Thompson ParkOne of the best kept not-so-secrets of Fall takes the spotlight on Sunday, when Thompson Park Day takes over the spacious park located just off Newman Springs Road.

Strut Your Mutt. Paint a pumpkin. Climb a wall. See a show — maybe even scare a crow.

When the family-friendly Fall festival known as Thompson Park Day returns to the Monmouth County Parks System’s home turf in Lincroft this Sunday, October 19, it will come with all the tried-and-true trappings of the annual recreational panorama — the wagon rides and the kids’ races, the animal shows and pottery demos, the puppet shows and sideshow entertainers, the skiing and canoeing, the food and craft vendors, and the Pie Eating Competition.

It also packs some extra surprises that are native to this event beneath the mellow October sun — the Diaper Derby and the Dash for Cash, the Make Your Own Scarecrow Contest and of course the 11th annual Strut Your Mutt Contest, in which dogs take center stage for the most popular Halloween costume contest on four legs.

Most of all, it’s a chance for families to acquaint themselves with the four-season charms of Thompson Park, a fine place to take the young’uns, in addition to a super local site for hiking, running, tennis, canoeing and more. There’s plenty to do for all ages, all around the spacious grounds and inside the landmark Theatre Barn. A full schedule of the day’s activities appears right here.

Thompson Park Day happens between the hours of 11 am and 5 pm, with free admission and parking for all (some events require registration and/or a $3 ticket).