In the Loop


Prepare for scares, Oktoberfests and more. Autumn has arrived. For getaway ideas, check out this month’s roundup of travel and transportation tips for short hops to nearby events and longer trips around California.

Halloween ghoulfests return statewide through Oct 31, among them Fillmore & Western Railway’s Headless Horseman Family Dinner Train on selected “Frighty, Saturday and Sunday Nights Oct 13, 19, 21, 26, 28” (; 805-524 -2546); Burbank’s Universal Studios invariably terrifying Halloween Horror Nights (; Disneyland’s awesome “Nightmare Before Christmas” effects at the Haunted Mansion, “Ghost Galaxy” enhancements on Space Mountain and Mickey’s Halloween Party (; 714-781-7290); and Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm where the park locks up in the early evening and then reopens later with gruesome surprises Thursday-Sunday (; 714-220-5200).

To the northwest on Saturday, Oct. 6, the second annual Sacramento Archives Crawl celebrates National Archives Month with a visit to special collections and rarely seen historic treasures via free shuttle service on a 1950s vintage bus. Attendees who request passports and have them stamped at three of the four host sites will receive a set of limited-edition commemorative coasters (

In the Bay Area, the Pacific International Quilt Festival featuring over 800 quilts and garments will run Thursday-Sunday, Oct 11-14 at the Santa Clara Convention Center (; 215-862-5828).

To the southwest on the coast, the Ventura Harvest Festival Original Arts & Crafts Show over the Oct 5-7 weekend presents more than 200 booths, a guest chef and a pumpkin patch “kidzone” (www.harestfesti, 800-346-1212).

To the south, San Diego’s Little Italy community boasts the largest Italian-American festival on the West Coast, Sunday, Oct 14 (www.lit, 619-233-3898) and San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park extend free admission to all children 11 years and younger all month (; zoo: 619-231-1515, safari park: 760-747-8702).

San Diego Beer and Wine Tours offers their three-hour Beer and Food Walking Tour complete with fall ales, pumpkin-brewed favorites and added Oktoberfest games and prizes all month, as well as guided winery tours throughout the year (; 858-551-5115). For more Oktoberfests, check out Anaheim (weekends through Oct 28, the; 714-563-4166) and Big Bear Lake (weekends through Oct 27,; 909-585-3000).

Closer to home: North on 395, legends and fans pay tribute to the Wild West at the Lone Pine Film Festival Friday-Sunday, Oct 5-7. The Sons of the San Joaquin will give two concerts on Saturday night (www.lonepine; 760-876-9103). Northeast on 178, Trona’s GEM-O-RAMA Oct 13-14 makes it more fun than ever to play in the mud (; 760-372-5356).

Seasonal riddle: What is orange but not a pumpkin? Answer: Johnny Depp’s wig from “Alice in Wonderland” sharing the spotlight with 12,000 square feet of cartoon sketches, costumes, storyboards and props as part of the Walr Disney exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library in Simi Valley (; 800-410-8354).

Ridgecrest resident Donna McCrohan Rosenthal covers travel stories for AAA, Bakersfield Magazine and several West Coast publications. The author of 14 books, she has appeared on Oprah and A&E Biography and lectured at the Smithsonian.

Story First Published: 2012-10-03