FALL in Love with KC: Your 2017 Guide to Festivals, Pumpkins and Apples

Whether a pumpkin spice latte or a cozy cup of apple cider is your thing, fill up your thermos, put your kid in their cutest overalls and head to one of the many KC activities sure to make your fall months memorable. We’ve compiled our team’s favorite Kansas City festivals, apple orchards and pumpkin patches along with our tips for ensuring great memories and photo opportunities for the whole family.

Fall Festivals – September
Fall Festivals – October
Apple Picking, Pumpkin Patches and Cider Donuts

Fall Festivals & Fairs
SEPTEMBER

SantaCaliGon Days
Celebrate westward expansion at this Independence festival, Sept. 1-4. More than 400 booths, free entertainment, a Midway carnival and bingo. Free parking is available at the Community of Christ Auditorium parking lot located at 1001 W. Walnut.
KCMB Tip: Check out the antique fire trucks and authentic blacksmith – sure to be a kid pleaser.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival
Seven themed weekends are featured during its run Sept. 2 through  Oct. 15 in Bonner Springs, Kan., many of which include special activities for kids – pirate hat and fairy wand making, watching the children’s knighting ceremony, maypole dancing, and more! Tickets can be purchased online for a discount from gate prices. Children four and under are free. 
KCMB Tip: Word on the street is there is a real, live unicorn for feeding and petting this year.

Lenexa Spinach Festival
Johnson County houses Lenexa – the spinach capital of the world (who knew?!). Come out to the Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park (95th and Lackman, free parking shuttles) on Saturday, Sept. 9 for music, arts and crafts and of course, the world’s largest spinach salad (think: 150 pounds of the leafy greens.)
KCMB Tip: Great activities for kids are on the schedule, even a crawling contest for the littlest spinach-lovers and a rock skipping contest.

Activities for the littlest artists at the Plaza Art Fair.

Activities for the littlest artists at the Plaza Art Fair.

Plaza Art Fair
The 85th annual Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 22-24, is expected to draw crowds of more than 250,000 people, 240 artists and covers nine city blocks. The kids will enjoy several interactive areas. Moms can relax in the Nursing Mother’s Lounge, and new this year – an area for dads or other support people. (Slow…clap!) Located on Ward Parkway between Central and Broadway Streets (near Seasons 52) Visit the event website for a full schedule of live entertainment and parking maps.

KCMB Tip: This event is totally doable with kids, but easier with some advanced planning. Check out our tips for making this a family-friendly event, including stops for kids art and food. If you get itchy in crowds, get a babysitter and enjoy a glass of wine while looking at art sans stroller.

Louisburg CiderFest
Live music, a look into the apple press, great photo ops, arts and crafts booths, pony rides and most importantly, cider donuts! This two-weekend festival runs Sept. 23-24 and Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
KCMB Tip: The festival itself is free (and free parking) but there is an $10 admission fee (3 and under free) for the corn maze and pumpkin patch area. 

Overland Park Fall Festival
Downtown Overland Park celebrates the season on Saturday, Sept. 23 with live music, an arts and crafts fair, food trucks, extended Farmer’s Market hours, and children’s entertainment. The headline performance for 2017 is Kansas City’s The Elders.
KCMB Tip: Don’t miss the 10 a.m. parade down Santa Fe Drive.

Gladfest
A KCMB team favorite, the city of Gladstone does fall festivals well. Check out the Saturday morning parade, three days of carnival rides, arts and crafts booth and all the fall fun you can handle.
KCMB tip: All you can ride wristbands are $23, check the website for updated hours.

OCTOBER

Sprint Family Fun Days Fall Festival
Test out your Halloween costumes for some early trick or treating at the Power and Light District’s shops and restaurants on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Pony rides, games, train rides, puppet shows, inflatables and face painting make for a full day at P&L.
KCMB Tip: Parking is available for $2 in the KC Live! and Main Street parking garages or free along the surrounding streets. For additional details on Sprint Family Fun Days, click here

fall guide Kansas City

Great fall photo opportunities.

