Get out in the crisp autumn air to celebrate the bountiful harvests with mirth and mayhem. These five family-oriented festivals are great places to bring the kids and have a little fun.
Stillwater Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Weigh-off
101 Water St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082
Dates: October 8 and 9, 2016
More zany than any other celebration is this fall’s festival along the St. Croix River. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off started behind a garage in 2005. Now it is producing a confluence of world-record orange orbs competing for $20,000 in prizes. Then someone got the idea of racing pumpkins down the river. The Pumpkin Regatta was born once locals figured out how to paddle in a pumpkin and to keep it from rolling over. “We do a pumpkin drop both Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 p.m.,” says volunteer Cassie McLemore. “Each year we do something fun and creative with the pumpkin drop. Last year we dropped a pumpkin filled with 100 pounds of candy, and we dropped one into an inflatable pool. And this year promises to be just as fun.” Add to that all the family oriented activities like the Kids Costume Parade, Trick-of-Treating on Main Street, Kids Pumpkin Pull, face painting and Pie Eating. Grown-up gourmands can indulge in the Chili Cook-Off and Microbrew Tasting.
The Great Pumpkin Festival
75 W. 5th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Date: Oct. 30, 2016 at 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
“Spooky fun, but not scary fun,” is how marketing and communications manager Krissy Schoenfelder describes this event. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to wear their Halloween costume an extra time.” In addition to the costume parade, all participants can get their face painted, take part in crafts and enjoy a free treat. Live entertainment at this year’s Landmark Center fall event will fill the hall with Halloween spirit.
Sever’s Corn Maze & Fall Festival
1100 Canterbury Road S.
Shakopee, MN 55379
Dates: Fridays at 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. September 9 through October 30, 2016.
Price: $15, Free for Ages 3 and Under
Sever’s 2016 corn maze theme this year will be celebrating 20 years of fun in the fall. Stop by any weekend for musicians, magicians and pig racing. There are always plenty of activities for kids, like the petting zoo, animal rides, corn pits, jumping pillow, zip lines, tire mountain, hay bale maze and giant slides. New this year will be an obstacle course included in admission price as well as wood fired pizza and Italian fare from Italian family owned and operated Vesuvio’s. Stop by Sever’s also open during MEA on Oct 20 and 21, 2016.
All Hallows Eve
Dakota City Heritage Village
4008 220th St. W.
Farmington, MN 55024
Dates: October 21 and 22, 2016 1:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Cost: $6 ages 13 and up. $3 ages 4 through 12. Free ages 3 and under.
“Tractor-pulled trolleys will transport you back in time as you explore the traditions of Halloween in 1900,” says Lynn Stegmaier, DCHV president. “Now you will shiver with delight to spooky stories, view a silent horror film and visit the cemetery to discover old burial customs.” Stegmaier notes the Dakota City Heritage village has an all-new fall event focus for 2016. Refreshments are available for purchase at this family friendly event.
Farmamerica’s Haunted Corn Maze and Feedmill
Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center
7367 360th Ave
Waseca, MN 56093
Dates: October 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2016
Price: $10 per person. Free for children under 10.
“This is the most difficult corn maze we have ever had,” says Interpretive Center office manager Crystal Paulson. “There are lots of wrong ways.” The 2016 Haunted Corn Maze and Feedmill is geared for older kids and adults. Do not let the evil that lurks between the cornrows scare you out of coming. However, it can be a bit scary for little ones. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Grab a hot dog, some drinks and jump on the tram to the corn maze. Once you find your way out of the Haunted Corn Maze, you can go through the Haunted Feed Mill if you dare. Flashlights and maze maps are available at the center.
Related: Best Fall Festivals In Minnesota
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.