The Stories Behind Our Favorite Fall Activities

Fall is a little bittersweet around the Mosquito Joe office. The same time of year that brings beautiful foliage, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and apple cider also brings an end to our mosquito spraying season in most locations. But instead of focusing on the negatives, we’re already looking forward to the fun (and sometimes strange) fall activities yet to come! If you’ve ever wondered where the tradition of apple bobbing came from, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re going to explore some of the fall activities we enjoy every year and dig a little bit deeper to find out why we enjoy things like dunking our heads in water to retrieve an apple with our mouths instead of grabbing a dry one out of a bowl with our hands.

Oktoberfest

OktoberfestOktoberfest is a 16 to 18 day festival that takes place every year in Munich, Germany to commemorate the Bavarian culture. A combination of a beer festival and carnival, Oktoberfest attracts millions of people every year. Interestingly enough, this festival is typically held in September instead of October. Wonder why? The first Oktoberfest was held in mid October 1810 to honor the marriage of a Bavarian royal couple. As this tradition continued throughout the years, organizers moved the festival to September to allow for better weather and enjoyment of the festivities! Last year’s event saw over 7 million visitors and just as many litres of beer served. Cheers!

 

Trick-or-Treating

Trick or treatTrick-or-treating, one of the most beloved fall traditions is a little strange if you really think about it. Going door to door in costume asking strangers for candy has a few contested origin stories. The ancient tradition of mumming was practiced at the Samhain celebration. This predecessor to Halloween was celebrated over 2,000 ago by the Celts. People would dress in costume to drive away evil spirits while gathering together to honor the dead and would perform acts in exchange for food and drink.

Samhain transformed into All Souls’ Day, a large festival with costumes, food, and treats to honor the deceased. Poorer classes would visit the homes of wealthier people and ask for treats in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of their relatives. Eventually, the promise to pray for souls was dropped and replaced with the performance of a trick or joke, hence the name trick-or-treat.

As these traditions came to the United States, the innocent “tricks” gradually devolved into vandalism, the height of which was during The Great Depression. To evade thousands of dollars in damage and unnecessary violence, communities organized a trick-or-treating program in the 1930s to keep young people focused on something else. These programs saw huge success and continue to this very day!

Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for applesWhat is now a messy and innocent game has its roots in courtship and love from European colonists. Young girls were assigned an apple, and the amount of tries it took their male partner to bite the apple determined the success of their relationship; one try meant eternal love, two tries meant a short romance, and three tries meant nothing would ever happen. The apple was often regarded as a sign of fertility and youth as apple blossoms usually signal the beginning of spring. Eventually, this game lost its romantic undertones and became a popular game for everyone to enjoy at fall parties!

 


As is becoming tradition here, we went around to office to ask the Mosquito Joe crew about which fall activities they lovFall traditionse. Here are some of their favorites!

Watching my son play fall tee-ball – Jake

Coming from New England, we always did the typical stuff; apple picking, hot apple cider, etc. But for me, the highlight is when we carve the pumpkins! Now with kids, it’s fun to see personalities come out in their carvings. Fall ActivitiesYou can always tell who’s pumpkin is whose. My pumpkin is always scary. Dad’s is traditional and NEVER deviates. Our 8-year-old daughter does something a little different and creative, and our 5-year-old does a goofy pumpkin. – Gwen

While I am a total summer girl at heart and hate to see it end, I do love heading out to the farm and watching our four year old select the perfect pumpkin and cut it off the vine! And of course, I always scoop up a few mums to get me in an autumn state of mind.  – JulieFall Activities

I love drinking beer and supporting my favorite NFL teams – Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers! – Jodi


As you plan your fall festivities and Halloween parties, remember how important it is to continue your mosquito control sprays until the very end of the season. Ending your treatments early will give female mosquitoes a chance to not only make your yard a home but to lay more eggs before the first freeze of winter. Along with the barrier spray, Mosquito Joe technicians can treat areas of standing water that are unavoidable such as pool covers and flower pots. If the last spray and treated areas of water are completed, then you’ve completed the first step in winterizing your yard!

Don’t let mosquitoes trick you into ending service before the season ends. Contact your local Mosquito Joe for a free quote today!

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5 Biggest Fourth of July Celebrations in the U.S.

