by Roger Chambers

September marks the official beginning of autumn with the equinox of September 23. Most college and university students start school in late August while public and parochial schools begin just after Labor Day. The cultural transition between summer and fall is Labor Day weekend. Picnics and barbecues, camping and boating are common ways of ending the summer season.

Holidays and Observances for September

September 2         Labor Day
September 7         Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day
September 8         Grandparents Day
September 9         Admission Day in California
September 11       Patriot Day
September 15 – October 15    Hispanic Heritage Month
September 17        Constitution Day; Citizenship Day
September 21        International Day of Peace
September 29        Rash Hashanah begins at Sundownining ing
September 28        American Indian Day

The month of September rivals May for comfortable weather. It is generally cool to warm, though there are occasional hot days. The first frost of the season may appear in the Adirondacks and southern hills in September, but in Utica and the Mohawk Valley, it may be chilly in the morning, but frost does not usually occur until early October. If camping. hiking or fishing, especially in the Adirondacks, one should be prepared for the cold.

Sunset is before 7 p.m. by late September but afternoons are usually pleasant. Tomatoes, peppers, and beans may still be available in home gardens. Most regional farmers markets remain open into late fall with a wide variety of regional produce and apples are at their peak season. Many annual flowers are still in bloom until the hard frosts of early to mid-October.

The beautiful fall colors of maples, oaks, and other deciduous trees with varying shades of red, yellow and orange peaks in the Adirondacks in late September. These often brilliant colors gradually shift south to the Mohawk and Susquehanna Valleys through October into early November.

With schools and colleges open, football season begins and many follow the Syracuse Orange or Colgate. High school football on Friday nights or Saturdays has many regional rivalries between competing villages and towns, providing a strong sense of community identity. While not as popular as football, cross country meets are an important part of fall sports.

Many museums, cultural arts organizations and hobby clubs, begin their annual season. This includes plays by regional theater groups in Ilion, Utica, and Rome, and classical, jazz and folk music concerts at various venues

Religious faith is important to many.  For those of the Jewish faith, Rash Hashanah begins the new year, a solar calendar determined date, this year on September 29.  Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement follows on October 8. The Festa of Saints Cosmo and Damien, at St. Anthony’s Church in is one of the oldest regional festivals. It’s East Utica neighborhood processional with music and statues of saints draws thousands of tourists.

Patriot Day is a day remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001. There has been an annual stair climb in the State Office Building in Utica honoring those first responders who died on that tragic day.  There are also other somber prayer breakfasts, luncheons, and memorial services throughout the region.

Here is a sampling of various music, agricultural and arts festivals held in September in the greater Mohawk Valley, all within about an hour’s drive from Utica.

Regional Festivals in September

September 7           Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival, Canal Place, Little Falls
September 7-8        Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival, Norwich
September 7-8        Old Time Flywheel Engines, Constableville
September 7-8        Giant Craft Fair, Fort Klock, St. Johnsville
September 19-21     Jazz-N-Caz, Cazenovia
September 13-15     Madison County Hops Festival, Oneida
September 14-15     Sharon Springs Harvest Festival
September 21          Cream Cheese Festival, Lowville
September 21-22     Fall Festival, Fern Park, Inlet
September 28-29     Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts
September 28-29     Festa of Saints Cosmo and Damien, St. Anthony’s Church, Utica
Weekends               Fall Festival Weekends, Critz Farms, Cazenovia
Weekends               Apple Festival Weekends, Fly Creek Cider Mill

In the Night Skies

The Moon, between the first quarter and full moon, has conjunctions in the early evening, with Jupiter to its left on the 5th and to its right on the 6th. On the 7th the Moon appears to Saturn’s right then to its left on the 8th, again seen at nightfall. A much more difficult conjunction to see is the thin Crescent Moon on the 29th with Mercury to its lower left and a much brighter Venus to its lower right. This is very low on the western horizon just after sunset.

Fall officially begins at 3:50  a.m. on September 23  with the autumnal equinox. This is just over a week after the Full Harvest Moon of September 14.

Rise and Set times of the Sun, Moon, and Visible Planets on September 23, Autumnal Equinox

Sunrise                                        6:49 a.m.
Sunset                                         6:56 p.m.
Moonrise, Waxing Gibbous             6:11 p.m

Moonset                                       4:15 a.m. northwest
Mercury                        Sets         7:29 p.m. west
Venus                           Sets         7:25 p.m. west
Mars                             Rises        6:12 a.m. east
Jupiter                          Sets         10:27 p.m. southwest
Saturn                          Sets         12:27 a.m. southwest

Moon Phases for September

First Quarter Moon     September 5

Full Harvest Moon      September 14
Last Quarter Moon     September 21
New Moon                 September 28


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