Fall Festivals in Missouri = Family Fun

Photo of Santa-Cali-Gon Days, Independence, Mo.

Photo courtesy of Independence Chamber

Jefferson City, Mo. — Tired of humidity and 100-degree days? Fear not — fall (more correctly, autumn) is just down the road. The end of summer is marked by the autumnal equinox, at 5:05 a.m., September 23; then fall takes over, lasting until 12:30 a.m., December 22. Most people don’t think of December as being in the fall, but there you have it; the official dates.

No need to be too “official” here, so as festivals go, let’s fudge a little and consider fall as starting in mid-August . . . gives us more time for fun, food and entertainment.

As the heat fades and the days shorten, Missouri’s communities and organizations throw lots of parties, some lasting a day, others running several days. We call them festivals. They celebrate, well, just about everything. Missouri’s festivals serve-up inexpensive family fun and entertainment in every section of the Show-Me State.

Photo of Jour de Fete, Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

Photo courtesy of Ste. Genevieve Herald

Ste. Genevieve, founded in 1735, is the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi River. To celebrate their strong French colonial heritage, the town gives us an annual festival called, Jour de Fete, August 13-14, Ste. Genevieve’s historic district is transformed into a gala gathering with more than 600 craftspeople; plenty of food; entertainment; a 5K run; a parade; and a classic car show.

The mighty Missouri River is the backdrop for Parkville Days Riverfest, held August 19-21 in Parkville’s English Landing Park, which has three miles of walking trails. The entire family can enjoy a parade (Saturday), live jazz and blues music, arts and crafts booths, good eats, games and fun.

Get the blues during Saint Louis Bluesweek, August 25-September 4. Bluesweek is highlighted by a music festival (August 26-27) celebrating the St. Louis blues music genre: two days of musical entertainment, featuring the best-of-the-best blues musicians. Other blues-related activities round-out the week. The concerts are presented on the steps of the new Peabody Opera House (formerly Kiel Auditorium), in downtown St. Louis.

Photo of Downtown Fiddle Festival, Branson, Mo.

Photo courtesy of Historic Downtown Branson

On the subject of music; Branson, the Live Music Show Capital of the World, is the site of the annual Downtown Fiddle Festival, August 26-28. This event draws fiddlers from throughout the Midwest. In addition to the Mid-America Fiddlers Championship, there are workshops, concerts, dancing in the streets, fiddling seminars and demonstrations, more concerts, food vendors, a square dance, games, and a gospel celebration. It all takes place downtown.

Want more music? Get down to Dixon, often called the Bluegrass Capital of the U.S., for the Bluegrass Pickin’ Time Festival, featuring more than 30 shows for all bluegrass lovers. This is four days of music, crafts, and fresh-cooked meals from steak to a fish fry. Take your unwanted and slightly used items for the camper yard-sale. It’s a rousing good time, September 1-4.

 

Photo of Kansas City Irish Fest, Kansas City, Mo.

Photo courtesy of Kansas City CVA

Kansas City Irish Fest is one of the nation’s largest Irish festivals. It takes place at Crown Center Square, in Kansas City, September 2-4. Celebrate KC’s deep Irish roots and Celtic heritage with three days of music, dancing, heritage workshops, exhibits, merchandise vendors and lots of food. The festival features 30 bands, playing traditional Irish music and Celtic rock, on seven stages. There is even a Jameson Irish Whiskey Tasting Tent (separate admission fee).

The Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival celebrates the unique heritage of the City of Independence as the starting point for three frontier trails heading westward: the Santa Fe Trail; the California Trail; the Oregon Trail. Held on the historic Independence Square, September 2-5, this event is one of the largest Labor Day festivals in the nation. It features nine large craft tents, with more than 300 vendors from throughout the country; a carnival; food booths; musical entertainment; dancing; and unique contests such as root beer chugging and watermelon-seed spitting, among others. On Monday, the festivities take on a “Fun Under the Sun” beach party theme, with a Jimmy Buffett Tribute, tropical drinks and beach balls.

