CAZENOVIA — Caz Life, a committee of the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce (GCACC), is celebrating the changing leaves and cooler weather this autumn by organizing a community-wide Fall Festival.
The festival is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 15, and is filled with seasonal activities for locals and visitors of all ages.
According to Caz Life member Caitlin Gambee, who co-owns The Brewster Inn, the GCACC has been organizing a Fall Festival for years.
“The event used to be the last weekend in September, but we felt like Cazenovia already had a lot going on during that time, so we moved it to mid-October,” said Gambee. “This also gave us the opportunity to include more businesses in the planning process and really create something for everyone. And we are thinking big! We are excited to celebrate with our fellow Cazenovians, but we also hope to welcome people from the surrounding communities for a day of fun. We hope this event acts as a great introduction [to Cazenovia for] others, and we hope it inspires them to come back for other events, outdoor activities, a great cup of coffee, stellar shopping, live music, a delicious dinner, or whatever else piques their interest.”
Fall Fest will kick off on Thursday evening with a BYOB spooky terrarium class at Jasmine Rae Floral Design.
Our Farm and Critz Farms will be celebrating the fall harvest by inviting visitors to join in some quintessential fall activities.
Our Farm will be hosting food trucks and offering pumpkin picking and “chunkin,” a corn maze, a petting zoo, and horse rides on Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday, Critz Farms will have pumpkin picking, a corn maze, beer and cider tastings, and an animal area. Over the weekend, the farm will also have a haunted barn, wagon rides, a cow train, and live music.
Live music is also scheduled at Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, McCarthy’s Irish Pub, The Brae Loch Inn, and along Albany Street, where multiple pop-up shops will be set up Friday through Sunday for some “Fall Fun” shopping.
The festival’s kid-friendly activities include a Halloween movie and s’mores night at Madison County Distillery on Friday; a “Kids’ Fun Zone” at Summit Church on Saturday with pumpkin decorating and carving, a petting zoo, hayrides, a bounce house, and food; a “Ponies and Pumpkin Spice” event at Lorenzo State Historic Site and the annual Cazenovia Fire Department Open House on Sunday.
Cazenovia Public Library will host pumpkin wreath-making on Friday, a partial solar eclipse viewing event on Saturday, and book sales throughout the weekend.
Other highlights include “MADtober Fest” at Mad Tacos on Friday; the American Legion Post 88’s pancake breakfast, the Cazenovia Farmers’ Market, and a wet felting art class at Carpenter’s Barn on Saturday morning; a pumpkin lighting event at Summit Church on Saturday evening; and an open house at The Haven at Skanda farm animal sanctuary and a special “Dinner with the Spirits” at The Brae Loch Inn on Sunday.
“It’s actually sort of unreal to see how many talented individuals we have in our midst,” said Gambee. “Yet, we all are so busy that it is rare that we take time for a face-to-face with our neighbors. But that’s where the real magic happens. [When we started planning Fall Fest], I think people were a little skeptical of who we were and how Caz Life worked, but after a few meetings, it was obvious to see how much we all had in common. One person would toss out an idea, and someone else would say, ‘Hey, I can add to that,’ and quickly we had a Fall Fest that we felt proud to share. It seems corny to say, but the concept of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is planted firmly in my mind. I truly believe that a little collaborative effort from all of us can reap big benefits for the entire community.”
The mission of the GCACC is to benefit the local economy and enhance the community’s quality of life by actively serving, representing, and enhancing business growth and success, and by providing programs and activities to improve interaction between local businesses and the Cazenovia area communities.
The GCACC launched the Caz Life events committee last spring to help foster local business development, promote tourism, and implement effective marketing strategies to enhance the vibrancy and economic growth of the village.
“We have been going 100 miles per hour since June, and I never cease to be amazed by the passionate people that I am working with,” said Gambee. “We started as a group of three people, and from that first meeting over coffee, we have grown significantly. Our last meeting had 25 people in attendance from all industries, and that was incredible to see. We all share the common goal of seeing the community thrive through collaborative efforts. What could be better than that?”
Gambee added that she is continually inspired by the people she works with on the committee, many of whom are also business owners with busy schedules.
“[We] love this community so much that it’s worth investing the extra time in these projects,” she said. “I grew up in Cazenovia and at the time thought I wanted to leave this town and never come back. Boy was I wrong. Ever since moving back in 2014, I have felt so welcomed and embraced. As a business owner, the support of this community has been incredible. And, really, what is more rewarding than being able to give back? It’s truly exciting to be an active participant in shaping the community that I want my family to live in. With each initiative we explore, I meet more incredible people volunteering their time to build an amazing community.”
For more information on the GCACC, visit cazenovia.com.