Get Your Harvest On: Discover Festivals, Orchards, and Wineries in Minneapolis Northwest
Autumn is the most beautiful season in Minnesota, and Minneapolis Northwest puts the spotlight on all the fall scenery and fun to be had. Though the weather cools down, we heat up with festivals and great venues to enjoy the harvest season, such as orchards and wineries. Whatever you and your family are in the mood for, we’ve got hot ideas to put you in the fall spirit.
Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze
Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 22 – Oct. 28, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and open MEA: Oct. 18-19
$10 online, $12 at the gate
Round up your friends and family for an afternoon at the Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze. Located in Brooklyn Park, this autumn attraction boasts the largest corn maze in Minnesota – nearly 20 acres. This year’s maze theme is the Minnesota Timberwolves, and a portion of every ticket purchased will go to the Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation, which supports organizations that make the community a better place to live, work and play. You can also challenge your friends to a pumpkin-launching contest with the popular Pumpkin Slinger and enjoy live music, a petting zoo, hayrides, gunny sack slide, corn seed pit, and a pumpkin patch. Bonus tip: Kids under 36 inches tall are free!
Fall On the Farm
Saturday, Oct. 13, Noon to 3 p.m.
$4 ages 5-17; adults $6
Roll up your sleeves for Fall On the Farm! This family event at Eidem Homestead celebrates fall as it was in 1900 when farmers prepared for a long winter. Participate in old-fashioned harvest activities like pulling the last of the veggies from the garden, pressing cider, and helping cook delicious fall treats on a traditional wood stove. Hayrides and a pumpkin mask craft will keep your family entertained. This event is perfect for grandparents, kids, and everyone in between. Bonus tip: Kids 4 and under get in for free!
Orchards & Pumpkin Patches
Apple Jack Orchards
You may have heard of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples, but what about Fireside, SweeTango, Whitney Crab, and Zestar? You can find these varieties and more at Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, which continues to rank as one of the best orchards in the country. Browse the home-baked goodies in the bakery, try an apple cider brat or Sloppy Jack Sandwich at the on-site restaurant, do some early holiday shopping in the old barn gift shop, and relax to live music. Bonus tip: Kids can test their aim with the apple cannon, cozy up to critters in the animal park, or hop on a pony ride!
Choose your own adventure with pick-your-own or pre-picked apples at Minnetonka Orchards and explore its more than 40 acres of trails and entertainment options for the whole family. Stop by the Donut House and get one of its “almost famous” apple donuts, or satisfy your hunger at the Brat House or Feed Hut with an Apple Cider Brat! Another family favorite is the hayride, a quintessential fall experience, that winds you through the orchard and the nearby woods, and pulled by a restored antique tractor. Your little ones can also enjoy climbing on the wooden choo-choo train, playing on the gigantic hay mountain, or wandering the corn maze. Be sure to head to the barn and play with bunnies, sheep, goats, calfs and a miniature horse.
For the best pumpkin patch around, head to Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, where some pumpkins need their own wagon! Enjoy mini-donuts, hot apple cider, amazing decorations, a photo booth, and wine tastings (on Saturdays). Wristband Days on Saturdays and Sundays (and during MEA) are perfect for families. This $7 pass includes access to the corn maze, corn pit, giant slide, hay ride, and Pumpkin Jumper. Bonus tip: Check out Dehn’s night time flashlight corn maze on Fridays and Saturdays! $5
Buffalo Rock Winery
If you’d like to visit an unintimidating winery with rustic, small town charm, look no further than Buffalo Rock Winery in Buffalo. The great location, tasty wine, and welcoming people create a memorable experience for wine novices and connoisseurs alike. For starters, try out their popular wines like Oximoron, a sweet red and guest favorite since 2010, and Papa Mike’s Rockin’ Rosé, with hints of currant and mulberry.