Columbia’s largest festival, the Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival, is a nationally recognized two-day event. This is a unique celebration of music, food and culture, taking up a good portion of downtown, September 9-10. The festival features a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned competition, with 50+ teams vying for prizes and bragging rights. Fill your plate with delicious barbecue. Nearly two dozen musicians from around the world perform eclectic roots, country, bluegrass, gospel, folk and soul music. Plus, there are nationally certified half-marathon and 10K races.

Traditional Japanese Culture will be on display for all to experience at the

Photo of Japanese Fall Festival, Springfield, Mo.

Photo courtesy Springfield-Greene County Park Board

Japanese Fall Festival, September 9, 10, and 11, in Springfield. This is a celebration of Springfield’s sister city, Isesaki, Japan. Artisans provide items authentic to Japanese culture and tradition. Highlights include a taiko drumming group, traditional tea ceremonies, and a special area where proceeds will benefit the victims of the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

How about a festival the subject of which you probably would not associate with Missouri? Shrimp. The Show-Me Shrimp Farm, near Dixon, holds its annual harvest festival on September 10. ShrimpFest is a one-of-a-kind for Missouri, well worth mentioning. As the ponds are drained, freshwater prawns (no, they are not crawdads) are available for purchase in bulk quantities, ice included. They’ll even cook them for you, Cajun style. Take your lawn chair so you can kick-back for the games and live entertainment. They have food and wine, craft vendors, horseshoe contests, volleyball and other games; for the kids, there’s a bounce house and pony rides. Primitive camping is available on-site, at no charge; firewood provided.

On September 10, the Owensville Heritage Day Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of the proclamation making the village of Owensville a fourth class city. Activities include games, crafters, food venders, a bike-a-thon, horseshoe and washer tournaments, wine tasting, a car show, an open jam session, a quilt show, and a horseshoe relay.

One of the largest festivals in Missouri actually overlaps summer into fall. The National Harvest Festival is held on select days, September 10-October 29, at Silver Dollar City, in Branson. This annual festival welcomes hundreds of craftsmen from across North America. In addition to the rides and excitement of this world-famous theme park, the festival features: a lumberjack show; a 50-ton sand sculpture; professional pumpkin carvers; a birds of prey show; Made-In-Missouri exhibit and sale by Best of Missouri Hands artists and artisans; a barn dance; and hundreds of demonstrating craftsmen scattered throughout the park. The festival is included with standard admission to Silver Dollar City.

If it’s down-home Ozark fun you crave, mosey on over to Gainesville, September 15-17, for the outrageous Hootin an Hollarin. One of the oldest festivals in Missouri, this rousing good time serves up three days of simple country fun for all ages. Enjoy good music, dancing (square and otherwise), crafters, food, pageants, parades, bed and outhouse races, plus old fashioned games. Held around the Gainesville Square.

Downtown Branson hosts the annual Autumn Daze Art and Craft Festival, September 16-17. Festivities include a juried craft show, with more than 150 vendors; food booths; a children’s area; a celebrity’s autograph booth; live music from some of Branson’s finest; and a street dance.

 

Photo of Patee Park, St. Joseph, Mo.

Patee Park, St. Joseph, Mo.

Hospitality is the name of the game at the Southside Fall Festival, September 16-18, in St. Joseph. It includes upwards of 100 arts and crafts booths to tickle your fancy; a food court; live musical entertainment; and a grand parade. This is a no-alcohol-allowed event.

In north Kansas City, the Zona Rosa shopping and entertainment district presents the Zona Rosa Arts Festival, September 16-18. Artists and artisans from across the U.S. offer their works in watercolor, oil paintings, wood, photography, sculpture, handcrafted jewelry and other mediums. Enjoy live music, dance, theatrical performances, food and beverages.

