CES and Hopkins Memorial Forest "Fall Fest" Returns for the Season

Pictured: A whiteboard at the entrance to Fall Fest shows a map and list of attractions.

On Saturday, October 23, the Williams College Hopkins Memorial Forest put on their annual outdoor Fall Festival from 10 AM to 1 PM, drawing in hundreds of students, families, and local residents to enjoy the outdoors and a variety of fall-oriented activities.

Apple cider pressing, apple butter brewing, musical guests, crosscut saw competitions, canopy walks, and refreshments only represent a fraction of the activities at Fall Fest this year. While many visitors spent time at stations near the Rosenburg Center ranging from physically vigorous apple butter brewing to face painting for children, others took a scenic canopy walk off the North Spur Trail. With an estimated 350-400 visitors, Fall Fest had an especially large showing this year given its coincidence with Family Days and year-long hiatus since COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the festival last year.

Pictured: Crowds gather around the Fall Fest attractions.

“[…] It was great to see such a nice showing at this year’s return edition. It was also novel and fun to see and meet so many Williams parents in the Forest,” said Hopkins Forest manager Drew Jones.

Fall Fest has a long history at Williams. Jones said the festival predated his arrival to the College in 1999 when he participated in his first one. In the 22 years since, Fall Fest has only been canceled once before 2020, when the 2018 “Berkshire BioBlitz” was held instead. Jones noted that autumnal events reminiscent of the current Fall Fest may have been hosted by different managers, decades before the 1990s.

Pictured: Apple-pressing at Fall Fest, used to make fresh apple cider on-site.

The event was planned by a dedicated team of over 15 student Hopkins property caretakers and educators, with Jones at the head. In addition to regular gardening, maintenance, management, and educational duties in the 2600-acre forest, these Williams students also put together Fall Fest to celebrate the changing season. While preliminary organization for the festival began weeks in advance, the majority of the logistics were pulled together in the days leading up to Saturday.

Learn more about the Hopkins Memorial Forest by visiting https://hmf.williams.edu/.