Jump into autumn with these unique fall festivals, activities and colorful panoramas

Photo courtesy ValleySCARE


Daily through Oct. 21

In Wabasha, you will find some of the largest pumpkins and tallest sunflowers in the state, not to mention scarecrows, a pumpkin derby and riverfront carriage rides. This celebration is a play on the German Oktoberfest, but the community festival welcomes everyone, German or not. | 137 Main St., Wabasha, 651-565-4158,


Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28

As the air turns brisk and the leaves fall, Valleyfair becomes a haunt of its summer self. Behind every bush and around every corner of this massive amusement park, a ghoul awaits. Each fall, the park is transformed into ValleyScare, with more than a dozen haunted houses and special scare zones for an extra thrill beyond the usual roller coasters and rides. | 1 Valleyfair Drive, Shakopee, 952-445-7600,

Families with young children playing in a pool of corn kernels at Sever's Fall Festival, one of the many fall festivals in the Twin Cities.Photo courtesy Sever’s Fall Festival

Sever’s Fall Festival

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29

Take your family and friends by the hand and wind through the oldest corn maze in the Midwest—second oldest in the nation. The 20th annual Sever’s Fall Festival, in Shakopee next to the Canterbury Downs racetrack, offers food trucks, two corn pits, exotic animal and magician shows, pumpkin catapults, live entertainment, and other family friendly activities. A child friendly hay bale maze keeps youngsters running around under the watchful eyes of their guardians, who can join in the fun or watch from several platforms. | 100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, 952-270-6293,

New Ulm Oktoberfest

Oct. 7-8 & 14-15

Break out your favorite lederhosen and see why “Germans have more fun” in Minnesota’s most German town. This traditional celebration embodies the true German spirit with stein holding contests, German music performances and a Germanic-American parade, which invites anyone of German heritage to participate. Sample local beer and help make a bottle of local wine at the competitive grape stomp. | Various locations in New Ulm, 507-233-4300,

Anoka Halloween Festivities

Oct. 8-31

It’s go orange or go home in the Halloween Capital of the World. Anoka starts the spooky season with a giant pumpkin weigh off. The festivities continue with a beanbag tournament, an “Orange Tie” gala and Anoka’s version of the Amazing Race. The monthlong celebration culminates with the largest Halloween parade in the state. | Main Street, Anoka,

A group of people dressed as zombies at the Zombie Pub Crawl, one of the many fall festivals in Minneapolis and St. Paul.Photo by Matt Mead

Zombie Pub Crawl

Oct. 14

The largest gathering of zombies since 2012, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, emerges annually for an evening of undead partying in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District. This year’s Zombie Pub Crawl includes 15 bars and breweries and specialty Brain Belt Zombie Pub Crawl beer by Schell’s Brewing Co. | First through Fifth Avenues, downtown Minneapolis,

Stillwater Harvest Fest

Oct. 14 & 15

When your pumpkin latte just isn’t enough to get you in the fall spirit, Harvest Fest in Stillwater’s Lowell Park provides that extra pumpkin punch. A pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin pull, pumpkin drop and giant pumpkin boat races on the St. Croix River are just the stem of the big weekend lineup. If pumpkin is not your gourd of choice, dip your spoon at the chili cook-off, sample beer and wine at the microbrew tasting, and watch the kids’ tractor pull. | Lowell Park, Stillwater,

Take Your Pick

When you’re in the home of the Honeycrisp apple, sampling some ruby red gems straight from the branch is a requirement. These orchards are ripe with apples, raspberries, pumpkins and activities to fill your fall with flavor.

Aamodt’s Apple Farm

Daily through Oct. 22

Cozy up on a tractor ride, have a homemade apple doughnut and sample St. Croix Vineyards wine, grown on the vines alongside the apple trees. | 6428 Manning Ave., Stillwater, 651-439-3127,

Afton Apple Orchard

Daily through late October

A petting farm, straw mountain and 15-acre corn maze make this orchard worth the hour drive from Minneapolis. | 14421 S. 90th St., Hastings, 651-436-8385,

Apple Jack Orchard

Daily through Oct. 31

A unique combination of family friendly fun and dating romance, Apple Jack Orchard features an apple cannon, apple sling shots, zip lines, a river terrace dining area, a hay bale pyramid with a slide and resident goats, turkeys and chickens. | 4875 37th St. SE, Delano, 763-972-6673,


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