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Making the most of fall in Florida

Without burnt orange leaves on trees and a high in the mid-60s, Florida just doesnt feel quite like fall for the typical out-of-state student. But in Tampa, USF students know that there is a different way to celebrate Floridas fall season.

USF and Tampa may be given the short end of the leafless fall stick, but there are still ways for students to celebrate the season, Tampa Bay style. As the cool weather settles in, take some time around the community to enjoy the foliage, friends and good food that come along with autumn.

Embrace pumpkins
Nothing screams Halloween more than pumpkins. The Hyde Park Pumpkin Patch continues every day until Oct. 31 in the heart of the village. Each night, Hyde Park Villages pumpkin patch will be free to park at and free to attend, so the only thing to purchase is a big, bright orange pumpkin.

Bearss Groves, on the corner of Bearss Avenue and Lake Magdalene Boulevard, also sells a variety of pumpkins, including pie pumpkins. Spend an afternoon carving with friends, then use the insides to make pie instead of throwing it out.

Seasonal drink specialties
Attack of the Pumpkin Beers is a national October event highlighting amber brews enriched with the taste of cinnamon and pumpkin. In Tampa, the event will be held at The Pub Tampa Bay on Westshore Boulevard downtown. The 21-and-up crowd can look forward to more than 10 different pumpkin drinks on tap. For the underage pub-goers, the event will also feature fall foods.

Nov. 14 provides a chance to taste some dark, fall-friendly wines at the Thanksgiving Wine Wednesday Wine Tasting. Cru Cellars on MacDill Avenue will be allowing guests to sample 10 to 15 different fall wines, which may be useful come Thanksgiving. Wine purchases after the tasting will be 10 percent off.

Broaden your horizons on campus
Multicultural Affairs annual Holiday Celebration will take place Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Marshall Student Center amphitheater. This event features an array of different holiday celebrations. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students can experience dance, dialogue and food to learn about the depth of diversity at USF.

Amble about on a farm
The Fox Squirrel Corn Maze in Plant City is a natural adventure for those who arent claustrophobic. The Futch family purchased their ranch in the 1920s and has been running the land ever since. The first of its kind in Hillsborough County, the maze gives visitors a first-person farm experience and can even be walked in the evening with a flashlight. Features include a corn field maze, hayride, duck races, horseshoe and corn hole games. The visit costs $8.50 for adults, is open to the public from Saturday to Thursday and runs until Nov. 11.