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Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004 05:42 am

All that’s fall

art1388
Illustration by Lynn Herzberger

Harvest festivals are as old as agriculture itself, and Illinois is a farm state. Of course, folks these days will celebrate just about anything at all -- and fall remains the season for festivals.

Although many here are likely to spend this weekend sweating out the nationally ranked Springfield Mile or munching out at the Ethnic Festival (both at the state fairgrounds), all around the state, the fall-festival season gets under way with the Labor Day weekend. There are opportunities to celebrate everything from popcorn to cheese, fiddlers to threshermen -- and that's just the start of it.

Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, your friends and neighbors around the Land of Lincoln will host more than 300 different festivals, according to the state Department of Tourism (www.enjoyillinois.com). And the state's list doesn't include all the ones below. You obviously can't attend them all, but here are most of the fall festivals within a very generous 100 miles. (You owe us one, Danville and Quincy!)

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 2-6
Pana Tri-County Fair:
Leave it to the ever-inventive people of Pana to host a three-county fair "open to [contestants from] Christian, Shelby, Fayette, and Montgomery counties only." Begun in 1885, the Tri-County promises all the froth and flowers of a regular county fair except three -- er, four -- times the fun. Tri-County Fairgrounds, Pana, 217-562-2514

Sept. 2-6
National Sweet Corn Festival:
For more than 60 years, the Hoopeston children of the corn have been the official national keepers of the cob and in the last 50 have hosted a beauty pageant that's boasted three Miss Americas. Art show, carnival, demolition derbies, parade, and 29 tons of free corn on the cob. Rte. 1 & W. Penn St., Hoopeston, 217-283-7873, www.hoopestonjaycees.com/page5.html

Sept. 3-5
Springfield Ethnic Festival: Ourown mini-United Nationsis in its 26th permutation. Cultural food, fun, eating, and drinking ensue, along with much dancing. Performances in the gazebo all day long. Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, 217-629-7871

Sept. 3-6
Argyle Gas and Engine Show: This is the Argyle Antique Gas Engine Association's 28-year-old festival of antique farming and automobiles. Flea market, farming demonstrations with antique equipment, food. Argyle Lake State Park, Colchester, 309-776-3422

Sept. 3-6
Colchester Labor Day Celebration:
As if the fabled AAGEA show weren't enough, Colchester (a.k.a. Party Central) also hosts this four-day carnival in the park. Big shows every evening. Downtown Colchester, 309-776-4813

Sept. 4 & 5
32nd Annual Amish Country Cheese Festival:
Gotta love the cheese, and you know the Amish in Arthur can curdle milk. Downtown Arthur, 800-72AMISH

Sept. 4 & 5
Illinois Renaissance Faire: Celtic music, demonstrations of jousting, Renaissance music, live theatrical performances. Champaign County Fairgrounds, 902 N. Coler Ave., Urbana, 217-351-3464

Sept. 4 & 5
Ninth Annual Mari Mann Herb Festival/YesterYear Fair:
Decatur puts on the dog for Labor Day weekend with not one but two events. For the elegant, Mari Mann Herb Farms host speakers, food and crafts, garden walks, and high tea. Meanwhile, the historical-society museum hosts the YesterYear Fair with period costumes, food, and activities. HerbFest, 1405 Mari-Mann Lane, Decatur, 217-429-1404; YesterYear, 5580 N. Fork Rd., Decatur, 217-422-4919

Sept. 4 & 5
Illinois Old Time Fiddlers State Fiddle Contest:
Rockome Gardens, as usual, is putting on a show, but there is an admission for this Labor Day music fest. Rockome Gardens, Arcola, 217-268-4106

Sept. 4 & 5
Prairie à la Carte 2004:
Located at the zoolike Wildlife Prairie State Park just outside Peoria. Wildlife Prairie State Park, 3826 N. Taylor Rd., Hanna City, 309-676-0998

