From cranberry production to pumpkin carving contests, there’s something for everyone.
Is it just us, or did summer really fly by?
Football season has started, and “green and gold” are everywhere. So, can we agree not to let autumn pass by without enjoying at least one local celebration?
There is no better way to enjoy the crisp autumn air and welcome the season than heading to one of Wisconsin’s fall festivals. No matter where you go, you will find family fun, food, music, arts and crafts, and more. Here are seven to put on your calendar:
New Glarus Oktoberfest, Sept. 22-25
Known as “America’s Little Switzerland,” New Glarus starts the fall season with one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in Wisconsin. This three-day event kicks into high gear on Friday night, and organizers encourage visitors to wear their dirndls and lederhosen as they enjoy live music and hang out in the beer tent. The city offers free shuttles from many of the hotels in the area and free taxi rides from the festival on Friday and Saturday nights. New Glarus Oktoberfest also has several food and craft vendors. Families can enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides and the free petting zoo on Sunday.
Free admission to the festival tent. Thursday, 7 p.m. to Sunday, 7 p.m.
Warrens Cranberry Festival, Sept. 23-25
Wisconsin produces the most cranberries of any state. There is no better way to get your cranberry fix than to head to the Warrens Cranberry Festival in the “Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin.” The festival boasts 850 arts and crafts booths, 350 flea market and antique dealers, and various contests, such as the Marsh Medallion Hunt. Warrens Cranberry Festival also offers the chance for visitors to learn about the history of cranberry production. Make sure you bring your appetite if you attend. The festival has more than 100 food booths with fun things to try—including cranberry cream puffs and deep-friend cranberries on a stick.
Free admission. Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hayward Fall Festival, Sept. 24
Those who live in northern Wisconsin, or simply want to take a road trip, need to check out Hayward Fall Festival. The festival is a one-day celebration packed with family fun. Enjoy live music and grab a brat as you stroll through the handmade arts and crafts booths. You can also find other food vendors, fun and games for kids, and the Hayward Farmers Market. If you’re feeling extra crafty, consider entering the annual Scarecrow Contest, or at least stop in at the Chamber of Commerce tent to vote for your favorite.
Free admission. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Galesville Apple Affair, Oct. 1
Galesville has been holding Apple Affair at the Trempealeau County Fairgrounds since 1983 to promote Wisconsin’s apple orchards. This festival offers far more than a 10-foot apple pie, apple cider, and apple cake. Check out the quilt show and decide who should win the Chili Cook-Off. The Apple Affair also hosts dozens of artisans and crafters at the fairgrounds, selling jewelry, soaps, lotions, decor, and other handmade items.
Free admission. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
St. Croix Falls AutumnFest, Oct. 1
One of the bonuses of attending AutumnFest in St. Croix Falls is that you can also visit the Oktoberfest celebration at the nearby Chateau St. Croix Winery. Each year, AutumnFest features an Art, Craft, and Vendor Fair and a few local food trucks. Attendees can also head to the library for fresh produce, jams, jellies, honey, maple syrup, and more at the St. Croix Falls Farmers Market. You can also enter a pie-eating contest and enjoy live music. If you head out to Chateau St. Croix in the afternoon, you will find more food trucks, live music, and wagon rides.
Free admission. Starts at 10 a.m.
Bayfield Apple Festival, Oct. 7-9
If you are planning a trip to Lake Superior this fall, or call northern Wisconsin home, check out the Bayfield Apple Festival. The festival has been a must-do for decades and is known as one of the best fall harvest festivals in the country. Bayfield’s streets are lined with food and craft vendors until festivities end with the Grand Parade on Sunday. The entire weekend offers an opportunity to enjoy all types of apple products and celebrate the harvest.
Free admission. Times vary for different events.
Oak Creek Fall Festival, Oct. 22
The annual Oak Creek Fall Festival is truly a family-friendly affair, with loads of great events for kids. When you attend you can check out the last day of the Oak Creek Farmers Market before checking out the craft vendors. Little ones will love face-painting, taking a hay ride through Emerald Reserve, the petting zoo, and pony rides. They can also participate in a pumpkin decorating contest and a costume parade. Held at Drexel Town Square, Oak Creek Fall Festival also has live music most of the day.
Free admission. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.