September is for apples, fall foliage, and state park events! From fiddling to marbles, bison to wild ponies, we’ve uncovered September’s liveliest state park events to kick off your fall.
State Park Event: Mountaineer Folk Festival
Head to Fall Creek Falls State Park for incredible food, music, and amazing views of the park’s popular waterfalls! For three days, the Mountaineer Folk Festival will be playing up live bluegrass and gospel music. Visitors can try their hand at pioneer skills and square dancing. There’ll be cannon firing, sorghum-making, and blacksmithing demos, and over 100 craft booths to browse for treasures. Fall Creek Falls State Park was listed as one of the most popular family destinations by Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living. With Pocket Ranger®’s Tennessee State Parks app, reserve a campsite or cabin to enjoy the park’s outstanding waterfalls, forests, canyons, and golf course!
Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
September 5 – 7, 2014
State Park Event: National Rolley Hole Marble Championship
Standing Stone State Park, Tennessee
September 13, 2014
Featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic, the National Rolley Hole is the world’s most challenging marble tournament. The best players from around the globe come to compete at Standing Stone State Park. Tournament players use flint marbles made by local craftsmen on the park’s clay dirt marble yard. Not yet a marble pro? Check out the marble-making demos, kids’ games and swap meet!
State Park Event: Archeofest
You won’t want to miss Archeofest at Pinson Mounds State Park! Archeofest celebrates Native American culture and features traditional singing, dancing, regalia and games. Participate in some of the exciting demos on pottery, flintknapping, leatherwork and jewelry or check out the craft fair. The fifteen Native American mounds found at the park were created thousands of years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that these mounds may have been used for both ceremonial and burial purposes. Tour the park’s museum to learn more about these fascinating, man-made structures.
Pinson Mounds State Park, Tennessee
September 15 – 16, 2014
State Park Event: Laura Ingalls Wilder Days
Celebrate the early American pioneer lifestyle of author, Laura Ingalls Wilder at Heritage Hill State Park’s Laura Days! Laura Days is a weekend full of family fun. Watch the beautiful Grand Parade in the park, and partake in a pie-eating contest or a spelling bee. Take it easy in a horse-drawn wagon ride and later throw up your heels at the square dance. There is an exciting tomahawk-throwing contest and medicine show to see, too! The arts & crafts market features fresh produce, Amish baked goods, and handmade items.
Heritage Hill State Park, Wisconsin
September 13 – 14, 2014
State Park Event: Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival
Custer State Park, South Dakota
September 27 – 28, 2014
The world’s largest, publicly-owned bison herd roams free over Custer State Park’s 71,000 acres. Each year, this herd of 1,300 is brought thundering into the corrals by cowboys and cowgirls. The bison are then sorted, branded, and given health checks. If you’re not one of the lucky few astride a horse, watch the buffalo stampede over a hot cup of coffee from the corrals’ bleachers. Afterwards, mosey on over to the bustling arts festival and fantastic food challenges, such as the Annual Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-off and Cabela’s Challenge Dutch Oven Cook-off.
State Park Event: Prairie Jubilee
Come celebrate the tallgrass at Prairie State Park’s Prairie Jubilee! A living history loop gives visitors insight into what life was like for early Missouri settlers. Listen to live music and give the bison chip-throwing contest a try. There will be a reenactment of an old-time medicine show and free tours of the bison herd. Hungry? Grab yourself a bison burger and settle down in the tallgrass to gaze out at the gorgeous sea of green.
Prairie State Park, Missouri
September 27, 2014
State Park Event: Annual Fall Harvest Festival
Since 1976, Grayson Higlands State Park has held the annual Fall Harvest Festival. Bursting with autumn foliage and exhibitions of Appalachian culture, the Fall Harvest Festival is a treat for the whole family. Help yourself to local food, like hobo pies, biscuits, and BBQ. Stop by the craft fair for walking sticks, quilts, turkey calls, and puppets. Grayson Highlands State Park is also home to a population of feral (and very cute!) ponies. The ponies protect the park from dangerous forest fires by eating back the brush. Wish you had your very own Grayson Highlands pony? You’re in luck! Each year, a few of these wild ponies are auctioned off to the public during the festival.
Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia
September 27 – 28, 2014
Suggested Gear List
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