Photo by Rob Hartung

The weather is beyond perfect. Linus awaits the Great Pumpkin and apples, pumpkins and nuts are in abundance at local farmers markets. It won’t be long before “fall back” prompts us to surrender an hour on Nov. 3, 2013, so make the most of October fests. 

The Harvest is in...

It’s not exactly a scene that would inspire Whitman to wax on about golden grain and hay stacks, but San Francisco does pay homage to harvest season. Weighing in on Oct. 26-28 at the Ferry Building is the fifth annual Harvest Festival. Farmers, food artisans, vintners, musicians and beekeepers will provide three days of fall merriment. The celebration kicks off on Friday with an organic wine and beer tasting and wraps up on Sunday with communal tables brimming with fall foliage and pumpkins in the Marketplace. Noe Valley welcomes all for their annual harvest festival on Oct. 26 for a costume parade and hayride starting at 10 a.m. 

SF Open Studios 2013

It’s absolutely possible during this month-long art event showcasing more than 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists in their studios that you will find the painting for the wall above the fireplace. Each weekend from now through Nov. 10, 2013 art patrons, admirers and collectors venture forth on self-guided tours to visit as many SF Open Studios as possible. Produced by ArtSpan SF Open Studios is the largest and longest running open studios program in the U.S. ArtSpan’s newest initiative is Super Hubs which pairs artists with more than two dozen, art-friendly businesses ranging from Hotel Triton to Java on Ocean.

Bulls and More Bulls

Real bulls, as in 1,100-pounds-plus of bovine, are a major part of the annual Grand National Rodeo, Horse and Stock Show at the Cow Palace, Oct. 25-26. Bull riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, team and tie-down roping are among the competitive events. And once the dust clears the San Francisco Bulls Professional Hockey Team, an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, opens its regular-season on Nov. 8 at 7:30 pm when the Bakersfield Condors come to town. Individual game tickets are now on sale. The 2013-14 schedule includes 36 home games.

Howl-o-Ween at Treasure Island Flea

How else would you describe the Halloween celebration at the very dog-friendly Treasure Island Flea? This urban open-air market held on Treasure Island the last weekend of every month showcases local designers, specialty food purveyors, wineries and entertainment. On the weekend of Oct. 26-27, 2013 customers and vendors are encouraged to wear costumes —you can shop and maybe emerge as a completely different character. There’s also a sock drive for clients of San Francisco’s St. Anthony’s kitchen. Bring new socks – all sizes are welcomed. There will be a pumpkin patch and a teardrop trailer exhibit. Ten of these compact travel trailers which look just like a teardrop and debuted in the 1930s will be on display.

Arrivals Departing from SFMOMA

With SFMOMA “on the go” and everywhere while they are closed until 2016, the biennial SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) award funds commissioned works that appear outside the traditional gallery context. Among the recipients is David Wilson whose works on paper and performance-based pieces explore “lost corners and in-between stretches of natural and developed space.” From a central trailhead at the entrance of SFMOMA, 151 Third St., Wilson has developed a series of self-guided journeys to six outdoor sites throughout San Francisco. Arrivals features hand-drawn maps that visit among other locations the Presidio and Sunnydale. Journey maps are added frequently (maps 1 and 3 are currently available and a fourth will be added Oct. 28).

So Have You Heard the Story about the Scarecrow, the Tin Man...

Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto (portrayed by a rescue dog named Nigel from the Arkansas Humane Society) as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz at the SHN Orpheum rediscovers the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for all the family through Oct. 27. Most shows start at 7 p.m. to accommodate younger audience members (and maybe a few older ones, too). Warner Bros. is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the film “The Wizard of Oz” which opened at Gruman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Aug. 15, 1939. 

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Fall Season

Only for a few weeks every year does Alonzo King’s world-acclaimed LINES Ballet perform in its home town. Expect sold-out performances for the fall season, Oct. 25-Nov. 3, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. King brings Writing Ground home for its San Francisco premiere. Commissioned in 2010 for the famed Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, King’s masterful work draws inspiration from writings by Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award. An emotionally searing and lyrical work, set to a collection of sacred early music from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Writing Ground challenges the Company to explore new physical territory. The fall season also features a world premiere set to Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Two Violins.

Fisherman’s Wharf Celebrates Two Milestones with Wharf Fest

Come to the inaugural Wharf Fest, Oct. 26-27, to celebrate the legacy of San Francisco's historic waterfront district and enjoy a chowder competition, live music, food and wine, art, craft beer tasting, a chef's demonstration kitchen, children's activities and rides, and more. Saturday will be topped off with a screening of the award-winning films from last year's San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival at the Bay Theater and a spectacular fireworks show at PIER 39. Wharf Fest marks milestone occasions for Fisherman's Wharf including PIER 39's 35th Anniversary and the 50th Anniversary of Hyde Street Pier's public opening.

Seward Johnson Sculptures Showcased at Fillmore District 

From now through the end of the year 12 life-sized bronze sculptures by artist Seward Johnson will be on display along Fillmore Street between Eddy and Geary Boulevard and in Gene Sutton Plaza. The pieces form an installation called “Stop and Enjoy the Fillmore.” Among the sculptures are a pair of mariachi men, a realistic-looking hot dog vendor and “Coming Home,” which depicts a military dad embracing his daughter.  An information center at 1309 Fillmore St. has also been set up for visitors to learn more about how the sculptures are made.

Big Bugs!

If you totally empathized with the scene in Annie Hall when Diane Keaton summons Woody Allen to deal with the spider in her bathroom, Big Bugs: Outside the Box at the San Francisco Zoo through Jan. 12, 2014 may not be for you. On the other hand if you were the kid always running around with an empty mayonnaise jar filled with “specimens,” this is your dream come true. Housed in the Pachyderm Building, the exhibit gives visitors access to a world that often requires a magnifying glass to appreciate. Butterflies with five-foot wingspans and four-foot-long beetles stare you square in the eye (or as square in the eye as compound eyes might allow). See intricate details not visible to the naked eye and learn fun facts about a world that exists beyond our everyday powers of observation. And check out this offer for one free child admission when you go.