Raise your hand if you're ready for autumn. (I'm over here eagerly waving my hand in the air.)
If you're ready for fall festivals and don't want to spend a fortune, you'll love this list because they are all FREE:
1. Harvest Fair
Friday, Sept. 23: 5pm – 11pm Saturday, Sept. 24: 9am – 11pm Sunday, Sept. 25: 9am – 5pm
Wisconsin State Fair
Fun activities for kids of all ages include pumpkin carving, Harvest Fair Bingo, pumpkin bowling, scarecrow making, Tony’s Creepy Crawly Zoo, amusement rides and more!
Come hungry and ready to shop. Many of your favorite State Fair vendors are open during Harvest Fair, including The Micro, featuring over 50 craft beers. The Farmer’s Market features everything from Fall decorations to flowers, food and more. Pick up pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch, and don’t forget your Elegant Farmer pies.
Maker Faire Milwaukee will also be returning this year. Find more info at makerfairemilwaukee.com
2. Harvest Fest at Central Library
Saturday, October 1st
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Celebrate the turning of the season at the library with music, pumpkins, cookies, live animals, and stories. Meet Browser the Library Lion! Live entertainment by Fox & Branch and Little Miss Anne from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Face painting, cookie decorating, story nook, live animals from Ms. Kim's Amazing Animals, fresh applesauce, and free pumpkins for the kids to decorate!
Location: Children's Herzfeld Activity Center
3. Sturgeon Fest
Saturday, October 1st
Lakeshore State Park (downtown Milwaukee)
Free admission & parking
(All activities free; $10 donation to release a sturgeon)
Head to Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee for the 11th annual Sturgeon Fest on October 1st, 2016 to enjoy a day of free, family fun (and make a huge difference while doing it!). The festivities continue all day with games and activities for kids, kayak demonstrations, prairie tours, educational booths, delicious local food trucks, and more. Sturgeon Fest celebrates Riveredge’s 25 year partnership with the Wisconsin DNR to bring back Lake Sturgeon, a critically important species both environmentally and culturally, to the Milwaukee River, where they haven’t been seen in over 100 years. For a $10 donation, you can hand-release a young sturgeon into Lake michigan and be a hands-on part of bringing back this incredible species! For more information on the festival, the project it supports, and how you can sponsor a sturgeon, visit www.sturgeonfest.org!
4. Applefest (New Berlin)
Sunday, October 2
1:00pm - 4:00pm
New Berlin Historical Park
Ride the orchard barrel train, check out the cider press, join square dancing in the barn, pick out a pumpkin, operate model trains in the museum, and more!
5. Fall Festival at Piala's Nursery
October 8th (9:00-5:00)
October 9th (10:00-4:00)
Paila's Nursery in Waukesha
This Fall Festival is hosted to celebrate the season while supporting the community, local groups and local artisans.
There will be a hay maze, pick a pumpkin/gourd and carving station, bouncy house, giant slide and games, live music, craft fair with many local artisans, hot food and beverages, door prizes, and more.
6. Applefest (Thiensville)
Sunday, October 2nd
Thiensville Village Park
Hay rides, bouncy houses, face painting, big wheel racing, donut eating contest, coloring contest, Apple Brats, live polka music and more!
7. Oktoberfest (Cedarburg)
October 8th (11:00-8:00)
October 9th (10:00-5:00)
Historic downtown Cedarburg
Spending a perfect weekend in October at Oktoberfest includes authentic German music, German cuisine and beer, polka dancing, Glockenspiel shows, fun contests, art and more!
Not free, but worth it!:
Wehr Nature Center in Franklin
Sunday, October 2nd
$3 per person
FREE for Friends of Wehr members
Cider Sunday is THE place to kick off the fall season. This popular event features cider press demonstrations, free cider tasting, live music, crafts for kids, guided nature walks and lots of yummy food. Apples from Patterson’s Orchard will be for sale. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Wehr and assist the needs of Wehr Nature Center.
For details, go to the main site at http://www.friendsofwehr.org/fall-events/cider-sunday/
Boo at the Zoo
Oct 14 & 15
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Milwaukee County Zoo
Regular admission and parking rates apply
Visit their pumpkin patch filled with hand-carved, glowing pumpkins. Ride the "Raven's Rail" train. Enjoy many scary, family-friendly but ghoulishly fun activities.
Fall Family Fun Day
October 22, 2016
8:30am - 1:30pm
Camp Minikani in Hubertus
Bring the whole family for a fun-filled day at Camp Minikani as we celebrate the fall season! Along with family-friendly activities like the climbing wall and archery, visitors will have the chance to learn more about camp, while taking a tour of our beautiful camp. Then join us for a cookout and meet our amazing team!
Plus, registration will be open during the event. Reserve your day camp spot before online registration opens to the public!
Kids: $5 (Under 3 - FREE)
Proceeds from this event benefit our Annual Scholarship Campaign, which helps send kids to camp.
Fall Festival at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside
Scheduled activities include horse drawn wagon rides, nature hikes, raptor meet and greet, American Indian Hoop Dance, Live Bat program by Wisconsin DNR, Cider Press Demonstrations, Pumpkin Bowling, Scarecrow Row, Preschool Playspace, Live Animals, Bat Origami Crafts, Face Painting, and Disc Golf.