Illinois fall festivals

September and October are busy months for festivals in Illinois. From shrimp to beef and broom corn to scarecrows, local cultures across Illinois are worth celebrating and experiencing. While all festivals couldn’t be included in this list, here is small sampling to choose from for your fall enjoyment.

Warren County Prime Beef Festival

The Prime Beef Festival in Monmouth began after WWII as a welcome home for veterans. In 1948, Warren County became the prime beef center of the world. The festival includes a princess pageant, a parade, live entertainment, amusement park rides, food, a car show, demolition derby events, a cook-off, livestock events and auctions, and other family activities.

Ridgway Popcorn Days

  • WHEN: September 6–8
  • WHERE: Downtown Ridgway
  • CONTACT: 618-559-9235

The 61st Annual Ridgway Popcorn Days has live entertainment, vendors, amusement rides, games, a parade on Saturday at 1 p.m., and of course free popcorn. Learn more about the event on Facebook by searching Ridgway Popcorn Days. Events begin at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 and 7 and 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 8.

Arcola Broom Corn Festival

Celebrating the town’s production of broom corn, the Arcola Broom Corn Festival includes a parade that features a performance of the Lawn Rangers (a precision lawn mower drill team that marches in formation with lawn mowers and brooms), craft booths, live entertainment, food vendors, a 5K and 10K road race, the National Broom Sweeping Contest, and more.

Murphysboro Apple Festival

Celebrate the area’s apple harvest at the Murphysboro Apple Festival. This 4-day event hosts many events including live music on the Appletime Stage, a carnival, an arts and crafts fair, two parades, a marching band competition, a car show, a walk/run race, apple pie eating contests, the crowning of Appletime Royalty, and much more.

Shrimp Festival

  • WHEN: September 15
  • WHERE: Pope County Courthouse Lawn, Golconda
  • CONTACT: 618-683-6246

The annual Shrimp Festival is a shrimp cook-off with fresh southern Illinois shrimp cooked many ways. Locally grown prawns are available for purchase. Events include helicopter and carriage rides, music and entertainment, beer and wine tents, and much more. Come enjoy the streets lined with vendors serving a wide variety of shrimp dishes.

Apple N’ Pork Festival

Head to the Apple ‘n Pork Festival for the aroma of smoked ham and spicy apple butter. Stroll the booths offering old-fashioned foods and browse crafts and antiques at the flea market. Other events include: live music, a Civil War encampment, artisan demonstrations, events for kids, tomahawk throwing, living history interpreters, antique tractor show, and much more.

Scarecrow Daze Festival

  • WHEN: October 5–7
  • WHERE: Downtown Shelbyville
  • CONTACT: 217-774-2244

During the Scarecrow Daze Festival, Shelbyville is decorated with scarecrows. There is a parade on Saturday, kids’ games, a beer tent, music, a quilt show, food and crafts, all in downtown Shelbyville. Go to Lake Shelbyville for the Touchstone Energy Balloonfest. There’s a sunrise flight at 7 a.m. on Oct. 6 and 7 and a balloon glow on Oct. 6.

Galena Country Fair

This event features more than 150 vendors selling original handmade arts and crafts. This Columbus Day weekend tradition overflows with shopping, family fun, live entertainment, games, Irish dance performances, a silent auction and raffle, and delicious fair food. Free parking is available at three remote lots, and a complimentary shuttle service will be available.

Old Settlers’ Days

Old Settlers’ Days is like stepping back in time to experience life of early settlers in Calhoun County. Teepees and tents fill the park at the Kampsville riverfront. This festival features activities for kids, old-time crafts, demonstrations, mountain-man and Civil War encampments, live entertainment, carriage rides through the historic village, and lots of food.