A family art event takes place September 16-18, in St. Charles. At MOsaics—Festival for the Arts, more than 100 juried artists from across the country exhibit, discuss and sell their artwork. Paintings, sculptures, photography, glass, jewelry, metal and woodworking are among the media represented. Children can visit a special place where they learn about, and try their hand at, art; MOsaics provides the supplies needed for kids to create their own souvenir. Throughout the festival, performing artists offer traditional favorites and eclectic styling.

The Cider Days Festival, September 17-18, is always a huge hit in Springfield. Attractions range from delicious cider to tours of historic homes, great food to live music, plus a slew of demonstrating craftsmen and artisans. The event features Scarecrow Village, a contest that includes rows o’ crows; and hands-on activities such as face painting and inflatables for children. Take in performances by the Springfield Little Theatre Youth Troupe, the Skinny Improv comedy troupe, and other groups. Don’t forget to try some fresh apple cider while you’re there.

Ok, we finally made it to Autumn; the air is cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and daytime is getting shorter. That doesn’t mean festival season is over . . oh no. We are just getting started.

The community of Raymore holds its annual Festival in the Park September 22-24. The family-friendly festival includes: lots of entertainment; concession stands; vendor booths; a carnival; an ice cream social; pancake breakfast; car show; parade; silent auction; bike rodeo; sand volleyball; and a dog show.

At Mountain View’s Pioneer Days, September 23-24, you’ll experience what life was like in, well, pioneer days. Festivities kick-off Friday with a ham n’ bean supper; followed bright and early the next morning with an old fashioned flapjack breakfast. Both days you can enjoy music and dancing, the Tee Pee Village, an antique car show, crafts, pioneer demonstrations, parachute flights, an old west jail lockup, sack races, a cookie stacking contest, bed races . . . and don’t miss the floozies. Take a lawn chair and enjoy the fun.

Photo of Taste of St. Louis festival, St. Louis, Mo.

Photo courtesy of St. Louis CVC

If you love food, and lots of it, spend some time at the Taste of St. Louis food festival, in downtown St. Louis, September 23-25. This is a celebration of the best food, art, music and culture St. Louis has to offer. Put that diet on the side burner (no pun intended) and indulge in delicacies from 45 St. Louis area restaurants. As if that alone isn’t enough to keep you busy, they have a Master Chef Competition, a full schedule of musical entertainment, a juried art and crafts show/sale, wine sampling, and a national marketplace. The Kids Kitchen includes food classes, dancing and singing, plus games, face painting and an ice cream booth. This event truly has something for everyone.

On September 24, the New Madrid Fall Fest celebrates the season with lots of food, arts and crafts vendors, a car and motorcycle show, 5K run/walk, beauty pageant, a scarecrow making contest (must register in advance), a petting zoo and live music.

Benjamin Franklin campaigned to make the turkey our national bird. Luckily for us, the bald eagle won the vote. But the turkey is not forgotten . . . no sir. On September 24, the city of Eldon celebrates the runner-up bird by throwing a party in its name: the Eldon Turkey Festival. The annual Turkey Festival fills downtown Eldon with a turkey parade, arts and crafts, games, merriment, music and food — including, you guessed it, fried turkey.

Also September 24, art lovers are sure to appreciate the Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts, showcasing many aspects of the arts. This juried, professional fine art show, featuring 60 artists, is held outdoors in downtown Sedalia. In addition to standard art and media, it includes diverse subjects such as sidewalk chalk drawing, a silhouette artist, loom weaving, wood carving, face painting, and glass artists. They even have strolling musicians and a ventriloquist. The day’s festivities culminate with a concert.

The Shakin’ in the Shell Fest is held September 24, in Shell Knob. The entire family can have a great time, with activities such as breakfast, line dancers, a band performance, the annual car show, a concert, craft booths, face painting, food and drink vendors, a huge family fun area with rides and inflatables, a beer garden and a root beer garden.

The Fair Grove Heritage Reunion revolves around one of the largest arts and crafts shows in southwest Missouri. You’ll find 300 arts and crafts vendors, food stands, a Saturday parade and a Sunday church service. The September 24-25 event features: country music; dancing; 1800s entertainment; lots of things to eat; plus antique small engines, tractors and threshing equipment. For sure, you don’t want to miss the horse and mule obstacle course shows.

