Fall festivals celebrate the cooler weather, art, music and food. In Kansas, many of the fall festivals also are an opportunity to celebrate community and heritage.
The McPherson Scottish Festival and Highland games will “bring a wee bit of Scotland to the middle of Kansas,” according to its news release. The Great Plains Nature Center’s Honey Bee Festival will spend the day featuring the state insect.
Whether you’re a lifelong Kansan or just visiting, this list of events offers insight into the unique communities of the region.
Walnut Valley Festival, Sept. 17-21, Winfield Fairgrounds, 1105 W. Ninth Ave., Winfield. Bluegrass music festival with crafts, concessions and lots of campground pickin’. $95 for all five days, $65 for Saturday and Sunday. 620-221-3250.
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Valley Center Fall Festival, Sept. 19-20, downtown Valley Center. The festival will feature carnival rides from Ottaway Amusement, indoor and outdoor craft vendors, live music and entertainment, a kids’ fest, and disc golf tournament at the park. The parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Great Plains Nature Center’s Honey Bee Festival, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 20, Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North. A day devoted to the state insect, the honey bee. Children will engage in crafts and games as well as a honey tasting booth. Free. www.gpnc.org
El Dorado Chamber Open Car and Bike Show, Sept. 20, downtown El Dorado. The car and bike show will feature stock, restored and custom cars, trucks and bikes. 316-321-3150.
Fall Festival, Sept. 27, B Street Barn, Cedar St. in Kingman. Artisans, crafts, food, music. Festival begins at 10 a.m.
Colwich Heritage Festival,10 a.m. Sept. 27, Veterans Memorial Park. Colwichks.org
Fall Great Plains Renaissance Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 27-28, Sedgwick County Park, 6300 E. 13th St. Admission: Adults, $11 at the gate; kids, $5. greatplainsrenfest.com
Cider Days Fall Festival, Sept. 27-28, Kansas Expocentre, Topeka. The two-day event will feature more than 250 crafts exhibits, pioneer demonstrations, unique food, live entertainment, kids’ rides, and animal attractions. New for 2014, the Cider Days Fall Festival will have a Carnival as well as Live Bluegrass Music all weekend. www.topekaciderdays.com
2014 Greater Andover Days: “Dream On,” Sept. 25-28. The four-day festival includes a food court, KidFest, 5K fun run, parade, fishing clinic, car show, business expo/craft fair, carnival, ice cream social, live entertainment and a fireworks show in Central Park. This year’s event also features a Friday night tailgate party and a Saturday evening concert featuring Stallion with opening act the AJ McCausland Band.
Clearwater Fall Festival, Sept. 18-21, Clearwater. The festival’s theme is “The Cowboy Way.” It will feature a street dance, a carnival, a car and motorcycle show, an arts and craft fair, and a talent show. www.clearwaterfallfestival.com.
Walnut River Festival, Sept. 27, downtown El Dorado. The festival will feature singing, dancing, bands, games, food, displays and more for the whole family but primarily for the youth. 316-321-3150.
McPherson Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Sept. 27, Lakeside Park, U.S. 56, McPherson. Festival gates opening at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with competitions slated in Highland heavy athletics, Scottish Highland dancing, and solo piping and drumming. Two full days of activities including clan and genealogy tents, a Celtic harp, sheep herding demonstrations, a display of Clydesdales, 1-800-324-8022.
Anderson County Corn Festival and Cornstock Concert on the Hill, Sept. 27, North Lake Park in Garnett. This year’s lineup will feature Jerrod Niemann, The Casey Donahew Band and Travis Marvin. $25 in advance. $30 at the gate. The festival will feature a 5k run/walk, arts and crafts, a Miss and Little Miss Cornstock Pageant, a Great Kansas Outdoor Fun Show, a petting zoo, a pedal power tractor pull, inflatables. accornfest.com
Goddard Fall Festival, Oct. 3-4, downtown Goddard. crafts, parade, talent show and beer garden. www.goddardfallfestival.com.
Biblesta, Oct. 4, Humboldt city square. Townspeople dress as their favorite Bible characters for the Biblesta parade. Floats include “Jonah and the Whale,” a motorized 40-foot whale with a man riding in its mouth and marching bands play Townspeople dress as their favorite Bible characters for the parade. Floats include “Jonah and the Whale,” a motorized 40-foot whale with a man riding in its mouth. The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. There’s also gospel music, a petting zoo, train rides and inflatables will be available. During the evening hours, teenagers and young adults can enjoy the Biblesta After Dark Youth Rally. biblesta.com
Kansas Mountain Man Rendezvous, Oct. 3-5, Maxwell Wildlife Refuge in Canton. The Mountain Man Rendezvous is a look at the life of the explorers and trappers of the early 1800s, featuring encampments of tents and teepees with re-enactors dressed in traditional buckskin and furs who demonstrate crafts, survival skills and games of the era.
Burnin’ Down Main Cook-Off, noon-2 p.m. Oct. 4, Main Street in McPherson. The cook-off will feature competition, live entertainment and concessions. Admission is $5 per person. 620-241-7430
2014 Homecoming and Wellington Fall Festival, Oct. 3-4, Sellers Park, 601 E. Harvey, Wellington. Tailgate party, chili cook-off and barbecue cook-off. 620-326-7466.
Chisholm Trail Day Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4, Dickinson County Heritage Center, 412 S. Campbell St., Abilene.
2014 Volga German Society Oktoberfest/Fort Hays State University Homecoming, Oct. 10, Hays-Frontier Park, First and Main streets in Hays.
Haven Fall Festival, Oct. 11, Kansas and Main streets in Haven. The festival will feature a 5K fun run, a bicycle ride, kids’ pedal pull, micro stock car races, and alpaca/llama races and barbecue contest.
Haysville Fall Festival, Oct. 17-19, Riggs Park, 700 Sarah Lane. The Haysville Fall Festival is in its 30th year. It will feature one stage of entertainment, a car show, tractor pulls, Bingo, concerts, a parade, and pumpkin painting. haysvillefallfestival.com
Columbus Day Festival and Hot - Air Balloon Regatta, Oct. 10-13. Columbus Kansas celebrates Columbus Day with a three-day festival including a scarecrow contest, hot air balloon glow, parade, barbecue cookoff and a car and motorcycle show. columbusdayballoons.com
Bethel College Fall Festival, Oct. 18, Bethel College, 300 27th St. North Newton. The festival celebrates college and community with entertainment, Mennonite/ethnic foods, athletics, college displays, arts, crafts, museum, events and kids’ activities. www.bethelks.edu.
Halstead Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, Oct. 18, 300 N. Main. Free. In addition to the traditional festival activities, there is a textile show, and a high school art competition. 316-519-6694.
Arkalalah, Oct. 24-25, downtown Arkansas City. The annual fall festival will feature parades, a craft show, dances, street games, a carnival and food concessions. www.arkalalah.com
Neewollah, Oct. 24-Nov. 1, downtown Independence. Neewollah is Halloween spelled backwards. The festival will feature three parades, a chili cook-off, a musical titled “Honk” and a band competition. neewollah.com