By Chelsie Calliham
Falling leaves, sweater weather and pumpkin spice everything are a few things that come to mind when thinking of fall. But in Kansas, we have much more going on than the basics, starting with our fall festivals.
Fall festivals are a perfect way to support local, agricultural based businesses while having loads of fun with your friends and family. The cool air leads to corn mazes reaching their full potential, pumpkins meeting their final orange glow and are ready to be picked from their patch, apples ripen at the orchards and grape harvest time begins. The staff at CREE researched and found where to go to enjoy all things fall.
There are numerous fall festivals in Kansas, but we narrowed it down to our top five to help you embrace the fall spirit
1. Maple Leaf Festival – Baldwin City
Starting in 1958, the Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival is a community event that offers activities for the whole family. This festival takes place in the third weekend of October, right in time for the maple leaves to change colors.
The festival begins on Saturday with a parade including a children’s competition, marching bands, floats, and antique cars. Craft and food booths are open for business throughout the weekend with something suitable for everyone’s taste.
While you’re exploring the booths, make sure to check out the quilt show, compete in the 5k, ride the Midland Railroad, enjoy country music, dramatic art, or drop the kiddos off at Kid Zone for safe, family fun. There’s a little something for everyone at the Maple Leaf Festival
2. Gaeddert Farms Kansas Corn Maze- Buhler
September 23 – October 28
This fall marks the 19th anniversary of Gaeddert Farms Kansas Corn Maze where “getting lost has never been more fun”. Each year, the farm features a new, exciting design for their five-acre maze that you can spend hours navigating through.
Once you’ve mastered the maze, participate in the other activities like a ride on the hayrack to pick your own pumpkin from the patch. Once you’ve found the perfect pumpkin for your next carved masterpiece, launch yourself on the jumping pillow or test out the aMAZEing PlayLand area.
On every corner, there’s something festive to be taken in at the Kansas Corn Maze.
3. Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery- Basehor
Open year round with Oktoberfest and other events in the fall
Wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Kansas or even agriculture, but you may be surprised to know that delicious wine is produced in the fertile soils of eastern Kansas every year. Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery is a growing legend for producing award winning fine wines and host events throughout the year, including an Oktoberfest and harvest picking days in the fall.
Oktoberfest takes place on October 14th and is a traditional German festival. Join in with song and dance with the lively, traditional German music and feast on classics from the Werner Wagon coming with Werner’s Sausage of Mission, Kansas. The Alpen Spielers band will make you feel like you have been transported to the wine regions of Germany. Not only will you leave happy from the eventful afternoon but your taste buds will be satisfied too.
If you can’t make it to Oktoberfest, or you want a new experience, the harvest picking Sundays are the event for you! From mid August through October, Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery lets you walk through the whole grape picking and harvesting process. Find out how wine is made while having fun doing it! Picking begins at 8 a.m. sharp, so make sure you’re up and at ‘em; you won’t want to miss this.
4. Louisburg Cider Mill – Louisburg
Open year round with Cider Fest and other events in the fall
The Louisburg Cider Mill opened in 1977 and is now a regional destination that produces tasty apple cider and apple cider donuts, and also allows you to see how these products are produced. The mill store is open year round, but fall is when the orchard truly thrives with all kinds of fall fun.
The festivities begin with Cider Fest weekend taking place September 30th through October 1st. The activities begin with the Louisburg Lions Pancake Feed and continue throughout the day with pony rides, an inflatable slide, cider, and donut making and craft booths. The event will be sure to keep your belly full. Available for purchase is a cup of fresh hot or cold cider, cider doughnuts, freshly dipped caramel apples, kettle corn, fried pickles, and Lost Trail Root Beer — one of the soda treats that Louisburg Cider Mill is famous for.
Bluegrass music will fill your ears and get your toes tapping as it plays all day during the craft and art fair where you can find unique gifts like hand crafted furniture, homemade candles, or toys for the kids.
If you are unable to make it to Cider Fest, don’t worry because the mill has several themed weekends throughout October.
5.Britt’s Farm Market- Manhattan
Open year round with pumpkin patch and fun zone in the fall
At this point, you may be thinking all of the festivals sound like a blast, but I don’t have the time to travel during the busy month of October. Look no further because the fun continues right here in the Little Apple. Britt’s Farm Market offers local produce to the community. In the fall, their pumpkin patch and fun zone include a large array of activities starting September 23rd and continuing every weekend until November 4th. Besides the famous pumpkin patch this festival features corn mazes, a potato cannon, jumping pillows, a hayrack ride around the farm, petting zoo, and much more.
If decorating is one of your favorite fall hobbies, Britt’s Farm Market is the place to shop and make your home festive. They offer a selection of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, corn stalks, and straw bales.
Now that we’ve told you our favorites, try them out and let us know what you think. Be sure to tag @RuralEngagement in your comments and pictures, so we can see the fall fun you participated in. Have other festivals that you love? Let us know! We want to hear all about it!