5 Biggest Fourth of July Celebrations in the U.S.

The Fourth of July, one of America’s most beloved holidays, means the summer season is in full swing.  Warm weather, cookouts, fireworks, and families gathered together can make for the perfect day.  Not to mention, there’s no pressure to get anyone a gift, which makes it even better!  Wherever you live, chances are your community has a much-loved Independence Day tradition, whether it’s a parade down Main Street, a neighborhood barbecue, or a great fireworks display at night.  But a variety of reasons could take you out of town this year, which means missing some of your hometown Fourth of July charm.  Although you’ll probably find patriotic festivities at every turn, if you are lucky enough to be in these cities, you’ll be privy to some of the largest and most spectacular fireworks displays and celebrations in the country.

  1. Washington D.C. – It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital makes this list!  Hundreds of thousands of people fill the National Mall every July for the 17.5 minute show that can be seen from miles away.  The day leading up to the display is action-packed as well with a parade, United States Army Band concert, and Capitol Fourth concert.  Guests can also arrive hours early to visit the surrounding monuments.
  2. New York City– Macy’s 4th of July fireworks are the largest display in the country.  Lasting for over 25 minutes and attracting millions of attendees, these pyrotechnics boast over 50,000 effects.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Macy’s show and will be accompanied by a two-hour television special with guests such as Kenny Chesney and Meghan Trainor.
  3. Boston, Massachusetts – The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular gets national attention as well as one of the most extravagant in the country.  Pre-luded during the day by publicly televised countdown and concert, the fireworks display lasts over 20 minutes and can be seen from anywhere along the Charles River.  This year’s performers are Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas along with the Boston Pops.
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Considered the birthplace of America, Philadelphia boasts one of the largest 4th of July celebrations with its annual Wawa Welcome America event.  And don’t worry if you can’t make it on July 4th.  This celebration lasts all week long, this year from June 27 to July 4.  It includes special museum exhibits, fun runs and 5k races, outdoor movies, concerts, and ends with the fireworks display along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  5. Addison, Texas – Independence Day is all about celebrating the underdog, right?  So, we’ll close out the list with a small town in Texas about 20 minutes north of Dallas: Addison’s Kaboom Town!  The event takes place every July 3 from 5pm to midnight in Addison Circle Park.  The day is filled with music and food along with the Addison Air Show.  The town of only 15,000 attracts over 500,000 visitors for the event, and the American Pyrotechnics Association has even dubbed it one of the best displays in the U.S.

Whether you’re staying at home or traveling elsewhere, we wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July!  You can check out more spectacular fireworks displays here.  Be sure to share your holiday pictures with us on Facebook (@mosquitojoe), and tell us how you celebrated.  And if you’re the lucky one hosting an Independence Day bash, don’t forget to call your local Mosquito Joe to make sure your yard and your guests are protected against mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks during the festivities.

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Tips for an Itch Free Fourth of July You Can Feel Good About

There are many things that make the Fourth of July a holiday we look forward to: warm (or downright hot depending on where you are!) weather, barbecues, pool parties, and fireworks. What do all of these have in common? They’re all enjoyed outdoors! That is our kind of holiday. But, sometimes the great outdoors can bring unwanted guests to your events, and this year we want to be sure you have all your bases covered whether you’re throwing a low key get together or a full blown party.

You probably have all the essentials on your Fourth of July to-do list: red, white, and blue decorations, stocking up on sparklers, and of course, figuring out what to feed your guests. But there is one thing you want to add to the very top of that list – calling us for a barrier spray treatment so that your guests are NOT on the menu. Mosquitoes feed mainly at dawn and dusk, and dusk is the perfect time to be outside manning the grill or enjoying a festive cocktail.Give your local Mosquito Joe a call today to get on the schedule and make sure your yard is itch-free place to enjoy fireworks this weekend. Schedules are filling up fast, so make sure you give them a call!

Mosquito Control Awareness Week

This year is even more special thanks to a campaign that is near and dear to our hearts. To add to the amazing reasons the Fourth of July is our favorite this year, Mosquito Control Awareness Week is happening right now. Every year, the American Mosquito Control Association declares the week of June 26 National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. To celebrate, we partner with local blood banks in our communities to help with the amazing work they do during our Beat the Bloodsuckers campaign. This week, when you sign up for service, 10% of the sale will go back to the local blood bank! How cool is that? You can have an itch and swat-free fourth AND give back to your local community. It’s a win-win.

And since the need for blood doesn’t take a summer vacation, we also encourage you to donate! Mosquitoes take blood from us all the time without asking. Let’s Beat Those Bloodsuckers and donate it to a better cause.

