There’s a cool breeze in the air and the leaves are changing. Pumpkin spiced everything is on store shelves and in restaurants. These are sure signs that fall is nearly here.
Southern Illinois has plenty of fun family events throughout the season. Here are several of them. Check out more events on our website and add any that you don't see in the comment section or submit it on our site.
Get out and check out all that southern Illinois has to offer and celebrate Fall as a family.
Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch in Johnston City is open September 17-October 30. Not only can you pick out the perfect pumpkin for your family, but also stroll through the corn maze. This year’s theme pays tribute to the 30th anniversary for the patch. There’s a play barn for the kids filled with slides, “corn pools” and inflatables. Hay rides are also available and concessions and souvenirs are for sale.
Breezy Hill Farm located between West Frankfort and Benton opens for the 2016 season September 10. Pumpkins, mums and a variety of jellies and jams are for sale. You can go wild with the petting zoo and get a guided tour around the facility with a hay ride.
Shreve’s Pumpkin Patch is already open in Barnhill (Wayne County). In addition to the traditional items at the patch, you’ll also want to make a stop at the book barn and get some reading material for the family. Other pumpkin patches in the region include Marlow’s in Opdyke and Organ Farms in McLeansboro.
Are you ready for some football? The SIU season is in full swing and the Dawgs have six games scheduled at Saluki Stadium this year. Under the direction of a new coach, former standout Nick Hill, this season promises to be an interesting one. Show your pride on Saturday, October 22 for Homecoming on the SIU campus.
For more than 100 years the Carterville Lions Club has put on the Free Fair. This year marks year 103 and the celebration includes a Twilight 5K at Cannon Park on Friday, September 9. Carnival rides and games are a staple each year too. Local non-profit groups set up shop and sell a variety of treats to raise money. Free Fair, despite the name, will cost you so be prepared. The event wraps up September 10.
The 37th annual Popeye Picnic returns to Chester September 9-11. Chester is the hometown of Popeye creator Elzie Segar. The city celebrates Segar’s life works with a parade, carnival rides and the unveiling of another statue on the Character Trail. This year Popeye’s four nephews will be added.
Show your appreciation for the men and women who served our country with the annual Veterans on Parade. It’s set for September 10. The route begins at Marion Junior High and wraps up at Washington Elementary School.
Thousands of people will sink their teeth into the Murphysboro Apple Festival. The 2016 event is being held September 14-17. Carnival rides, live music, a parade and of course all things apple make this event a family favorite in southern Illinois.
The Wonder Water Reunion makes a splash each year in Creal Springs. The Williamson County event is set for September 21-24. Live entertainment, a pageant, rides and a parade are all part of the reunion.
Families who enjoy the great outdoors can’t miss Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days. September 24 and 25 the parking lot at John A. Logan College features fishing seminars, goose calling competitions and archery events. Tens of thousands of people show up each year. Live animals are on display for the event and the Dock Dogs performance is a family favorite.
Music, games and hotdog eating contest are a few of the activities that make HubFest in Marion a popular event. Marion Main Street gets behind this event and also features a car show. HubFest runs from noon until 8 p.m. September 24.
Forrest Gump’s buddy Bubba would be proud of this. The Golconda Shrimp Festival returns September 24. The Pope County community welcomes visitors from around the region each year. Visitors can get their fill of all kinds of locally raised prawn as well as helicopter and carriage rides. There’s live music and other entertainment throughout the day.
Step back into the 1700s with the Fort Massac Encampment weekend. You’ll see military drills, mock battles and fife players. The encampment is October 15-16 at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis. Campout or spend the day on hand and grab a homemade root beer.
Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge gets into the Halloween spirit with a program on October 29. You’ll go batty learning more about the winged mammals and their importance to the environment. The program begins at 1 p.m.