Fall Is For Festivals

    I’ve heard some people say they are ready for fall. While I can’t say that I’m all that anxious for it to come, this season does conjure up some cozy pictures in my mind: taking a walk to enjoy fall foliage, hay rides, sipping hot apple cider after enjoying these outings in the brisk autumn air.
    Since the cooler temperatures are inevitable in Southeast South Dakota, we find ways to turn the season into a celebration. There are a lot of festivals that do just that, most of them revolving around harvest since that is the main event in rural communities this time of year. Most weekends throughout September and October are jam packed with fun fall events.


    September starts off with Homesteader Day at Beaver Creek Nature Area, near Brandon, on the 7th. Delmont’s Kuchen and Old Time Harvest Festivals on September 13-14 is two festivals in one. Menno hosts the Pioneer Power Show on September 20-21. Theses festivals celebrate not only harvest, but also the pioneer heritage of the region. You will see old-time farming demonstrations of baling, threshing, plowing, steam powered equipment, corn shelling, displays and parades highlighting vintage tractors, tractor and pedal pulls, entertainment, petting zoo, kids rides and so much more. Check here for more details about individual festivals - southeastsouthdakota.com/what-to-do/calendar-of-events/


    Fall in the Park at Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, near Yankton on September 20, is an afternoon full of fall crafts, games and activities for the whole family.
    The pumpkin takes center stage at the FestiFall at Newton Hills State Park, near Canton on October 4. Activities include pumpkin catapulting, pumpkin carving demonstrations and decorated pumpkin contests as well as make and take crafts for kids, kids’ games and bluegrass music. Stay until dark for the CandleLight Walk, where glowing carved pumpkins light the trails. Walkers will encounter surprises along the trail including musicians, colorful characters from the past, and telescopes.
    For more pumpkin fun, ride Hobo Marlin’s Pumpkin Train at Prairie Village, near Madison, on October 4 to the pumpkin patch were kids can pick a pumpkin to take home. There’s donuts, cider and games, too.


    Many of the region’s wineries also celebrate the harvest of their favorite crop - grapes.
    The annual Grape Stomp Harvest Festival at Schadé Winery, near Volga, is September 6. On October 4 you can take in two festivals in one day since they are less than 30 miles apart: Wilde Prairie Winery’s Harvest Festival, near Brandon, and the Fall Wine Festival at Baumberger Vineyard, near Dell Rapids. The following weekend, on Oct. 11, the Harvest Festival at Strawbale Winery, near Renner.
   These festivals offer everything from grape picking and stomping to pumpkin painting and pumpkin catapult launches. Most have live music and a variety of great food to sample and, of course, wine tasting. You’ll also find lots of scenic rural charm, a relaxing atmosphere and even chances to pet some resident cats. Check here for more details about each festival - southeastsouthdakota.com/journey/winery-trail

    Summer may be winding down, but as you can see, there is no shortage of things to do. I hope you’ll get out and celebrate fall at one (or more) of these festivals.