Sept. 4-6
Annual Casey Popcorn Festival: The 17th annual celebration of Illinois' official state snack. Car show, carnival, karaoke, and clowns. Don't forget the Illinois Tomahawk Throwers Show and, of course, free popcorn. Fairview Park, E. Monroe St., Casey, 217-232-2676

Sept. 4-26
Apple Fest September Weekends: Ride apple wagons out to the apple orchards to pick plenty of apples and apple-based treats, as well as music and pony rides. Belleville, 800-233-0513

Sept. 4-Oct. 31
Pumpkin Works 2004:
Fifteen-acre pumpkin patch, nine mazes, petting zoo, haunted house, hayrides, bonfires, arts, crafts, snacks, the works. 21788 E. Terre Haute Rd., Paris, 217-275-3327

Sept. 6
Dewitt Community Labor Day Fair:
Parade, cake walk, bingo, bands, and games, games, games! Main Street, Dewitt, 309-928-3691

Sept. 9-11
Atlanta Fall Festival 2004:
Festival features parade, carnival, cake- and pie-baking contests, civic-group displays, catfish, bingo, and barbecue. Throughout Atlanta, 217-648-2145

Sept. 9-11
Mt. Pulaski Fall Festival 2004:
A fall festival featuring the prerequisite parade, pork dinners, and carnival, as well as a trivia contest, kiddie beauty contests, and soapbox derby. Downtown Mount Pulaski, 217-792-5698

Sept. 10-12
Golden Fall Festival:
Drive your tractor on over to Golden (near Quincy) for this annual pulling festival. Parade, beauty contests, talent show, teen dance. Golden, 217-696-2722

Sept. 10-12
Greene County Days:
The whole of Greene County takes part in the annual yard-sales and flea-markets department. Tours of all sorts, demonstrations, crafts, and the ubiquitous food and music. White Hall, 217-374-6224

Sept. 10-12
Havana's Oktoberfest: Perhaps someone was calendarless when the event was first conceived. Havana's annual "Oktoberfest" this year features the traditional 5K run and car shows, music, food, and arts and crafts, all in downtown Havana. 888-236-8406

Sept. 10-12
Indian Pow Wow/Missouri Atlatl Association Contest: No, atlatl is not a typo, it is an ancient device for slinging spears, and the current world record is 846 feet! Perhaps you'll get to see a new record or be impaled in the attempt. What fun! Also that weekend, a full-scale multiday pow-wow, featuring dance and drum circles, tribal traders, music, competitions, and refreshments. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, 30 Ramey St., Collinsville, 800-289-2388 (pow-wow), 314-822-2514 (atlatl competition)

Sept. 10-12
Marigold Festival 2004:
Honoring U.S. Sen. Everett M. Dirksen's fabled attempt to make the marigold the national flower, this downtown Pekin event has everything from fine arts show to boxing matches. Pekin, 309-346-2104

Sept. 10-12
Taste of Country Fair, Festival & Route 66 Reunion: Talk about your motormania: a Route 66 reunion and a competition for Cushman Motor Scooter enthusiasts. It's no wonder the 18-year-old event needs three parades. Chili cookoff, art show, food, crafts, and plenty of carbon monoxide. City Park and downtown Lexington, 309-365-7200

Sept. 11
Brinkerhoff Fall Fair:
Annual arts-and-crafts fair to finance restoration of the Brinkerhoff Home. Concessions and vendors. 1500 N. 5th St., Springfield, 217-529-8227

Sept. 11
Porky Days and Fall Craft Market:
Craft booths, flea market vendors, and food, including Jacksonville's famous "porky burgers." Central Park Plaza, Jacksonville, 217-245-9917

Sept. 11
Midwest Dachsie Fest:
On a date that obviously inspires thoughts of wiener dogs, from across the region come mutts and owners to this ninth annual picnic to confab over such pressing dachshund issues as the indignities of being forced to wear cute costumes and the fact that no promotions of stud services will be allowed on premises. 10906 Kickapoo Park Rd., Oakwood, 217-359-7148