Weston Apple Fest
A great day trip from Kansas City, the Weston Apple Fest, Oct. 7-8, is known as one of Missouri’s best fall festivals. Main Street is lined with vendor booths and the local churches have apple dumplings, pies and cookies on hand. Children’s activities both days are planned in the park with pony rides, carnival style games, face painting and pumpkin painting.
KCMB Tip: Check out the Applefest Food Court for fast food to curb hangry tantrums.

WaterFire Kansas City
Check out a display of floating fire, live music and food at this annual Plaza event, 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.
KCMB Tip: This event will get rescheduled for rain, so check the website if it looks cloudy.

Free Weekend at the Overland Park Arboretum
Enjoy free admission Oct. 7-8.
KCMB Tip: The train park and garden. Don’t miss it.

Pony Express PumpkinFest
This outdoor arts festival, Oct. 13-15, kicks off with the lighting of “Great Pumpkin Mountain.” Don’t miss the costume parade, rides, games, storytelling and fall food.
KCMB Tip: Visit the Pony Express National historic Site and learn about Pony Express riders while you’re there.

Lenexa Chili Challenge
The festivities start Friday, Oct. 20 with live music, the hot pepper eating contest and fireworks. The chili challenge begins Saturday morning, Oct. 21, with free samples for the public (while they last) and arts and crafts for kids.
Mom Tip: Kids can show off their culinary skills in the Kids Kornbread Contest

Night of the Living Farmfall guide Kansas City
Old-fashioned lanterns and carved pumpkins will lead costumed trick-or-treaters through pathways of graves and ghouls at Night of the Living Farm at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, 6 – 9 p.m. Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28. Activities include pirate ship races, a fairy princess party, a haunted barn, a flashlight scavenger hunt, hayrides (both scary and non-scary) and a marshmallow roast.
KCMB Tip: Come hungry for bratwurst, hot dogs, apple cider and caramel apples.

Kansas City Kids Marathon
Sponsored by Children’s Mercy and Chick-fil-a, this 1.2 mile run is for kindergarten through eighth grade runners and coincides with the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 21. Registration is available for teams and pre-race training programs are available.

Maple Leaf Festival
Baldwin City’s fall festival began in 1958 and was timed to coincide with the best time to view the changing colors of the maple leaves. This year’s fest, Oct. 21-22, includes a parade, arts and 300 crafts booths, a carnival and the kids zone.
KCMB Tip: Ride the Midland Railroad from Baldwin City to Nowhere, Kansas. 

Apple Picking, Pumpkin Patches and Cider Donuts

Weston Red Barn
Beginning Labor Day Weekend, the farm is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily through the first weekend in November. In addition to picking the perfect pumpkin, make a day of it with tractor or horse-drawn hay rides, pony rides, farm animals and a corn maze.
KCMB Tip: On weekdays before 2 p.m., staff are busy with school tours. Pay the school tour fee or do a self-guided tour if you come during these hours.

fall guide Kansas City

Picking pumpkins at Johnson Farms in Belton, Mo.

Johnson Farms (Belton, Mo.)
With 40 acres of pumpkin patch and 20 acres of corn maze, Johnson Farms is the perfect place for a fall outing. A playground, corn crib maze, pumpkin cannon, pig races, barrel train, a jumping pillow (you have to see it to believe it), and of course, the pumpkin-chomping dinosaur make this one of our favorite farms. Daily admission prices range from $9-$13. Open weekdays and weekends beginning Sept. 23.
KCMB Tip: Weekend pig races begin at 11 a.m. and continue every two hours.

Dunn’s Cider Mill (Belton, Mo.)
Bonus! On your way back from Johnson Farms, stop by Dunn’s for fresh cider donuts and (the real) apple cider.
KCMB Tip: Open limited days and hours, mid-September to mid-November. Check Facebook for changes and supply updates.

Faulkner’s Ranch Pumpkin Farm (Kansas City, Mo.)
Highlights include a pumpkin patch, Wild West playground, hayride, petting farm barn, field maze, duck races, games, train ride, corn cannon and face painting (some attractions weekend only). Open Oct. 1 – Oct. 31.
KCMB Tip: Special themed weekends include grandparents weekend, Sound of Music, Wild Western and Halloween. Plan accordingly.

fall guide Kansas City

Apple picking at Cider Hill Family Orchard.

