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6 Southern Fall Traditions to Get You in the Autumn Spirit

As the calendar flips over to September and October, the air starts buzzing with the spirit of fall, y'all! Sure, it might still feel like summer's got a firm hold, with that Southern sun beaming down and the thermometers declaring it's still shorts weather. But don't let those high temps fool you. Autumn magic is unfolding all around. Picture this: leaves transitioning to a warm palette of oranges and reds, the sound of marching bands and cheering crowds at Friday night football games, and the comforting scent of smoke from e bonfires. Pumpkin spice? It's not just a flavor, it's practically a lifestyle at this point, perfuming cafes and kitchens alike.

Here's the thing, too. The South is one of the best places you can experience everything that fall has to offer. From state fairs bursting with fried delights and carnival lights to cozy evenings spent around a crackling campfire, the South knows how to do fall just right, heatwave or not. So, grab your favorite flannel, pick a pumpkin to carve, and let's dive into some fun Southern fall traditions that'll have you saying "It's fall, y'all!" no matter what the temperature is outside. Just make sure you dress for the occasion.

1. Attend the Day of the Dead or Voodoo Fest in New Orleans

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, originated from the Mesoamerican tribes of Mexico as a way to come together and pray for lost loved ones. Day of the Dead is celebrated in several cities, but New Orleans certainly takes the celebration to another level with a vibrant parade and city-wide party. The Louisiana city also holds the annual Voodoo Fest around Halloween weekend, complete with music, art and, of course, costumes.

2. See the Friday Night Lights

Nothing says fall like football under the stars. And there's no better way to enjoy those Friday night lights than in a small southern town. Cheer on your local team or check out  some of the most impressive football stadiums around Texas.

3. Attend a Harvest Festival

Harvest festivals are a traditonal kickoff to the fall season. If you're in Texas, check out Autumn at the Arboretum, which takes place in Dallas from Sept. 23 through Nov. 22 and is known for its impressive pumpkin village, created from thousands of pumpkins, squash and gourds.

4. Go Apple Picking

Prep for autumn apple pie baking by getting only the freshest ingredients straight from the source. The south is filled with great pick-your-own orchards, from B.J. Reece Orchards in Georgia to the Ayres Family Orchard in Kentucky.

5. Participate in a Corn Maze

One of the most fun and family-friendly fall activities in the South is exploring a corn maze. As the summer heat cools off, plenty of farms in the South transform their cornfields into intricate, winding labyrinths. Som are fun and relaxing strolls, but others will have you wandering around confused as you try to find the exit. When it's over, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and local farm-fresh treats like apple cider and caramel apples await! One great example is the Mid-South Maze in Memphis, Tennessee, which features a haunted maze at night for anyone looking for something spooky.

6. Have a Slice of Pecan Pie

Enough about pumpkins. In the South it's all about that pecan pie. The earliest printed recipes for pecan pie showed up in Texas cookbooks as early as the 1870s. To this day, most pecan pie recipes call for Karo syrup because early syrup cans printed the recipe on the back. While there are many different variations of the pecan pie - from bourbon laced to chocolate - southerners generally prefer them as sweet as possible.

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