Sept. 11 & 12
Springfield Air Rendezvous Extreme Air Show:
Two days of aviation shows. Capital Airport, 217-789-4400

Sept. 11 & 12
Edwards Place Fine Crafts Fair: The Springfield Art Association's 16th annual gathering of more than 70 artisans from across the country at historic Edwards Place Mansion. 700 N. 4th St., Springfield, 217-523-2631

Sept. 15-18
38th Annual Morton Pumpkin Festival:
"Pumpkins under the Sea" is this year's theme for the 38th Annual Morton Pumpkin Festival. Carnival, crafts, races and parade in the "Pumpkin Capital of the World." Morton, 888-765-6588

Sept. 15-19
Alton Exposition:
Dockside festivities in this fabled river port include various live entertainments such as a carnival and bingo, food, vendors, and arts and crafts. Alton riverfront, 618-463-3526

Sept. 17 & 18
Collinsville Italian Festival:
Talk about living la dolce vita -- at least seven bands; grape-stomping, winemaking, and bocce contests; children's area, remote-control derby, 5K run, pageants, parades, and food and drink, not to mention the moonlit Paisan Pedal Push. Mamma mia!Downtown Collinsville, 800-289-2388

Sept. 17 & 18
Schuetzenfest 2004: Translated, Schuetzenfest means a "marksmanship festival," and there is a target-shoot competition, but the 39-year-old event really celebrates all things German, including the best wursts. Effingham County Fair Grounds, Altamont, 618-483-5532

Sept. 17-19
Dwight Harvest Days:
Last year this event featured Gilley's Dancing Greyhounds and a basset-waddle competition, so you never know what might happen. Parade, carnival, flea market, arts and crafts, and band competitions. Downtown Dwight, 815-584-2247, 815-584-1901

Sept. 17-19
Little Vermilion Fall Festiva
l: For this 30th annual river-splash party, expect the usual entertainments -- arts, car show, amateur show, and live bands -- but also an all night X-Box video-game tournament played out on a 18-by-24-foot screen and a demonstration by the Illinois Tomahawk Throwers Association on how to part hair at 20 paces. Ellsworth Park, 100 Ellsworth, Danville, 217-431-2272

Sept. 17-19
Mid-America Corvette Funfest 2004:
Motorhead alert! Mid-America Motorworks hosts this annual 'Vette event. Tech sessions and awards, plenty of food and lots of vendors, but mostly Corvettes and the people who love them. North Route 45, Effingham, 800-500-8388

Sept. 17-19
56th Annual Okawville Fair & Wheat Festival
: Renowned for their mineral springs and baths, the fine folk of Okawville also love wheat and celebrate it with a German-style festival featuring lots of beer and brats. Okawville Community Club Park, Okawville, 618-243-5694

Sept. 17-19
Tower Hill Fall Festival:
Parade, demo derby, tractor pull, and entertainment. 410 Custer St., Tower Hill, 217-783-2409

Sept. 17-19
Peoria Oktoberfest 2004:
More calendar-impaired bratwurst-flogging. Cultural exhibits, children's activities, German music, food, and beverages (if you know what I mean). 200 N.E. Water St., Peoria, 309-689-3019

Sept. 18
Al Sears Jazz Festival:
Honoring the Macomb native and legendary Duke Ellington sax man, this up-and-coming daylong Western Illinois University concert series' third offering includes lectures and tributes in addition to performances by jazz soloists, combos, and full-scale bands. Food and drink. Chandler Park, Macomb, 309-833-1315

Sept. 18
10th Annual Discover Fairview Heights Day:
More than 100 local business and organizations strut their stuff with tabletop exhibits, in addition to baseball, softball, and soccer matches. Longacre Park, Fairview Heights, 618-397-3127

Sept. 18
Chatham Traction Centennial and Loco-Motion Car Cruise-In: Chatham Railroad Museum marks 100 years since the first electric railway came through Chatham with special displays. Also, classic and custom cars on display. Railroad Museum, Chatham, 217-483-7792

