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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Sept. 23-30

You’ll have the best times! This week: Early Oktoberfest, apple and pumpkin picking, A Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular, and bargains at the Providence Flea

Spectators at the annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park can find the likeness of Rock N' Roll Hall of Famers Bruce Springsteen and Bono of U2 among the pumpkins on display.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

I’m wearing my Lebowski-esque fall sweater, drinking Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spice with one hand and carving jack-o-lanterns with the other. (It’s a talent.) Welcome to fall, Rhode Island. From Oktoberfests to Roger Williams annual Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular, we are in full-on Autumn Mode this week and Rhody is vibin.’ Let’s ride.


Ward Hayden and the Outliers (previously known as Girls Guns and Glory) throw down a jukebox country-rockabilly flavor. Groove to the homegrown New England tunes at Providence’s Askew Sept. 23. 8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show. $12 advance, $15 at the door. Details here. Learn more about artists here.



Prost! September means Oktoberfests, and we’ve got options:

  • The German American Cultural Society of Rhode Island hosts a two-day Oktoberfest Sept. 24 and 25 in Pawtucket. Both days include live music, outdoor Biergarten with Burgundian Waffles, bratwurst, potato pancakes, pretzels and more festive fare; an indoor kitchen serving everything from bratwurst and knockwurst to leberkäse and sauerkraut. And yes, beers. $10 advance, $12 at the door. Children under 12 free. 78 Carter Ave, Pawtucket. Details here.
  • Meanwhile in Newport, the Newport Craft Taproom celebrates Oktoberfest Sept. 24 with a free-admission party. Find authentic German brews, food by Wally’s and games including a “wurst race,” stein-holding contest and Best Traditional Dressed contest. (Get out the lederhosen.) Free. Noon-5 p.m. 293 Connell Highway. Details here.
  • Founded by German immigrants in 1890, Narragansett Beer celebrates its roots with a three-day Oktoberfest Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Imbibe with celebratory brews including ”Fest,” a German-inspired Märzen lager and “Gourd Reaper,” a pumpkin ale. Plus authentic German treats, live music from TubaFrau and Bavarian Bros, stein-holding competition and more. Tickets from $25. 271 Tockwotton St., Providence. Details here.


It’s pumpkin time on Cucumber Hill starting Sept. 24, as the Foster Farm turns into a full-on fall funhouse: corn maze, hay rides, axe-throwing, nighttime flashlight maze (I’m in), lantern-lit hayrides, pick-your-own pumpkins, pony rides (yes, please), food trucks and more. 39 Cucumber Hill Road, Foster. 401-397-7500. Details, prices and hours here.

It’s a Harvest Fest and Tractor Show at historic Metcalf Franklin Farm in Cumberland Sept. 24. According to event billing, you’ll find food trucks, hayrides, historic barn tours, music, pony rides, Audubon raptors, craft vendors, games and more. $10 per car to park; free admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 142 Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland. Details here.

Also open:

  • Escobar’s Farm in Portsmouth offers a 8-acre corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin-picking, concessions and more. GPS: 255 Middle Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-1444. Details, rates and hours here.
  • Clark Farms in Matunuck boasts a corn maze, petting zoo, hayrides, pumpkin patch and more. 2984 Commodore Perry Highway. 401-783-8844. Details, rates and hours here.
  • Adams Farm in Cumberland offers a weekend corn maze, farm food truck and hayrides, plus pumpkin patch, farm animals, cornhole, “tire playground” and “hay mountain” for kids and more. 495 Sumner Brown Road. 401-714-4425. Details, rates and hours here.
  • At Johnston’s Salisbury Farms, find pumpkins, popcorns, candy apples, a giant corn maze and more. 11 Peck Hill Road. 401-942-9741. Details, rates and hours here.

Plus: September is prime apple-picking time in Rhody. Check out our list of spots to pick a peck of Pippins here.


Have fun with fungi in an interactive mushroom workshop led by landscape architect and artist Courtney Goode Sept. 24. According to event billing, you’ll try your hand at mushroom casting and make your own spore prints, among other activities. Materials will be provided; but you can BYO mushroom. But “please no stinkhorns, and no puffballs. Make sure they’ve been picked in the last 24 hours and handled with care.” This sounds straight outta Hogwarts. Love it. General admission $25, student $20. 1 Park Row, 2nd Floor, 2A, Providence. Details here.



