It’s faaaaaaallllll!!!! Ok, maybe it’s not “officially” fall until September 22nd (who can really trust that though when the “official” end date of fall is December 21st???). But as soon as September hits, I’m ready for all the pumpkins, apple picking, crisp air, crunchy leaves, and of course, fall festivities.
The organizers of fall festivals in 417 land would seem to agree with me. Fall activities usually kick off at the beginning of September around here and can be found all the way through mid November.
Here are some of the fantastic fall things waiting for you to explore this year in Springfield MO and the surrounding 417 land!
These events are listed by date. So don’t worry if you’ve already missed the top ones listed. Just scroll down until you find ones coming up! And, at the end of the article, you’ll find a section of ongoing activities through the fall season.
Seymour Apple Festival
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th – SATURDAY, SEP 10th
There’s a little something for everyone at this Apple Festival. Live entertainment, vendors and crafters, a turtle race, and (as with most great fall festivals) there are also many food offerings to choose from.
Plenty of apple themed activities also fill this fest. You’ll find a Johnny Appleseed contest, a lucky girl will be crowned Apple Princess, you can try your hand at the apple peeling contest, and drool over the entries in the apple baking contest.
For those of you who like to stay more active, there’s even a 5K run! And for those of us who like to take it easy and actually enjoy life, you can sit on the sidelines and watch the Apple Fest parade.
Wickman’s Annual Fall Festival
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th at 8 AM – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th AT 3PM
This festival always feels like the official start of fall for our family. Every year it’s one of the first fall events we go to.
They have wagon rides for the kiddos, a tortoise or two to visit, and pony rides all day.
For those of us who are a little too tall to ride the ponies, there’s plenty of artists and crafters to peruse, yummy food to eat, and of course all of Wickman’s beautiful fall collection of pumpkins, mums, and just about any plant your fall-lovin heart desires.
Japanese Fall Festival
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th AT 5 PM CDT – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th AT 6 PM CDT
I absolutely love this festival! If you haven’t been to the Japanese Fall Festival at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden go check it out this year!
The garden is one of the top things to do in Springfield any time of year, but it really comes alive during this festival.
While you’re at the festival make sure to catch a show or two! Our lovely partners from our sister city in Japan will be performing traditional yosakoi dance, storytelling, music, and more.
As you walk the festival you’ll find plenty of Japanese vendors, crafts, and activities.
Stay until dusk and you’ll get to experience the magical glow of hundreds of torches during the festival’s candlelight walk.
Autumn Daze Festival
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th AT 9 AM CDT – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th AT 4 PM CDT
You read that right. This is the forty-eighth time Branson has hosted the Autumn Daze Festival. Needless to say, they’re getting pretty good at it.
Enjoy 100s of craft vendors showing off their wares of glasswork, jewelry, soaps, woodworks, knick-knacks and paddywhacks (can’t actually guarantee the paddywhacks, I’m not sure what a paddywhack is… but I know they’ll have plenty of knick-knacks).
Live entertainment will be happening day and night.
My favorite of this event: fooooooood. They have oh-so-many food trucks to choose from so come hungry and leave happy.
Marshfield Harvest Days
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th AT 12 PM CDT – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th AT 4 PM CDT
Marshfield community knows how to create a welcoming environment for everyone and it shows through at their festivals.
Come visit them for their Marshfield Harvest Days on the square.
Everything you’d want in a fall festival you’ll find here. Vendors, food, live music, and some good ole pumpkin chuckin.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th
Home of the white squirrel!
Marionville is another town that makes everyone feel like a welcomed local.
You’ll find plenty to do in their little town on festival weekend. Parades, vendors, a car show, pageants, and games fill the town square.
Keeping true to the apple theme of AppleFest, they hold an apple dessert auction where you can fight your way to be the highest bidder and take home a delicious prize.
MO Food Truck Fest
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th
Anyone who knows me knows that food is my love language. So of course Food Truck Fest is one of my favorite fall fests!!
The name pretty much explains it all. Food trucks come together at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds to make one beautiful food filled festival.
There’s a cuisine for every appetite with the top food trucks coming in from all over 417 land.
Once you grab your favorite dish (or two or three… I can’t just pick one!) you can find a cozy spot on the lawn to feast while you listen to some awesome live bands. I would suggest bringing along friends so you can share each other’s delicious finds without having to gorge yourself by going it solo.
Burn off all those calories you just consumed by walking around to all of the vendors that come along to enjoy the fest.
Cider Days — presented by Simmons Bank
If you haven’t heard of Cider Days, are you really even a local 417er?
Cider Days is an obvious community favorite. Held on the beautiful and historic Walnut Street, it is the place to be this fall.
There are so many regional artists to meet and beautiful creations to buy.
Three different performance stages are placed throughout the festival route so you can constantly enjoy live performances as you make your way through.
And of course, there’s plenty of delicious apple cider!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th
SOTO (State of the Ozarks) is a community that is made up of local artists, craftsmen, mom and pop shops, and hometown restaurants. Its goal is to help and encourage tradesmen in both business and life.
