Fall Events in the Twin Cities

It’s the magical time of year where colorful trees, pumpkins, apples, and zombies are in season

Two zombies at the Zombie Pub Crawl.

photo by theartofphoto – fotolia

Here’s our roundup on how to maximize the season.

Zombie Pub Crawl | October 13

Straight out of a horror movie and lumbering through the streets of Minneapolis, the Zombie Pub Crawl returns to its roots this year and will dig itself out of the graves in northeast Minneapolis’ Hall’s Island and historic Grain Belt Brewery—the event began in northeast Minneapolis, but has taken place in downtown in recent years. With participating bars including Bunny’s, 1029 Bar and Elsie’s; performances by ASAP Ferg, Alison Wonderland, DJ Diesel (aka Shaquille O’Neal), Snow tha Product, Twista; and carnival rides and games, a horde of food trucks, and other specter-filled surprises, the Zombie Pub Crawl will have all the live music, brew, and fake blood needed for an undead party.

New Ulm Oktoberfest | October 5-6; 12-13

Wanted to visit this year’s Oktoberfest but didn’t make it to Munich? Never fear, just head to Minnesota’s little slice of Germany in New Ulm where you can participate in the annual tradition without the overseas plane ride. Held at various locations including Schell’s Brewery (the second longest continuously owned and operated family-run brewery in the nation) and Morgan Creek Vineyards, New Ulm’s Okoberfest takes place for two weekends in October, and it is bursting with all the German-inspired brew and fare your stomach can handle as well as a stein-holding contest, horse-drawn trolley rides, and grape stomp. Prost!

ValleySCARE | Through October 28

Known for serving up thrills and chills with its gravity-defying rides and high-speed rollercoasters, Valleyfair trick-or-TREATS guests to a different form of excitement every fall at the upper Midwest’s largest Halloween event—ValleySCARE. Think haunted mazes, scare zones, and monsters prowling the park for brave souls who venture after dark. For the little ones or those who aren’t into scares, the famiy-friendly Great Pumpkin Fest takes place during the day and includes a Pirate Party, Peppermint Patty’s Haybale Maze, and Pig Pen’s People Washer.

Stillwater Harvest Fest | October 13-14

A celebration of all thing fall, this festival in one of the state’s most charming and beautiful cities. Bursting with family-friendly activities, this year’s event features a chili cook-off, giant pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin regatta on the waters of the St. Croix, a pie eating contest, and more. It’s the perfect place to sport your autumnal affection.

Apple Orchards

It wouldn’t be fall without a visit to at least one apple orchard, and fortunately for Twin Cities residents and visitors, there’s a number to PICK from. Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater has been around since gas was only 16 cents a gallon, but since then, it has since grown to cover more than 50 acres and sprouted more than 6,000 apple trees. Also on the eastern side of the metro is Afton Apple Orchard. In addition to nature’s sweet treat, Afton Apple Orchard also features a 15-acre corn maze, pumpkin picking, and a variety of apple pies, apple crisps, homemade jams, and more. Not wanting to feel left out, Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista is here for those on the western side of the Twin Cities. Visitors to this orchard can PICK (OK, I’ll stop now) from SweeTango, Zestar, and, of course, the darling of the state, Honeycrisp. When they’re not among the trees, they can go on hayrides, climb the hay mountain, and feed the goats.