Displaying items by tag: Columbus Day

Almanac for October 2015

02 November 2015
Published in Monthly Almanacs

October Almanac

While the tenth month of the year, October retains its name of Latin origin as the eighth month when March began the New Year. Daylight hours decrease during the month, with occasional hints of winter cold to come.  

October is a magical month wedged between the frenzy of the beginning of the school year and the holiday season of Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s. Football season is in full swing at area high schools and universities. Ice hockey season begins, with the first home game of the Utica Comets on October 21. The performing arts season has begun, with films, concerts and theatrical productions at the Stanley Theater, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Kirkland Arts Center and area high schools and colleges.   

For those with a garden, it is time for fall clean up and planting bulbs for garlic and next year’s spring flowers. It is the time give the car and snowblower a tune-up, caulk windows and doors, and get the snow shovel handy in preparation for the coming winter.

October weekends are a perfect time for a day trip with the entire family to many nearby rural areas for apple and pumpkin festivals and Halloween activities. For Those seeking peace and solitude may prefer a woodland hike, camping, or fishing trip. Salmon fishing in Pulaski is popular, and hunters make preparation for deer season.  

While many parks and regional tourist attractions close after Labor Day, a few remain open through Columbus Day weekend. This is usually the last chance for a day trip with relatively mild weather and roads free of ice and snow that sometimes make such excursions problematical during the winter.

In the northeastern woodlands and and rural areas of the Mohawk Valley, “leaf peeping” trips are popular. Predominantly green landscapes of summer change to pastel colors of orange, red and yellow as deciduous trees prepare for winter. Against a cobalt blue sky on a sunny October day, these scenic views are truly enchanting. 

This annual seasonal transition of mid autumn lasts for several weeks before the leaves completely fall, leaving the gray and brown landscapes of November. Colors generally peak in late September to early October in the southern Adirondacks, mid-October in the Mohawk Valley, and late October in the Chenango, Schoharie and Sesquehanna Valleys of Otsego, Madison, and Chenango Counties.

Excursions might include one of several regional farms or rural orchards for harvest festivals. Many such events focus on apples, pumpkins, and other fall harvest crops, and some include hay rides, corn mazes and Halloween activities.

Halloween, this year on a Saturday, is one of the most popular cultural holidays of the year. Costume parties, trick or treating for children, haunted house exhibits at various locations, and hay rides or corn mazes in rural areas are all popular. This year, Halloween coincides with the shifting back to Eastern Standard Time which begins at 2 A.M. on November 1. With that change, afternoons are noticeably shorter with sunset at 4:52 P.M. and dreary November begins.     

Holidays and Proclamation Days in October

October 3      Oneida County History Day (first Saturday of October)  

October 5      Child Health Day

October 6      German-American Day 

October 9      Leif Erikson Day

October 11    General Pulaski Memorial Day       

October 12    Columbus Day (2nd Monday)

October 15    White Cane Safety Day; Poetry Day

October 16    National Boss’s Day

October 17    Sweetest Day (3rd Saturday)

October 18    Alaska Day

October 27    Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday 

October 30    Nevada Day

October 31    Halloween


Weekly Observances in October

~1st Week~

Mental Illness Awareness Week

~2nd Week~

International Letter Writing Week

~3rd Week~

National Business Women's Week

~4th Week~

National Magic Week

Discovering Regional and Ethnic History and Heritage

October is a unique month in the Utica area with many activities focusing on various ethnic groups that have played an important role in our history. The first Saturday of the month has been Oneida County History Day for several years, often with special events at the Oneida County Historical Society.

October 6 is German American Day. Mid September to mid October is Hispanic Heritage Month. October is Polish-American Heritage Month, with General Casimir Pulaski Day on October 11. In recent years, special ceremonies at the Pulaski Monument on the Memorial Parkway in Utica have been held in late September. 

Columbus Day is the second Monday of the month, this year on its original date of October 12. This was an important holiday celebrating Italian-American heritage long before it became a national holiday. There continue to be observances at the Columbus Monument on the Memorial Parkway in Utica. This is the last long holiday weekend of the year before the cold of winter sets in.

