LATHRUP VILLAGE — The air is brisk and the leaves have begun to fade into shades of yellow and orange, but it doesn’t quite feel like autumn in Lathrup Village until the residents’ traditional welcome of the season.
The 17th annual Fall Festival Weekend returns this weekend with a Saturday evening for adults only and a full day of family fun on Sunday.
“One of the things … about being in Michigan is when people ever leave, a lot of them say they miss the fall, they miss the seasons,” said Maralee Rosemond, director of parks and recreation for Lathrup Village. “This festival is celebrating the change in the weather.”
Rosemond, who grew up in northern Michigan, said fall brings back amazing childhood memories for her, and now this annual tradition around town allows for the memory-making to continue.
“When I was growing up, when the weather changed, the colors come out and we get to go apple picking. You’d gather in the crisp air when things change. It’s a time to reconnect with friends and family,” she said.
Around Lathrup Village, the Fall Festival Weekend, comprising Autumn Nights Sept. 29 and the Fall Family Festival Sept. 30, brings people together for the greatest parts of the season.
“This time of year kids are back in school, playing volleyball, soccer, football. We find that it’s easier to make a weekend of it, and we have an evening for the adults and then a family day the next day to bring everyone back together,” Rosemond explained. “It’s low key, it’s outside and it’s simple, but it’s the best of fall.”
Saturday’s festivities include a concert and low-cost beer and wine under a tent lit by the warm glow of stringed lights and fall décor.
“The pumpkins, the leaves, the lights — when you walk into it at night, it’s the coolest thing. Everyone is wearing their boots, jeans, sweatshirts and scarves on,” she said. “The really great part is, I have people in their 20s and people in their 80s there.”
Sunday features the Whispering Pines mobile zoo with close to 100 types of animals, a pumpkin patch to explore, hayrides, train rides, horse and pony rides, food, and other activities.
Juanelle DeGiulio, mother of five, brings her children each year for the festival she calls good, quality, low-cost fun.
“The girls love the pony rides, and the petting farm has been a big hit,” said DeGiulio, who has 3-year-old twin girls, 11-month-old twin boys, and a 12-year-old son. She also loves that it’s a daylong activity meant to keep families having fun together.
“If they want five pony rides, they can. … It’s not just a limited-to-one thing, so it’s quite nice. The kids also get a pumpkin, which is a nice takeaway,” she added.
DeGiulio and her husband talk about making it to the adult-only festivities on Saturday evening one year, when the kids get bigger, but for now, Sunday is a still a family favorite.
“They do so many great family things here (in Lathrup Village). There’s never a dull moment for kids and families,” she said.
The Fall Festival Weekend also brings one of the final Lathrup Village Farmers Market dates. While produce will be sold through October during the regular Wednesday setup, Sunday will feature the last day of breads, desserts, jams and fall favorites.
Ginn Farms will be offering pancake samples to taste their syrups, too.
Autumn Nights kicks off at 7 p.m., with food available for purchase at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment, featuring the Polish Muslims, a local dance band that favors Motown sounds, will run 8-11 p.m. Sept. 29. This event costs $10 at the door and is for the 21-and-up crowd only.
There will be $3 beer and wine, and $1 pop.
The Fall Family Festival runs 1-4 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Lathrup Village Municipal Park. Wristbands for all activities cost $7 for children and adults, with a meal ticket included.
The Southfield-Lathrup Optimists/Lathrup Village Police Department booth will feature information on the Bicycle Safety Program, as well.
For more information on the Lathrup Village Family Fall Festival, visit www.lathrupvillage.org.
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