Things to Do in October: The List
Festival: Last year’s giant pumpkin at the annual Stillwater Harvest Fest and Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off set a new world record at more than 1,800 pounds. Visit this year’s festival on Oct. 8 to see if the record is shattered. Other events include a chili cook-off, pumpkin decorating contest, microbrew and local wine tasting, and live music. Free cider and many discounts are available all day.
Theatre & Arts: The 45th Annual Fall Festival of the Arts takes place in Red Wing Oct.8-9. The juried art show features more than 100 artists showcasing their art among the fall leaves. While you’re there, you’ll find plenty to do to fill a Weekend Getaway in Red Wing, MN.
Recreation: Fall turkey hunting season in Minnesota takes place in October. If you didn’t plan ahead to get your license for fall, be sure to mark your calendar for the Spring season. Applications are available beginning in November.
Taste: Fall is the start of chili season and several Minnesota cook-offs in October will give you your first tastes. During Stillwater’s Harvest Fest Oct. 8, $8 per person will get you unlimited samples of chili entries judged by the public and a judging panel. Lake City’s Johnny Appleseed Festival Oct. 1 features a community chili cook-off and many other fall activities. Rochester’s Chili Challenge Oct. 8 benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester. Both the public and a panel judge these entrants. And Cooks of Crocus Hill on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue hosts its Cooks’ Chili Cook-Off Oct. 23. Ten finalist recipes are prepared by professional chefs. Space is limited and you must register to participate.
Family Fun: Fall break comes in October and it’s time for a final long-weekend getaway before the holiday season begins. Head up North this month to Grand Marais’ Moose Madness Family Festival Oct. 21-22. Moose-themed activities include a scavenger hunt, kids’ concert, book signings, geocaching contest and medallion hunt, and many other activities across town. Stay for Sunday Brunch hosted by Sven & Ole’s. While you’re there, check out the many things to do during a Grand Marais, MN Weekend Getaway.
Adults Only: Take out your lederhosen, it’s time for Oktoberfest. New Ulm’s annual festival turns 30 this year. It’s rated one of the top Oktoberfests in the country according to USA Today and offers two stages of entertainment – with plenty of accordions – and locally brewed August Schell’s beer. Don’t miss polka, German-style collectables and gifts, and plenty of German food. This year’s event takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 and Oct. 7-8.
Also in October, the Three Rivers Wine Trail hosts the German-style Federweisser & Roter Rauscher Festival Oct. 15 & 16. Taste the first sample of wines made from 2011 harvest from Minnesota's vineyards and wineries. While the wines are not finished, they offer a unique and fruity taste similar to France's Beaujolais Nouveau, which is fermented just a few weeks before release. Wineries on the trail offer a range of other events and tastings over the two days, from Noon to 5 p.m.
Fall is a great time for a wine tour. If you can’t make to the Federweisser, visit a winery along one of Minnesota’s four winery and vineyard trails this month.
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