ICONIC HOLIDAY DECOR: Pine cones have a way of appearing on forest floors around the Golden State throughout the year, but fall and the holiday season is truly the cone's time to shine. Or, rather, be displayed next to the fireplace, have glitter glued upon it as part of a Christmas craft, or show up in bowls and baskets on kitchen tables across the land. Free decorations don't come woodsier, or even as ready for decorating. (Seriously, did everyone make pine cone people in the third grade or at summer camp? It's some sort of charming prerequisite.) And while the fir-grown wonders are plentiful, and usually palm-sized, give or take, some grow big. As in gargantuan. As in if one falls on the roof of your car, the resounding thwunk it makes can be thunderous. These mondo knobs are the pine cones that get the foresty accolades in Twin Peaks every year, at the Arrowhead Pine Cone Festival. More than that, the human owners of the cones get the love, in the form of prizes for longest and biggest cones. The fest's upcoming date? Saturday, Oct. 12.
YEP, THE PRIZES ARE GOOD: So here's the deal: If you have the longest Sugar Cone or the heaviest Coulter Cone, you could nab lodging credits at the Pine Rose Cabins and gift certificates towards Jensen's Finest Foods and The Grill, two mountain favorites. If you're Sugar Pine or Coulter beat previous records, than the prizes increase. We know. Seriously. This is kind of terrific, if you're a nature, mountain, fall-loving person who happens to have an easy eye for pine cone collecting, anyway.
OTHER PARTS OF THE FEST: Cone-y crafts -- hooray! -- the Pine Cone Olympics -- yay! -- and other up-the-mountain high jinks are part of the free fest. If you're in Arrowhead or its surrounding communities to catch some mid-October foliage sightings, this could be well worth a stop. Who knows? Maybe you'll even leave with a tiny pine cone glitter person, perfect for hanging on your Christmas tree.