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Spice up your fall with a festival

Kansas Tourism: Kansas festivals and scenic drives bring the best of the autumn season to travelers.

September 16, 2022

4 Min Read
Colorful trees along a river during fall
FALL LEAF PEEPIN’: Take the scenic route and experience an autumn festival or beautiful fall foliage across Kansas. Crawford State Park, along the Frontier Military Historic Byway, is renowned for its fall foliage. Courtesy of Kansas Tourism


Crisp fall air is just around the corner, which means that soon the green leaves will start to turn into radiant reds and golds across Kansas. It’s estimated that peak fall foliage across the state will happen around Nov. 7, but you don’t have to wait that long to have a fall-tastic time!

Here are some autumn festivals around Kansas that are sure to spice up your season.

  • Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield. This world-famous music festival, Sept. 14-18, is home to several world championships. This is a must for Kansas music enthusiasts. travelks.com/event/50th-walnut-valley-festival/26182.

  • Flatlanders Fall Festival, Goodland. Gearheads will love the motorcycle show, car show and races in addition to food vendors and family games, Sept. 23-25. flatlandersfallfestival.org.

  • Ciderfest, Louisburg. Does fall even happen if you don’t have a fresh apple cider? Attendees can enjoy bluegrass music, unique gifts, craft soda, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, food trucks — and. of course, apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. Ciderfest happens over two weekends, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2, at the Louisburg Cider Mill. travelks.com/event/ciderfest/25744.

  • Kingman Fall Festival, Kingman. A craft show, family games, face painting, photo ops and a car show await those who explore the Kingman Fall Festival, Sept. 24. kingmancc.com

  • Oakley Fall Festival, Oakley. You’ll love the corn toss, corn maze, cornhole tournament and homemade ice cream made with an antique engine at the Oakley Fall Festival, hosted at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. And don’t forget the Happy Hour Beer Bar, Oct. 1. travelks.com/event/oakley-fall-festival/9241.

  • Columbus Hot Air Balloon Regatta, Columbus. Enjoy an up-close experience with hot air balloons, close to home. Don’t miss the 15-balloon Friday evening glow, Oct. 7-9. travelks.com/event/columbus-hot-air-balloon-regatta/17862.

  • BaKCon Fest, Kansas City. Beer, bands and bacon … oh my! This inaugural festival, Oct. 8, is perfect for those who love all things bacon, from bacon samples to a bacon eating contest. travelks.com/event/bakcon-fest/26487.

  • OzFest, Liberal. There’s no place like Liberal on the second Saturday in October. You’ll find fun, games, and a whole lot of “Wizard of Oz” events, Oct. 8, at Dorothy’s House and The Land of Oz. travelks.com/event/ozfest/26171.

  • Oktoberfest, Seneca. Come celebrate Nemaha County’s German heritage with food, drink and music by the Czechlanders, Oct. 8. travelks.com/event/senecas-oktoberfest/26605.

  • International Lineman’s Rodeo, Bonner Springs. Bring your own lawn chairs to the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, Oct. 15, and watch more than 4,000 linemen from all over the world compete. travelks.com/event/international-linemans-rodeo/27079.

  • Maple Leaf Festival, Baldwin City. There’s more than the changing maple leaves to enjoy in Baldwin City. More than 300 craft exhibits, quilt shows, performing arts, food and family fun are around the corner at the Maple Leaf Festival, Oct. 15-16. mapleleaffestival.com.

  • Cato Ghost Town Tour, Cato. Here’s your chance to explore a ghost town. On Nov. 5, visitors can tour the pioneer-era community, enjoy live music, snack on some good food — and you may even be lucky enough to see a shootout reenactment between Missouri border scoundrels and brave Kansas lawmen. travelks.com/event/cato-ghost-town-tour/18369.

  • WaKeeney Tree Lighting Ceremony, WaKeeney. It’s not officially the holiday season until the “Christmas City of the High Plains” lights its 35-foot tree, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26. travelks.com/event/72nd-annual-christmas-tree-lighting-ceremony/26008.

Take a drive

Fall foliage viewing has evolved into “leaf peepin,’” and it’s more popular than ever. Here are a few scenic drives that will immerse you into the vibrant colors of fall across Kansas. Be sure to visit travelks.com/things-to-do/byways-and-highways/byways for maps and itineraries.

1. Glacial Hills Scenic Byway. This byway, from Leavenworth to White Cloud, was carved by ancient glaciers, and the resulting landscape is teeming with life, from beautiful wooded hills to fertile cropland.

2. Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway. The red dirt of the area makes the deep reds and golds that you’ll find in the foliage of the area really pop. You’ll feel like you’re driving through a western movie on this route from Medicine Lodge to Coldwater.

3. Land and Sky Scenic Byway. The beautiful hills of Arikaree Breaks can be found in northern Cheyenne County along this route that follows Kansas Highway 27 from Haigler, Neb., to Sharon Springs, Kan. Make sure to stay on public roads during your viewing, but you’ll be stunned by their rugged wonder.

4. Frontier Military Historic Byway. This 168-mile-long byway may be known for its historic importance in settling the state, but you’ll find great scenic beauty along the route from Leavenworth to the Kansas/Oklahoma border. We suggest making a stop at Crawford State Park, which is well-known for its leaf peepin’ potential.

Roemerman is the marketing manager for Kansas Tourism. Kansas Tourism aims to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas to maximize the positive impacts that tourism has on the state and local communities. For more trip inspiration and to order a free Kansas Travel Guide, head to travelks.com


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