Autumn is perhaps the best time of year in Missouri: the air is crisp; brilliant color is blazing from the forests; geese are calling goodbye on their way south. The days are getting shorter, harvest is finished: it’s time to celebrate.
Take the family, climb aboard a pumpkin wagon and immerse yourself in 159 years of culture and tradition at the Augusta Harvest Festival, Sept. 19-20, 2014. Pick up your gourmet picnic basket in the barn, sample a little port in a 130-year-old vaulted wine cellar, and settle in for an evening of musical entertainment on Friday. Saturday, celebrate the artists, the artisans, the wine and the life in Augusta wine country with pancake breakfasts, pie baking and eating contests, a kids’ harvest parade, vintage bi-planes, dancing and many other activities.
Celebrate King Cotton Sept. 23-27, 2014, during the Sikeston Cotton Carnival and Parade. Enjoy the parade, carnival rides, great food and live entertainment during this five day festival at the Sikeston Jaycee Rodeo Grounds.
Branson’s Silver Dollar City has always known how to throw a wholesome family party, and their National Harvest and Cowboy Festival, Sept. 12-Oct. 25, 2014, really delivers. More than 125 visiting craftsmen are joined by Western and Bluegrass Music, the Pinkerton Man Western Stunt Show, a Western Barn Dance a Wild West Show and authentic chuck wagon cooking served with a side of cowboy stories.
Nothing says autumn quite like a traditional German harvest festival, and the Lee’s Summit Oktoberfest, Sept. 26-27, 2014, is a big one. Indulge in German meals, German dancers, arts and crafts booths, a carnival, Biergarten, entertainment and children’s activities. You’ll have lots of spab – which is German for fun.
The fall season in the Show-Me State is a riot of color. Everywhere you look you see gold and red and pumpkin orange…which brings us to our next fantastic festival: the Pony Express PumpkinFest, Oct. 10-12, 2014, in St. Joseph. In addition to the food, children’s costume parade, games, crafts and live entertainment, the family won’t want to miss the lighting of the “Great Pumpkin Mountain” on opening night.
Much of the credit for the vivid crimson splashes across Missouri’s fall landscape goes to the maple trees, so Carthage celebrates the season with their Maple Leaf Festival, Oct. 10-19, 2014. More than 80,000 people attend the event, which features live entertainment, a gospel sing, dog skill competition, quilt show and an arts and crafts festival.
Food plays a large role in fall festivals. One of nature’s best foods is the reason for Clarksville’s Applefest, Oct. 11-12, 2014. Browse the art and craft show; enjoy quilting demonstrations; and gobble up kabobs, barbecue, fish and, of course, all kinds of apple products.
During the weekend of Oct. 25-26, 2014, there may be no better-smelling place on earth than a small town in eastern Missouri, where the air is filled with wood smoke and the fragrance of apples cooking at the Kimmswick Apple Butter Festival. The cooking continues for seven or eight hours until it’s thick enough to jar, but in the meantime the kids enjoy the miniature train, petting zoo and pony rides; and you’ll be serenaded by dulcimer and bluegrass music while you browse the 500-600 food, drink and craft vendors.
There are a lot more celebrations where these came from, so load the family into the car – it won’t be a long drive to the next festival.
We’d love to see your kids in the festival parade, you in lederhosen and everyone enjoying great harvest treats: share your photos on VisitMO's Facebook page.