A Few Regional Festivals and Events for October

October 3      Pumpkin Patch Mud Run, Esperance (Schoharie County)


October 4      Traditional Sauerbraten Dinner, Utica Maennerchor, Marcy

October Weekends Corn Maze & Harvest Festivals at Critz Farms, Cazenovia


October 10-11          Cider Fest, Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, Fly Creek


October 23-24          Norwich Pumpkin Festival, Norwich



 In the Night Skies

October this year has visible planets shifting to the early morning pre-dawn sky, with Saturn the only planet visible in the evening, low in the southwestern sky.

On October 1, there is a conjunction in a vertical line, from top to bottom, of Venus, Leo’s bright star Regulus, Mars, and Jupiter. The waning crescent Moon passes close to these planets, first Venus on the 8th with Regulus to the Moon’s left, Mars on the 9th, and Jupiter on the 10th, and finally Mercury on the 11th, very low on the eastern horizon just before dawn. Venus and Jupiter appear in a close conjunction on the 25th.

The Draconid Meteor Shower, originating in the northwest from constellation Draco has remnants of Comet Giocobini-Zinner. This is best seen in the late evening on October 9 with up to six meteors per hour.

The Orionid Meteor Shower of October 21-22.  Up to fifteen meteors per hour may appear in the southern pre-dawn sky, remnants of Halley’s Comet. Looking to the south, the winter constellation Orion is also visible at this time.

October 1      Sunrise 6:59 am                    Sunset 6:41 pm 

October 31    Sunrise 6:35 pm                   Sunset  5:54 pm

Put the clocks back an hour at 2 A.M. on November 1, and times of rising / setting of the Sun, Moon, and Planets move to an hour earlier.


Rising and Setting Times of Visible Planets on October 31

Moon                          9:50 P.M.                               11:50 A.M.

Mercury                      6:36 A.M.

Venus                         3:34 A.M.                             

Mars                           3:39 A.M.

Jupiter                                    3:10 A.M.     

Saturn                                                                         7:18 P.M.                                                                              

Moon Phases for October

Last Quarter                           October 4      Sets 1:59 P.M.

New Moon                            October 12    Rises 6:42 A.M.   Sets 6:45 P.M.

First Quarter                           October 20    Rises 1:56 P.M.

Full Hunter’s Moon                October 27    Rises 6:28 P.M.  Sets 7:25 A.M.

October Astrological Signs  Libra  9/23 - 10/22     Scorpio 10/23-11/22

Roger Chambers’ book, A Sense of Place: An Almanac of Festivals in the Mohawk Valley is being published this fall by Friesen Press. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


October Almanac for 2014

23 October 2014
Published in Monthly Almanacs

Holidays and Proclamation Days in October

October 3      Child Health Day

October 4      Yom Kippur – Jewish Day of Atonement 

October 6      German-American Day

October 9      Leif Erikson Day

October 11    General Pulaski Memorial Day

October 13    Columbus Day (2nd Monday)        

October 15    White Cane Safety Day; Poetry Day

October 18    Sweetest Day (3rd Saturday)

October 16    National Boss Day (Bosses Appreciation Day).

October 20    Alaska Day (3rd Monday)

October 24    United Nations Day 

October 27    Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday 

October 31    Halloween

                        Nevada Day

                        Youth Honor Day -  Iowa


About Us

The Mohawk Valley Almanac provides a wide variety of information on fairs and festivals, wildlife, and the natural world in this historic region of central New York State. Many annual regional fairs and festivals celebrate the seasons, agriculture, historical and religious holidays, the arts, sports, and ethnic heritage of the diverse population. The natural world of birds and other wildlife, weather, astronomy, and gardening in a climate with cold and snowy winters are also featured.

We hope to make the Mohawk Valley Almanac a gateway to this area of Central New York for anyone interested in the natural world and regional festivals of the greater Mohawk Valley. Come back and visit often for new information. Contact us on the link below for further information or to subscribe to our monthly almanac newsletter.

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