Get ready for the area's fall festivals

Published: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 5:32 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 11:54 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Alexa Carlos, 3, of Batavia, trick or treats with her mom, Nancy, at stores in downtown Batavia last year during Batfest.

The weather is a bit cooler and leaves are starting to change colors, but fall is still a great time to be outdoors in the area as numerous festivals and events are on the calendar to explore.

From annual, popular events such as St. Charles’ Scarecrow Fest to Batavia’s Batfest, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

The Kane County Chronicle takes a look at many of this year’s fall festivals and events.

Pumpkin Daze
Weekends now through Oct. 30, Marmion Farms, 850 Butterfield Road, Aurora

The annual fundraiser for the Monks of Marmion Academy, Pumpkin Daze offers unlimited access to many of the activities planned. The farm is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays – with the last maze run beginning at 9 p.m – and noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Admission is $8 per person with any kids younger than 2 years old free with a paid parent admission. After 7 p.m., it will cost an additional $5 per person to partake in the corn maze. The farm offers group rates for parties of 10 or more and a senior price of $3 for those age 60 years and older.

The farm does not weigh pumpkins but rather sells them by size: small, medium or large. A small pumpkin is $5, a medium is $7 and a large is $9. Apples by the bag will also be for sale in addition to more items in the store at the farm. With the paid admission price, everyone will get unlimited access – except for the corn maze after 7 p.m. – to these events and more.

For more information, visit www.abbeyfarms.org.

Country Folk Art Festival
Friday-Sunday, Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles

This specialized show is limited to folk art and reproductions of antiques and traditional American crafts. Some Halloween and Christmas items will be available.

Event opens at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until 10 p.m. It will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Parking is $8 on Friday, $6 on Saturday and $4 on Sunday.

For more information, visit www.artoftheheartlandinc.com, call 815-772-3279 or email rareed57@yahoo.com.

Family Fun Day
Sunday, Pioneer Sholes School in the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, off Dean Street, north of Main Street and west of Randall Road, St. Charles

The annual Family Fun Day at Pioneer Sholes School, a restored one-room schoolhouse, is set for 12:30-4 p.m. Sunday.

There will be family activities including a storyteller, tours of the school and old-fashioned spelling bees.

Outdoor games will take place in the schoolyard, including marbles, tops, drop the clothespin in the bottle or the fishpond. Children are invited to visit the craft table to make a craft similar to one made by children at the 1872 school.

Finish the day with refreshments and visit with students who attended the one-room schoolhouse before it closed in 1947.

Pioneer Sholes School is located in the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve just off Dean Street, north of Route 64 and west of Randall Road, in St. Charles. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. Call 630-762-9746 for more information.

Manhattan Short Film Festival
Sunday and Wednesday, Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles

Ten short films representing each continent will be screened and voted by attendees during the two-hour festival. All films are rated PG.

The screenings begin at 5 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday with doors opening one hour before the screenings. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and are only available at the box office the day of the show.

For more information visit www.oshows.com.

Pumpkin Weekends
Saturdays and Sundays in October plus Oct. 10., Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora

Festive decorations will fill Blackberry Farm to celebrate the pumpkin season from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each weekend day in October, plus Columbus Day, Oct. 10.

Visit the pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin to take home. Stations will be set up for everyone to decorate their pumpkins. There will also be carousel, train and hay rides available throughout the day.

Admission is $4. A car show will take place Oct. 2, additional pumpkin activities Oct. 8, scarecrow displays Oct. 15-16 and a trick-or-treat walk from 10-11 a.m. Oct. 22 and 29.

Visit www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org for more information.

Apple Fall Fest
Oct. 2, Durant House Museum, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W370 Dean St., St. Charles

From 1-4 p.m., visitors can see guides in costume use a pioneer apple drying basket and sample items from the 19th century, including apple ciders.

Admission is $2 per person and $1 for children.

For more information, visit www.ppfv.org.

Harvest Days
Oct. 2, Garfield Farm Museum, 3N016 Garfield Road, Campton Hills

Garfield Farm Museum’s Harvest Days will celebrate its 30th year of portraying the settlement history of northern Illinois from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 2.

Nearly all of the activities at Harvest Days directly connect to a past era in America.

Harvest Days provide children and adults alike with the opportunity to learn about the realities of rural life.

Visitors can watch an archaeological excavation near the site of the original log cabin built in 1835 and help screen the soil for evidence of the Culbertson and Garfield families that once lived there.

Tours of the 1846 brick inn will be ongoing. Animal viewing will include rare breeds of chickens, turkeys, sheep, hogs and oxen. There will also be tours of the museum’s prairie.

A bake sale will be held and refreshments offered in the museum’s visitor’s center, the Atwell Burr House. Donations for Harvest Days are $6 for adults and $3 for children younger than 12 years old.

“If you haven’t seen Garfield Farm, you have not experienced what a full effort to portray history is like,” said Jerome Johnson, executive director of Garfield Farm. “You haven’t seen anything comparable. You can’t copy something that is real.”

For information, call 630-584-8485, email info@garfieldfarm.org or visit www.garfieldfarm.org.

