If you live in Southern Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, or Southern Georgia, you do not get to see much change in the leaves when Autumn arrives. Usually Fall is spent watching football, doing Halloween festivities, or some things that have an Autumn theme to them even though the climate outside doesn’t feel that Fall-like. Growing up in Florida and living in Louisiana Autumn means that the temperature drops to the lower 80s during the day and on occasion it may get down into the 60s. If the leaves turn color it means that the tree is probably dead. I have lived in Pennsylvania and thus have experienced a true Autumn. While Pennsylvania is beautiful during this time of year, most of my Autumns have been spent in the South. One benefit to Autumn is that you do not have to cut your grass as often and there’s a lot of football. However, the only colorful leaves that are seen here are either artificial or exported from the northern states and are sold at craft stores. Here’s some suggestions to make the most of your Fall if you live in the same area I currently reside.
Football is always an unofficial way of determining that Fall has arrived. Football at all levels is greeted with loving arms in the South. It can be a high school game, college, or NFL game it doesn’t matter, it’s football. Many colleges throughout the country will scout players from southern states than anywhere else since it is such a big rite of passage in the South. It is serious business in the South. Some marriages have ended because of rivalries. The strongest collegiate conference is the Southeastern Conference. Several small towns will post their locals schools’ championships on their welcoming signs. Many of these small towns will all but vacate the city when their local high school is playing on the road and many restaurants will close up shop during home games so the employees can catch the game and will open within minutes of the game’s conclusion to take in the hungry fans, athletes, and coaches after the game. Even if you are not a football fan, catching a small town high school football game is an event and part of the local landscape.
It used to be another rite of every Autumn at local schools, that rite was the Halloween carnivals (or Fall Festival) but for various reasons, this rite has slowly disappeared from the scene. I am a strong advocate of bring this tradition back. Some places still have them and many communities have an Oktoberfest celebration. Even though it is primarily a German tradition, like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo, you do not have to be German or of German lineage to celebrate in this festival. German Culture comes alive in Oktoberfest. They may not be as large as Oktoberfest in Munich, but it is still just as fun. There a loads of beer, food, and culture. One city to visit and celebrate Halloween if you are an adult is New Orleans. New Orleans has a haunted air to the city year round. There has been a cottage industry that has grown through the years in haunted tours and many of the bars and clubs through out the city have major promotions and parties on Halloween night. The Halloween industry has grown so large in New Orleans over the years that it is getting more difficult to book a hotel room for that period. New Orleans also hosts Voodoo Fest (also known as the Voodoo Experience). It has been a New Orleans Tradition since 1999. The only year it was not held in New Orleans was in 2005 after the Katrina devastation, there were a couple acts who played in New Orleans but the bulk of the music festival was held in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the second largest music festival in New Orleans and continues to grow every year.
If you do not wish to go to New Orleans, you can also go on a hay ride. There are many small communities in the South that have hay rides that are done to raise money for charities and civic organizations. They usually will ride long some of the rural landscape of the area and will last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. The temperature may not feel like it does in places like Ohio or Pennsylvania, but it is just as fun and can be romantic. If you have allergies, it is recommended that you take some allergy medicine prior to going on a hay ride. Many of these hay rides use tractors to haul a trailer full of hay and passengers across the scenery, however, a few will opt for the use of horses. The use of horses is a nice rustic and antique way for going on a hay ride and if you are into nostalgia, this could be for you.
The fair season usually starts up in the South during Autumn. While it is starting to get too cold to spend log periods outdoors in the northern climates, people in the South enjoy the nicer, cooler, and milder weather during the Autumn. In Franklinton, Louisiana, they have the world’s largest free admission fair. Mobile, Alabama will host a fair and is followed by Pensacola which gives people from this area, since Pensacola and Mobile are close to each other, more fun. Dallas, Texas hosts the Texas State Fair every year for most of Autumn, The Texas State Fair is so big and popular in the Dallas area that many schools and businesses will give their students and employees a day off during the Fair’s run so everyone can have a chance to enjoy the fun. The annual “Red River Rivalry” football game between the universities of Oklahoma and Texas and the “State Fair Classic” between Grambling and Prairie View A&M Universities are played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium located on the fair grounds. The largest ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere is at the Texas State Fair and is so large that it remains standing long after the fair has concluded. There are many fairs that go on in the South that you do not have to go to Dallas, TX or Franklinton, LA to see a fair. You can google to see if there is one near you or where you may be visiting.
Even though the leaves may not change color and the temperatures rarely get cold, you can make the most of Fall in the South. It may be a season that doesn’t have a long period of time before Winter creeps in, but it is still a great time of year. It only comes once a year and we need to make the most of it, After the beaches have closed and schools have returned to class, there is still fun to be had. I have listed a few things you can do to make the most of your Autumn.