It's all 'falling' into place
As the leaves begin to turn, Maplewood State Park in rural Pelican Rapids is the place to be.
Each fall in late September and early October, the Friends of Maplewood host the park's annual Leaf Days celebration, set to take place this year on Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 6-7. Many activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each of those days.
It is a good time to visit Maplewood, have a picnic, take a hike, or just drive around looking at the colorful leaves and native grasses. There will be narrated wagon rides to look at the leaves and discover some interesting facts about Maplewood State Park, and of course, many visitors will also want to hike the trail to the top of Hallaway Hill to check out the view as well.
A variety of activities will be offered, from trying to take on early settlers' tasks such as making rope, shelling and grinding corn, using an apple press and churning butter, to various woodworking activities and nature art for the kids.
"We're very kid friendly," says Friends of Maplewood President John Nordstrom. "We try to offer a lot of activities for both kids and adults."
As a family, you can use your phone and go on a digital scavenger hunt, or use one of the park's GPS units and try to find the hidden maple leaves around the park. And there may be a few surprises in store as well.
"Sometimes we'll have someone come in for one of the four days and do a craft or woodworking or cooking demonstration, or play some music," says Nordstrom. "Those things aren't always listed on the schedule, because they're last-minute additions."
If you don't want to pack a lunch, your hosts—the Friends of Maplewood—will have food available, so make a day of it and head on out to Maplewood State Park. The entrance is located located just off Highway 108, eight miles east of Pelican Rapids or 20 miles west of Perham. For more information please call Maplewood State Park, 218-863-8383.
Other coming attractions
• The Lake Park Pumpkin Festival takes place between Sept. 27-29 and includes a parade, kids' games and crafts, corn maze, car show, wagon and barrel train rides, bake-off, run/walk, vendor show and more. Two new events this year, a youth pumpkin carving activity and a "Carve and Cork" event for adults, will kick the festival off early this year, on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 27. There will also be a yard decorating contest and Lil' Miss Pumpkin Fest Pageant on Friday. The vast majority of events will take place on Saturday, Sept. 29, starting with a Harvest Breakfast at the Lake Park American Legion at 7 a.m. and continuing through 6:30 p.m., with live music and a brat feed, again at the Legion. Most of the activities geared toward kids will start around 10 a.m. in the downtown area, continuing through the 2:30 p.m. parade. There'll also be more than a dozen food options. For more information, visit the Lake Park Pumpkin Fest Facebook page.
• Prince's band, The Revolution, will perform live at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The band, which consists of original members Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z, BrownMark and Dr. Fink, will play a combination of hits from albums "Purple Rain, "Controversy," "Around the World in a Day," "Parade" and more. Admission is $58 for adults and $29 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance, online at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html, by phone at 218-844-7469, or at the Holmes Theatre box office located at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes, as well as at the door on the night of the show.
• The Essentia Health-St. Mary's Foundation will host its annual Fire & Ice Celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, inside the Schultz Family Hangar at the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport. The event will include a gourmet dinner catered by La Barista, wine and beer tasting, live music from Tim Eggebraaten, a silent auction, games — and a raffle to give away a New York vacation package. Tickets are $60, and can be purchased at the EHSM Gift Shop, by calling 218-844-0719, online at 2018fireandice.eventbrite.com, or from foundation board members.
• The Tamarac Fall Festival provides a nature-based way to enjoy the season. With guided hikes, family activities, bus tours and more, the festival offers a great opportunity to visit Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. This year's festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at three locations within the refuge — the visitor center, Discovery Center, and cabin site. Primary event parking will be available in the field at the cabin site, across from the Tamarac Maintenance Shop (watch for blue flag banners). Trolley rides will be available to take visitors to all the sites, or people can hike the Bear Paw Trail between the cabins and visitor center. Parking is also available at the visitor center. With a theme of forests, trees and the habitat they provide for wildlife, this year's festival will feature bus tours that focus on forest management and key wildlife species managed at Tamarac, departing from the cabin site at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each lasts about 90 minutes. Interested parties may sign up for the tours at the start of the festival. Other planned activities include guided forest hikes, information and demonstrations on old logging techniques used in the Tamarac area, puppet shows (at 10:30 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.), a photography contest and kids' challenge, with prizes awarded for those who complete the challenge. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/tamarac or call the refuge office at 218-847-2641.