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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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San Joaquin Valley provides family-friendly fall activities


Season change brings themed events, festivities

[/media-credit] From pumpkin patches to hot air balloons, the Central Valley provides family-friendly activities for students, kids, and adults to enjoy.

Green leaves fade to yellow, red then brown. Gusts of wintry wind blow against branches, sending them spiraling to the ground. Students sing festive songs in anticipation for holiday feasts and celebrations. A white, morning frost forms on windshields and windows of cars as the year shifts into the colder months.The season for pop-up carnivals, comfy sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes has arrived.

The following list highlights some of the Central Valley’s fall and winter activities and events.

Fall Choir Concert

The FC choirs sang during the Fresno Christian fall concert, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The junior high and high school groups sang a variety of songs, from “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” to “Ubi Caritas”. Dressed in concert attire, both groups celebrated the coming of fall through their performance.

Choir and ensemble director, Susan Ainley, looks forward to showing the school community the result of the rehearsal time and effort. She hopes that as the groups perform, they become more comfortable with their stage presence and tone.

“The choirs had a great showing at festival, so I’d like parents and friends to hear what the adjudicator heard,” Ainley said. “The junior high and high school choirs show so much ability and promise, and I can’t wait for the audience to hear their pure, lovely tone quality and excitement for the music. My hope is to give them more difficult music for our spring festival, which is a competition.”

Anticipating the winter season, FC choir practices for the Christmas program, Dec 3. At 7 p.m. in the Peoples Church Auditorium, TK-high school students sing seasonal songs to commemorate the Christmas festivities.

Westmont Choral Festival

The campus girls ensemble, Bellezza, travels to Santa Barbara for the Westmont Fall Choral Festival, Oct. 26. Participants receive a clinic from the Westmont choral staff and opportunities to audition for the Westmont music scholarship. The afternoon and evening performances are open to the public and families are encouraged to attend.

A Nutcracker Like No Other

Break the Barriers’ performing arts department presents “A Nutcracker Like No Other”, Nov. 17. Kids and adults use ballet and aerial silks to portray the classic story of The Nutcracker. The group members perform from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Warnors Center for Performing Arts in downtown Fresno. Tickets cost $15 for adults and children.

Jenna Obwald, ‘24, plays Fritz, Clara’s brother in party scene, a butterfly, and an icicle in this year’s Nutcracker performance. She enjoys dancing with people of different abilities and showing the audience a different take on the classic story.

“My favorite part is getting to work with everyone with different abilities and disabilities and being able to see people learn new tricks,” Obwald said. “I think our show can open your eyes to inclusion and just see the dance through a different point of view. There are a lot of Nutcracker performances around Fresno but ours is unique in this way.”

In the following podcast, Jenna and Kirra Obwald share their experiences with Break the Barriers: A Nutcracker Like No Other.


Locals from all over the Valley gather in Old Town Clovis for the 44th annual Clovis Fest, Oct. 27-28. Live performances, craft vendors, and food booths are available to visitors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Arrive early to witness the Clovis Medical Centers Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly starting at 7 a.m., weather permitting. Rides are not available to the public, but guests can enjoy a hot breakfast while participating in the festivities. Entrance is free.

Planet Pumpkin

Rides, carnival games, and food set the scene for the local pumpkin patch, Planet Pumpkin. Every ride on the lot costs $1 and is available to guests of all ages. The area opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m., offering free parking and admission.

Hobb’s Grove

If you are looking for a good scare, Hobb’s Grove is the place for you. With a haunted house, spooky hayride, and eerie forest, the Grove provides opportunities for fright. Weather permitting, the site opens most days in October from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Fri. and Sat.). Ticket prices range from $40-60. Arrive early to experience all attractions, food, and games.

[/media-credit] Pumpkin patches and carnivals pop up around the valley, providing family-friendly activities.

Brennen Tozlian, ‘21, took part in the Hobb’s Grove festivities a few years ago. He enjoyed the spooky atmosphere and a chance to spend time with friends during the fall season.

“I liked the decorations at Hobb’s Grove,” Tozlian said. “It’s fun to see all the people dressed up walking around. I think people should go if they like people in costumes getting in your face. If you go to Hobb’s Grove you have to do the maze. I think it’s the best part. My favorite part of fall is when it gets really cold and when Starbucks puts out their fall cups. The air feels more fresh and clean.”

Vossler Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze

Vossler Farms in Visalia celebrates its 19th year of fall fun with its signature corn maze and pumpkin patch. Weather permitting, the pumpkin patch is opens all week at 10 a.m. Adult tickets cost around $10, but prices may vary. Train rides, a haunted trail, and hay rides are available to all ages.

Fresno Town Hall Events

The San Joaquin Valley Town Hall annually aims to inform, educate and entertain the community. Speakers from all over the world speak on a wide range of topics, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased on the website. Below is the list of 2018 speakers, including:

NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Oct. 9

Egyptologist and archaeologist, Sarah Parcak – Oct. 17

Investigative journalist and author, David Epstein – Nov. 14

Developmental molecular biologist, Dr. John Medina – Jan. 23

Tech specialist, David Pogue – Feb. 20

Professor of Public Affairs and History at Texas LBJ School, Professor Jeremi Suri – March 13

First female prime minister of Australia, Julia Gilliard – April 10

NBA hall of famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke at a town hall session, Oct. 9.

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child (OCC) returns for another year of serving children in impoverished countries. Schools, churches, and communities all over the nation pack shoe boxes with toys and supplies for children to receive on Christmas day in their country. The on-campus gift drive is Oct. 17 to Nov. 17. The goal this year is over 500 boxes, so make sure to pack a shoebox to help a child in need!

[/media-credit] Schools, churches, and communities all over the nation pack shoe boxes for children to receive on Christmas Day in their country, Oct. 17-Nov. 17.

Leadership and Bible teacher, Aubri Foster, has been involved with OCC for the past two years. From packing boxes to getting the school involved, Foster sees the drove as an opportunity to give back.

“Operation Christmas Child has become an FC tradition that we are excited to carry on,” Foster said. “Being apart of leadership, we find it important to give back to the community and use the season to help people around the world. The drive helps us to think of others as more important than ourselves, and give rather than get.”

Simonian Farms

The Simonian Farms pumpkin patch opens from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. in Fresno, Oct. 8-31. Carnival games are available for $1 and hay rides cost $3. All ages are welcome to enjoy pumpkins, a haunted caboose, and Halloween treats!

Zoo Boo

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo hosts ZooBoo, Oct. 19, 20, 26, and 27. Trick-or-treating, carnival games, and live entertainment fill the zoo as visitors participate while in costume. Children are encouraged to dress up in non-scary outfits and visit with staff dressed in Halloween garb. Adult tickets cost $20 and children cost $18.

Looking forward to the winter season, percussion, band, and color guard start practicing for future shows. All groups prepare for the Clovis Electric Lights Parade, Dec. 1 and the instrumental Christmas concert, Dec. 10.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions and activities? Let us know in the comments below!

For more articles, read Local professor speaks on his recent book, expresses relevance of history or Annaleise Anderson takes advantage of campus opportunities.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email and via Twitter @SchultzAddison.

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  • L

    Logan LewisOct 25, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Zoo Boo sounds like a lot of fun, but I think if it were a lower price, it would be a more reasonable option for entire families to attend.

  • M

    Morgan ParkerOct 25, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Awesome article! So many exciting activities mentioned, great job Addison!