• Top 10: Things to do this fall

  • Now that the September festival season is over in Eastern Jackson County and cool – mostly dry – weather seems to have settled in for a while, it’s time to enjoy the next phase of fall: turning leaves, warm days and crisp nights, and the chance to get out and see things.

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  • Now that the September festival season is over in Eastern Jackson County and cool – mostly dry – weather seems to have settled in for a while, it’s time to enjoy the next phase of fall: turning leaves, warm days and crisp nights, and the chance to get out and see things. Here are 10 ideas to get us to Thanksgiving:
    10 Head ’em up, move ’em out.
    Kansas City’s great festival, the American Royal, kicked off last weekend with the annual parade. This weekend it’s barbecue, poker and other events. Also coming up are rodeos, livestock shows and even a wine competition. Events run almost to Thanksgiving. Complete schedule and more information at www.americanroyal.com/.
    9 Go old school.
    The 35th Annual Missouri Town 1855 Festival of Arts, Crafts and Music is this weekend. It’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Missouri Town is in Fleming Park, east of Lake Jacomo and west of the south side of Blue Springs. The event includes food, music, dancing, games, quilting, crafts and even live oxen. There’s judging of pies and jellies. The cost is $9 per car or van, $20 per bus. More information: www.jacksongov.org/missouritown.
    8 Strike up the band.
    The annual Independence Halloween Parade, put on by the Independence Chamber of Commerce, is from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30. It starts west of the Square, goes through the Square and ends in McCoy Park near the Truman Library. Square merchants precede the event with trick-or-treating from 1 to 3.
    7 Taste the season.
    Sibley Orchards and Cider Mill has hayrides, pumpkins, jellies and jams, and, of course, apples and cider. It’s at 3717 Buckner-Tarsney Road, about two miles north of Buckner, where the road turns from north-south to east-west. The phone number is 816-650-5535. Others in the area are Dobsons Happy Apple Orchard, 4013 N. Johnson Road in Sibley, 816- 650-9339; and Stephenson’s Orchard on U.S. 40, just east of Lee’s Summit Road in Independence, 816-373-4990.
    6 Embrace the pumpkin.
    Carve your own jack-o’-lantern. Cook your own pumpkin pie (it’s easier than you might think). Just about anything you might want to know about pumpkins, where to find them and what to do with them is at www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/MOpumpkins.php. A related site is www.pickyourown.org/MO.htm.
    5 Celebrate the harvest.
    Powell Gardens holds a Harvest Celebration and Antique Tractor-Engine Show this weekend. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Powell Gardens is on U.S. 50, 13 miles east of Missouri 7. The event has scarecrows, a cider press, children’s crafts and lots of antique tractors, engines and other equipment. There is a “parade of power,” firing up the tractors, each afternoon. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for children ages 5-12, free for children 5 and younger. For more information, call 816-697-2600.
    Page 2 of 2 - Other events at Powell Gardens this fall include a Jack-O-Lantern Walk on Oct. 17, learning how to make sauerkraut on Oct. 10, and landscape design on Oct. 26.
    4 Let the dogs out.
    Dogtoberfest is a chance for Fido to shine. It’s from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center in Fleming Park, south of Blue Springs. Admission is free, although everyone is asked to bring a donation of dog food for local animal shelters. Games and contests include a biscuit toss, biggest dog, smallest dog and dog/owner look-alikes. There will also be police and rescue dog demonstrations. Get more information at Dogtoberfest@jacksongov.org or (816) 229-8980.
    3 See a ghost.
    Haunted Ghost Tours have begun at the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum at Main Street and Truman Road on the Square. Tours are at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Fridays. There’s a tour of the jail, plus a covered-wagon, narrated tour with ghost stories and yarns of haunted places on the Square. Costs are $18 for those 12 and older, $12 for ages 7 to 11. It’s not recommended for children under 7. For reservations, call 816-461-0065.
    2 Take a hike.
    The Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area Nature Center in Blue Springs has a wealth of activities. It’s at 1401 N.W. Park Drive (east of Missouri 7, past Pink Hill Park). Call 816-228-3766. Upcoming events include “Walking in Their Footsteps,” a family program about animal tracks, from at 10 a.m. Oct. 9, a “Babes in the Woods” hike for those 3 and younger (and parents) at 10 a.m. Oct. 12, and “Birding Habitats” for those 10 and older at 8 a.m. Oct. 15. Of course, you can also just go out any time to hike and enjoy the nature center.
    1 Just drive.
    OK, gas isn’t cheap. Who goes for a Sunday drive anymore? And, no, this isn’t Vermont. Still, Missouri’s trees put on a show worth seeing every fall. Take an hour, take an afternoon, take a day and explore somewhere far from the interstate. Everyone has a theory on where is best. Missouri 45 from Weston to Atchison is nice. So is U.S. 50 from Lee’s Summit to Sedalia, or even on to Jefferson City. Or anywhere in the Ozarks, if you have the time.
    And timing is everything. The Missouri Department of Conservation points out that the colors of Missouri’s maples, ashes, oaks and hickories tend to peak in mid-October but fade and drop leaves by late in the month. A good frost would help, but that hasn’t happened yet and isn’t in the forecast for at least another week.

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