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Live music at Westminster's Applefest. Photograph by Sandy Witt, courtesy of Applefest.

Free Things to Do in Denver and Beyond This Month, October 2018

October’s free offerings include pumpkin patches and corn mazes (of course), as well as an Applefest, a donkey shelter fundraiser, and more.

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Cottonwood Farms Pumpkin Patch |Open daily through October 31 

Bob and Amy Condon opened Cottonwood Farm—located about 10 miles east of downtown Boulder—back in 1996. Since then, they’ve provided pumpkins, corn mazes, and friendly hayrides to Front Range locals. That’s precisely what you’ll find this year—so long as you don’t go to the old place. The Condons packed up the farm and moved it over to nearby Lafayette this season, so stop by and celebrate the new digs with a pumpkin hunt and the four-acre corn maze. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (only free during weekdays); 10600 Isabelle Rd., Lafayette

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Cedaredge Applefest | October 4–7

The four-and-a-half hour drive to Cedaredge is a big ask—we get it—but this four-day festival is the prime destination for apple-lovers in the Centennial State. Festival officials tell 5280 that last year’s event attracted just under 25,000 attendees and that more folks are expected to enjoy Applefest in 2018. Local apple orchards such as Red Mountain Ranches, Wags World Orchards, and Williams Orchards will provide the goods alongside more than 200 vendors, most of which are native to the Western Slope. With live music, a car/truck/bike show, and a chili cook-off, comparing this festival to anything else would be like comparing apples to…you get the gist. Thursday and Friday, 5–8 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 245 W. Main St., Cedaredge 

22nd Annual Festival of Scarecrows | October 13

The Festival of Scarecrows is not exactly what it sounds like. Well, OK, it is—scarecrows will be tied to trees, street posts, and pretty much every nook and cranny in Olde Town Arvada—but there’s a lot more to this fest than the plaid- and denim-donning, straw-filled humanoids. A giant pumpkin contest, which has previously seen winners presenting pumpkins as large as 150 pounds, is always a unique event. There’s also a parade and live music, plus any pumpkin sales from the event go toward Ralston House Child Advocacy Center, which benefits children who are recovering from abuse. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Olde Town Arvada Square

Pumpkins and Pilsners Festival | October 13

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Estes Park isn’t a hard sell for those of us enamored with Colorado’s mountainous beauty. Bond Park, in the shadow of Rocky Mountain National Park, promises to be as pristine a scene as any for those looking to pick a pumpkin at the 5th Annual Pumpkins and Pilsners Festival. Craft beer from Estes Park Brewery, Lumpy Ridge Brewery, and Rock Cut Brewing Company will be available for purchase. Proceeds from pumpkin and craft beer sales will benefit Families for Estes, which seeks to improve educational and recreational opportunities for Estes Park residents. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 170 MacGregor Ave., Bond Park

Westminster Halloween Harvest Festival | October 20

After last year’s Halloween Harvest Festival drew crowds that exceeded 17,000 people, it may not have seemed like the fall celebration could have gotten much bigger. But then Westminster officials decided to merge the Harvest Fest with the popular Westy Craft Brew Fest‚ which means the event will now include a beer garden boasting an impressive collection of dozens of craft breweries. The beer should be a perfect complement to watching Westminster’s hot-air balloon glow to close out the night. Noon to 8 p.m.; 5453 W. 88th Ave., Westminster

Longhopes Donkey Shelter Halloween FundraiserOctober 27

Asses were introduced to the Centennial State back when it was more like the Centennial Territory—during the gold rush—when miners brought donkeys in to help strip minerals from the Rocky Mountains. Those days are long gone, but places such as Longhopes Donkey Shelter, which has been sheltering donkeys for almost two decades, work toward providing a safe, happy home to present-day donkeys until a suitable companion adopts them. Even if you aren’t looking to adopt, this fundraiser is a fun afternoon to check out some donkeys dressed up in costume, playing games, and eating free food. 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; 66 N. Dutch Valley Rd., Bennett

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Editor’s Note 10/1/18: This article mistakenly included a Dia de los Muertos in the City event that took place in 2017 and will not be held again in 2018. We regret the error.

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