Sept. 18 & 19
34th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2004:
Get your lumberjack on as axes swing and chips fly: firewood-splitting, logrolling, felling, cross-cut sawing, rail-splitting and tossing, even tomahawk-throwing, it's all here for you. There are also goat-milking, corn-shucking, and water-boiling contests. Craft show, talent show, flea market, antique tractor and bicycle displays, Civil War band. Logan County Fairgrounds, Lincoln, 217-732-4795

Sept. 18 & 19
Hamilton Primary School Festival: In 1836 the Hamilton Primary School became the first free integrated school in the nation. Famous for its homemade-pie assortment, but fish and barbecue are also sold. Event also features children's games, crafts, and car shows. Otterville, 618-498-6673

Sept. 18 & 19
Macoupin County Historical Society Fall Festival:
Held on the museum grounds of the Macoupin County Historical Society, this antiques-oriented event features antique-farming demonstrations such as threshing, sorghum-making, and blacksmithing, with such offerings of home-style cooking as ham and beans, cornbread, and homemade pies. 920 W. Breckenridge St., Carlinville, 217-854-8916

Sept. 18 & 19
Monticello's Railroad Days:
Rail enthusiasts gather at the former Illinois Central and Illinois Terminal trackage for train rides and rail-museum events. Food tent. 993 Iron Horse Pl., Monticello, 800-952-3396

Sept. 18 & 19
Arts in Central Park: An annual art fair held in Decatur's Central Park, featuring more than 70 artists. 217-423-3189

Sept. 18-21
Western Illinois Bluegrass Day:
The Western Illinois Bluegrass Music Association loves Hillsboro, and Hillsboro loves the music festival, and why not? Three days of classical bluegrass, beautiful campground setting, and covered stage, in addition to all the attractions of Hillsboro. Last year brought bands from three different states. Weenie roast Thursday night. Sherwood Forest Campgrounds, 920 City Lake Rd., Hillsboro, 217-532-5211

Sept. 24
10th Annual Grape Soirée:
Break out the dribble cup as connoisseurs get plastered on fine wines from around the world, ostensibly to benefit the Easter Seals Foundation. After the tasting, wine distributors let the vino flow to accompany gourmet dinners and two art auctions. Interstate Center, 2301 W. Market St., Bloomington, 309-663-8275

Sept. 24-25
The Junior League Next to New Sale:
Free major annual fund-raiser for the Springfield Junior League. Hours: 3-9 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. There's a $5 admission for the popular Early Bird Sale at 3-5 p.m. Friday. Illinois Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, 217-793-9179

Sept. 24-26
36th Annual Horse Farming Festival:
Just one part of this busy weekend for the Amish, with a farmers' market and the annual Central Illinois Draft Horse Market going on in Arthur the same weekend. Horse-farming demos, corn-shucking competition, model-railroad show, and, of course, cheese. Rockome Gardens, 125 N. Country Rd. 425 East, Arcola, 217-268-4106

Sept. 24-26
International Route 66 Mother Road Festival:
The capital city gets in on the festival action as Route 66-ers launch their third edition of this "world" event. Two antique-car parades; three nights of downtown street action in a 20-block area; state-fairgrounds dance party; all-day outdoor concerts; "66 celebs" such as Marty Milner and Michael Wallis; food, drink, and assorted vendors; chili cook-off; the world's largest sock hop; car competitions; and enough Route 66 memorabilia to jam traffic. All over Springfield, 217-789-2360

Sept. 24-26
35th Annual Praireland Heritage Museum Fall Festival and Steam Show: Threshing demonstrations, tractors pulls, antique farm equipment, flea and craft vendors, train rides and food. 1005 W. Michigan, Jacksonville, 800-593-5678

