Onderdonk House

School has started. The public beaches have closed. The temperatures have dipped. But now the fall season offers something to celebrate: Harvest festivals in Queens!

The fun begins at King Manor Museum on Saturday, Oct. 12, at noon. Located on an 11-acre spread in Jamaica, this venue is where Rufus King, the youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution, and his family lived for about a century. So the program for the annual Harvest Festival features many common 19th century activities. Participants will make corn husk dolls, churn butter, press apple cider, play old-time games, and interact with an appropriately dressed historic interpreter. For the first time this year, organizers will teach harvesting and planting with help from the Ethnobotany Project NYC, which emphasizes Native, African, and European cultivating practices.

Attendance is free. King Manor is in Rufus King Park in the vicinity of Jamaica Avenue and 150th Street.

The Queens Botanical Garden kicks off its annual Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 11 a.m. A huge Pumpkin Patch is a main draw, and live music fills the 39-acre urban oasis throughout the day. The fun is always family-friendly with an emphasis on teaching youngsters to appreciate nature, so planned activities include a petting zoo, garden demonstrations, and even a workshop on composting. (Don’t worry, adults, there’s a beer-and-cider garden, too.)

Admission is $15 per adult and $13 per youth. Children under age three can attend for free. Queens Botanical Garden’s entrance is at 43-50 Main St., but the onsite parking lot’s entrance is at 42-80 Cromelin St.

Near the Brooklyn border in Ridgewood, the Vander-Ende Onderdonk House will hold its annual Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 13, at noon. Hurry to this event because the first 500 children get free pumpkins. Nollaig the Wizard will be there, along with DJ Frank. The program includes bouncy rides, apple-pressing, face-painting, and self-guided tours. A Cider Lab will welcome adults.

There’s also the chance to explore Arbitration Rock, which is in the backyard. This boulder, about as big as a Volkswagon Beetle, was used to delineate the border between what is now Brooklyn and Queens in the 18th century. (It was the towns of Bushwick and Newtown back then.)

Admission is $5 for anybody over 11 years of age. Onderdonk House is located at 1820 Flushing Ave.

Then there’s the Queens County Farm Museum in Glen Oaks. In operation since 1697, this is New York City’s largest remaining homestead and only working, undisturbed farm. It offers harvest events and pumpkin sales on all weekends in October (and a few Mondays.) Head there to purchase Hudson Valley apples, doughnuts, cider, and pie or a wide variety of gourds.

But the 47-acre property also presents Maze by Moonlight on two consecutive Saturdays, Oct. 12 and Oct. 19, from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For $5, patrons find clues and solve puzzles as they navigate the three-acre corn stalk labyrinth by the light of the moon, stars, and flashlights.

Tickets prices run from $7 to $12. Queens County Farm Museum is located at 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy. There’s on-site parking.


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