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A harvest of fall fun

  • A hay ride through a pumpkin patch is one of the many delights of October. (KENT PORTER / PD, 2011)

Fall comes on strong during the month of October, filled with nostalgic and rustic harvest-season traditions, from pumpkin patches to hay rides.

The month packs a cultural holiday punch, too, with the spooks and shrieks of Halloween, and the more contemplative and spiritual mood evoked by El Día de los Muertos.

Festivals, events and destinations abound in October, but here are 13 selections that capture the flavor of the season:

Traffic tends to slow down along southbound Highway 101 north of Petaluma every fall as drivers gawk at the 4-acre A-Maze-Ing Corn Maze and Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. It runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, until Nov. 1. Attractions include rubber duck races, a jump house, farm animals, and at 7 tonight, an outdoor screening of the film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” 450 Stony Point Road, Petaluma. Free admission. 781-3132, petalumapumpkinpatch.com.

Pick a pumpkin, dig for potatoes, pet baby animals, milk a cow, take a hay ride or taste fresh cheese at the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch, open from 9 a.m. to dusk daily through Oct. 31 at the Petaluma Creamery, home of Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, 4235 Spring Hill Road, Petaluma. Live music on weekends. Free admission and parking. 762-3446 weekdays; 775-1183 weekends; springhillcheese.com.

The Petaluma Art Center's annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) exhibit this year is titled “Arbol de Vidas” (“Tree of Lives,”) a tribute to all of our loved ones who have gone before us. The show, featuring work by Latino artists from across the Bay Area, continues through Nov. 3. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Free. 230 Lakeville St., Petaluma. 762-5600, petalumaartscenter.org.

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