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Wednesday August 27th 2014

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How to Have the Best Fall Ever

By Sarah McCartan

I know. I get it. You’ve seen so many “how to” lists you lost count long ago. In fact, you’ve seen so many that you now find yourself skeptical to fall into the trap of reading another. That said, with it being Best of the Coast time and all, we figured, what better opportunity to take a moment to provide you with a breakdown of how to have the best Fall ever. We just couldn’t stand to let this chance go by the wayside. Naturally we’ve included some recurring events you may have missed out on throughout the years—ones that we personally could never grow tired of. Then there are the newbies on the block we are eager to check out ourselves. Together we’ve arrived at a list of upcoming festivities that will spice up your season—festivities for everyone.

FOR THE CULTURE ENTHUSIAST

Between nonstop action at the Saenger Theatre and Pensacola Cultural Center, you don’t have to trek to Broadway in the big city to find yourself in for a show this season. Fall marks the returning season of several community cultural cornerstones that enhance the local art front—Ballet Pensacola, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Little Theatre and Pensacola Opera. So put on your Sunday best and waltz downtown this season for a night of culture and high caliber entertainment within a metropolitan ambiance. Here are a few upcoming performances to jot down on your calendar.

Ballet Pensacola
WHAT: Dracula
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Oct. 18-19, Oct. 25-26
WHERE: Pensacola Cultural Center, 400 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $18-$30
DETAILS: balletpensacola.com or 432-2042

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra
WHAT: Beethoven’s Pastoral
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2
WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox
COST: $22-$84
DETAILS: pensacolasymphony.com or 435-2533

Pensacola Little Theatre
WHAT: None of The Above
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1-3, 7-9 (2:30 p.m. matinee on Nov. 3)
WHERE: Pensacola Cultural Center, 400 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $17 cafe seating; $10 general admission
DETAILS: pensacolalittletheatre.com or 432-2042

While you have to wait a bit longer to get your Opera fix, Pensacola Opera is hosting several open houses throughout the fall offering tickets to upcoming performances at exclusive prices. Plus, their Jukebox Gala takes place Saturday, Oct. 26. Visit pensacolaopera.com to learn more.

FOR THE FAIR-WEATHER FANATIC

The Pensacola Interstate Fair returns this month, and while it may not look as glitzy or glamorous as you remember it from childhood now that the veil has been lifted, one thing’s for sure—it still makes for an experience. We’re not suggesting you have to ride the Himalaya backward, or forwards for that matter, but the allure of exotic petting zoos, a gator show, and even something as simple as biting down on a candied apple or getting covered in powdered sugar courtesy of a greasy funnel cake, may warrant a return if for nothing else, posterity. If for no other reason, the fair certainly deserves some love and attention for routinely bringing in the cooler weather with it each year. Although you have to be mentally prepared to brave the masses, going on opening day lands you $3 admission.

Pensacola Interstate Fair
WHEN: Oct. 17– 27
WHERE: Pensacola Fairgrounds, 6655 Mobile Hwy.
COST: Entry price varies
DETAILS: pensacolafair.com or 944-4500

FOR THE FESTIVAL VETERAN

After you’ve finished washing down your spanakopita from Greek Fest with some WOBtoberfest brews this weekend, take a momentary breather—then brace yourself—because there are more festivals where that came from. If you have allotted some extra room for fun in your Sunday, the Art and Wine Fest offers another filling of food, art and of course, wine. On top of the return of the annual and ever-abundant Greater Gulf Coast Arts Festival, next month invites a few lesser known festivals around and to town. Fairhope Film Festival showcases 40 fantastic films spread out across four fall days, held at four walkable locations in nearby downtown Fairhope, Ala., giving you a perfect excuse for an overnight hideaway, or the weekend day trip you couldn’t quite find the time to squeeze in this summer. Back on the home front, the return of the Mahabhuta Yoga Festival for a second year brings the region’s yogis together for a summit including 24 workshops.

Art and Wine Fest
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 13, 11 a.m.– 4 p.m.
WHERE: Portofino Boardwalk
COST: Free to attend, wristbands for the food and wine tasting are $35
DETAILS: pensacolabeachchamber.com or 932-1500

Fairhope Film Festival
WHEN: Nov. 7 – 10
WHERE: Downtown Fairhope, Ala., multiple venues
COST: $55 for a 6-pack pass; $80 for a 10-pack pass
DETAILS: fairhopefilmfestival.org

Mahabhuta Yoga Festival
WHEN: Nov. 15 – 17
WHERE: Sanders Beach Community Center, 913 South I St.
COST: $75 per class, $135 – $270 for multi-class package
DETAILS: mahabhutayogafestival.com

FOR THE OUTDOOR AFICIONADO

Just because the water may not remain quite warm enough to float down the Blackwater River in a tube, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the limitless adventure that awaits you in Milton. If you are up for braving your fear of heights this season, try gliding over the river on an introductory, yet riveting, Taste of the Tours zip line experience. For a slightly tamer, but no less authentic experience, consider a group trip—with friends, coworkers or even family. On top of it being a prime camping locale, Adventures Unlimited is home to scavenger hunts, ropes challenges, star gazing, and cabin rentals. Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center, 8974 Tomahawk Landing Road, adventuresunlimited.com

FOR THE TRIED AND TRUE FOODIE

Of course, there is always seasonal grub to be had around town, crafted by none other than the best. But this season, why not learn how to make something new, or at least brush up on your culinary skills? Cooking in the comfort of your own abode is great and all, but it’s not quite as festive as learning from and testing your skills alongside friends and local chefs. Pensacola Cooks offers a series of both demonstrative and hands on, in store classes at downtown locations including The Bodacious Olive and Ever’man Natural Foods. With titles like, Flavors of Autumn, Fall Vegetarian Favorites, The 50 Item Pantry, and Hungry for a Hungarian Lunch, each class presents a unique cooking opportunity. Pensacola Cooks also allow you to bring the classes to you as your schedule permits, making for a prime house party opportunity, or a girls’ night out. For a full calendar of classes, visit pensacolacooks.com. For more in-store events at Ever’man, visit everman.org/events.

FOR THE EAGER ATHLETE

If there is one fall run you must add to your calendar, it’s the 29th Annual Great Pumpkin Race. Kicking off at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, this notoriously great 5K—3.1 miler—starts and ends at Sacred Heart Cathedral School on 12th Avenue, taking you on an up and down trek through the trees and rolling hills of East Hill, and along Bayou Texar. Included in the $20 -$25 registration fee is a signature long sleeve race t-shirt. Plus, there is famous pumpkin bread to bite down on at the finish line, which is a reward in itself. If you have them, bring the kids along for the 1 mile fun run. Sacred Heart Cathedral School, 1603 N. 12th Ave., shcs.ptdiocese.org

Mild temperatures also make fall a preferred season for long distance running. Even if you aren’t participating in the Pensacola Marathon this fall, you can still use this race as long distance motivation to train ahead for signature events upcoming in the spring. Running Wild kicks off a Double Bridge Training Program beginning Oct. 15, and a training class for the Seaside Half Marathon begins Nov. 11. Visit werunwild.com to stay up to speed on running opportunities.

STAY TUNED

Of course, this is only to get you started. We haven’t even gotten to the fun that involves pumpkin patches, ghosts, goblins, and hay rides. But don’t worry. We will. Stay tuned!