The days and nights might be getting cooler, but the entertainment options throughout central Indiana are getting hotter.
The weather is perfect for picnics, hayrides and campfires. Weekends are packed with football games, festivals and flavorful food.
Finding the best fit for you and your family can be a chore. But we have you covered. We’ve compiled 20 must-do events this fall.
From racing wiener dogs to world-class art, a wealth of fun is waiting to be discovered.
Celebrate banned books
What: Banned Book Week
Where: The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, 340 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis
When: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday
Must see: “Banned Books Recovered” art exhibit. Local artists have re-imagined the cover art of banned or endangered literature, putting their own unique spin on books such as “Lolita” and “Slaughterhouse Five.”
Other activities: A First Amendment Film Festival featuring “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Howl” and “Good Night and Good Luck,” as well as performance artist Tim Youd typing all of Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” on a single piece of paper.
What: Franklin Fall Festival
Where: Province Park, Franklin
When: 11 a.m. Oct. 5
Must see: Dachshund Derby. With tiny legs flailing and big ears flopping, the annual Dachshund Derby is a comedy of the absurd as local residents bring their diminutive dogs together to run a specialized course.
Other activities: Parade, baking contest, concerts by the Snake Handlers and Lemon Wheel and children’s games.
Where: Kelsay Farm, 6848 N. CR 250E, Whiteland
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28. Extended hours: noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday from Oct. 14 to 25.
Cost: $8; children 1 and younger admitted free.
Must see: The 7-acre corn maze is cut into the Kelsay Farm’s south field, and this year’s design includes children’s character Spookley the Square Pumpkin.
Other activities: Tour the dairy farm’s milking parlor, play on a mountain of hay bales and meet Spookley the Square Pumpkin to learn about tolerance and kindness.
What: Heartland Film Festival
Where: AMC Castleton Square 14, 6020 E. 82nd St., Indianapolis; AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, 5920 W. 86th St., Indianapolis; The Theater at the Wheeler Arts Community, 1035 Sanders St. No. 111, Indianapolis
When: Oct. 17 to 26
Cost: $7.50 in advance per movie; $9 at the door
Must see: The next hit indie movie. Past selections include “Precious,” which was nominated for six Academy Awards; “Red Dog,” which dominated the film awards in its native Australia; and “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.
What: Art in the Park
Where: SS. Francis and Clare Fall Festival, 5901 W. Olive Branch Road, Greenwood
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 28
Cost: Free admission
Must see: The paintings, sculpture, metal pieces and other media from about 25 local working artists.
Other activities: Wine tastings and live music throughout the day.
What: The Annual Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days Festival
Where: Bill Monroe Memorial Bluegrass Music Park, 5163 State Road 135, Bean Blossom
When: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
Cost: $30 today, $35 Friday and Saturday
Must see: The performance by Ralph Stanley, one of the most accomplished bluegrass singers and banjo players, at 7:35 p.m. Saturday.
What: Circle City Classic pep rally
Where: Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis
When: 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 11
Must see: Forget the action on the field. Stomp, groove and revel as two of the best marching bands in the world square off: Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Alcorn State University Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band.
What: The Asylum House
Where: 3801 Madison Ave., Indianapolis
When: 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays Sept. 27 through Oct. 31
Cost: $20 per person
Must see: Seven lands of horror, including “Scream ’n’ Hallar,” “Alice in Psycholand” and “Alien Invasion.”
Other activities: Zombie paintball for an additional $15.
What: “Treason in Indianapolis” walking tour
Where: Crown Hill Cemetery, 3400 Boulevard Place, Indianapolis
When: 9:30 to 11 a.m. Oct. 5
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students
Must see: A guided tour detailing the lives of the men and women involved in Civil War treason who are buried at the cemetery. Afterward, find the grave of Indiana bad boy John Dillinger, buried in Section 44 of the cemetery.
