Weekends in the fall are about more than football, raking leaves and pumpkins.

As if a last hurrah before winter cold shuts us all inside, communities throughout Johnson County have planned their annual autumn festivals to bring people together.

Wiener dogs will race through Franklin again, little princes and princesses will be crowned in Edinburgh, and patrons can take advantage of a wine-and-dessert bar while browsing local art at Saints Francis & Clare Catholic Church.

Already, the tilt-a-whirls and other carnival rides are ready to go. Bratwurst, burgers and fried carnival food will be served up to hungry crowds. And though the nights come on a little sooner, live bands will be performing well past dark.

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During the next few weekends, residents will find a mix of longtime traditional festivals and new events such as Greenwood’s Rock the Clock.

To help maximize your fall fun, the Daily Journal has assembled a handy guide of where to party and when.

Edinburgh Fall Festival

When: Today through Saturday

Where: Downtown Edinburgh

What: When it comes to celebrating the fall in Edinburgh, local residents make it a four-day affair. The festival, which started Wednesday with a talent show, features events such as the prince and princess contest, gospel music night, craft fair and festival queen pageant. Open entertainment such as a battle of the bands, karaoke, line dancing and a capella singing will be featured throughout the day on Saturday, and a parade will run through the center of town at 11 a.m. Saturday.

What makes it special?

“It brings lots of people out to see the town. They get to experience the different booths and the organizations who take part in the different events. It brings so many parts of the community together. It’s our little mini-Edinburgh state fair.” — Tracey Beier, event coordinator for the Edinburgh Parks and Recreation.

Information: edinburgh.in.us

Bargersville Harvest Moon Fall Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Bargersville

What: Cheer on the community parade, sip on a local beer and stuff your face with pie during Bargersville’s traditional fall get-together. The Harvest Moon festival will feature food and craft vendors, kiddie rides and a golf-cart decorating contest. The parade will start at noon, country-rock band Southern Bridges will perform from 6 to 10 p.m., and a pie-eating contest will reward the most voracious of local residents.

Information: townofbargersville.org

Colonel Vawter Day

When: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Morgantown

What: The day dedicated to Col. John Vawter, an early supporter of Morgantown, kicks off at 7 a.m. with a breakfast at the Morgantown Senior Center. The festivities don’t stop until late afternoon, with a concert by Lacey and Jamie Sichting. In between, people can enjoy a car show, baking contest, art show and plenty of food. Kids can play in a special play zone, families can tour a historic wagon and runners can take part in a 5K fun run.

Saints Francis & Clare Catholic Church Fall Festival

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Sept. 23, noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 24

Where: 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood

What: With carnival rides, a fish fry and Mexican fiesta dinner, a beer garden and Monte Carlo, Saints Francis & Clare’s fall festival has become a community-wide opportunity to enjoy the fleeting warm weather. The Festival Marketplace will give 20 area artists an opportunity to showcase their creations, live music will keep people dancing late into the night, and a $15,000 raffle will help raise money for the church’s operation. New this year is a wine-and-dessert bar featuring Buck Creek Winery and locally made cheesecake.

What makes it special?

“This is the only parish fundraiser that we do. What makes it so cool is, this is where everyone comes together. Wherever you’re at in our parish, we all come together as a team to make this happen. It’s fellowship. You go to church, and for years you see people but you’ve never really met them. Here’s a chance for you to really meet those people.” — Jack Pain, festival chairman.

Information: ss-fc.org

Rock the Clock

When:1 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24

Where: Greenwood City Center, corner of Madison and Main streets

What: This new festival was created to help celebrate the character and quality of Greenwood’s downtown. Live music from The Doo! Band, Not Your Average Boy Band and POParazzi will lay down the soundtrack while adults play giant-size versions of Jenga, Kerplunk and Connect Four. A rock-paper-scissor tournament is planned, and refreshments will be served from businesses such as MashCraft Brewing, Oaken Barrel Brewing Co., Johnny Carino’s, McGilvery’s and Mrs. Curl.

What makes it special?

“The whole purpose of this is to get people to Greenwood who may not know anything about it, and put the spotlight right on our businesses. We’ll have music, beer and wine and food. But in addition to that, we’re going to leverage the car show that normally happens on a Saturday night (at the Suds).” — Molly Laut, marking and community relations director for the city of Greenwood.

Information: greenwood.in.gov/RocktheClock

Music at the Creek

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24

Where: Indian Creek High School, 803 Indian Meadows Drive, Trafalgar

What: This relatively new fundraiser for the Nineveh Hensley Jackson Educational Foundation will revolve around live music scheduled all day, with music from bands such as South of 44 performing throughout the day. In addition, the festival will feature vendors, an open car show, Farmer Olympics, horse rides, a pedal tractor pull and food ranging from the FFA’s porkchops to the Boy Scouts serving cheeseburgers. All proceeds will fund the foundation’s classroom grants for this school year.

What makes it special?

“This is the primary fundraising event for the education foundation. All of the proceeds fund grants for the teachers and students. Over the last few years, schools have had funding cuts from the state, so it’s hard for schools to afford much beyond the classroom. Our kids can benefit from some of the things teachers want to do in the classroom, so we want to fund those efforts.” — Lisa Mahan, treasurer of the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Educational Foundation

Information: nhjef.org

Franklin Fall Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 1

Where: Downtown Franklin

What: Tiny racing dogs, a pear-themed baking contest and a full fireworks display are the centerpieces of this year’s Franklin Fall Festival. The Dachshund Derby will feature scrambling wiener dogs, take a free carriage ride and local bakers can submit their best creations using pears. Music will be provided by the Hill Valley Ramblers, with a headline performance by the Blue River Band at 7 p.m. The entire festival will be capped with a fireworks display, rescheduled from the rained-out Fourth of July celebration.

What makes it special?

“It’s that community aspect. It’s a tradition for people to come downtown and see the band, see what booths we have set up. It’s a huge tradition to be in the parade, and everyone loves the parade. People enjoy coming downtown and participating.” — Holly Johnston, events director for Franklin Parks and Recreation.

Information: franklin.in.gov

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.