You have to see this free giant pumpkin festival to believe it. The annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in Highwood, Illinois, will take place Oct. 6 through 8, 2023. Boasting more jack-o-lanterns than you’ve ever seen at once, this celebration of all things pumpkin will leave you mesmerized. Plan on participating in the all-you-can-carve pumpkin stations throughout town, competing in contests from pumpkin pie-eating to children and pet costumes, dancing to live music, and eating and shopping your way through the vendors. And if that isn’t spectacular enough, new this year is Pumpkin Town USA at the center of Everts Park. Let’s check out the many reasons why this event should make your autumn calendar.

This giant pumpkin festival — the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival — takes place in downtown Highwood, Illinois. For more information, visit the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival website. The festivities of this spooktacular event will spread through Highwood City Hall, 17 Highwood Ave; Everts Park, 111 North Ave.; Painters Park, 420-424 Sheridan Road; and the Highwood Metra Station Parking Lot, where we’ll enjoy a full carnival. Just look for the Great Pumpkin Walls that light up the town nightly.

For those who have attended this amazing jack-o-lantern festival, please share your experiences in the comments below. And while you’re there, consider booking a room for the night or for the entire weekend.

Pumpkins are wonderful, but don’t forget about autumn’s other treats. Here are 11 delightful cider mills in Illinois to visit this fall.

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Fall Activities In Illinois

What are some fun fall activities in Illinois?

Visit some places on this list that you must visit this fall in Illinois. Here are a few highlights.

  • LaRue Pine Hills (475 E., Wolf Lake, IL): This area's uniqueness comes from its 150-foot limestone bluffs, making it a favorite place to visit in the Shawnee National Forest. And we're not the only ones to think so as the explorers Lewis and Clark wrote about the beauty in 1803, as described in this U.S. Forest Service web page. The historic significance alone draws hundreds of visitors each year. Don't miss out on the approximately 3,547 acres that contain the most interesting reasons to travel here, including wetlands, prairies, forests, and unforgettable geologic features.
  • Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL): This enchanted kingdom is stunning all year round from the first spring blooms, during winter's snowy cover, and especially when fall brings its vivid amber and golden hues. With 385 acres, rediscover why it's a good investment to explore the great outdoors. Take a seasonal walk, enjoy the Nature Play Garden with your children, and learn about the lovely plants.
  • Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway (11304 N. Prairie Road, Lewistown, IL): This sweet ride takes us along 150 miles of the Illinois River Road corridor, spanning from Ottawa to Havana. Sightsee and take in the autumn scenery. Explore unique communities, including 100 natural and historic sites, yummy eateries, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. And stretch your legs with a hike up an interesting trail. Discover more on the Illinois River Road website.


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