The days are getting shorter, the breeze getting cooler, and every store within a hundred-mile radius has shelves stocked with fall and Halloween décor. Dare I say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Autumn in the Midwest is a beautiful sight and one that everyone should have the chance to see. Autumn in West Central Indiana is a unique experience and one we invite everyone to take part in. So, that being said, pull on your coziest flannel and grab a pumpkin flavored coffee. It’s time to explore.
Autumn is a gorgeous season; it has something for everyone. For 11 months out of the year, a series of gems in Parke County lay untouched, just waiting for the excitement to begin. Every October, people from all over the country flock to the county’s 31 covered bridges. The Covered Bridge Festival brings in over 2 million people a year to celebrate Indiana’s largest festival. They come for the food, for the crafts, for the vendors, for the history. There is no better feeling than walking through the Covered Bridge Festival. The crisp fall air, the charming red and yellow leaves on the billowing trees, and the smells, oh the smells of fried food! What more could you ask for? The festival will begin on October 8th and will end on October 17th. I suggest arriving early in the morning, this way you beat the traffic and have first dibs on the hot and ready breakfast food. For more information, I invite you to check out Parke County’s website. There you will find the history of the festival, directions to the different festivals and bridges and even plan your trip! While you’re browsing the internet planning your trip, keep in mind that Terre Haute is just a 30-to-40-minute drive from the Covered Bridge Festival. We have tons of lodging options if you’d like to make a weekend out of the fall festivities, and lots of delish restaurants to treat yourself to while you’re here!
West Central Indiana is a region steeped in history. On October 2nd and 3rd, the Vigo County Parks Department hosted their annual Pioneer Days. Visitors were encouraged to use their imagination, letting the park become a portal to the past as they stepped back in time, witnessing the lives of our Hoosier ancestors. Visitors wandered around the 19th Century cabins, interacted with local artists and musicians and engaged with re-enactors. The best part? There was a pie auction. Go ahead, tell me that doesn’t sound absolutely amazing. Personally, I could have spent all my money on the pies, especially pies made with love and history.
These cozy events all took place in the warm light of day, but once the sun goes down, Fowler Park will become Frightening Park! On October 29th, the park will begin its spooky activities with a hayride at 4 p.m. Tickets are $3 and the festivities will end at exactly 6:30 p.m. Why so you ask? Because at 7:30 p.m., the real fun begins. Park goers ages 13 and up will have a unique chance to explore Fowler Park after dark. Those who are brave enough to hear and witness the haunted tales of the pioneer village should meet at the Log Barn before 7:30 p.m. to register.
Does anyone else have goosebumps? I feel spooked just thinking about what’s in store for anyone crazy enough to meander around an eerie village after dark. Tales of the dearly departed are not for everyone, perhaps you would rather get into the Halloween spirit by carving a pumpkin! Hawthorne Park will host a Pumpkin Carving Contest on October 15th from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Shelter. Registration is $5 and carvers are encouraged to register early online or at the Vigo County Parks Department administrative office. You may call the office at 812-462-3392, or email the Recreational Coordinator at Rec.Coordinator@VigoCounty.IN.gov. Pumpkin carving tools will be provided, so no need to bring your knife. The evening will be full of classic Halloween fun, and all are encouraged to have a ‘gourd’ time! (Get it?)
Unfortunately, Halloween is on a Sunday this year, which means little ghosts and ghouls will only have so much time to Trick-or-Treat before it’s off to bed! But don’t fret! The City of Terre Haute will have two nights of Trick-or-Treat fun. Trick-or-Treaters are free to hunt for their goodies on Saturday, October 30th and Sunday, October 31st. The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is making sure little goblins have as much time as possible to play all their tricks, and collect all their treats. Haunted Haute will take place on October 29th in Downtown from 6-8 p.m. There will be dancing, music, lots of treats and plenty of tricks. This is an event for all ages! Come in costume and be ready for a night of mischief and memories.
If Halloween activities don’t peak your interest, perhaps fall sporting events will! Spend All Hallows-Eve at the legendary LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course for the 2021 IHSAA State Championships. The event will be held on October 30th and hosted by the Vigo County School Corporation. The Boys meet will begin at 12:00 p.m., Girls at 3:00 p.m., both will be followed by awards ceremonies. Tickets to the event are $10 a person and can be bought digitally via GoFan ticketing, officials encourage you to buy tickets in advance and have your ticket ready upon entry to the course.
Dear friends, it seems our Autumnal time together has come to an end. I will leave you with these extra sweet seasonal sips from a few local coffee shops. We will begin Federal Coffee Company. Baristas have been hard at work tweaking classic recipes and creating instant local favorites, beginning with their hot Chai’der drink. This seasonal twist on a Chai Tea Latte mixes local apple cider with house-made Chai Tea and cinnamon sugar, yum! Maybe you fancy a Flower Child Latte from Java Haute? This eccentric Chai Tea latte starts with a Chai Tea base and is blended with house-made chamomile-cinnamon sugar and topped with a pinch of cinnamon. Little Bear Coffee Company has many a tasty treat on their menu, including the ice cold Pumpkin Juice drink. This refreshing concoction begins with a pumpkin juice base, blended with butter pecan cold foam, and topped with cinnamon. It’s the perfect blend for anyone who can’t choose between favorite fall flavors. If the three drinks I mentioned earlier aren’t enough, below you’ll find a guide to all the seasonal sips from Federal Coffee Co., Java Haute and Little Bear Coffee Co. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have got to get me one of those Chai’ders.