This month starts fall festival season in 417-land, and it seems like every little town in our region has something to celebrate. We rounded up five of the best from this big pool of fall festivals. Each one has a rich history, a fun theme and plenty of ways to keep you and your entire family entertained. So get out there, and enjoy the cooling weather with some festival fun.
1. Apple Fest
Seymour, September 11–13
Why It’s Great: What says “fall” more than freshly picked apples? You can celebrate the fruit of the season at this long-running festival in Seymour. It brings a crowd of 15,000 people and is packed with great food, lots of crafts, live entertainment and plenty of vendor booths. Don’t miss the Apple Festival 5K, the apple-peeling contest, the Apple Princess contest, the pet show and lots more.
More info: seymourapplefestival.com
2. MAPLE LEAF FESTIVAL
Carthage, October 3–31
Why It’s Great: The Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage features almost an entire month of activities (including a quilt show, a Plein Aire Paintout and pageants for all ages), but the weekend of October 16 through 18 is when most of the events take place. There’s a parade, plus a Wine & Beverage Festival, Pancake Feeds open to the public, an art and craft show, Celtic Wine Festival, Marching Band Festival, live entertainment and more. You can even enter the lip-sync competition.
More Info: carthagemapleleaf.com
3. PUMPKIN DAZE
Republic, October 4
Why It’s Great: Giant pumpkins have helped ring in Autumn in Republic since 1992. Vendor booths feature tasty food, fun activities, retail and more. A big draw is the pumpkin weigh-in sanctioned by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. There’s also a pet parade, live entertainment, Little Miss & Master Pumpkin competition and more fun activities.
More info: republicpumpkindaze.com
4. APPLE BUTTER MAKIN’ DAYS
Mount Vernon, October 10–12
Why It’s Great: The Apple Butter Makin’ Days festival has been happening in Mount Vernon since 1967 and celebrates age-old methods of making that tasty toast topper. It brings a whopping 40,000 to 45,000 people to the little town and features more than 400 booths. There’s plenty of entertainment for the family, including tons of contests (in the past there have been bubble gum blowing contests and even apple-biting contests). The kid-friendly terrapin race is a contender for cutest festival idea ever.
More Info: mtvernonchamber.com
5. HERITAGE REUNION
Fair Grove, September 27–28
Why It’s Great: There are more than 300 booths featuring art, crafts, food and more at the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion, which is jam-packed with period entertainment from the 1800s. Kids can enjoy the pony rides, and there’s even an antique tractor show. Don’t miss the parade or the live country music and dancing all weekend long.
More Info: fghps.org/heritage-reunion.html