2020 Fall Festivities that Haven’t Been Canceled

By Lisa Striffolino

The Heights Fall Festival, Riverwalk Halloween Hunt, and the Wesley Chapel Fall Festival are few of the many Autumn activities thriving around Tampa this season, all while complying with  COVID-19 guidelines.

Julia Stewart, marketing events manager at Armature Works, expressed that the Heights Fall Festival will be scaled down this year in light of the virus. There will not be any high contact touch points such as bouncy houses, a kids crafts corner, or other shared community activities as there have been in years past.

“The safety of our staff and guests is important to us,” Stewart said. “We encourage guests to wear masks and socially distance. We are fortunate to have a very large property with plenty of outdoor spaces to utilize.”

Still, there will be other activities and treats at the Armature Works festival for all to enjoy, such as pumpkin picking, live folk music, fresh kettle corn, Oktoberfest brew, and the opportunity to support the community food drive, which is hosted in partnership with Metropolitan Ministries.

The Riverwalk Halloween Hunt is an alternative to the annual Trick or Treat event usually held on the Riverwalk. The hunt will run for three weeks and takes place entirely on your mobile device through the app Mobile Adventures. Players are able to complete the hunt anytime in any order, so there will not be a need for large groups to congregate in any one location.

“Friend’s of the Riverwalk’s goal with the Halloween Hunt is to encourage people to actively enjoy the Riverwalk and visit the parks, museums, and restaurants along the Riverwalk and in downtown Tampa,” said MaryBeth Williams, executive director of Friends of the Riverwalk. “Plus, there are super cool prize packages for first, second, and third place.

The QR code to begin the hunt will be available on Saturday, Oct. 17. For information on how to play the game, you can check out thetampariverwalk.com. 

In North Tampa Bay there will be  another fall festival that will include a musical lineup, a pageant, a trunk or treat, a full carnival, and pony rides. Florida Penguin Productions will be hosting the 16th annual Wesley Chapel Fall Festival at The Grove Shopping Center. The festival is also taking cautionary steps to follow COVID-19 protocols.

“We are temperature scanning as people enter,” said Drew Cecere, event producer at Florida Penguin Productions. “We also have spaced the vendors further apart to account for social distancing. There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout as well as private security on hand to try to ensure proper social distancing protocols.”

The Wesley Chapel Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 1.

Other events such as the Hyde Park Pumpkin Patch will take place in Hyde Park Village through the entire month of October, and An Eerie Evening at the Tampa Bay Hotel will be hosted at UT’s own plant hall on Friday, Oct. 23, Saturday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 30.

For more information on both of these events, you can head over to hydeparkvillage.com and plantmuseum.com.

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