It’s two-for one, September 24-25, when St. Louis County throws a double event at the Faust Park Historic Village: the Faust Folk and Fine Arts Festivals. Hop on a hay wagon for a free ride to the 1800s village, where you see traditional blacksmithing, rope making, pottery firing, wood carving, silhouette cutting, corn-husk doll making, rug hooking and quilting (done the old fashioned way), and other historical arts and crafts. In addition, enjoy a first-rate, juried, fine arts sale featuring artists with their original work in oil and acrylics, water color, metals, sculpture, wood and other materials. Stick around for live music, food vendors and children’s activities. Admission includes unlimited rides on the St. Louis Carousel.

Are you ready for some barbecue and some grilling? Rounding out September, leading into October, you can attend the granddaddy of them all — a festival celebrating a truly American form of cooking — the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, September 29-October 2. You can already smell the smoke emanating from Kansas City. “The Royal” is the largest barbecue contest in the world, spreading across 20 acres, with nearly 500 teams competing. Combine this with a barbecue-related trade expo and you have a four-day food festival the likes of which you will not find anywhere else on the planet. Activities include: live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights; fireworks; a kids’ ‘que competition; a marketplace; a petting zoo; pony rides; and (as you might guess) cooking demonstrations.

Across the state that same weekend, September 30-October 1, the St. Louis Scottish Games and Cultural Festival is held in Forest Park. The event begins Friday with a torchlight ceremony and a “calling” of the Scottish clans, followed by a ceilidh (KAY-lee), a celebration with Scottish singing and dancing. Events continue Saturday with Scottish “heavy athletics,” bagpipe bands competition, Highland dancing, sheepdog herding, Highland cattle and birds of prey, children’s activities, Scottish clans, a “parade of tartans,” and Scottish foods, crafts and goods.

Take your lawn chairs and camping gear to Clinton and hunker down for the Golden Valley Bluegrass Jamboree — a four day festival of family-friendly music and fun, September 29-October 2. Performers include many Missouri-based groups, plus bands from Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina. No electric instruments are allowed. The jamboree is held at the Lester Foster Music Park, which includes camping with electric hook-ups, restrooms and showers.

In the Kansas City area, September 30-October 2, travel to Gladstone for their Gladfest Festival. One of the top festivals in northwest Missouri, Gladfest includes: a parade Saturday morning; exciting entertainment all weekend on the main stage; lots of food; a large carnival; a model train exhibit; the classic car, truck, and motorcycle show; and many commercial and craft booths.

We’ve reached October. What one festival does October bring to mind?

Photo of Fischer Farms, Jefferson City, Mo.

Fischer Farms, Jefferson City, Mo.

Oktoberfest. Ever wonder what Oktoberfest is all about? The first Oktoberfest was held in October 1810, in Munich, Germany, in honor of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese. The celebration lasted a full week. Over the years, the festival expanded to several weeks, often starting in September. To this day, Bavaria’s Oktoberfest begins in September and extends into October.

Missouri’s versions don’t last that long, but (the name notwithstanding) some are held in September.