Sept. 24-26
12th Annual Threshermen's Bluegrass Festival:
Back to the fabled Pontiac threshermen, this time to see dozens of musicians from all over Midwest spread on the jams. Bring your lawn chairs for the all-day indoor concerts featuring old-style fare: ham and beans, chili and cornbread. Threshermen's Reunion Park, Rte. 23, Pontiac, 800-835-2055

Sept. 25
6th Annual Coal Country Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival:
Serving nine communities across Macoupin County, the Coal Country Chamber brings back its classic car and tractor show and backs it up with a truckload of additional fun: washers tournament, pizza-eating contest, fire-safety house, cow-milking contest, Memories of Elvis exhibit, exotic animals with reptile display, business expo with sample Illinois products, assorted food and drink vendors with ethnic food court, live music, and craft fair. Benld City Park, Benld, 217-835-4742

Sept. 25
Gregg Toland Day Festival:
A film festival and more honoring the 100th B-day of Charleston native and two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane, Wuthering Heights). The "film festival" part includes showings of Toland's award-winners at the historic Will Rogers Theater, a symposium at Eastern Illinois University on his work, and the unveiling of an exhibit at the Cole County Museum. The "more" includes a fine-arts and crafts show; children's art activities, live music, and walking tours. The wearing of 1930s period clothing is encouraged. Charleston Square, Charleston, 217-549-2876

Sept. 25 & 26
Apple 'n' Pork Festival:
Two great tastes that go great together are displayed in vast array and accompanied by museum and city tours, food, crafts, antiques and entertainment, including a flea market that saw 100,000 visitors last year. Partly held on the grounds of the C.H. Moore Homestead, with transportation available to various sites around Clinton. 217-935-0553

Sept. 25 & 26
Beardstown Fall Fun Festival:
This year touting a C&W-entertainer lineup featuring five different acts doing six concerts, the event also includes an ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education) motorcycle show, fun run, pancake breakfast, car show, crafts, and pageants. Art Zeek Park, downtown Beardstown. 217-323-3271

Sept. 25 & 26
Coal Creek Festival:
Another period piece, this time in Pana. Re-enactors and enthusiasts turn back time with old-time music, log-cabin tours, demonstrators, crafters, traders, and food. Tri-County Fairgrounds, Pana, 217-562-4716

Sept. 25 & 26
25th Annual Heritage Days on the Goshen Trail:
Focusing on the period 1700-1840, casual re-enactors, genuine mountain men, antique craftsmen, Indian traders, and history freaks gather to re-create an 1840s-style festival featuring military men and sutlers, farmers and traders, Indians and entertainers, and a time-machine-grade experience for festival visitors. Lewis & Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Rd. (Rte. 67), Godfrey, 800-258-6645

Sept. 25 & 26
Peoria Art Guild 42nd Annual Fine Art Fair:
Ranked one of the nation's top art fairs, this fair features 150 artists presenting their work as jazz bands play and a children's art festival rages in the background. 200 N.E. Water St., Peoria, 309-637-2787

Sept. 26-Oct. 10
Oconee Fall Festival: Head just south of Pana for even more family-festival fun. With hayrides, straw maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, crafts, and bake sale. Sacred Heart Church, R.R. 1, Oconee, 217-539-4527

OCTOBER

Oct. 1 & 2
Flannel Fest: No, not a Seattle-style grunge-revival (though there are live bands), Flannel Fest is actually a fall-themed festival celebrating outdoorsy activities such as lumberjacking and tomahawk-throwing. Fall displays and giveaways, craft and food, pony rides. Peterson Park, 500 Broadway, Mattoon, 800-500-6286

Oct. 2
Grand Village of the Kickapoo Sixth Annual Buffalo Shoot:
Hold it, PETA activists -- it's a photography shoot. In 1998 the Indian settlement of the Grand Village of the Kickapoo was revived after the tribe had been banished from its homeland for 166 years. Since then Bill and Doris Emmett have worked to return the former farmland to its Kickapoo splendor, and events such as this and the mid-June Indian Pow-Wow pay for it. Grand Village of the Kickapoo Park, P.O. Box 85, north of Leroy, 309-962-2700

