As soon as that azure blue sky of autumn met the cold snap of the air, I started getting excited. Signs for pumpkin patches and corn mazes lined the road, and I began looking through my recipes for warm comfort food and soup. I filled my grocery cart with ingredients for my husband’s signature chili and with pumpkins bigger than my head, because my favorite event of the season was on its way: Fall Fest!

On a fall weekend afternoon, family and others gather at my house, each with their own pumpkin and a side or garnish to go with the chili. The chili is simmering on the stove beside the cider, Chex mix is in the oven, and cornbread is cooling on the counter. We carry large tables out onto the deck, bowls for hand washing, and cups of utensils.  Each person or couple carves their pumpkin, adults helping the kids. Then we roast the seeds, throw a football in the yard, and gather inside to laugh and celebrate the beauty of the season. Breitenstein Fall Fest

One of my favorite parts is to see the extra guests invited each year by circumstance or intent, and to watch my children grow in the photos year after year. It’s a great way to get to know neighbors, include singles in a family-style gathering, get to know people we’ve wanted to spend more time with, or simply to fellowship. Perhaps part of the magic for me lies in an event that was so fun that it became a tradition!

Happy fall, everyone!