Autumn is the season when so many Winnipeg attractions go into full bloom.
As Halloween approaches numerous sites around the city offer everything from family fun, to terrifying times, all of which all good fun.
For starters, this weekend you can really warm up to fall by getting yourself sorted at the Red River Ex, as they host The Manitoba Fibre Festival (Friday, October 2, 5 - 9 p.m. and Saturday October 3, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.). This event is not for sheepish shoppers, but we do guarantee that ewe will get fleeced in the best way possible when you weave your way amongst all the artisanal vendors selling their knits.
There will be workshops on everything from basket weaving to hat making (and yes, knitting) -- while my favourite, the Hall of Breeds, allows you to meet the sheep and alpacas. But be warned, once you bring the kids to see the animals they are surely going to want to get a pet Wensleydale sheep (which would certainly not be a bad thing).
A Maze in Corn is one awesome attraction that continues to grow (no pun intended this time) to include more and more awesomeness each year. What started simply as a small family run maze in 1998 has sprouted into an annual three-month operation with over 100 seasonal employees.
At A Maze in Corn you can do everything from zip lining, to basking in an adorable petting zoo, to taking hay rides behind massive Clydesdale horses, to pony rides, to the brand new Geronimo Jump which is a (controlled) free fall right off the top of their zip tower. They have six zip lines and a dual racing line, all of which offer expansive views of the surrounding prairies (along with all the folks below you navigating the massive maze). For hours of operation click here.
The time is at hand to head either just north of the city to Oak Hammock Marsh, or to FortWhyte Alive -- located right in Winnipeg, for some of the best birding and dining you can do in the fall. Both of these pristine nature reserves stay open late during migration season, and both have a flock of fun events.
Migration dinners will be held at Oak Hammock Marsh on Tuesday, September 29, and Friday and Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd. During this time you'll be served a seasonal three-course dinner (including braised elk short ribs for an entree #nomnom) while you watch thousands of ducks and geese take flight. Throughout October the Marsh will be holding numerous events in their interpretive centre where you can learn about the abundance of migratory birds who will soon be heading south (along with the species that stay), while the migration season is capped off with their annual Migration Farewell Concert where members of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will be accompanying the spectacle in the sky with some classics.
At FortWhyte Alive, along with a cornucopia of October events, Sunset Goose Flights take place every Wednesday through Sunday, from September 23 to October 25. At this time you'll see thousands of geese descend upon the lake as the sun goes down -- it's really quite something. You can also book Goose Flight Feasts at The Buffalo Stone Cafe where a three-course meal makes the the evening that much more magical.
As Halloween itself approaches there are several spooky and family friendly events -- like Lower Fort Scary (October 18, 24, 25, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., which we'll elaborate on when the event gets closer), but for now be sure to mark you calendar for the following events that are creeping right up on us:
From October 22 to 25, and 27 to 31, Wasteland Productions Presents: The Rocky Horror Show at The Park Theatre. These are the same peeps who brought us Evil Dead: The Musical last year, a hilarious blood bath that audiences adored. This Richard O'Brien classic first appeared onstage in London in 1973 before becoming a cult classic film in 1975. Tickets are sure to go fast, so get yours today (and check out our Twitter account next week as we will be contesting a couple pairs for the show).
The Real Escape Canada (2003 Portage Ave-Unit B), one of Winnipeg's premier problem solving rooms, is getting macabre for October with games including Escape from Death Row, then The Mavis House and Insane Asylum (both of which open on October 15). The Mavis House is a ghostly experience inside the abode where Maureen Mavis murdered her husband (and where she may still be lurking) while Insane Asylum will see your group questioning their own sanity as you attempt to break out of this crazy intense hospital.
Surely the most terrifying time in Winnipeg during October can be found at Six Pines Haunted Attractions where three new locations -- the Barn of Doom: Six Pines Mortuary; Terror Train: Snow White & Seven Ghosts; and carnEvil -- have been added to their already redoubtable roster.
Their nighttime hours start October 8, then run the 9th-10th, 15th-17th, 22nd-24th, and 29th-30th. The ticket booth opens at 6 p.m., but the gates generally close by 9 p.m. as they usually reach capacity (it gets more and more popular every year).
They also do daytime, family-friendly fare at this interactive attraction, where the actors are more focused on fun -- as opposed to scaring the living daylights out of you.
For hours of operation click here.