incredible haunted attractions, including several that have gotten and continue to get national buzz. If you don’t mind a short drive, The Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati, the Lewisburg Haunted Cave and Land of Illusion in Middletown have gotten national props. Returning for a third season is Brimstone Haunt (formerly the Springboro haunted hayride) on the grounds of the Ohio Renaissance Festival (so you could spend the day at Ren Fest and evening at the haunted attractions). Thrills and thrill rides combine for a terrifying night at King’s Island Halloween Haunt, coming soon. Looking for something a little closer to home, the Riverside Jaycees Haunted House is spooky and run by volunteers to help support a good cause.
6.) GET LOST IN A CORN MAZE
'Tis the season. There are dozens to choose from in the Dayton region, ranging from easy for the little ones to even a challenge for the smartest grown-ups. One maze to add to your must-try list is Tom’s Maze in Germantown. It’s been nominated as one of the top 10 corn mazes in the state. There are various bridges and 12 puzzle pieces to locate. If you get frustrated, there are helpers within the labyrinth to help you out. It will open for the season on Sept. 13.
7.) HALLOWEEN EVENTS
October is full of Halloween fun, from small events and special tappings at your favorite bars and brewpubs to a weekend-long festival in Fairborn, to family friendly events, to adults only events. Mark your calendars for a couple fun events:
ALE-O-WEEN, on Oct. 19, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association will have tons of special brews available at the Dayton Convention Center.
FAIRBORN HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL on Oct. 18-20 with a zombie walk, parade, beer and more at this family friendly Halloween festival. A visit to Foy’s is a must!
HAUNTFEST ON FIFTH on Oct. 26, the Oregon District’s annual Halloween bash returns complete with costume contest and plenty of tricks and boozy treats.