Autumn does not officially start until Friday afternoon. But already, the first flairs of fall are starting to emerge.

The air feels a little more crisp on brilliant sunny afternoons. Mornings and evenings require a sweater or sweatshirt, and jeans have replaced shorts for the most part.

And throughout the county, communities are celebrating the season with unique festivals.

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From dashing dachshunds to farmer Olympics to hoisting beer steins, from world-class art to funk, country and rock music, the fall festival slate has something to offer everyone. The biggest challenge is going to be figuring out when to check everything out.

To help pick and choose from the fall events in the coming weeks, here’s a guide to the best music, fun activities and most unique features.

Rock the Clock

Zip Down Main

Details: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, 300 S. Madison Ave., Greenwood

What: Soar over Old Town Greenwood when park officials open up a zip line for the city’s newest event, Rock the Clock. An unlimited zip pass is available for $10. Organizers also have planned fun diversions such as bounce houses, inflatables and giant Connect Four, Jenga and Kerplunk.

Beer Stein Competition

Details: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

What: This is a contest that anyone can get into. The idea is simple: Beer steins are filled and given to contestants, one for each hand. They have to hold the steins out from their body, parallel to the ground, for the longest. Whoever does is the champion of the stein.

Local musical favorites

Details: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday

What: See two of the region’s most popular cover bands perform, and sandwiched between them, watch as longtime Indy favorite the Why Store takes the stage. Living Proof performs at 1 p.m., Why Store goes at 3:30 p.m. and Tastes Like Chicken comes on at 6.

SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church Fall Festival

Art in the Park

Details: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church, 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood,

What: The fall celebration at SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church has all of the features that people love about a festival: carnival rides, live music, a beer tent and tons of food. But with Art in the Park, the church has planned a unique arts event that showcases the handcrafted work of local artists. Wine and desserts will be served.

Raffles and silent auctions

Details: Friday and Saturday

What: More than $15,000 will be up for grabs in the church’s annual raffle, all to raise money to support parish programs throughout the year. In addition, a silent auction will feature sports-themed gift baskets, a Disney vacation basket and other items. And the SS. Francis and Clare Quilters have stitched a beautiful piece, which will be raffled off as well.

Bargersville Harvest Moon Festival

Cruise-in

Details: 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday

What: Classic car aficionados can “ooh” and “aah” poking around some of the area’s most lovingly restored models. Relive the titans of the automobile world, from GTOs to Corvettes to the timeless Mustang.

Uncle JuJu and Rockin’ Horse

Details: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday for Rockin’ Horse, 7 to 10 p.m. for Uncle JuJu

What: While you browse good from local vendors, hang out at the beer and wine garden or just enjoy an afternoon in downtown Bargersville, boogie to rock, county and R&B music. Both Rockin’ Horse and Uncle JuJu play a wide variety of songs, from longtime classics to pop hits to modern favorites.

Franklin Fall Festival

Baking contest

Details: Enter between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at the corner of Jefferson and East Court streets

What: The Franklin Fall Festival’s annual baking contest is an opportunity for local residents to show off their prowess in the kitchen. This year’s central ingredient is nuts, and bakers are encouraged to make their best breads, cakes, pies and other goodies for judging. An entry form and full rules can be found at franklin.in.gov, in the parks department section.

Heritage Day

Details: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30, Johnson County Museum, 135 N. Main St.

What: Learn about the pioneer and Civil War histories of Johnson County from interactive re-enactors, watch demonstrations of traditional crafts and take part in hands-on activities in the museum’s free heritage event.

Dachshund Derby

Details: 3:30 p.m. Sept. 30, Province Park; registration is from 2:15 to 2:45.

What: Watch as a gaggle of wiener dogs pump their tiny legs. The Dachshund Derby has become a beloved tradition at the fall festival, and provides the perfect comic relief on an autumn afternoon.

Music at the Creek

Parade

Details: 10:30 a.m. Sept. 30

What: Organizers of Music at the Creek, a festival and fundraiser for the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Educational Foundation, will host a parade for the first time this year. See firefighters and police officers, community floats and fancy cars cruise down the street. The parade will start at the old elementary and end at Indian Creek middle and high schools.

Farmer Olympics

Details: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30

What: Demonstrate just how country strong you are in a series of events aimed at children and adults. Toss straw bales, navigate the maze and sweep pumpkins across the finish line. See how long it takes to catch a chicken in a pen, and take part in a ninja football course. Unlimited play will cost $3, and kids can win tickets at each event to be redeemed for prizes.

South of 44 and other musicians

Details: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30

What: As the name implies, this recently created festival offers attendees plenty of opportunities to see some great music. Country-rock hybrid South of 44 performs from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m., followed by soloist Rich Dowell from 3:05 to 3:40 p.m. and Brady Rund from 3:50 to 4:20 p.m.

If you go

SS. Francis and Clare Fall Festival

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church, 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood

Activities:

  • Live music throughout the day
  • Carnival rides
  • Silent auctions
  • Art in the Park marketplace
  • Wine and dessert bar
  • Beer and wine tent
  • Handmade quilt raffle
  • Monte Carlo tent
  • Petting zoo
  • Food tent

Information: ss-fc.org

Harvest Moon Festival

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: 24 N. Main St., Bargersville

Schedule

  • Noon: Parade
  • 1 p.m.: Vendors open booths; beer and wine garden opens
  • 2 to 5 p.m.: Rockin’ Horse live music
  • 3 to 10 p.m.: Cruise-in car show
  • 7 to 10 p.m.: Uncle JuJu live music

Rock the Clock

When: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Old Town Greenwood, at the corner of Madison and Main streets

Schedule

  • All-day activities: Zip Down Main zipline, Battle Zone and Hungry Hippo Chomp Down inflatables, bounce houses, giant Connect Four, Jenga and Kerplunk, beer and wine garden, food from local vendors.
  • 1 p.m.: Living Proof live music
  • 3 p.m.: Rock-paper-scissors competition
  • 3:30 p.m.: The Why Store live music
  • 5:30 p.m.: Beer stein competition
  • 6 p.m.: Tastes Like Chicken live music

Franklin Fall Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 30

Where: Downtown Franklin

Schedule

  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Bounce houses, courthouse square
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Downtown street fair, courthouse square
  • 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Community entertainment; food vendors, courthouse square
  • 10:30 to 11 a.m.: Entries accepted for baking contest, corner of Jefferson and East Court streets
  • Noon to 10 p.m.: Beer garden open, courthouse parking lot
  • 1 p.m.: Parade
  • 2 to 5 p.m.: Horse carriage rides, Monroe Street; face painting, city hall parking lot
  • 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.: Dachshund Derby registration, Province Park
  • 3:30 p.m.: Dachshund Derby
  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Hill Valley Ramblers, courthouse square
  • 7 to 10 p.m.: Blue River Band, courthouse square
  • 9 p.m.: Fireworks

Music at the Creek

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30

Where: Indian Creek High School, 803 Indian Meadows Dr., Trafalgar

Schedule

  • All day activities: More than 50 vendors, car show, pedal tractor pull, horse rides, Farmer Olympic games, fire department demonstrations, second-chance raffle, Boy Scout cheeseburgers, FFA pork chops.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Education Foundation parade
  • 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.: South of 44 live music
  • 2 p.m.: Sparkplug challenge; register from noon to 1:45 p.m.
  • 2 to 4 p.m.: Bike Rodeo
  • 3:05 to 3:40 p.m.: Rich Dowell live music
  • 3:50 to 4:20 p.m.: Brady Rund
Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.