Pumpkins and apples and BBQ, oh my! Fall in Champaign-Urbana is full of some of our favorite things and if you’re willing to drive further than an hour for some truly unique fall fun, one of these might be a great fall weekend trip for you (although not everything is so far away!).
From the closest in Decatur to the furthest being Peoria, these fall festivals are all special. From pumpkins to planes to parades to polka, there’s something for everyone. As a note, we consider “fall” to be between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
For more area fall fun:
Want to stay closer to home? See our Guide of Champaign-Urbana Area Fall Festivals.
Looking for places to pick apples? See our list.
What: Morton Pumpkin Festival
When: Wednesday, September 11 through Saturday, September 14
Where: Morton, Illinois
How much: Entertainment and some activities free. Cost for carnival rides and other activities, food available for purchase.
Highlights: Did you know!? 85% of the world’s pumpkin is processed in Morton, IL! Don’t miss the Pumpkin Festival parade on Saturday morning, the pumpkin pie eating competition, pumpkin pancake breakfast and pumpkin EVERYTHING to kick off fall!
What: Decatur’s Smokin’ BBQ Festival
When: Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14
Where: Downtown Decatur Central Park
How much: Free admission for spectators
Highlights: This Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event will have competitors from all over the country, as well as a backyard BBQ competition. Aside from the BBQ competition, there will be food trucks, vendors, live music, and a kids area!
What: Peoria Oktoberfest
When: Sept. 22-24
Where: Peoria, Illinois
How much: Adults and teens, $7 per day; $12 for a weekend pass. Kids 12 and younger, FREE with guardian. Sunday between 9am and 11:30am adult admission is free with a canned food donation for the Peoria Food Bank.
Highlights: This family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration includes non-stop live music, log sawing contests, a parade, carnival rides, a kids zone and LOTS of food and beer. Any event that has The World’s Finest Extreme Party Punk Polka Band is OK with me! Make it an overnight getaway to enjoy even more of the area.
What: BalloonFest at Lake Shelbyville; Scarecrow Daze
When: Saturday, October 12
Where: Shelbyville, Illinois
How much: Free entry; some activities free, others require a fee.
Highlights: Two festivals for the “price” of one! This year, Balloonfest and Scarecrow Daze converge to make one fantastic event – with something for everyone. Trunk or treat, a parade, free inflatables, Helicopter rides, hot air balloon rides, and airplane rides; what could be better. For those who love to be up in the air!
What: Centralia Halloween Parade and Fall Festival
When: Saturday, October 26
Where: Centralia, Illinois
How much: Free children’s games and activities.
Highlights: In the morning, your child can dress up and walk in the 11am parade. Enjoy free games and activities during the day or peruse the flea market. Then the 93rd Annual Halloween Parade kicks off at 7pm!
Do you agree with our Five Fantastic Fall Festivals in Illinois list? If not, what did we miss?