Signs of fall are already showing in the landscape. Sumacs drip with bunches of red berries and goldenrod and asters decorate roadsides, foreshadowing more changes to come. Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in the change of seasons or take part in one of September’s special events, fall is waiting for you here.
The Headwaters 100 bike ride welcomes hundreds of cyclists to tour the spectacular fall colors. The ride will depart from Century School for 100-mile, 75-mile and 45-mile rides from 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. The Headwaters 100 provides an opportunity to ride in a well-organized event, sponsored by the Itascatur Outdoor Activity Club.
Art Leap, an “open studio event” featuring artists’ studios and culturally rich destinations, will expand from from 14 to 22 sites serving approximately 60 artists and musicians. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23. There are new destinations in Downtown Park Rapids, one at St. Urho Park in Menahga and other locations. Highlights of Art Leap include music, hors d’oeuvres and seeing fall colors at their peak while driving from studio to studio. It’s a great time to purchase original art for your home and meet the artist who created it. Enjoy live demonstrations and other arts activities at some locations. Brochures with maps, sculpture tour directions and descriptions, performance times and other information are available at the Chamber Visitor Center or may be downloaded at www.prlaac.org.
The Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council will sponsor the Great American Story as part of Art Leap weekend. This year’s finalists will tell their winning stories as part of the program from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. While audience votes are being counted guest storyteller, Richard W. Rousseau, will entertain. Emcee will be Mike Carroll. For more information, go to www.thegreatamericanstory.org.
The same evening, Itasca State Park offers the 11th Annual Autumn Harvest Festival and Lantern Lit Hike. “Scat, Track and Animal Signs” is this year’s theme. Guides with lanterns will lead hikers down the kerosene lantern-lit trail to meet characters that will show you animal tracks and signs you might find as you explore Itasca’s forest. Registration begins at 6 p.m. The first hike leaves the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center at 6:30 p.m. and the last hike starts at 8:10. Other activities also are planned.
More fall fun begins Sept. 29 with the Fall Festival and Pumpkin Party at Carter’s Red Wagon Farm and continues Saturdays through Oct. 27 as well as Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18 and 19 (Teacher Association weekend). The festival offers everything to love about fall and includes wagon rides, corn mazes, crow shooting, Nerf Wars, giant pumpkin boats, a new barn-silo-tree house with a curly slide, a hay bale castle, games and many more activities as well as great food. Stock up on pumpkins for fall decorating, too.
Or just head north for a stay and enjoy listening to the pine cones plopping to the ground below, the scent of the fall afternoon air, the sight of early morning fog on lakes and fields and the feel of a warm campfire.
The Chamber Website has all the information you need to put together a memorable vacation or weekend visit. If you want help or have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more. – Lu Ann Hurd-Lof