What: Scottish Highland Games and Festival
Where: German Park, 8600 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis
When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 12
Cost: $12 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12, and free for children 4 and younger
Must see: Of all the Highland games on display at the festival, don’t miss the caber toss, where men and women launch an 18-feet-long timber as far as they can.
Other activities: Celtic music, the Scottish Reenactors Guild, dancers, pipe bands and Scotch tasting.
Raise a barn
What: Fall Harvest Festival
Where: Waterman’s Family Farm, 1100 N. State Road 37, Greenwood
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Cost: $4 on weekdays, $5 on the weekend; kids 2 and younger admitted free
Must see: Build-A-Barn, which allows children to build a 1/6th scale version of an 18th century barn that they can play in afterwards.
Other activities: Acres of pumpkins, hayrides, miniature train rides, plus produce from the Waterman’s farm.
Where: Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 11 to 13, 17 to 20 and 24 to 27
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the gate on Thursdays and Sundays; $14 in advance, $16 at the gate on Fridays and Saturdays
Must see: A haunted hayride featuring Washington Irving’s classic character the Headless Horseman.
Other activities: Vampire experts, Scary-o-ke singing contest, a “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” puppet show and other activities.
What: Monster Mania
Where: The Historic Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin
When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. Oct. 18; 3, 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Oct. 19
Cost: Adults: $5 for one or $25 for all six; military members, college students and seniors: $4 or $20 for all movies; children 12 and younger: $3 for one, $15 for all six
Must see: Watch icons such as Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and others scare your pants off in these six monster movies: “Dracula,” “The Wolf Man,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Mummy,” “Frankenstein” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
Learn about your heritage
What: Heritage Day
Where: Johnson County Museum of History, 151 N. Main St., Franklin
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 5
Must see: Take a step into an authentic Civil War encampment to learn how soldiers ate, entertained themselves, treated disease and injury and cared for their weapons.
Other activities: Interactive exhibits, live music and demonstrations.
Relish color palette of nature
What: The Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour
Where: T.C. Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Nashville
When: Oct. 1 to 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for children ages 3 to 12, and children younger than 3 admitted free
Must see: Take in more than 50 original paintings by early Impressionist master Steele, who helped establish Indiana as a viable artistic enclave. Then step outside to the property’s gardens and trails to witness in the fiery colors of a Brown County autumn.
GO FOR THE FOOD
Sip & chill
What: Chili and Wine Weekend
Where: Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20
Must see: Mallow Run owners the Richardson family’s personal chili recipes, all with free tastings of the wineries collection of wines.
Other activities: Music by Indiana Boys and Flatland Harmony Experiment, and wine for purchase by the glass.
Taste a culture
What: Franklin Multicultural Festival
Where: Franklin Cultural Arts and Recreation Center theater, 396 Branigin Blvd.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Must see: All of the different cultures on display, from Guatemalan food to Peruvian costumes to Caribbean folk music. Franklin eighth-grader Olivia Norris will perform harp music from around the world.
What: Nineveh Heritage Festival
Where: Intersection of Nineveh Road and Hospital Road, Nineveh
When: 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 11 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 12
Must see: A traditional town square dance will be conducted Saturday evening, a new addition to the annual festival. But the main draw every year seems to be the juicy, thick pork chops served by local FFA members at their food tent.
Other activities: Parade, vendors, live music and kids’ games.
Brats & beer
Where: Historic Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis
When: Noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 12
Cost: $8 in advance, $10 at the door, kids 12 and younger admitted free.
Must see: The Steinheben, a traditional German strongman competition where people lift heavy weights and run distance.
Other activities: Authentic German food and beer, children’s area, Beer Games, wiener dog races, as well as music and dancing.
Where: The Apple Works, 8157 S. County Road 250W, Trafalgar
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Must see: Sample and choose from bins of Honeycrisp, tart and spicy Ginger Gold, tangy Cortland and lively Gala apples, among other varieties.
Other activities: The Great Pumpkin Run 5K, Food Truck Frenzy, pick-your-own pumpkins, super slide, bamboo maze and music every weekend.