Just Because We Love Food

With mosquitoes out of the picture and your good deed accomplished for the holiday, here’s one more tip – this time for your menu planning. This holiday means cookouts galore, and we’re pretty serious about our grills. Whether you’re going with burgers, brats, dogs, ribs, or chicken, what’s a cookout without potato salad? Since that grill is going to be utilized quite a bit over your long weekend, we thought we’d share one of our favorite recipes that you can throw right on the grill along with everything else. Click to check out this recipe for Grilled Potato Salad.

Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Mosquito Joe. Wishing you a safe and mosquito-free celebration!

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Funky Fall Festivals Across America

Happy Belated First Day of Fall!  Yesterday marked the official start of the pumpkin spice frenzy – lattes, pies, candies, Pringles…yes Pringles.  But even though the food this time of year brings joy and a few extra pounds, fall also brings with it some amazing festivals.  Regular harvest festivals are plentiful across the country, but as you can imagine, some towns’ annual fall festivities celebrate truly unique traditions and local quirks.  Here are some of America’s funkiest fall festivals, from the whimsical to the totally bizarre.

Trailing of the Sheep Festival – Ketchum, Idaho – October 7-11, 2015

Did you know Ketchum, Idaho is one of the sheepherding capitals of the world?  Throughout much of the town’s history, sheep have even outnumbered people!  The Trailing of the Sheep is the culminating event of a four-day festival in Ketchum that celebrates the town’s rich history of livestock herding.  Herders accompany over 1,500 sheep parade down Main Street as they complete their migration from summer to winter pastures.  This amazing celebration of local culture, cuisine, and sheep takes place every October.

Wife Carrying Championship – Newre, Maine – October 10, 2015

Newre, Maine celebrates the end of summer with an annual Fall Festival at Sunday River Ski Resort.  Live music and arts and crafts are dwarfed by the headlining event – The North American Wife-Carrying Championship.  This race is based on a 19th century Finnish legend about “Ronkainen the Robber” who only accepted men into his band capable of carrying heavy weights or local women through a running course.  Just as it sounds, the event challenges 50 couples to race through a 278-yard obstacle course with the woman being carried.  The winner receives the wife’s weight in beer and three-times the wife’s weight in cash. Learn more about the North American Wife Carrying Championship by visiting their website.

Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade – Manitou Springs, Colorado – October 24, 2015

In the late 1800’s, Emma Crawford traveled to Manitou Springs to aid her tuberculosis with the town’s mineral springs.  She passed away several years later and was buried on Red Mountain.  After years of weather and erosion, however, Emma’s coffin was unearthed and slid down the mountain to the valley below.  To remember Emma Crawford, thousands of people travel to Manitou Springs every year for the coffin races and parade.  Teams of five construct rolling “coffins” with elaborate designs and decorations.  One person dressed as Emma rides in the vehicle while four runners push her along a 195-foot course.  Winners take home trophies for time and aesthetics. Registration is still open for this ghoulish race coming up in a few weeks!

No matter how you’re celebrating the start of fall, make sure you remember to keep your yard protected from mosquitoes right up until winter arrives, so you’ll be in much better shape when the warm weather returns next year.  Mosquitoes will thrive and lay eggs until temperatures are consistently below 55 degrees, which is still months away for many.  Taking care of mosquitoes with an end-of-season spray will allow you to enjoy your yard uninterrupted this fall and will dramatically decrease the amount of pests next season.  Call your local Mosquito Joe for more information.

Photo Credit: The Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sunday River, and Manitou Springs Emma Crawford Coffin Races

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Barbecuing without the Buzz

Summer may not officially begin until June, but we all know what is right around the corner: the unofficial kick off to summer…Memorial Day weekend! I love packing all my favorite hot weather activities into this particular weekend to celebrate the glorious season that includes longer and warmer days. That means a pool visit is in order, I am going to invite friends over to grill hamburgers, and I’m going to sit outside at dusk and enjoy a frosty beverage.

You may be doing all these things for Memorial Day weekend too, and I bet there’s one guest you don’t want on the list for your barbecue or when you’re sunning by the pool: Mosquitoes! We have the perfect solution for you, our barrier sprays can make sure all your activities for the upcoming holiday weekend are buzz free (the buzz you don’t want!) but we’re booking up fast. Give your local Mosquito Joe a call today to schedule your treatment to make sure your weekend is swat free.

 

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