Wander Minnesota: Autumn Festivities

Fall foliage, apples and pumpkins, Halloween—the weather is changing, and so is the nature of the festivals. There’s a lot happening around the state in October. It’s a prime time for art festivals, many of which are in scenic towns sure to be surrounded by fall colors. Don’t forget to check the Minnesota Historical Society’s event page; they’ve always got something interesting going on.

South St. Paul
On the Road Again Festival
Oct. 1
Southview Boulevard is home to this annual festival, which includes a petting zoo, rides, flea market, car show—and booya competition.

Albert Lea
Big Island Rendezvous and Festival
Oct. 1-2
An enormous re-enactment of life in early America, including food, music, and demonstrations of early American crafts.

Fri-Sat each weekend in October, also Oct. 20
Valleyfair turns into ValleySCARE in October. During the daylight hours, gentle attractions the Trick or Treat Trails and coloring contests are appropriate for young children, while the evening hours ramps up the terror with seven haunted attractions and—perhaps most terrifying of all—the Wild Thing rollercoaster.

Haunted Ship Tours
Open several dates in October beginning Oct. 6, click above for details
For October, the William A. Irvin isn’t just a historical ship—it’s a haunted ship, complete with its own Maze of Terror.

New Ulm
Oct. 7-8, 14-15
This little town with rich German heritage celebrates each October with tons of good German food and music, horse-drawn trolley rides, the Schell’s Brewery beer wagon, and open-house tours of the Schell Brewery, the Wanda Gag House, and the John Lind House, and visit the famous Glockenspiel.

St. Paul
Oct. 7-8
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosts this annual event, with plenty of traditional food, beer, dancing, and entertainment.

Fall Color Chairlift Rides
Oct. 7-8
View fall colors and the rise of the full moon by enjoying a scenic ride on the chairlifts at Hyland Ski Reserve. Live music and food available as well.

Twin Cities
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Oct. 9 (with some additional events taking place Oct. 8)
A true Twin Cities event, this starts at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and finishes near the State Capitol in St. Paul. Inspiring to watch and cheer on, if you’re not already enrolled as a marathoner.

Halloween Capital of the World
Oct. 14-30
Is Anoka really the Halloween capital of the world? Does it matter? With parades, costume contests, bingo, wine tastings, medallion hunt, pumpkin-carving and house-decorating contests, the city of Anoka does get into the spirit.

Twin Cities Book Festival
Oct. 15
Book readings and signings, book sales, and vendors selling all things book, spread out at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. This year’s authors include Charles Baxter, Francine Prose, A.S. King, and Phoebe Robinson, among many others. Bring a big, durable totebag for your purchases. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Grand Marais
Moose Madness
Oct. 21-23
Moose poetry contests, moose comic contests, a moose medallion hunt, scavenger hunts, arts activities for the young and old, food, music, and of course one of the most scenic spots in Minnesota.

Apple Valley
Oct. 31
Music, crafts, treats, Scarecrow Alley—a jolly good way for the little ones to ease into trick-or-treating routines. Note: this is now a Minnesota Zoom members-only event, and pre-registration is required.

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.

More from Amy Rea

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