The rituals of fall used to include much more than tailgating and trick-or-treating. Before football and Halloween came to dominate the autumn social calendar, rural America celebrated a bountiful season with fall fairs and fun activities to bring the community together — a tradition that has been largely lost in a modern society built on cellphones rather than cornstalks.
Guests at The Breakers Resort in Myrtle Beach can experience those good ol’ days firsthand at the Oct. 1-2 Harvest Home Weekend Festival at Brookgreen Gardens, where the 9,000-plus-acre property is magically transformed into a classic fall festival. A wide variety of arts and crafts, games for kids, live entertainment, and other activities are ready to take you and your family back in time — so the adults can get a taste of nostalgia and teach the little ones what life was like before Pokemon.
A long list of traditional fall activities are set for the Harvest Home Weekend Festival, including hayrides, scarecrow building and pumpkin-painting contests. A big-top tent hosts live music and other entertainment, and a nice selection of fall-themed food and beverages will be served. Arts and crafts vendors from up and down the Carolina coast, including artisan potters, sweetgrass basket-makers and many more, make their way to the event to display their wares and show off their skills.
But even with all the attractions the Harvest Home Weekend Festival has to offer for grown-ups, many of the activities are geared toward the kids. The Lowcountry Zoo and Farm serves as the headquarters for autumn-themed fun, including hayrides through the scenic South Carolina landscape. Hop aboard a hay bale and ride under the ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, along the swampy waters that were once home to rice fields and through the beauty of the works of art and nature that are on display.
Located on a former rice and indigo plantation in nearby Murrells Inlet, about 20 miles south of The Breakers, Brookgreen Gardens is the East Coast's oldest and largest botanical sculpture garden. In addition to enjoying all the fall festivities during the Harvest Home Weekend Festival, visitors can also explore the beauty of the surrounding landscape and art exhibits. The unique works of art are framed in a natural setting of trees, shrubs and flowers that create an ideal atmosphere for a fall-day getaway.
Other permanent attractions include the Gullah Cultural Center, which displays the lifestyle of the early African culture on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia; the old Oaks Plantation homestead, where remnants of another era include slave quarters and an old cemetery; and the Lowcountry Zoo and Farm, where wild native animals like otters, alligators and shore birds live in a natural environment, and domesticated critters like goats, chickens and horses are available for interaction.
Other activities include wool-spinning demonstrations, sidewalk-chalk art and tours of the Butterfly House, which will unveil many new butterfly species for the fall. Visitors can also take hiking tours of the old plantation site and boat tours of the adjoining creeks and rivers that flow through the property to the nearby sea. Or for those looking for a little rest and relaxation, simply bring a blanket or beach chair and find a shady spot under a live oak tree to take in all the sights and sounds of the fall celebration.
The Harvest Home Weekend Festival is held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are available at the gate or at www.brookgreen.org.