By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer
Baylor students and members of the Waco community can enjoy festive fall events from pumpkin patches to hayrides at “Autumn Fest,” hosted by Fossil Creek Wedding and Event Retreat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 17 through Nov. 1.
Jennifer Vera is the co-producer and co-owner of Fossil Creek Retreat. She said that this year the event was planned specifically when they realized the pandemic had affected the fall season’s normal activities and happenings.
“We wanted to create some sense of normalcy in a safe environment,” Vera said.
At Autumn Fest, activities for attendees include unlimited carnival-style and yard games, a pumpkin patch with backdrops for photo opportunities, hayrides around the farm property, giant tricycle races, a mechanical bull, a petting zoo, a craft area, archery and more. Tickets can be purchased for $12 per adult ticket.
Additionally, Fossil Creek Market offers shopping for gifts, fall decor, sweets and clothing, and the food court inside of Fossil Creek Market provides guests with festive snacks and treats.
Vera said that she and her team plan to make this an annual event. They are unsure of the turnout in future weekends, but have been satisfied and “happy with attendance thus far.”
As the event and its details were planned to revolve around COVID-19, Autumn Fest, except for the Fossil Creek Market, is completely outdoors so that guests can feel safe and comfortable while still experiencing the festive environment of the season. Additional safety measures have been implemented so that the event can be enjoyed by the community each weekend until Nov. 1.
“Beyond the normal social distancing and mask, we are doing a two-step sanitization and disinfection process,” Vera said. “We have also set up hand washing stations and hand sanitizer. We also have staff spraying down their areas in between guests.”
To promote the event and get its word out, Vera said she and her team really tried to cover all mediums – social media, radio, email campaigns and reminders, and more.
Vera also said that she believes both members of the Baylor Family and Waco community in general should attend the first ever Autumn Fest.
“It is a load of fun for the whole family,” Vera said.
San Juan Capistrano, Calif., sophomore Grace Hanlon said that she is grateful for festive events in the Waco area because she feels like there isn’t much to do for the fall season around Baylor. She said she would be willing to check out Autumn Fest in the upcoming weekends.
“There are really not any good pumpkin patches by us, but it looks like they have a lot of fun activities,” Hanlon said.