Fall is my favorite time of year. I love watching the leaves change colors, inhaling the crisp autumn air, and enjoying the ubiquity of pumpkin products. For me and others who share my enthusiasm for the fall season, the Bethlehem Harvest Festival being held this Saturday, Oct. 12, is something to look forward to every year.

The Bethlehem Harvest Festival is the quintessential Lehigh Valley kickoff to the fall season. This Saturday marks the festival’s eighth year in operation, held annually in Downtown Bethlehem’s historic district. It's a family event with plenty of festivities, food, fun and shopping opportunities to get you into the autumnal spirit.

First of all, there will be plenty of vendors to visit at the festival, including an open air produce market and an assortment of arts, crafts and gourmet foods. Yum!

Photo courtesy of the Downtown Bethlehem Association 

Starting at 1 p.m. on Main Street, you can sample 28 varieties of beers! And that’s not all on offer, either. Taste a variety of “Around the World” wines and soups from around downtown from Noon to 4 p.m. The Biergarten in the Sun Inn Courtyard will be offering extended beer hours after 4 p.m., and those who purchase Harvest Festival beer and wine passports will be able to take advantage of a $3 beer special. Don’t have a passport? Don’t fret! You can still get $5 beers from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Sun Inn Courtyard will have live music throughout the day, which makes for a good soundtrack to all the eating and drinking you'll be doing. Or to all the eating and drinking you'll be watching other people do, as the case may be. Watch ten contestants stuff their faces with baked goods as part of the Fourth Annual Pie Eating Contest, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. in the Sun Inn Courtyard.

Photo courtesy of the Downtown Bethlehem Association 

Finally, there will be plenty of fall-themed fun and games for the kids. In the past, these activities have included petting zoos, pumpkin painting, pony rides and more.

The Bethlehem Harvest Festival runs from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Main Street, and until 8 p.m. at the Sun Inn Courtyard on Saturday, Oct. 12. For more information, visit DowntownBethlehemAssociation.com.