ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Sure, it feels like the summer that just won't quit with a heatwave pressing down over most of Southern California. But, just like that, it’s fall! True, this is a year when time has often felt suspended. Many Americans hardly left their homes since spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Large-scale summer events fell off the calendar, and many traditional fall events in Orange County are scaled down, if they’re happening at all.
Still, you can make some rewarding things happen for your friends and family. The pandemic has made a lot of us feel powerless, but one way to take control is by volunteering at or giving to your local food bank (we’ll tell you how at the end of this story).
The coronavirus pandemic caused joblessness on a massive scale not seen in the United States since the worst days of the Great Depression, potentially making 54 million Americans food insecure by the end of 2020, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.
Not only are people in need, helping them is a good way to show gratitude, Dulce Gomez told Patch editor Gideon Rubin as she volunteered at a food bank in San Francisco. Gomez is an immigrant from Mexico, and she said the kindness of strangers helped her settle into her new life in the United States.
“I feel there are a lot of people who need help, and anyone who is available should do it,” Gomez said. “I've always had people helping me, and now it's my turn to return it back to people.”
Here are four more ways to enjoy fall in Orange County
Autumn practically begs to be seen and enjoyed every year when the leaves turn from green to blazing red, vibrant orange and sunny yellow.
The exact timing of the fall color display depends on sunlight, precipitation, soil moisture and temperature, but the county-by-county data input in SmokyMountains.com’s “2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map” can help you make an educated guess on the best time to go leaf-peering.
Visit a southern California-area pumpkin patch.
It’s easy to socially distance at pumpkin farms, where fields can sprawl across many acres. Proprietors in most places are taking extra precautions, such as requiring visitors to wear masks, and are setting up plenty of hand sanitizer stations.
The same changes make apple orchards and corn mazes a safe bet for fall fun.
The pumpkin has always been quintessential to fall baking, and 2020 is turbocharging the amount of time we’re spending in the kitchen.
We won’t judge you if you skip the mess and use canned pumpkins, but digging into the pumpkin with your hands and scooping out the stringy innards and seeds can be soothing, meditative and cathartic.
So whether you’re whipping up a batch of bars or feeling really ambitious and tackling a from-scratch pumpkin pie, savor the taste of fall with hints of pumpkin, cinnamon and spices in some of our most beloved comfort foods.
Find your pumpkin at an area pumpkin patch or even at your local grocery store. With many closed, this year, it's more about what you do with them at home!
Truthfully, the kids couldn't care less whether you’re baking fall goodies with a canned pumpkin picked up at the market or a fresh pumpkin.
But they’re going to care a lot if they don’t get a pumpkin for a jack-o’-lantern. Pumpkin-carving is a popular fall tradition, and designs have become more creative every year.
Kits are available, but you may also want to carve your pumpkins the old-fashioned way. Just make sure the kids have adult supervision because cutting through the thick meat of the pumpkin can lead to accidents if not properly approached.
Also, check out these 10 fall craft ideas for projects you can do with the kids.
More fall fun in Orange County?
Prepare to park and be scared with the Orange County Fairgrounds latest scream-fest: Halloween In OC 2020: Urban Legends Haunts OC Fairgrounds
Remember: Halloween In Orange County 2020 Isn't Canceled, Just Different
How will you be spending Halloween 2020?
Are there homes on your block who have already started decorating? Share your thoughts with your Patch Editor in comments, or through email!
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.