Spend a day relaxing on the farm and experience the 7’ tall soybean maze, choice of three hayrides and a hiking trail, private weiner roast fires, a gift shop with pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin fudge and donuts and more. No admission, just pay for activities you choose; some are free. 217-275-3327 or www.pumpkinworks.com.
Celebrating the delicious Heath Candy Bar, created in 1928 by Heath Brothers Confectionary in Robinson. Features Friday night entertainment, street dance and car show and Saturday craft show, live entertainment, toffee bake-off and parade capped off by a free chili supper. 618-546-1557 or www.heathharvestfestival.com.
The Grande Levee is a celebration of the grand receptions held during the 1800s to honor government dignitaries and important visitors. Friday evening at 5 p.m. the event kicks off with a ham and bean dinner on the Vandalia Statehouse grounds along with musical entertainment. Saturday brings a full day of events from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. including vendors, sidewalk sales, bingo, kids’ activities, inflatables, RC race car exhibition and more. 618-283-1161 or www.vandaliaillinois.com.
The Candlelight Walk offers the only opportunity each year to see the village at night. Staff and volunteers in period clothing will be inside many of the log homes and shops in the village to talk about life in 19th century Illinois. Gingerbread and cider will be served in the Rutledge Tavern. 7-9 p.m. each night. 217-632-4000 or www.LincolnsNewSalem.com.
Fulton County offers unusual beauty of the color throughout the Spoon River Valley. As you cruise through towns stop for apple butter made before your eyes in London Mills, baked potatoes and hot cider in Farmington, chicken and noodles at Smithfield’s Red Brick School, funnel cakes in Lewistown and much more. Visit the website www.spoonriverdrive.org for points of interest, lodging, a map of Fulton County, etc.
The entire city is decorated with scarecrows. Includes a large parade on Saturday, kids’ games, beer tent, music, food and more. Friday night, Saturday and Sunday mornings balloons will take flight along with a nightglow and charitable cookout on Saturday evening, all at the Shelby County Airport. These colorful balloons will be launched daily (weather permitting). 217-774-4644 or www.lakeshelbyville.com
Typical autumn life on the 1830s prairie will be demonstrated. Costumed interpreters will demonstrate tasks such as candle dipping, butter churning, soap making, basket making, spinning wool, gardening, natural dyeing and fishing with nets. Demonstrations of meat smoking will take place in one of the log village’s smokehouses and wild game cooking will be in one of the log homes. Visitors can step down into the cellar at the tavern to see how fruits and vegetables were preserved during the winter. 217-632-4000 or www.LincolnsNewSalem.com.