Gather round kids, and I’ll tell you a tale of when boot-cut jeans and Ugg boots were in, and we all wanted iPods and Motorola Krzrs… My fellow early ‘80s babies: Iliza Shlesinger, 39, brings the LOLs to PPAC Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. with “Iliza: Back in Action Tour.” With five Netflix specials under her belt — including 2018′s “Elder Millennial” — the award-winning comedian, actor, writer, producer and author is a winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” She also wrote and starred in Netflix’s “Good On Paper” among other film credits. Tickets from $30. 220 Weybosset St., Providence. 401-421-2787. Details here.


You know the drill. We gather, my neighbors, to dance and feast by these waters and bask in our Rhody heritage. The pyres light as the sun sets (6:39 p.m.) and the fun-on-land starts at 5:30 p.m. with food, living statues, artist vendors and more. I’ll see you there, neighbor. Full details here.


Legend alert! Pink Floyd co-founder and drummer Nick Mason will rock Providence Sept. 25. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets — Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt, guitarist Lee Harris, and keyboardist Dom Beken — bring the early music of Pink Floyd to PPAC. Tickets from $57. Show 8 p.m. Show details here.



I’m a fan of thrillers and mysteries anytime of year, especially as we get closer to October, so this looks awesome: Ocean House owner and author Deborah Goodrich Royce hosts a conversation with thriller authors Luanne Rice, Casey Sherman, Aggie Blum Thompson, Stewart O’Nan, John David Mann, and Christa Carmen, in the Seaside Ballroom to discuss their books and writing process Sept. 25. A meet-and-greet book-signing follows. Boxed lunch and soft drinks are included. $25. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill. 888-853-2919. Details and reservations here.


Westerly Sound presents a Celebration of Surf, billed as “a festival of wave-riding subculture and self expression” Sept. 25 at the Misquamicut Drive-In. Find curated film screenings, live bands, makers-market, surf swap, board demos, raffle and more. $12. 2-8:30 p.m. 316 Atlantic Ave., Westerly. Details here.


You never know what gems you’ll find at the Providence Flea, and Sept. 25 is the last outdoor flea of the season. If you’ve never been, think more maker’s market and curated vintage spot than a flea market. They’ll move indoors this fall, so soak up the waterfront sunshine shopping while you can. Find dozens of vendors — vintage vendors, artisans, indie makers, small batch bakers, and more. Free admission. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 275 South Water St. Details here.


What WaterFire is to Rhode Island summer, Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular is to Rhode Island fall — part of our customs and rituals. Some of our Rhody forefathers say, as they sip their Del’s, ‘tis not yet fall until ye spy 5,000 jack-o’-lanterns in Providence. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular returns Sept. 29 through Halloween. This year’s theme: Celebrating 75 years of television. From “Mr. Ed” to “The Walking Dead.” (I wonder if anyone carved tribute to short-lived NBC show “Providence”? #HighSchoolMemories.) Open nightly 6-10:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.: $18 adult, $15 child. Fri- Sun.: $21 adult, $18 child. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. Details here.



Haitian-American composer/violinist/activist Daniel Bernard Roumain brings his original work, “The Telling,” a PVDFest Happening, to Providence’s WaterFire Arts Center in a pay-what-you-can concert hosted by FirstWorks. According to FirstWorks, the “program features instrumental solos, dance and chamber music that responds to Black trauma and affirms Black joy. A Town Hall dialogue will follow the performances.” With a dozen local and national creative collaborators, a centerpiece of the program, “Twin Stars: Diamond Variations for Dae’Anna” is “a cry for racial justice,” according to the billing. Pay-what-you-can. Sept. 29, 8 p.m. at WaterFire Arts Center. 475 Valley St., Providence. 401-273-1155. Details here and here.


You know summer’s really over when the Food Truck Friday trucks drive home. Yup, it’s the last #FoodTruckFriday of the season at Roger Williams Park Sept. 30. Bring a chair or blanket and soak up live tunes from local artists, jump on the carousel, hop the train ride — and get your fill to hold you over to next season. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. Details here.


Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.