HUNTINGTON - While it's still too hot to even consider pulling out a sweater, believe it or not, fall is right around the corner and the Tri-State is prepared to help make this the best fall yet with a whole host of events and activities.

From fun farms and corn mazes to festivals and haunted houses, there is literally something for everyone to take part in some fall fun.

Leaf peeping

It's not really fall until the leaves start changing. According to the West Virginia Department of Tourism, southern West Virginia won't get the full blast of reds, oranges and yellows on the tree tops until late October. You will have to head over to the Eastern Panhandle if you want to catch some colorful leaves in September. The bulk of the state will transition in the middle of October.

Other than booking a stay in a state park or taking a driving tour yourself, the best way to take in the natural beauty of fall is the Autumn Colors Express, taking place Oct. 25, 26 and 27. Travel on luxurious vintage railcars from Huntington to Hinton through the beautiful New River Gorge in amazing fall foliage. Find out more information at autumncolorexpress.com where you can read about the cars, find out about the different types of tickets, and purchase tickets. Tickets range from $199 to $599, depending on the car.

Fun farms and corn mazes

Cooper's Family Farm corn maze in Milton opens this weekend for the season. Celebrating 19 years of getting folks lost, the 8-acre corn maze is a great fall family activity. New this year is a cow bounce house, along with other great activities like a zip line, pumpkin patch and a corn crawl.

The farm opens Saturday, Sept. 14, and runs through Oct. 28. The maze is open Monday through Thursday with a reservation, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $8, with those 3 and under getting in free.

Starting Oct. 18, the maze becomes haunted Friday and Saturday nights. The haunted maze is $12.

Another regional favorite opens this month as well. Gritt's Fun Farm in Buffalo, West Virginia, opens its gates at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. The first 250 guests in the farm will receive a bounce back pass to come back to the farm later in the season.

The Fun Farm attractions include natural slides, wagon rides, a corn maze, pumpkin bowling, a hay maze and a rope maze, to name a few. The farm is open Sept. 21 to Nov. 2 every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Friday's, from 10 am.to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $12.75.

The Noble Family Farm in Minford, Ohio, also opens this weekend, running from Sept. 14 through Nov. 3. Spend the day exploring two mazes, picking pumpkins or launching apples into the sky, or any number of other family fun farm activities, like the massive play area for children. The farm is open Thursday and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $8. The farm is located at 11210 OH-335, Minford, Ohio.

The last weekend in September, Lawrence and Boyd counties in Kentucky have put together a tour of the counties' best farms, country churches and other homespun stops called the Heritage Harvest tour. The self-guided driving tour along U.S. 23 and Ky. 3 will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.heritageharvesttourky.com for a full tour map.

Stops on the Heritage Harvest tour include Eden's Harvest, a livestock farm located at 19208 Walker Lane, Rush, Kentucky. After the tour, Eden's Harvest will continue with Harvest Days every Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m. to 6 pm.) through October. Enjoy a hay ride, pick a pumpkin, run through the corn maze and tour the antique tractors, cars, and trucks. Admission is $5.

Eden's Harvest will also have a night maze, where you make your way through the corn by the light of the moon and a glow stick. The night maze will be Oct. 11, Oct. 12, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 and include a glow stick, a hay ride and a bonfire with smokes. Primitive camping is available for $10.

BlackHorse Farm, located at 18517 State Route 854, Rush, Kentucky, will celebrate Fall Farm Days during the Heritage tour. The farm will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 29. Activities include farm tours, wagon rides, horse and pony rides, music and all day supper. Tickets are $5. Some activities may require extra cost.

Fall festivals

The CK Autumn Fest in Ceredo and Kenova kicks off Sept. 15 with the pageant. Nightmare at Dreamland, a haunted trail at Dreamland Pool, begins Oct. 11, running Fridays and Saturdays through October. Other festival activities include a tractor show, home canning competition, and a carnival.