Oct. 2
Greenville's Apple Day:
Green apple day? You betcha, with its very own mom's apple pie contest and NASCAR Remote Control Car Races, this celebration of the fabulous fall fruit also includes live music, pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, and farmer's market. Downtown Greenville, 618-664-9272

Oct. 2
Godfrey's Fall Corn Festival:
Same Saturday, another one-day harvest festival, this time in good ol' Godfrey, which means a chance to lose your way in the famous "Great Godfrey Maze." Corn, maze, get it? Glazebrook Park, 1401 Stamper Lane, Godfrey, 618-466-1483

Oct. 2
Heath Harvest Festival:
Everybody loves the humble Heath Bar and looks forward to walking through the crisp autumn fields for the annual harvest -- or something like that. Robinson is indeed the home of the Heath Bar, and this annual event includes a hospital-sponsored fun run, street fair and parade, oldies dance, chili supper, and, of course, a recipe contest involving a certain candy bar. Yum. Crawford County Square, Robinson, 800-445-7006

Oct. 2 & 3
Harvest Frolic & 1845 Agricultural Fair:
The 1840s home of Abe's dad and stepmom is now the grounds of the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site and still very much a working farm. This annual event is your chance to help bring in the harvest. Evenings offer hayrides, barn dances, and candlelit tours of the grounds. Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, 400 S. Lincoln Highway Rd., Lerna, 217-345-1845

Oct. 2 & 3
Antique-Biplane Fly-In:
Antique-biplane and other aerial enthusiasts flock from as far away Texas and California for this annual gathering to talk shop, trade parts, offer airplane rides, and generally dumbfound the ground-bound. Pancake-and-sausage breakfast. Shelby County Airport, West Rt. 16, Shelbyville, 217-774-4111

Oct. 2 & 3
Shake, Rattle and Roll '50s and '60s Festival:
Features Elvis Himselvis, the Britles, contests, food, crafts, kid games, activities. Jacksonsville, 800-593-5678

Oct. 2, 3, 9 &10
2004 Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive Fall Festival: For 37 years, the fine folks of Fulton County have seen more than 100,000 tourists wind their way through approximately 140 miles of scenic byways, tracing the course of the fabled Spoon River. Considered central Illinois' biggest event this side of the Illinois State Fair, the drive features craft and food displays, musical acts, clothing contests, points of historical interest, and vendors and exhibitors of every stripe. Canton, 309-647-8980, www.spoonriverdrive.org

Oct. 3
Kaskaskia River Fall Festival:
Finish off your festival weekend in nearby New Athens at this family-oriented festival with crafts, food, pumpkin-painting contest, and lots of other activities. Okaw Valley Park, New Athens, 618-475-3623

Oct. 8 & 9
Oktoberfest 2004:
Your best local excuse to don Lederhosen and publicly polka with your Frau, the Springfield German-American Club offers a wide variety of German food and beverages, along with traditional games and dancing. Illinois State Fairgrounds Expo Building, Springfield, 217-793-0139

Oct. 8 & 9
Scarecrow Daze!
If you only had a brain, you'd make and take your very own scarecrow and even enter it in a scarecrow beauty contest at this multidimensional event that also includes a car show, tractor pull, parade, gospel singers, bingo, various vendors, and three different lumberjack shows. N. Eighth St., Shelbyville, 217-774-2221

Oct. 8-10
Scarecrow 'n' Pumpkin Fest:
If that's not enough scarecrowing for you, in the same weekend you can scoot up to Farmer City for that town's second annual festival, this year featuring a Renaissance festival. Scarecrow-couture and pumpkin-carving contests, carnival, fine-art show, petting zoo, pony rides, food and beverage, and even pumpkin-heaving. Downtown Farmer City, 309-928-9696

Oct. 9
Cantrall Burgoo:
Burgoo, chilli, hot dogs, barbecue, soda, beer -- who can ask for more? Oh wait, there's a children's parade, magic show, puppet show, cake walk, bake sale, book sale . . . whew! Cantrall Park, Cantrall 217-726-6026.