SOMO comes together once a year to host an epic festival in the historic district of Hollister, Mo.
The fest features contemporary artists, traditional craftsmen, and local food.
What makes it even more unique from your average fall fest is that there will be dancing, Ozark Mountain Music, European combat, and all kindsa Ozark history.
The 1860’s Lifestyle Exposition
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Speaking of Ozarks history, the Gray/Campbell Farmstead will open up all of their buildings to the public for their fantastic 1860’s lifestyle expo.
As the name suggests, this festival shows a little bit of what life was like back in the 1860s.
There will be lots of cooking and crafting and a major lack of cell phones or electricity. How did they even survive???
I actually love it all and look forward to being able to go and surround myself in the lifestyle of self-sufficiency and living off the land.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th, 12 PM CDT – 5 PM CDT
This one’s a fun one.
A group of people set up outdoors at 7C’s Winery to reenact medieval times.
There’s live music. There are belly dancers. There will even be some birds of prey flying around (courtesy of Dickerson Park Zoo).
Bring a picnic (or buy something delicious from London Calling food truck that will be on site), buy some mead, and enjoy the Mead Fest.
Medieval attire is encouraged.
How fun is that!!!
Fair Grove Fall Festival (Heritage Reunion)
SEP 24th – SEP 25th
Another one of my favorites!
One of the biggest fall events in the area, this shin-dig brings in tens of thousands of people.
There’s so much to see and do at this festival and I love it all. They have a great parade to get things started, soooooo much good food at every corner, live music at the old mill, and the vendor booths!
Lettme tellya about those vendor booths!:
The fine people who put this event together are quite picky about who they let join their vendor selections. The committee allows only quality, original, and handmade items to be sold. There are hundreds of booths to look at and you will find something for everyone.
Harvest Moon Festival
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1ST
A tiny little festival, but still worth checking out, the Harvest Moon Festival in Forsyth, Mo has plenty to offer.
This year they’ll be having a dog show, a car show (maybe dogs in cars show?), a kids zone, and a parade.
Add that to all the food, live music, vendors, and crafters and it’s sure to be a good time.
Republic Pumpkin Daze
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1st
This one is seriously so much fun!!!
Huuuuuge pumpkins (we’re talkin over 600lbs), gourds, veggies, flowers, and all sortsa beautifully homegrown produce are brought in from across the land to show off at this festival.
Pumpkin Daze has been going on for 30 years, so they’ve had a bit of practice to make it the awesome event that it is.
Apart from prize winning pumpkins, you’ll also enjoy rows and rows of vendors, all the delicious food you could want, games, entertainment, and being among a fantastic community of fall festival goers.
Fall Festival and Antique Market
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1st, 9 AM CDT – 3 PM CDT
If you’re looking for a more intimate festival this one’s for you.
Schofield + Gray is a small antique market in Fordland and they will be hosting a lovely little fall festival on a cozy homestead.
The lineup will include home décor, garden, vendors, vintage, unique antique, and gifts.
Food trucks and dessert vendors have also been invited for you to enjoy.
Ozark Arts & Craft Show
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
Crafters and artists galore fill the Finley River Park to bring you an arts and craft show of epic proportions.
More than 300 vendors gather at the Ozark Arts & Craft Show to show off their original works of art and to offer you their crafts.
You’ll work up an appetite walking through all the art filled rows. The event coordinators have made sure to have plenty of food trucks standing by to give you nourishment so you can continue on your journey to find that perfect handmade item (or two, or ten) to bring home.
Apple Butter Makin’ Days
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th– SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9th
Aaaaaappplle Buuuuuuttter Maaaaaakin Daaaaaays!!!!!!!
You guys (and gals), if you are only going to go to one fall festival this year (which would be crazy) you need to get out to this one!!!
Apple Butter Makin’ Days just oozes fall in the Ozarks.
They host the event around the beautiful town square where trees line the streets and show off their gorgeous fall colored leaves.
The smell of apple butter wafts through the air as they make it in huge cauldrons right on the courthouse lawn.
The best of the best vendors are set up, taking up blocks and blocks all around the square, to offer you almost anything your fall lovin heart could desire.
Mixed with the wonderful smell of apple butter, there’s the aroma of plenty of other amazing food vendors on every corner.
And to top it all off, there is live entertainment to put a grove in your step as you walk around the festival in a blissful fall trance.
Oktoberfest In Downtown Ozark
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2 PM CDT – 10 PM CDT
Obviously, fall in the Ozarks involves quite a few Oktoberfests. This one in Ozark is definitely worth checking out.
Ozark Oktoberfest will be held on the Historic Square.
There will obviously be beer. Good beer. Beer from local breweries.
But there will also be plenty of family-friendly games, shopping, food, and live music.
You guys, the live music will include the super awesome band Members Only!!! *insert high-pitched fangirl scream here*
Oh, and there’s also a 5k run at this one for all of you weirdos out there that like to run during these fall festivals.