Scarecrow Fest
Oct. 7-9, downtown St. Charles

The annual event, billed as “The Original Illinois Scarecrow Festival,” runs from 9 a.m-9 p.m. Oct. 7-8 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 9.

There were more than 150 scarecrows entered into the contest last year with just as many expected this year.

There will also be a carnival, petting zoo, food, an arts and crafts show and more. The festival features free admission and parking throughout the weekend.

Festivalgoers can also make a scarecrow to take home.

Leslie Hunt, a top-ten finalist on “American Idol,” will perform at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 7. The cover band Modern Day Romeos will close out the first night of music with a performance beginning at 7:15 p.m. Oct. 8 features the band 7th Heaven headlining, beginning at 7 p.m. Hi Infidelity closes out the weekend with a show starting at 4 p.m. Oct. 9. All entertainment is free.

For more information, visit www.scarecrowfest.com.

“Best in St. Charles” Gallery of Ghoulish Home Tour
Oct. 14-31, St. Charles

From dusk until 10 p.m., the St. Charles Park District encourages residents to drive by many of the spookiest decorated homes in St. Charles. The homes will be decorated from Oct. 14-31.

A full list of homes participating in this year’s tour will be available at www.stcparks.org. Residents can still register to be a part of the tour before Oct. 12 on the website.

A preview night will take place Oct. 14 as homeowners will be putting their final touches on their displays before judging starts the next night.

Oct. 15, though, is the night Jeff Greenwald, event organizer and assistant superintendent of the St. Charles Park District, says is the night to be out on the town.

“Almost every house has homeowners and in costumes and they may do skits and even run haunted houses out of their home,” he said. “Somebody always surprises me about how they take it a stride further.”

The judges take about five hours on judging night to go through all the homes on the tour.

“We have forced ourselves to cap it at 30 homes,” Greenwald said. “Last year we had 24. This year, 13 have signed up so far. We are trying to create a low-cost, family event.”

Greenwald said the amount of people out on the tour on judging night “is in the hundreds.” He said one home estimated they had about 700 people came through on judging night last year.

The tour ends at 9 p.m. Oct. 31 and winners will receive bragging rights and a “Best In St. Charles” award in numerous categories.

The park district warns parents that some displays may not be appropriate for all ages.

Fish Boil and Harvest Festival
Oct. 15, Vasa Park, 35W217 Route 31, South Elgin

The 10th annual event will run from 1-5 p.m. with the boil beginning at 2 p.m. Admission for adults is $15 and $5 for children younger than 12 years old.

Register by Oct. 10 at 847-695-6720 or by email at vasaparkil@yahoo.com.

There will be live music and entertainment.

Batfest
Oct. 22, Batavia Riverwalk, Houston Street and Island Avenue

Batfest will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 22 with a zombie walk beginning at 4 p.m. and running until 8 p.m.

“There’s a lot of activities for kids going on throughout the day,” said Joi Cuartero, executive director of Batavia MainStreet. “We pull from all the organizations in town ... It’s a real fun, community event that everyone can enjoy.”

There will be a 5K run, sponsored by the Batavia United Way, from 8-10 a.m. Trick-or-treating begins at 10 a.m., as well as a farmer’s market and a pumpkin roll. There is no cost for the pumpkin roll if attendees bring their own pumpkins, Cuartero said. Pumpkins will be available for purchase from Boy Scout Troop 6.

The Batavia Public Library will host BatFest Stories and Songs, a program beginning at 11:15 a.m.

A parade, guided by the Batavia Mothers’ Club, rides off at 11:45 a.m. Tractor-pulled hayrides go from noon-2 p.m., as well as registration for the zombie walk. A costume contest, sponsored by BATV, will begin at 1:30 p.m.

There is a $10 registration fee for the zombie walk, and it includes optional zombie makeover and entry into a raffle for prizes.

“We figure, for teens and young adults, there’s not a whole lot to do for Halloween,” Cuartero said. “So, we wanted to reach out to that audience and have something fun for all ages this year.”

She said The RendezVu, 1 E. Wilson St., will offer specials for those participating in the zombie walk. In addition, the Batavia Academy of Dance has offered to teach the dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to zombies after the walk near the Peg Bond Center.

For more information, visit www.downtownbatavia.com.

Halloween Haunted Ghost Story Train
Oct. 22-23, 29-30, departs at Castlemuir Depot, South Elgin

Reservations are required for the rides beginning at 5, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. Oct 22-23 and 29-30. The ride will take visitors from the depot into the John Duerr Forest Preserve. Costumes are welcome and the event is suitable for all ages.

For more information, call 847-697-4676 or visit www.foxtrolley.org.

The Haunted Quarry
Oct. 27-30, 400 S. Water St., Batavia

The Haunted Quarry will be open from 7-11 p.m. Oct. 27-29 and is not recommended for children younger than 10 years old. Admission is $8 per person.

A less frightful version will be held from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 30 for ages 10 and younger. Admission will be $5 for this day only.

For more information, call 630-879-5235 or visit www.bataviaparks.org.

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