  • Don’t miss the wiener-dog races and dachshund-fashion show during Oktoberfest-St. Charles, September 23-25. This is the place for German crafts, food and games; and it wouldn’t be a German festival without a beer garden. Bands from St. Louis and direct from Germany provide non-stop entertainment.
  • Jefferson City’s Oktoberfest, September 24, takes place in the Old Munichburg district. In addition to authentic German food, music and dancing, this celebration includes a beer garden with live music, a dachshund derby, costume contests, a car show, craft vendors, a grape stomp and demonstrating artisans — a day full of family activities.
  • The first four weekends in October, the German village of Hermann celebrates Old-World heritage at the Hermann Oktoberfest; it’s almost as good as being in Munich. This is pure German frivolity, with German and oom-pah bands, artisans, sauerkraut and sausages from the grill, German food, winery tours and tasting rooms, bier gardens, tours of historic sites, and glorious fall foliage. Special activities may be different each weekend.
  • Smithville celebrates October 7-8 at the Smithville Octoberfest. The event boasts a huge Saturday morning parade, two stages of entertainment, bands, a children’s area, 200 vendors, a carnival, movies in the park, pageants, several contests, a beer tent, and other festivities.
  • The Soulard district of St. Louis throws a huge Soulard Oktoberfest celebration, October 7-9, in Lyon Park, across the street from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. This authentic German festival features five stages with 14 bands, German folk dancers, German food, and 2,000 kegs of beer (German and domestic). A VIP ticket is available with: special parking; Exclusive VIP tents and restrooms; unlimited food; a festival mug and wine glass with unlimited refills; and a party survival bag.
  • Cole Camp Oktoberfest, held October 8 in downtown Cole Camp, features live German music and entertainment, children’s games, crafts, plus authentic German food such as hot German potato salad and Munich brats. The event features picnic-table seating and an outdoor dance floor. The activities include an art and photo contest, native prairie plants, reptile and insect displays and a string duet. The Astronomy Society of Kansas City hosts stargazing.

Oktoberfest isn’t the only type of festival held in Missouri during October . . . not by a long shot. Though not a true Ockoberfest, the Missouri River town of Parkville presents Parktoberfest, October 1, in English Landing Park. Enjoy food from some of Parkville’s finest restaurants; visit with friends in the wine and beer gardens; dance and listen to live music; take the kids to the family-fun zone, with its games, bubble zone, big wheel maze, build-a-buddy scarecrow area, art zone, and dress-up sector.

The Neosho Fall Festival Autumn Harvest is October 1. Organizers have scheduled loads of art, music, food, craft vendors, wagon rides, and inflatables for the kids, plus craft demonstrations along history alley, a golf tournament and an antique tractor parade. Activities still in the planning stages include a 5K walk/run, a pancake breakfast, a pet show and other surprises.

The Olde Tyme Apple Festival, in downtown Versailles, October 1, has an arts and crafts show, a quilt show, a car show, a parade with an equestrian division, and a fiddling contest (held at the Royal Theatre). They expect more than 300 vendors.

Powell Gardens, known as Kansas City’s botanical garden, located in Kingsville, commemorates fall with a Harvest Celebration & Antique Tractor Show, October 1-2. Take in an array of antique tractors, engines and other farm equipment; climb aboard the hayride; play horseshoes; munch on kettle corn; and enjoy the ambience of the gardens. Activities include Chef Beth Barden demonstrating how to make Apple-Cider-Sauce and how to prepare Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce. Before the 1 p.m. cooking show, take a walk-and-talk tour with Chef Barden. Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden is the largest “editable landscape” in the United States.

Get up-close and personal with the wild blue yonder, in Festus, at the Jefferson County Balloon Festival, October 1-2. The weekend features hot air balloons, skydiving exhibitions, antique cars, live music, food, craft booths, and prize drawings. If you really want to experience that wild blue yonder thing, airplane and helicopter rides are offered (for a fee).

October is apple time in Weston, so as you might guess, they throw a big apple festival. The Weston Applefest, held October 1-2, is known throughout the Midwest as one of the best fall festivals; it features Weston’s famous apple dumplings, apple pies, and all sorts of cookies. After the Saturday morning parade, watch a Missouri family demonstrating the time-honored arts of candle and soap making, wood turning and carving, leather tanning, and basket weaving. In addition to arts and crafts booths, browse the many unique shops; and don’t miss the Garden Harvest Market, with great things to eat and lovely items to decorate your home.

Around the square in Harrisonville, October 7-8, they have an amateur barbecue contest at the Burnt District Festival. Hmmm . . . barbecue & burnt district; that might be interesting. In addition to the barbecue (no, it isn’t burned), the festival is packed with activities for all ages: a full carnival; live entertainment; beer garden; parade; food; business expo; craft booths; and other activities.