Bonus tip: Kick off your shoes and join in the Grape Stomp on Saturday, Sept. 15! Bring the whole family and have fun stomping grapes for a good cause! This annual fundraiser benefits the Buffalo and Rockford Food Shelves. Both adults and kids are welcome to join in the stomping good time. Enjoy wine tastings throughout the event and participate in yard games.
Two Rivers Vineyard & Winery
Treat yourself to the complete wine experience at Two Rivers Vineyard & Winery in Ramsey. Sample the award-winning Frontenac Gris, featuring a white grape bred by the University of Minnesota and finished with a touch of sweetness. Wine experts are on hand to teach you how to properly open and store wine, offer tasting techniques, pairings, and more. Bonus tip: Have a small sample of Granny’s Favorite – a sweet red wine that packs a whopping 24 percent alcohol!
Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery
Wine or beer? Luckily, you don’t have to choose at Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery! Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery is becoming known as a must-stop destination spot where guests can taste and appreciate a variety of quality and serious wines alongside distinctive craft brews, all made right on site. Sit outside under the twinkling lights at night, or play games inside on beautiful wood tables with a variety of wine and beer to quench your thirst. Enjoy the flavors of warm caramel, Macintosh apple, wild strawberry and pomegranate with each sip of Laketown Rose or take in notes of honeydew melon, citrus and lychee with hints of lilac and orange blossoms in the Laketown White. If beer is more appealing to you, choose from the Double Rye Stout, Stealth Stout, Cream Ale or Grapefruit Blonde. Bonus tip: Enjoy delicious eats from a variety of food trucks and live music, or sign up for the Thursday night Bocce Ball League! Find the full list of events here.
OMNI Brewing Co.
Can’t afford to travel to Munich for Oktoberfest? At OMNI Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest you’ll feel like you’re in Munich (the next best thing!) with traditional decorations, polka music from Dale Dahmen & The Beats, bretzels (traditional pretzels) from Aki's BreadHaus - German Style Baking, and costumes. Enjoy OMNI’s traditional Oktoberfest beer in a traditional Bavarian mug and you get to keep the mug! Put this on your calendar, get your lederhosen/dirndls ready, and work on your German, because you're going to need it!
Wicked Wort Brewing Co.
Nothing says Oktoberfest like beer and brats! Join Wicked Wort for its 3rd Annual Oktoberfest Celebration on Oct. 6, where you can sip on Wicked Wort’s Oktoberfest beer along with a brat (or hot dog) from Hackenmueller’s Meat Market. To enhance your traditional experience, purchase one of Wicked Wort’s Oktoberfest beer steins. Groove to live music from The C-Notes and a variety of other bands from 2 -11 p.m. and bring the whole family for fun and games including log rolling, Hammerschlagen, bag toss, Giant Connect Four and more!
Lupine Brewing Company
Great music, great beer and great food! What’s not to love?! At Lupine Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest in Delano, you can enjoy its signature Oktoberfest beer, tapped from a Rye Whiskey Barrel from J. Carver Distillery. Don’t forget to grab one of their limited bottles of Destruction Wheat Wine, also aged in a whiskey barrel! Celebrate all day long, as the event starts at 2 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. You can also hangout with Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and get your picture taken, and/or purchase an autographed calendar! Find out more here.
More Harvest Events
Make Your Own Hard Cider & Celebrate the Fall Equinox
Discover apple cidering history and how prohibition affected the industry at Elm Creek Park Reserve on Oct. 21. Make cider using a press with different apple varieties and taste the differences. Travel to Sociable Cider Werks to explore the process of making hard cider and leave with a one-gallon carboy full of cider wort. Grab a seat for this fun fall event by October 14, before it fills up!
Celebrate the fall equinox and find balance between the seasons at the special adult night event at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park on Sept. 21. Hike in the park, relax by a fire, and embrace the essence of autumn. Start the season out right by reserving your spot for this event by September 17.
Kick off this beautiful ever-changing season and learn more about these unforgettable fall experiences here.
About the Author
- Minneapolis Northwest CVB
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