At the start of each season I like to make a list of things I want to attend, experience or taste before the next season makes its timely appearance. My fall to-dos include things like walking and driving through breathtaking foliage of reds, golds and oranges, going to an apple orchard, picking a pumpkin and simply enjoying being outside in the cool, crisp, freshness of a beautiful fall day.

It just so happens that there are festivals celebrating all of these things and more in October. Festivals are a great way to learn about something, have a full day of experiences that satisfy all five senses and explore new areas.

Scattered about the Twin Cities and just outside the Cities, there are many fun, mostly outdoor, festivals offering all kinds of new experiences and tastes. Some of these may become a yearly tradition. Others may be a one-time adventure. Attending any of these entertaining festivals will help you enjoy the fall season.

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The Klub Haus

1079 Rice St.
St. Paul, MN 55117
October 8 and 9, 2011: Noon – 11:30 p.m.
Cost: $3 for 21 and up; Free for those under 21

Of course there will be German and American beer tastings as well as wine and soft drinks, but you can also count on lots of tasty traditional German fare provided by The Glockenspiel restaurant. The Dachshund Races and the Bed Races are not to be missed. Be sure to stay around for the live music and dancing too. Check website for schedule of events.

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EcoArts Festival

Harriet Island Ground and Pavilion
St. Paul, MN 55105
Sunday, October 9, 2011, Noon – 5:00 p.m.

EcoArts Festival is an ArtStart event for families and includes a parade, music from the St. Paul Civic Symphony, as well as music from many different cultures and African story telling. Additionally there will be environmental vendors, food vendors and free art activities. ArtStart is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing art education for children and adults. This organization, founded in 1988, has a focus on finding connections between humans and their environments.

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Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze

SE Corner of 109th Ave and Highway 169
Brooklyn Park, MN
Weekends through October 30th: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cost: $8 per guest; Children under 36″ free

Show up early and receive a $1 off your ticket from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. Plus there’s a lot to do here besides trying your hand at the giant MN Twins themed maze. So, showing up early isn’t a bad idea. At the Harvest Festival you’ll find a Corn Pit, a Straw Bale Maze, Hayrides, a Gunny Sack Slide just like the MN State Fair, a Climbing Wall, Live Music and even Helicopter Rides! Note that some of these activities cost an additional fee. The Twin Cities Festival and Maze is an official partner of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and a portion of every ticket sold goes to this fund.

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Apple Fest

Afton Apple Orchard
14421 So. 90th St.
Hastings, MN 55033
October 8 & 9 and 15 & 16: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

If you love apples, this is the place to be. During the festival enjoy cider press demonstrations, hayrides, a petting farm, a mountain of straw, “Cow Train” rides, folk and bluegrass music and even chain saw carving demonstrations. And, as is always the case during apple season, pick your own apples, shop for fresh apple products and indulge in some apple donuts, apple fritters, caramel apples, apple cider and other concession favorites while at the Afton Apple Orchard. At dusk on Saturday, October 8, there will be fireworks at the Apple Fest.

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Harvest Moon Festival

Dakota County Heritage Village
4008 W. 220th St.
Farmington, MN 55024
October 20 – 23 2011: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Cost: Ages 13 and over $3; Ages 4 to 12 $2; Ages 3 and under Free

Experience life as it was generations ago at the Dakota County Heritage Village through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Try your hand at shelling corn, making a corn husk doll, grinding coffee and many other old-fashioned games and activities. This festival is fun and educational for all ages.

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

Stillwater Harvest Fest & Pumpkin Weigh Off

Lowell Park and Main Street
Stillwater, MN 55082
Saturday, October 8, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

Come check out the region’s largest pumpkins and enjoy the rest of the festivities too. Besides giant pumpkins, you’ll find a chili cook-off, wine and micro brew beer tasting, a tractor pull, the Giant Pumpkin Boat Regatta, activities for the kids and more. Last year’s winning pumpkin weighed-in at a whopping 1810.5 pounds, setting a world record. And what more beautiful setting for all of this than scenic Stillwater? Don’t forget the camera.

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Twin Cities Book Festival

Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Downtown Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, October 15, 2011: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

This is every book lover’s dream. Rain Taxi presents this book festival with hundreds of exhibitors, authors on hand for readings and discussions, literary magazines, publishers, new and used booksellers, literary organizations and even a children’s pavilion sponsored by the Metro Public Libraries and Macphail with lots of fun literary and non-literary fun for the youngest of readers too. Find great, but cheap reads at the Used Book Sale and hear the latest information about publishing, writing and other views from The Loft panelists. There’s even a children’s pavilion where your family can participate in games, crafts, poetry reading and writing plus musical performances. Whether you are a bibliophile, aspiring writer, accomplished writer or merely on the hunt for a stash of good reads to get you through the winter months, put this free festival on your calendar.

For more Fall fun check out our Guide to the Best Pumpkin patches in the Twin Cities!

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law. You can find Anna at Motherly Law, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.


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