Oct. 9 & 10
Old Settlers Days on the Illinois River:
Located on the thin sliver of land between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Calhoun County is a wild, rugged land, and its fall re-enactment festival embraces its historic past. Mountain-man activities, black-powder shooting, a primitive-shelter village, numerous other historical demonstrations and artisans, food, fiddling contest, carriage rides, and other children's activities. Kampsville, 618-465-2114

Oct. 9 & 10
Indian Summer Festival:Pumpkin decorating, caramel apples, Celtic and bluegrass music, arts and crafts vendors, chili, storytelling, and lots of other great stuff! Lincoln Memorial Garden, Springfield, 217-529-1111

Oct. 10 & 11
Chillifest:
More than just a celebration of meat and spice, this annual competition also offers a carnival, tae-kwon-do exhibition, jazz music, talent show, pompom squads and cheerleading performances, karaoke, arts and crafts, pony rides, and of course, Little Miss and Mr. Chilli Pepper pageants. Downtown Square, Taylorville, 217-824-6689

Oct. 15-17
Pike County Fall Color Drive:
Now in its 11th year, this scenic drive/countywide garage sale encompasses 17 different towns and follows no specific path: Get to Pike County and start driving around; you're bound to find something. 217-285-2971

Oct. 16 & 17
Schlosser's Country Gardens Fall Garden Festival: Free gardening seminars, crafts, raffles, scavenger hunts, a kid's zone, and more. From 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Schlosser's, 4133 Old Jacksonville Rd., Springfield, 217-546-6116

Oct. 16 & 17
2004 Punkin' Chuckin' Contest: Even more pumpkin fun in Morton! Besides pumpkin chucking, enjoy food, hayrack rides, a corn maze, pumpkin-picking, crafts, live music and children's games. Allentown and Springfield roads, Morton, 888-765-6588

Oct. 16 & 17
Meredosia Riverfest: Demonstrations of river skills, including fish net knitting, fish basket making, flintknapping, hide/skin preserving, among others. Sponsored by the Meredosia River Museum and Illinois Arts Council. Meredosia, 217-584-1356

Oct. 16 & 17
Robert Allerton Park Fall Festival:
Let's face it: With its acres of exquisitely manicured gardens and astonishing statuary, there is no place on earth like Robert Allerton Park, so you could hold a fingernail-paring there and it'd be worth going to. Luckily for us, the park's annual fall festival offers a bit more than that. Robert Allerton Park, Monticello, 217-762-2721 or 217-244-1035

Oct. 16, 17, 23 & 24
Seventh Annual Art East/Edwardsville-Alton Studio Tour:
With 160 artists from two different towns, virtually every medium will be represented. Each weekend offers a self-guided tour of studios and galleries along with listings of other area attractions. First weekend in Alton, second in Edwardsville. 618-656-3348

Oct. 23
Harvest of Talents for World Hunger:
This 21-year-old event benefits the International Disaster Emergency Service and is the culmination of the year's fundraising by members of Lincoln Christian Church. Festivities kick off with a breakfast and lunch and are followed by an afternoon auction of crafts made by the people in the congregation. A truckload of donated potatoes is also sold to raise money. Lincoln Christian College, 100 Campus U Dr., Lincoln, 217-732-7618

Oct. 23 & 24
Gathering of the Waters Rendezvous:
Another waterfront re-enactment, this time reaching back to the time of the French fur traders (pre-1840). In addition to teepee villages, old-style food and crafts, traders and demonstrators of all sorts, and mountain-man party animals, you can enjoy a 32-mile overnight canoe trip at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Grafton riverfront, 618-372-3998

Oct. 24
27 th Annual International Festival:
Food from around the globe and performances by international students at UIS. PAC Studio Theater, UIS campus, Springfield, 217-206-6678