The highlight of the festival, the infamous Pumpkin House, will be on display Oct. 25 and 26. Located in the 700 block of Beech Street, hundreds of carved pumpkins will be on display from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Back in Cabell County, the Pumpkin Festival is set for Oct. 3, 4, 5 and 6 at Pumpkin Park in Milton. In addition to over 100 skilled artisans who display juried crafts, numerous special exhibits and demonstrations are presented throughout the festival, plus all the pumpkin-flavored foods your heart desires. Tickets are $8 Thursday and Friday and $10 Saturday and Sunday.

Heritage Farm Museum & Village is getting into the fall spirit as well with the Fall Festival and Cast-Iron Cook Off Saturday, Oct. 12 at the farm in Huntington. Taste the cast-iron skillet creations of local competitors and choose the winner. Prichard Farm will be on sight selling fresh harvested produce and Wild Heritage will lead hikes through the fall foliage on the farm's nature trails. The rest of the museum, of course, will also be open. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 seniors, and $8 for child (ages 2 and under free).

The Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande, Ohio, is back for the 49th annual Farm Festival, a weekend of family fun, arts and crafts, live music, farm contests and food from Oct. 11-13. Ride on the festival ferris wheel, enjoy live performances and shows, and see demonstrations of farm life all weekend long. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., tickets are $5. Children 5 and under are free.

Ready to get into the spooky-vibe? The Mothman Festival returns to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Sept. 21 and 22. The 18th annual festival includes tours of the Mothman museum and the TNT area (where the Mothman was originally spotted), live music, venders and more. Entrance to the festival is free.

Spooky things

While for some fall means cozy sweaters and warm apple cider from a roadside stand, for others it means screams and things that go bump in the night.

If you are a regular scream queen, check out the brand new floating haunt in Huntington. That's right floating. The Haunted Majestic is two river barges permanently moored side by side on the Ohio River and come with a haunted history. Built in 1910 by the Majestic Steamship Line, the barges were also used in World War II to transport wounded soldiers and as a hospital during the Vietnam and Korean wars. Named for two World War II soldiers, the barges are now owned by those soldier's descendants which they did not realize until after they bought it, in a serendipitous (or downright spooky) twist of fate.

You can tour the barge through a guided haunt or ghost tour. The haunt is filled with ghosts, goblins, zombies and other monsters which will scare you using loud noises, lighting and other techniques and special effects, but none of the actors will touch you and you are asked not to touch them during the tour.

Want the real thing? Tour the ship with the Paranormal Investigation Team, or PIT, formerly the Huntington Paranormal Research Team.

The Haunted Majestic will also have special guests, like Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster and the restorer (and the head) of the green goblin head from Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive. Guest meet-and-greets are included in the ticket price.

The Haunted Majestic opens Oct. 17 with weekend haunts through Nov. 2. General admission tickets are $17, with fast passes available for $22 if you don't want to wait in line. Ticket booth opens at 6 p.m. and tours begin at 7:30 p.m. or as soon as darkness arrives.

Ghost tour tickets are $20. Ghost tours will only take place on Thursdays after the last group finished the haunted tour.

Parking is $3. Haunted Majestic is located at Majestic Landing just north of Robert Newlon Airport at the end of Kyle Lane, off W.Va. 2 five miles north of Huntington.

Of course, the Haunted Majestic is not the only way to get your scare on.

The Paranormal Investigation Team is also leading a haunt and ghost tour inside the Chesapeake Community Center in Chesapeake, Ohio. Open every Saturday through October beginning Sept. 29, the haunts will run from 7 to 11:30 p.m. with tickets at $4. Real ghost tours begin at midnight through 3:30 a.m. Tickets for the ghost tour are $5. All proceeds will go to the community center.

Twelvepole Manor, located at 335 Hall St. in Wayne, will return with new rooms in the Victorian manor Sept. 27 and 27, running each Friday and Saturday through October. The last haunt will be on Halloween, which is on a Thursday this year. Tickets are $10. Ticket sales start at 7:30 p.m. with tours beginning around 8 p.m. each night.

In Winfield, Fear on the Farm is already open, ready to scare guests with eight attractions in one location: two haunted houses, three escape rooms, two motion-simulated rides and a virtual reality experience. Tickets range from $5 to $20 per attraction, with packages available. The farm is located at 8325 Winfield Road, Winfield.

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