Celebrate the fall harvest by attending the annual Pony Express PumpkinFest arts festival, October 7-9, in St. Joseph. Opening night, watch the lighting of the Great Pumpkin Mountain; hundreds of electrically-lit, carved pumpkins come to life with the flip of a switch. Held at the Pony Express National Museum, the festival offers live entertainment; children’s costume parade; festival rides; games; crafts and food.

At the Hartville Fall Festival, October 8, in the small town of Hartville, they have a little bit of everything, including the “Hartville’s Got Talent” show. Fill your day with the Fall Festival Queen Coronation, a parade, games, live entertainment, a pie auction, a petting zoo, and prize drawings. Vendors from across the state sell a large variety of items.

The Saxon Lutheran Memorial invites you to their annual Saxon Fall Festival, October 8, in Frohna, 25 miles northeast of Cape Girardeau. This celebration portrays life as it was in the 1800s: a period fashion show; horse-and-wagon rides; arts and crafts; local foods; blacksmithing demonstrations; tours of historic log cabins; apple butter cooking, in 30-gallon copper kettles, over an open fire; period displays; and other demonstrations of 1830s skills. A special feature is a juried art show. The event is held on the original farmstead site of the Bergt family, who immigrated there in 1839.

In the Mississippi River town of Clarksville, the streets are filled with revelers celebrating the arrival of fall. The annual Clarksville Apple Fest offers two days, October 8-9, of family fun. Saturday morning’s parade features marching bands, floats and local celebrities. Festivities include: baking and food contests, artisans and crafters, apples and kettle-korn, an art competition, food stands and lots of shopping.

The charming river town of Hartsburg welcomes thousands of visitors at their Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival, October 8-9. The event features tens-of-thousands of pumpkins, 150 craft vendors, a petting zoo, pony rides, food booths, and a variety of pumpkin activities for the entire family.

Surrounded by glorious fall colors, Carthage welcomes you to the Maple Leaf Festival, October 8-16. Scheduled activities include: a family fun-walk; 5K run; several beauty pageants; baby and toddler contests; a gospel sing, a lip-sync competition; a high-heel race; an arts and crafts area; a petting zoo; car show; wine, beer and food vendors; live entertainment; and many additional activities for the entire family.

At Deutsch Country Days, in Marthasville, experience one of the most authentic recreations of early German life in the Midwest, October 15-16. The lifestyle of early German immigrants is authentically recreated by juried artisans, in period attire, demonstrating natural dyeing, German fractur, sadiron, koppolei, wood turning, hide tanning, candle dipping, rug braiding — in all, nearly 80 primitive skills. Lots of good German home cooking; USA Today selected Deutsch Country Days as one of America’s 10 finest festivals to savor regional cuisine.

Celebrate the fall harvest and the unique Ozark Heritage of the area and its people by attending Pioneer Heritage Days, October 15-16, at the Harry S. Truman Visitor Center in Warsaw. Some of the 19th century exhibits include log hewing, bread and candy making, basket weaving, spoon carving, lye soap making, and bobbin-lace, to name just a few. Many crafters and tradesmen, dedicated to a bygone era, display and sell their goods. Visit the replica of an 1850 pioneer homestead. Enjoy biscuits and gravy, ham and beans and smoked turkey legs, along with fudge and fresh baked goods.

The Nathan Boone Homestead State Historic Site, in Ash Grove, hosts its annual Homestead Days Festival, October 15-16. The festival revolves around the 1837 log home of Col. Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone. Activities include living history camps, 1800s craft demonstrations and musical performances. Tour the house, which retains many of its original features, such as hand-planed moldings and walnut clapboard siding.

If you happen to be in Trenton, near the North Central Missouri Fairgrounds, October 15-16, stop in at the Missouri Day Festival. Approximately 150 vendors are on hand, offering choices from arts and crafts to second-hand items. The event begins with a marching-band parade, Saturday at 8:30 a.m. They have a huge band festival, with more than 50 bands participating; great food; other musical entertainment; a baby show; coloring contest; and a host of other fun activities.