Oct. 24
Horseshoe Cook-off: Springfield area restaurants will dish out their special recipes and prizes will be given for the best horseshoe. Washington Park Pavilion, Springfield, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Oct. 29
Creepy Crawlin' Climbing Bash: Upper Limits Rock Gym and Pro Shop offers half-lit silos and trick-or-treat climbing with plenty of staff on hand to help you learn the ropes -- literally. 1304 W. Washington St., Bloomington, 309-829-8255

Oct. 31
Garlic Fest: Very scary! Laughing in the face of that scariest of terrors, halitosis, the brave souls of Kincaid host this bacchanal honoring the bulbed wonder. American Legion Hall, Kincaid, 217-237-2061

NOVEMBER

Nov. 5-7
Vachel Lindsay's 125th Anniversary Celebration:
Birthday celebration for Springfield's favorite poet. Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site, Springfield, 217-524-0901

Nov. 5-7
19th Annual Arts and Crafts Adventure:
This annual art show is sanctioned by the American Society of Artists and is on the Midwest Art Show Directory list of prestigious shows to attend. Alton Square, Homer Adams Pkwy. at Alby, Alton, 847-991-4748

Nov. 6 & 7
17th Annual Persimmon Party: Thrill to many of the 137 known persimmon recipes as the fine folk of Taylorville stretch their culinary imaginations in an attempt to fund upkeep on their town's museums and expand the bounds of gustatory experience. Relish free samples of persimmon-o-licious cookies, cakes, candies, pies, puddings, breads, and ice creams, or make a purchase from an even wider variety of homemade baked goods. Rtes. 48 and 29, Taylorville, 217-824-6922

Nov. 6-21
Chrysanthemum Festival:Hundreds of mums on display. Washington Park Botanical Garden, Springfield, 217-753-6228

Nov. 11-Jan. 5
Holiday Treasures Exhibition and Sale: Hosted by the McLean County Arts Center, this fine-arts and crafts show including glass, painting, sculpture, and jewelry, with a gala opening night featuring live music, refreshments, and plenty of bubbly. 601 N. East St., Bloomington, 309-829-0011

Nov. 12-14
Greater Downstate Indoor Bluegrass Music Festival: What happens when you combine a dozen national touring bands with the sumptuous facilities of the gorgeous Crowne Plaza Hotel? You get the Midwest's largest indoor bluegrass music festival -- and right here in town! Bust out the blue suede clogging shoes. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, 217-243-3159

Nov. 13-Dec. 1
East Peoria's Festival of Lights: Doing its darnedest to rival the fabled Thailand Festival of Lights, this massive annual event (nicknamed FOLEPI) is so big that it even has its own postage stamp. This year, FOLEPI will work its way through 13 different attractions as the month wears on, including the 2004 Queen Pageant, an enchanted forest of animated light displays, gala ball, golf tournament, lunch with Santa, and a presentation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.Dazzling. All over East Peoria, 800-365-3743

Nov. 20-21
Christmas on Vinegar Hill 2004:
Everyone's in on the fun: homes, schools, churches, and businesses, with 38 different food and craft vendors of all sorts scattered about town selling everything from G.I. Joes to snowmen. Happy holidays! Throughout Mount Pulaski, 217-792-5698

Nov. 21
Holiday Craft Fair 2004:
In its sixth year, this event gathers artists from Effingham, Jasper, and Clay counties, in addition to merchants such as various booksellers and the Pampered Chef to display holiday crafts and much on concessions. Door prizes and a variety of crafts by 30 artists ranging from painted-light-bulb ornaments to soy candles. Dieterich High School Gym, 108 W. Church, Dieterich, 217-739-2322

Nov. 26 & 27
IHSA State Football Championships:
Held in fabulous Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois grounds, this annual competition is for many the essence of a fall festival: pigskins and hot dogs. U. of I. Memorial Stadium, 1402 S. First St., Champaign, 217-333-1400

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