Sure, the temperature may still creep above 80 degrees some days — but nevertheless, fall is here, and with that comes an abundance of festive events. Get in the spirit with all the terrific activities St. Louis has to offer this season. From corn mazes to art fairs to music festivals and every pumpkin-spiced affair in between, here are some of St. Louis’ must-do fall events.
Every weekend in October
When it comes to Missouri’s wine country, Oktoberfest might as well be a second Christmas. Every weekend of October is a party in Hermann, a small German town/wine haven located just a short drive from St. Louis. Beer, wine, food, live music, hayrides and more are abundant throughout the town and across the local wineries. Check out the Hermann website for a full schedule of events.
October 1 & 2
Art geeks, rejoice! This art fair is rated as one of the best in the area and features about 135 artists and craftspeople from around the nation who are selected to take part in this professionally juried fair. Local bands and performers provide entertainment as you mosey from booth to booth. Admission is $7 for adults, which is good for both days of the fair, and kids 14 and under are free. Want a dollar off admission? Bring along a non-perishable food item, which will benefit Isaiah 58 Ministries and Mount Olive church.
October 1, 2, 8 & 9
Of course, we can’t leave one of Forest Park’s favorite attractions out of the fall fun. The Saint Louis Zoo is hosting “Ottertoberfest” in honor of the North American river otter. For two weekends in October, visitors can enjoy traditional German beer, chow down on bratwurst, listen to live music, join in kids’ activities and more. And to top it off, admission is free. No wonder we all love the zoo so much.
September 30–October 16
Every year, AAE presents a special slate of arts programming with an emphasis on American artists; it’s the perfect way to plunge into the fall arts season across genres. Check out the online calendar for art exhibits, dance concerts, plays, and more.
September 30 – October 2
If craft and farmers markets are your thing, you definitely won’t want to miss the Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Garden. You’ll have flowers, baked goods, herbs, baskets, wooden toys, jewelry, handmade gifts and more right at your fingertips thanks to the 120-plus food producers and artisans on site.
If you’re all about shopping local, you won’t want to miss Harvest Festival. One of your favorite area sculpture parks is home to this yearly event, which includes food and drinks from St. Louis’ best restaurants, a farmers’ market, local bands, crafts and art booths and more. Adults pay $8 – $10, while children under 10 are free.
There’s no need to wait until the Mardi Gras pet parade for some costumed fun with your pooch. Head over to Urban Chestnut for Barktoberfest, a yearly Humane Society of Missouri fundraiser that includes a doggie costume contest, a doggie polka contest (yes, really) and games for both pups and their humans. All proceeds go to the Cinderella Fund, which helps the humane society’s homeless animals who need surgeries and other procedures.
October 21 & 22
If the small press expo isn’t enough book love for you, also make a point to stop by Lit in the Lou. This literary festival features vendors, a kids and teens book festival with guest speakers (Marc Brown will be there…yeah, the guy who wrote the Arthur series from your childhood) and a literary pub crawl for all the adult bibliophiles out there. Find details at literarystl.com.
October 21 & 22
The revelry of Soulard Oktoberfest may be taking a raincheck for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the season in Soulard. The Soulard Business Association has come to the rescue with the creation of the first-ever “Oktoberfest at Soulard Farmers Market.” Music, food, dancing and an Oktoberfest Brat Trot 5K are some of the activities in the works. For party tent costs and other details, check out the event’s Facebook page.
November 3 – November 13 (Schedule TBA)
OK, so movies don’t necessarily involve pumpkins or leaves. But nevertheless, the St. Louis International Film Festival is an annual fall event not to be missed. The Tivoli Theatre, Hi-Pointe Backlot, Plaza Frontenac and several other venues present must-see films as part of the festival. The official schedule has yet to be announced, but mark your calendar in the meantime.
This utterly joyful annual event offers a chance to connect to St. Louis’ history through music and dance. The Cherokee Jazz Crawl features performances by local musicians such as Ethan Leinwand and Miss Jubilee & The Humdingers, as well as free dance that’ll teach you how to cut a rug, old school–style. You can also take formal dance classes, take “Explore St. Louis” tours, and literally dance till dawn at live-music fêtes.
Beer lovers unite for the Schlafly Full Moon Festival, where you’ll find a pig roast, live music, fall-themed activities and, of course, plenty of Schlafly beer. Pumpkin Ale, Hard Apple Cider, Coffee Stout and more are waiting for you, as well as food collaborations and a bonfire. And as an added bonus, admission is free. We’ll drink to that.
Open now through October 30
If you don’t get lost in a corn maze, is it really fall? Take a trip to Godfrey, Illinois, where you’ll find one of the best in the area. This year, the annual maze is paying tribute to the Village of Godfrey’s 25th anniversary with a “Happy Birthday, Godfrey” theme. The seven-acre field is cut into the shape of balloons, a party hat, a birthday cake and the word “Godfrey” (good luck finding your way out). An additional haunted maze will open in October. Adults pay $6, kids six to eleven years old are $4, and children five and under are free.
October 7 & 8
Now in its 33rd year, the Belleville Chili Cook-Off is an annual tradition that no food lover should miss (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love food?). More than 60 vendors gather along Main Street, where you can sample their chili, take full quarts home and vote for your favorite. And no need to feel guilty for indulging here: This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for many local non-profits, so eat up.