Hannibal, America’s Hometown, entertains you with the 1800s-themed Autumn Historic Folklife Festival, October 15-16. The festival features artists, artisans, and craftsmen demonstrating and selling traditional arts, fine arts and crafts — more than 100 exhibitors; plus street musicians playing traditional tunes; food cooked on wood stoves; cider fresh from the apple press; and a children’s area.

Celebrate outstanding Ozark foliage October 16, at the Glade Top Flaming Fall Review — a traditional barbecue and music festival. The event is held on a mountain peak, at the Caney Mountain picnic site near Ava. Enjoy beautiful fall scenery, down-home country food, music, and lots of family activities. The Glade Top Trail became part of the National Forest Scenic Byways system in 1989. Spend a beautiful fall day on the mountain, enjoying breathtaking views, some old fashioned food and fun. Festivities include: live music; pumpkin painting; activities for the kids; and a scarecrow-making contest.

Spend a day in historic, rural America, circa 1850-1960, at Ste. Genevieve’s Rural Heritage Days. This October 22 event gives you insight into how life was lived in days-gone-by: plowing and tilling; quilts and lace; early farming; games; old-fashioned treats; wood carving; leather working; blacksmithing; and cooking.

How better to celebrate the harvest than with a Harvest Moon Festival, in a town called Peculiar? This festival, held rain or shine on October 29, is filled with family activities. You find a parade, safe trick-or-treating, a bicycle rodeo, costume contests, inflatables, games, train rides, a DJ, karaoke, pony rides, a petting zoo, a magician and vendor booths.

The Apple Butter Festival is one of the largest events in eastern Missouri, with hundreds of vendor booths, selling a variety of crafts and food items, plus live entertainment. October 29-30, this event fills the city park and lines the streets of Kimmswick. Be sure to pick up some of their famous Apple Butter, at the Apple Butter Pavilion. There is parking at Windsor High School, from which there is free shuttle bus service; satellite parking is available on Route K.

It is starting to get colder now, but there is one big festival we can’t overlook: An Old Time Christmas, at Silver Dollar City in Branson — one of the top five holiday events in the country, according to Good Morning America. On select days, November 5-December 30, celebrate the magic and the meaning of the holidays with more than 4 million lights, a holiday light parade, a five-story special effects Christmas tree and fun family shows. Weather permitting, your family’s favorite rides and attractions will be open during the festival. Regular ticket prices prevail.

Fall . . . it’s a great time of year . . . a family time. Take the family to several of Missouri’s fall festivals. This list is just a sampling of what’s “down the road” in the Show-Me State. On Missouri’s Official Tourism website, VisitMO.com, you’ll find listings for other Missouri events, attractions and vacation ideas; plus, you can order a free copy of the Official Missouri Travel Guide and use the interactive online edition. Also, the Travel Guide is available by calling 800-519-4800. Yes — there’s an app for that; download the free iPhone app: “Official Missouri Travel Guide.”

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Links to events referenced in this article:

Jour de Fete
www.SteGenevieveJourDeFete.com

Parkville Days Riverfest
www.ParkvilleMo.org/riverfest.html

Saint Louis Bluesweek
www.StLBluesWeek.com

Downtown Fiddle Festival
www.DowntownBranson.org/?page_id=2447

Bluegrass Pickin’ Time Festival
www.BluegrassPickinTime.com

Kansas City Irish Fest
www.KCIrishFest.com

Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival
www.SantaCaliGon.com

Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ Festival
www.RootsNBluesNBBQ.com

