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Sights, sounds of fall

  • Joey Porter and Bradyn Zaleski look over their bounty of pumpkins they picked at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch along Highway 101 on Saturday, October 12, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Kai Stevens lay in a huge bed of loose corn kernels Saturday at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch off Highway 101, flapping his legs and arms and beckoning his mother to help him make "corn angels."

"It's just for kids, but I can dump corn on your head if you like," said his mother, Ashley Rogers of Alameda, as she tended to her infant son Merritt while her husband, Mike Stevens, took photographs of Kai, 2?.

The Rogers clan was among thousands of people spreading out across Sonoma County to partake in rituals of fall that ranged from festivals to concerts to farming.

Fall Festivities

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The message was obvious: summer is over and the holidays are just around the corner. The mornings are crisp but the days are still warm, an ideal time for getting outside and enjoying the season, Rogers said.

"It's just a fun time of year, because the weather is still nice and there are events that are very kid- friendly," she said, adding that next week the family will be out picking apples.

Jim Groverman, the owner of the pumpkin patch and corn maze, said people "want to get out of the city for a taste of the country." Aside from harvesting pumpkins at the Petaluma patch and other fields, the fall has Groverman beginning to focus on the serious work of planting new crops.

"As a farmer, we're trying to get ready for the winter," he said. On Saturday, Groverman started the fall planting of his hay fields.

Not far from the pumpkin patch, the polka sounds of the Karl Lebherz band marked Cotati's seventh annual Oktoberfest.

"In heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here," sang Karl. "In heaven there is no wine, that's why we drink it all the time."

Catherine Shapiro, 31, of Asti danced in front of the stage with her father, who was visiting with her mother from Suisun City. Shapiro said fall is a special time of year.


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