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Beer, birds, bites mark fall festivities

From the German-inspired Oktoberfest to a historical Colonial Harvest Festival, Little Rhody is about to catapult itself into a celebration of autumn. The abundance of upcoming festivals offer the perfect opportunity to combine a love of fall with the chance to venture off College Hill.
Most fall festivals are not particularly well-known to students. "I've mostly just walked through them," said Gerrit Thurston '13. But Rhode Island hosts many festivities that are worth checking out.
Live entertainment, potential for family-style fun with fellow Brunonians and a constant flow of beer are among the many offerings. Locations include a preserved colonial land teeming with history, a beautiful waterfront in Newport and a scenic bird sanctuary.

Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair
Sept. 29-30
RIPTA Bus Route #63
A wildlife refuge with 300 plus acres, hiking trails and picturesque ocean views, Norman Bird Sanctuary will host the 38th annual Harvest Fair. The fair offers pony rides, hay rides, a home and garden competition and plenty of food. Whether you go for the entertainment provided by the Harvest Fair or for the natural beauty of the sea, a celebration of fall is perfect at this bird sanctuary.

OFest R.I.
Oct. 5-8, 6 p.m.
RIPTA Bus Route #99

Rhode Island hosts its own version of the infamous German Oktoberfest ­- an event characterized by "great beer, great music and great food," according to the festival website. Beer is often unequivocally linked to Oktoberfest, and Rhode Island's version does not disappoint. There is an inexhaustible range of beers ranging from the impossible-to-pronounce Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest to the familiar Bud Light. Rhode Island's Oktoberfest also offers four nights of live music and is a mere 20 minute RIPTA bus ride away.  But there is a catch - 21 and over only.

Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival
Oct. 13-14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
RIPTA Bus Route #63

Bowen's Wharf in Newport offers another historical venue to celebrate fall off College Hill. Since the 18th century, Bowen's Wharf has been a global port, and it is still a booming commercial area. A head-spinning range of local seafood is offered at the wharf - lobster, clam chowder, clams and more. Dessert is also available and live music completes the scene. The music will include an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, R&B, reggae, country, swing and "traditional and contemporary music of the sea," according to the festival website. The best part? It's free.

Colonial Harvest Festival at Smith's Castle
Oct. 13, 12-4 p.m.
RIPTA Bus Route #14 or #66

Built in 1678, Smith's Castle was the home to Richard Smith, one of the first settlers in Plymouth Colony. The house is in Cocumscussoc, a former hub of agriculture until 1937. Today, Smith's Castle and its surroundings house three centuries of history that provide a rich cultural background for a fall harvest festival. Live entertainment and "homemade seasonal treats" will be a part of the 18th century experience, according to the festival's website.


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