Cider Hill Family Orchard (Kansas City, Kan.)
An apple wagon will take you to pick from the orchard’s more than 1,300 apple trees. Once you fill your bags, you can pick out a pumpkin or fish at one of the orchard’s five ponds. Cider Hill apples are already available and pumpkin season begins Oct. 1. Closed Mondays.
Mom Tip: Apples are sold by the bag size not the weight so fill that bag up to the top!

Carolyn’s Country Cousins (Liberty, Mo.)
A mining camp, petting zoo and pig races highlight this pumpkin patch that also offers a variety of food options. The farm opens Sept. 16, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.
KCMB Tip: Buy your tickets ahead of time online. For a $2/ticket weekend discount, by five or more tickets at once. Season passes available.

Alldredge Orchard (Platte City, Mo.)
Get your apples and pumpkins in one spot! Alldredge is open Saturdays and Sundays in September and October for apple picking and weekends in October for pumpkins. The orchard also has a playground, store, bakery and cafe and farm animals.
KCMB Tip: Check Facebook before you go to ensure the variety of apples available is one you want.

KC Pumpkin Patch (Olathe, Kan.)
A close patch for those in Johnson County that offers a slide mountain, goat walk, zip lines, jumping pillow, outdoor farm games, gourd gun, mazes, train, schoolhouse and too many to name here. The Hog Wild Cafe has plenty of options for lunch or a snack. Opening Sept. 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon – 6 p.m. Sundays.
KCMB Tip: Check out their web page for special events on weekends including entertainment and live music.

fall guide Kansas City

Sliding at Pumpkin Hollow, Deanna Rose Farmstead.

Pumpkin Hollow
Opening Sept. 29, Deanna Rose is transformed into a pumpkin farm with horse-drawn wagons that take you to a pumpkin patch to pick out your favorite (included in admission). Other special activities include a corn maze, hay pyramid, corn box, hay slide and the Pumpkin Hollow Express barrel train. Open 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekends.
KCMB Tip: Additional admission fee of $8 applies to participate in Pumpkin Hollow activities. Kids under 1 are free.

Powell Pumpkin Patch 
This family-owned patch in Louisburg offers FREE admission! Opening Sept. 30, this 35-acre patch offers free hayrides and a corn maze for an additional fee. Small concession stand with packaged snacks and drinks available. Open daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. No credit cards.
KCMB Tip: A quarter-mile nature trail has a great view of Kansas wildlife and trees.

Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch
Another free admission patch! Schaake’s in Lawrence features pick-your-own-pumpkins, hayrides, a hay maze, the straw romp, farm animals, and a photo area. Opens Sept. 23 daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
KCMB Tip: Snack concessions include buttered popcorn, cookies, donuts and slushes.

Gieringers Orchards
Gieringers is expanded their orchard last year to include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, sunflower fields, hay rides and other fun activities beginning Sept. 22. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
KCMB Tip: Admission is $10, 2 and under free – includes all activities, pumpkins an extra per pound cost.

Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch
This Kearney farm has a pumpkin patch, barrel train, pig races, tricycle track, pumpkin cannon, rubber duck races and more. Opens Sept. 14.
KCMB Tip: Rent a fire pit for $50 (20 people or less) for a private event for your family and friends.

Kerby Farm
Don’t miss the Spook House, horse swings, lasso practice areas along with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm animals and play areas. Opening September 30 in Bonner Springs, weekends only. $7 admission for ages 3 and up.
KCMB Tip: Cash and check only!

 

 



Though we aim to ensure the accuracy of all our postings, we always advise you check online before heading out for the most up-to-date information.

FALL in Love with KC: a fall guide

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3 Responses to FALL in Love with KC: Your 2017 Guide to Festivals, Pumpkins and Apples

  1. George September 22, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    You forgot Hofftoberfest @ Stone Pillar Vineyard & Winery in Olathe!

  2. emg September 28, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    Great list. I LOVE fall, thank you!

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