October 15 & 16
Step into the past at Historic Luxenhaus Farm for Deutsch Country Days. History comes alive at this yearly festival that celebrates the history of 19th-century German settlers. Take a trip out to Marthasville for the events — what identifies as “the best kept secret in Missouri” may become your new favorite tradition.
August 27–November 19
This citywide series of collaborative exhibits includes selected murals painted during the unrest in Ferguson, with a series of rolling exhibits planned for The Millstone Gallery at COCA, Gallery 210, the Missouri History Museum, the Vaughn Cultural Center, the Ferguson Youth Initiative, and The Sheldon Art Galleries.
September 9–January 15
The Kemper celebrates 10 years in its current building by filling all of its galleries with infrequently seen masterworks from its permanent collection, including pieces by Catherine Opie, Philip Guston, and Leonard Baskin. Kemper Art Museum.
September 15–November 19
This isn’t Le Mindu’s first appearance in St. Louis—the French artist’s glorious wigs and hair sculptures had a significant role to play in the Chess Hall of Fame’s show A Queen Within—but it is his first U.S. solo show. projects + gallery.
Erika Diettes: Sudarios
September 25–December 4
Colombian artist and anthropologist Diettes’ fabric flags, printed with the black-and-white portraits of Colombian women who were forced to witness acts of atrocity committed by their own government, will hang in MOCRA’s former chapel. Museum of Contemporary Religious Art.
Radar Home, 11.8.13: New Work by Amy Reidel
October 7–January 21
Reidel, who is half of the duo behind the excellent quarterly All the Art, creates glittering mandalas on the floor. After your eye is dazzled, look closely, and you’ll see the pattern as weather radar maps, which often signal ominous things in the stormy Midwest. The Sheldon.
Open Studios STL
October 8 & 9
Open Studios gives St. Louisans a chance to invade artists’ studios for a weekend to watch them working and ask them direct questions about their work. New this year: an app with a full list of artists and a searchable map.
Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan
October 16–January 8
This show runs concurrently with Impressions of War, a series of powerful Goya prints depicting atrocities committed by Napoleon’s troops during France’s occupation of Spain. By contrast, the Conflicts of Interestexhibit presents battlefields and military conquests in ways that are almost abstract; objects include painted screens, game boards, and even textiles. Saint Louis Art Museum.
November 5–January 29
Laumeier Sculpture Park director Marilu Knode curates work from this multi-award-winning South African artist, who works primarily in film, photography and performance, for the park’s 40th anniversary year. Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Corinne Bailey Rae / Andra Day
October 4, The Pageant
Ebullient British singer-songwriter Rae is joined by Day, who wowed with her Black Lives Matter anthem “Rise Up” after the Mothers of the Movement speeches at this year’s Democratic National Convention.
October 8, Blueberry Hill
More LouFest veterans, The Suffers have been described (by NPR) as “the perfect mix of power and delicacy.” Seeing this 10-piece soul band in the intimate confines of The Duck Room will be, we guarantee, a concert experience those present will be talking about for years to come.
St. Louis Symphony: Tribute to Prince
October 9, Powell Hall
Prince wasn’t just one of the best-selling musicians of all time; he was a genius who combined American musical forms—including funk, psychedelia, and pop—into something totally original. (Even his little ditty about lunch, written for a 1997 cameo on The Muppets, sparkled with magic.) The symphony pays tribute to his life and work with orchestral arrangements of his best-known work, including “Purple Rain,” “U Got the Look,” and “Raspberry Beret.”
October 26 & 27, Jazz at the Bistro
This hybrid quartet, which boasts some of the city’s best jazz players, as well as members of the St. Louis Symphony, is homegrown—but starting to catch the ears of listeners nationally.
November 5, The Sheldon
That voice! That history! We balk at using that limp word “legendary”—but it actually applies here, and how. Staples has influenced generations of musicians, including Bob Dylan; has been sampled by hip-hop’s hottest artists; and, at age 77, has just released a new record, Livin’ on a High Note.
Stages St. Louis, September 9–October 9
Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, this ebullient musical adaptation—making its first run at Stages—features a disco-flavored score by Alan Menken, the hitmaker behind Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
New Line Theatre, September 29–October 22
The St. Louis premiere of the poetic, experimental 1969 play by the producers of The Fantasticks uses a nearly bare stage and masked actors; its message of reconciling opposites is as timely now as it was at the close of the tumultuous ’60s.
The New Jewish Theatre, October 6–30
As the U.S. stands at the edge of an unprecedented moment in history—possibly electing its first female president—this biographical play about Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir takes on even greater resonance.
Until the Flood
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, October 12–November 6
Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith’s new play, which is making its world premiere, is based on interviews conducted during Ferguson and captures all of the complexity and heartbreak that we’re still coming to terms with, two years later.
The Fox Theatre, November 15–27
We were shocked and thrilled to see this one open at home just a season after it swept the Tony Awards. If you see nothing else this fall, grab tickets to this pitch-perfect adaptation of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s poignant coming-of-age memoir.
St. Louis Ballet, December 16–23
Give Gen Horiuchi the most done-to-death ballet and he somehow finds subtle, magical ways to give it new edge and sparkle. He has his work cut out for him here: SLB delivers the freshest, most exciting version of Tchaikovsky’s classic, year after year.