As the weeks pass, the telltale signs of fall are starting to make their first appearances. The leaves are changing, the air is growing colder, and the sun is going down just a little earlier every evening. It’s easy to look at this season as the end of summer, but why not let autumn shine in its own light? There are plenty of fantastic things to do in the fall, not least of which are the many harvest festivals that will occur throughout Minnesota this season. Here are some of the very best harvest festivals you can visit this autumn.
1. Stillwater Harvest Fest - Stillwater
This October 14 and 15, the beautiful town of Stillwater will put on yet another of its delightful festivals. This time, it's in celebration of the fall season. The Harvest Fest comes complete with a chili cook-off, live music, and plenty of fall fun. Perhaps the most famous event is the Pumpkin Regatta, in which contestants hollow out a giant pumpkin for a float down the St. Croix.
2. Twin Cities Harvest Festival - Brooklyn Park
Twin Cities Harvest Festival is huge. Of its many attractions, the corn maze stands out. The largest corn maze in Minnesota, it comes with a new theme every year. If you manage to find your way out of it, you'll be met with a huge variety of activities. A petting zoo, corn pit, and hayride come with the cost of admission. And for a little extra, you can heave yourself up the climbing wall, take a pony ride, or sample lots of tasty food. This festival takes place on weekends from September 23 to October 29. It is also open on October 19 and 20 for MEA weekend.
Address: 8001 109th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park.
3. Dodge Center Harvest Fest - Dodge Center
On September 15-17, the tiny town of Dodge Center will throw its hat into the harvest festival ring. Though small, this festival has a lot to see and do. From classic cars to classic foods, it is well worth the visit if you are in the Rochester area.
Address: Main Street, Dodge Center.
4. Autumn Daze - Minneapolis
Autumn Daze is a harvest festival put on by St. Helena Catholic Church in Minneapolis. There will be games, food, contests, rides, and even fireworks. It's a nice way to get out in the community during the early fall season. Autumn Daze takes place on September 15 to 17.
Address: 3204 East 43rd Street, Minneapolis.
5. Dožínky Festival - New Prague
This hard-to-pronounce harvest festival has Czech origins, just like the town it is hosted in. The festival will feature live music, plenty of vendors, and a beer garden. There will also be a display of vintage farm equipment, live music, and more. Check it out on September 16.
Address: Main Street, New Prague.
6. Septoberfest - Wabasha
This huge fall festival lasts over a month, allowing autumn lovers to get a huge helping of the season in September and October. The festival features many opportunities to get deals at local shops, as well as carriage rides, a parade, and tons more. Septoberfest lasts from September 8 to October 21.
7. Pumpkin Patch Festival - Litchfield
For nearly 30 years, the charming Nelson Farm in Litchfield, Minnesota, has opened its doors to visitors for an annual pumpkin patch festival. This event is full of family fun such as face painting, a scarecrow making contest, and even a pumpkin fling. Of course, you'll want to leave time to pick out a pumpkin to bring home. The patch at Nelson Farm has lots to choose from! The Pumpkin Patch Festival is on weekends between September 23 and October 29. It is also open on October 19 and 20 for MEA Weekend.
Address: 23618 CSAH 1, Litchfield.
8. Apple Fest - Hastings
If you attend Hastings Apple Fest, it may well be the most fun you have all fall. Spanning three weekends in September and October, this festival is capable of entertaining for long periods of time. Hayrides, cider pressing demonstrations, and food are among the top highlights. There will also be an impressive corn maze that you'll love getting lost in. Hastings Apple Fest is open September 30 to October 1, October 7 to 8, and October 14 to 15.
9. Great Pumpkin Festival - Brainerd
Here's another pumpkin festival that you don't want to miss, this time in Brainerd. This completely free event is fun for those who crave outdoor activity in the crisp fall weather. There are plenty of contests, like a three-legged race, a pie throwing contest, and a pie eating contest. These are sure to be fun, but the pumpkin rolling event is especially fun for the fall. When you're all done playing, there will be plenty of foods to settle your rumbling stomach.
Address: 424 Northwest 5th Street, Brainerd.
10. Sever's Fall Festival - Shakopee
After more than 20 years, Sever's is still among the top fall festivals in the entire Midwest. Their huge corn maze is always impressive, as are their many other activities. From a corn pit to pig races to a jumping pillow, there is something that will satisfy everyone. Check out Sever's every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between September 8 and October 29. You can also visit during MEA weekend on October 19 and 20.
Address: 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee.
11. La Crescent Applefest - La Crescent
Did you know that La Crescent is the Apple Capital of Minnesota? In addition to the orchards in the area, they host an annual apple festival that will take your appreciation of the fruit to new levels. The event features a classic car show, a parade, a carnival, and plenty of opportunities to taste locally grown apples.
12. Johnny Appleseed Festival - Lake City
wouldn't want to visit an entire festival dedicated to the man who helped spread apples across the Midwest? At Lake City's Johnny Appleseed Days, you'll have a chance to take part in a series of activities that are steeped in small-town charm. There will be an apple peeling contest, a craft fair, derby races, live music, and more. It takes place on October 7.