Japanese Fall Festival
www.SpringfieldMo.org/event-festival

ShrimpFest
http://tinyurl.com/42kudnh

Owensville Heritage Day Festival
www.OwensvilleMissouri.com

National Harvest Festival
http://Festivals.BransonSilverDollarCity.com

Silver Dollar City
www.SilverDollarCity.com

Hootin an Hollarin
www.HootinAnHollarin.com

Autumn Daze Art and Craft Festival
www.DowntownBranson.org/?page_id=2496

Southside Fall Festival
www.SouthsideFallFestival.org

Zona Rosa Arts Festival
www.ZonaRosa.com

MOsaics—Festival for the Arts
www.StCharlesMOsaics.org

Cider Days
www.ItsAllDowntown.com/events/6159

Raymore Festival in the Park
www.RaymoreFestival.com

Pioneer Days
www.MountainViewMo.com/visitors.html

Taste of St. Louis
www.TasteStL.com

New Madrid Fall Fest
www.wix.com/newmadrid/FallFestival

Eldon Turkey Festival
www.EldonChamber.com/events/turkeyfest.html

Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts
www.LCAASedalia.com/festival.html

Shakin’ in the Shell Fest
www.ShakinFest.com

Fair Grove Heritage Reunion
www.FGHps.org/reunion.html

Faust Folk and Fine Arts Festival
www.StLouisCo.com

American Royal World Series of Barbecue
www.AmericanRoyal.com

Scottish Games and Cultural Festival
www.StLouis-ScottishGames.com

Golden Valley Bluegrass Jamboree
www.OrgSites.com/mo/goldenvalleybluegrass

Gladfest Festival
www.GladstoneChamber.com/events.aspx

Oktoberfest-St. Charles
www.SaintCharlesOktoberfest.com

Jefferson City’s Oktoberfest
www.OldMunichburg.com/oktoberfest.htm

Hermann Oktoberfest
www.VisitHermann.com/special_events/octoberfest.htm

Smithville Octoberfest
www.bit.ly/arDzU8

Soulard Oktoberfest
www.SoulardOktoberfest.com

Cole Camp Oktoberfest
www.ColeCampMissouri.com/oktoberfest.pdf

Parktoberfest
www.parktoberfest.net

Neosho Fall Festival Autumn Harvest
www.NeoshoMo.org/index.aspx?NID=157

Olde Tyme Apple Festival
www.VersaillesChamber.com/apple-festival-2011-2

Powell Gardens
www.PowellGardens.org

Harvest Celebration & Antique Tractor Show
http://bit.ly/ooEoZX

Jefferson County Balloon Festival
www.FestusAirport.com/Festus_Airport/Balloon_Festival.html

Weston Applefest
www.WestonMo.com/entertainment/calendar

Burnt District Festival
www.HarrisonvilleChamber.com/Harrisonville-Burnt-District.php

Pony Express PumpkinFest
www.PonyExpress.org/calendar

Hartville Fall Festival
www.HartvilleGroveSpringCC.com/Fall_Festival.html

Saxon Fall Festival
www.SaxonLutheranMemorial.com/slmfallfestival.aspx

Clarksville Apple Fest
www.ClarksvilleMo.us/applefest.html

Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival
www.HartsburgPumpkinFest.com

Maple Leaf Festival
www.CarthageChamber.com/MapleLeafHomePage.html

Deutsch Country Days
www.DeutschCountryDays.org

Pioneer Heritage Days-Warsaw
www.WarsawPioneerHeritageDays.com

Homestead Days Festival
www.MoStateParks.com/event/58533/homestead-days-festival

Missouri Day Festival
www.TrentonMoChamber.com/missouriday/index10.php

Autumn Historic Folklife Festival
www.HannibalArts.com/hac_folklife.html

Glade Top Flaming Fall Review
http://bit.ly/qRq7UR

Rural Heritage Days
www.VisitSteGen.com/events/calendar.html

Harvest Moon Festival
www.PeculiarChamber.com/news.php#

Apple Butter Festival
www.CityOfKimmswick.org/applebutterfestival.html

An Old Time Christmas
http://bit.ly/8Vja5f

# # # #

Contact:
Sarah Luebbert
Missouri Division of Tourism
573-522-5501
Sarah.Luebbert@ded.mo.gov
@MoTravelMama

Stephanie Lynch
Missouri Tourism News Bureau
314-454-3454
slynch@hoffmanlewis.com
@NtheMO

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