Art in the Park
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9th
Springfieldians congregate at Sequiota Park to enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage, hiking and bicycling trails, and, for one weekend a year, an exposition of the greatest arts and crafts
Art in the Park is unique among fall festivals because it was founded by artists for artists. You’ll only find art and craft offerings of the utmost quality and creativity.
In line with their effort to invite only the finest of artists to display their work, the guild that hosts the event has only chosen a few dozen creators to be featured. The event definitely focuses on quality over quantity.
Sparta Persimmon Days Festival
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14th – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15th
Another small but mighty festival, Persimmon Days makes you feel like a beloved local in the small hometown.
Persimmon Days has been going strong for over 30 years and it just keeps getting better and better.
Head on down to the friendly little town of Sparta, Mo and enjoy the vendors and entertainment they’ve gathered for you at their festival.
Fall Classics: Rocky Horror Picture Show
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th
Let’s do the time warp agaaaaaain!
This one is a little saucy and not so much a family event, but it definitely is worth mentioning for the adventurous adults out there.
It’s not just a movie showing, it’s a movie experience.
Tickets to this viewing will include interaction kits, commemorative t-shirts, a costume contest, and one of the most fun nights you will possibly ever have going out to the movies.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5th
I’ve mentioned I love food, right?
Well, let me tell you about WINGAPALOOZA!!!!
You guys (and gals), it’s figgin amazeballs.
Multiple 417 restaurants battle it out in the Springfield Expo center to determine who has the best wings in the land.
AND YOU GET TO BE THE JUDGE.
That’s right, you get to visit every single restaurant booth and try the tastiest wings they have to offer (and maybe go back to try them again… and again). After you’ve tried all of their offerings, you get to put your vote in for who has the best wings.
And if that wasn’t enough awesomeness, Springfield Sertoma keeps the party going with live music, mixed drinks and beer, a wing eating contest, raffles, and a silent auction. All benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield!!!
Why haven’t you bought your ticket yet?!?!?
Ongoing Fall Activities
For those of you who would like a more flexible schedule, here are a few venues that offer their fall activities multiple times throughout the season!
The Exeter Corn Maze
Man, I don’t even know how to describe the amazingness that is Exeter Corn Maze.
They need to change the name to something like “The Walt Disney World of Farms” or something like that because it is waaaaaaaay more than just a corn maze.
They have axe throwing, corn cannons (yes, corn cannons), zombie paintball, a petting zoo, a giant slide, barn swings, hayrides, a rock wall, pumpkin picking, pig races, plenty of places to eat… just too much to cover it all here. Go to their website to check out the rest of their offerings and then go have an absolutely fantastic day at their farm. Go!
Pickin Patch Farm
Get your pumpkin pickin on at this adorable farm in Marionville, Mo.
The farm not only offers a beautiful array of your favorite fall gourd, they also have hayrides, a corn maze, and some great scenery for that perfect fall selfie.
Country Roads for Down on the Farm Fall
Country Roads is another place with an incredible amount of entertainment for the whole family during the fall.
Indoor and outdoor play areas, bouncy pillows, hayrides, and a petting zoo are just a few things to enjoy there. During the fall they up the ante by adding a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and other fall themed fun.
You guys (and gals), you have to head down to Gardener’s Orchard at least once this fall season.
The wonderful family that owns Gardener’s Orchard has worked hard to provide 417 land with a great orchard to go visit. They are so welcoming and kind and really care about the community.
Bring your family for apple picking, enjoying the beautiful fall scenery, eating a freshly baked good from their bakers, and romping around in the play barn.
If you’re in the mood for indulgence, they also make fresh apple doughnuts and cider slushies.
Harvest Fest at Rutledge Wilson Farm Park
The adorable city farm we all know and love transforms into a wonderland during fall for its Harvest Fest.
Starting September 27th and going through October 23th their 5 acre pumpkin patch will be available for the picking. The park concessions will be open and they will have their famous kettle corn for sale!
During the first four weekends of October you can also try your hand at their 2.5 mile corn maze. The average time to complete it is about an hour, so make sure to have your walking shoes on. There’s a map you can download to use if you get too lost in the corn maze and need help finding your way out. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.
Shepherd’s Pumpkin Fest
The Shepherd of the Hills is another farm that transforms during fall.
Starting September 23rd and going through October 30th, you can take your family to enjoy jeep hayrides, scarecrow building, pumpkin picking, as well as plenty of other fall activities.
While you’re there, make sure to get a scoop of their hand-dipped pumpkin spiced ice cream.
417 Land Foliage
One of the most wonderful things about autumn in the Ozarks being surrounded by all the beautiful fall foliage.
Take a drive almost anywhere around the area and you’ll get a great view of trees full of orange, brown, yellow, and red leaves that will put almost anyone in that cozy autumn mood.
Want to enjoy the cool weather and a slower pace to view 417 land’s fall beauty? Put on your hiking shoes and visit one of the Top Hiking and Walking Trails in Springfield, Mo to thoroughly soak in all fall foliage around you.
So much to enjoy!
Now that I’ve given you THIRTY amazing fall activities you have no excuse for not getting out there and enjoying something awesome this fall in 417 land!!