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Fall into fun

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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

Cost: Free

Information: vonnegutlibrary.org

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.

Watch dogs

What: Franklin Fall Festival

Where: Province Park, Franklin

When: 11 a.m. Oct. 5

Information: franklin.in.gov

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.

Conquer corn

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.

Information: kelsayfarms.com

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.

Heartfelt tale

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

Information: trulymovingpictures.org/heartland-film-festival

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.

Natural beauty

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

Information: francisandclare.org

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.

Pickin' fun

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

Information: beanblossom.us

Must see: The performance by Ralph Stanley, one of the most accomplished bluegrass singers and banjo players, at 7:35 p.m. Saturday.

Pep up

What: Circle City Classic pep rally

Where: Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis

When: 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 11

Cost: Free

Information: circlecityclassic.com

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.

Scary times

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

Information: theasylumhouse.com

Must see: Seven lands of horror, including “Scream ’n’ Hallar,” “Alice in Psycholand” and “Alien Invasion.”

Other activities: Zombie paintball for an additional $15.

Tour graves

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.

Game on

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

Information: indyscotgamesandfest.com

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

Information: watermansfamilyfarm.com/fallharvestfestival

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.

Haunting ride

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

Information: connerprairie.org

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.

Classic horror

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

Information: historicartcrafttheatre.org

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

Cost: Free

Information: johnsoncountymuseum.org

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

Information: tcsteele.org

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.


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

Cost: Free

Information: mallowrun.com

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

Cost: Free

Information: franklin.in.gov

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.

Show spirit

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

Cost: Free

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

What: GermanFest

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.

Information: athenaeum


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.

Fresh apples

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

Information: apple-works.com

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.

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