“Fall” in love with Kansas this season

“Fall” in love with Kansas this season

Fall is a favorite season in Kansas. The temperatures cool, the prairies take on new colors and smells and events offer a little bit of something for everyone. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism invites travelers to discover the season of harvest, hot cider and hometown festivals in the heart of Kansas!

There’s nowhere better to celebrate Kansas agriculture than Fort Scott this fall!  One of the area’s highlights this season is the 55th annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta. The festivities kick off on Friday evening, September 27th, when floats, tractors, antique cars and trucks, marching bands and horseback riders delight the parade-goers on Fort Scott’s historic Main Street. The fun continues all weekend at the Bourbon County fairgrounds. Find beautiful things at the flea market, quilt show or arts and crafts booths. Learn about threshing, straw baling, corn husking, and shelling at the live exhibits. Bring the little ones to marvel at the tractors and other farm machinery. Catch some local talent or a Sunday service at the entertainment tent. And don’t miss out on the free bean feed — nothing says autumn like beans and ham and a slice of golden cornbread.

Fall is a bountiful and beautiful time at the farms along the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway near Great Bend. The 80-acre Heartland Farm introduces visitors to the peace of country life and ways to preserve and celebrate nature’s gifts. Fall events at the farm include a workshop on “putting up” garden produce and includes a fresh, organic lunch from the farm’s garden. Open Farm Day in October is a treat with food, tours, and a visit with the alpacas (travel tip: the farm’s gift shop is a treasure). In November, the farm offers a retreat day to remember lost loved ones, eat together & enjoy the quiet. December brings an Advent wreath-making workshop with time for a walk through the labyrinth and lunch. Visitors can always extend the farm’s peace with an overnight stay complete with meals and massage. Plan a fall retreat to Heartland Farm at www.KansasByway.com or www.VisitGreatBend.com.

Visit just one, or as many as 10 participating farms during the Miami County Fall Farm Tour, held October 20th & 21st.  Often cited as the “Napa Valley of Kansas,” Paola and Miami County are located just 30 minutes south of Kansas City. With four operating wineries and thousands of acres of vineyards, the Paola area showcases the best in traditional and contemporary agriculture. Alpacas, emus, goats and pigs are just a few of the products coming out of area farms.

Begin a tour at the center of it all:  the Louisburg Cider Mill, rated as one of the top 10 cider mills in America by MSNBC. Then explore the back roads of Miami County, from the 4D Acres Emu Farm to Beverlin’s Little Piece of Paradise.  Each year, this free tour welcomes more than 1,000 people to visit farms, sample foods, and learn more about the county’s agricultural roots and vision for the future.

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On October 4-5, Winfield will host the second annual Agri-Smart Workshop: Crops, Shops and Tour Stops.  On the first day, attendees can learn more about starting or expanding an agri-tourism business through informative sessions focused on social media for ag-businesses, product marketing, bed and breakfasts, how to price a product and destination businesses.

The event will be held at the beautiful Barns at Timber Creek bed and breakfast in the rolling hills of South Central Kansas.  On Thursday evening, attendees will enjoy famous Kansas steaks and wine while listening to local entertainers perform.

Friday will feature a farm tour of the nearby Walter’s Pumpkin Patch.  The group will then travel to the historic Beaumont hotel for lunch and visit the highly successful “Ride the Flint Hills” agri-tourism business.  The drive back will include a tour of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills.

The 19th Annual McPherson Scottish Festival takes place September 21-23. Celtic musical performances, Irish dancing and Highland athletic competitions with stone and hammer throws and a telephone pole-like caber toss are all part of the fun.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of Milford Lake and the Flint Hills and at the same time compete in some adventure racing including navigation, canoeing, trekking, mountain biking, ropes and other challenges. Pome on the Range Orchards & Winery offers a great day of family fun at the apple orchard just minutes from Ottawa. There’s even a Victorian Masquerade Ball on October 27 at the Emma Chase Music Hall in Cottonwood Falls.