Just because the Fair is over, Labor Day has passed, and kids are back to school doesn’t mean Minnesota has shut down for winter. There may not be quite as many festivals—but there are still enough to keep anyone from getting bored. Besides, soon the harvest and Halloween festivals will pop up. And don’t forget to check out the events page at the Minnesota Historical Society—there’s always something fun going on over there.
Minnesota Renaissance Fest
Weekends through Oct. 2; also open Friday, Sept. 30
Rowdy jousting, roasted turkey legs, raucous and libidinous comedy, people in costumes—really, what more do you need?
Defeat of Jesse James Days
The infamous Jesse James met his match when he tried to rob the Northfield bank on Sept. 7, 1876. Today his defeat is boisterously remembered with bank raid re-enactments, professional rodeo, hog roast, square dance, steak fry, vintage base ball, and parades.
Harvest Moon Festival
Lumberjack shows, live music, food, and demonstrations of old-time arts (blacksmithing, birch bark basketry, wool spinning, and fire starting, among others), all in this scenic Boundary Waters gateway community.
Greater Moorhead Days
Sidewalk art and poetry reading, kids’ fest, treasure and medallion hunts, live music, food—days of fun on the border of North Dakota.
Pickwick Mill Celebration
Visit this fascinating historic mill and see how it was used back in the day (the machinery is all still operational), and take in log rolling contests and fire department water fights. Also: Homemade pie.
Grape Stomp 2016
Seriously—it’s a grape stomp at a winery (St. Croix Vineyards, to be specific).
St. Paul Classic Bike Tour
This is not a race—it’s just a really well-thought-out ride through some of the most scenic parts of the Capitol city.
King Turkey Days
All the usual fun stuff (parade, BBQ cook-off, food, music) plus: turkey races.
Mahkato Traditional Macipi
Celebrating its 44th year in 20136. Thousands of Native Americans gather here each year for a traditional pow wow, with ceremonial costumes, foods, and crafts.
North Shore Inline Marathon/Half-Marathon
Feeling competitive? Like your inline skates? This one’s for you. Can’t beat the scenery.
Sever’s Fall Festival and Corn Maze
Fri.-Sun., Sept. 9-Oct. 30 (also open the Thursday of MEA weekend)
The name has changed from Sever’s Corn Maze to give a truer picture of the scope of this beloved annual event, which now includes an obstacle course, gourd walk, live music, food, pig races, magic shows, and zip lines, among many other things. This year’s maze is a celebration of the maze’s 20th year. Don’t let your kids find the way out faster than you do.
Fall Raptor Release
Visit the Raptor Center in Hastings and see a variety of raptors released back into the wild.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.