Festivals, Fall and Fireside Fun

Warm sweaters. Evening breezes. Crackling fires. They all welcome the season of change in southwest Illinois.

Home to fall festivals, sprawling orchards, and some of the most beautiful autumn drives in the country, bring the family to see how the Great Rivers & Routes rings in the harvest!

Harvest Festivities

Fall in southwest Illinois is unlike any other- find succulent fresh apples and harvest fun at the Pere Marquette Lodge Apple Festival, Golden Apple Festival at Liberty Apple Orchard in Edwardsville, or St. Ambrose Applefest in Godfrey. Join in on the Godfrey Fall Corn Festival for maize-themed events or have a glass of wine in an autumn vineyard at Grafton Winery Harvest Fest or the Wild Pickins Fall Festival.

Visitors seeking vendor shopping, harvest activities, and good food can go to the Macoupin County Historical Society’s Carlinville Fall Festival, explore historic Elsah at the Village of Elsah Fall Festival or shop from local artisans at the Maryville Fall Craft Fair.

Travelers should also keep their eyes open for roadside farm stands like Odelehr’s Market, Toppmeyer’s Orchard, or Blueridge Farms, and consider a day of U-Pick farm fun at places like Grafton Eckert’s, Liberty Apple Orchard, Broom Orchard, Krueger’s Orchard, or Kern Family Orchard.

Relleke Pumpkin Farm

Pumpkin Patches and Bonfire Nights

Looking for that perfectly round pumpkin to carve into a Jack-O’-Lantern? Want to spend the day in the autumn breeze outdoors? Come to Willoughby Heritage Farms Fall Day for food, fun, and a petting zoo experience or bring the kids to the Rinkel Pumpkin Farm Fall Vendor Fair or Relleke Farm Fair & Pumpkin Festival- all three farms host local vendors, have activities, and offer seasonal produce!

Pere Marquette Riding Stables offers Bonfire Nights through the autumn months on their property with hay and carriage rides, a roaring fire, hot drinks, and live music. The Nature Institute is hosting a Sunset and S’mores Night complete with a twilight hike and sweet marshmallows by the campfire!

Leaf peepers can venture on a Fall Color Cruise aboard the Hakuna Matata tour boat to see glorious displays of fall foliage along the river bluffs or take a drive through Pere Marquette Park to view sweeping vistas of orange, yellow, red, and even purple hued trees dressed in their best.

A-maze-ing Labyrinths

Want to truly get lost in the moment? Visit the Great Godfrey Hemp Maze and take part in kid’s activities, a themed maze, train rides, and more, or try to find a way through the Demange Corn Maze in St. Jacob- one of the largest mazes of its kind in the region- and grab some sunflowers or pumpkins while you’re there!

Cool Autumn Fun

Fall doesn’t just entail autumn-related events! Families can also take part in festivals like Italian Fest in Collinsville, see classic cars at Edwardsville’s Kicks on 66 Car Show and Cruise-In, get their groove on at the Mississippi Earthtones Festival in Alton, appreciate art at the Edwardsville Art Fair, and enjoy opera in the great outdoors with Opera Edwardsville!

For more fall events, see our Events page!

About the Author

Kayla Howland

Kayla Howland is a local writer and artist who lives in Alton, IL with her Cairn Terrier, Ripley. She enjoys fiction and non-fiction writing, graphic design, painting, drawing and photography. Kayla is a graduate of Southwestern High School and Lewis & Clark Community College. She has worked doing freelance graphic design, photography and commissioned paintings since 2012.