Autumn celebration returns for another year

Children at last year’s MacKenzie Center Fall Festival learn archery skills, a station that will return this year. 


Editor's note: Due to inclement weather, the Fall Festival has been changed from Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 8. The article has been edited to reflect this change. 

For the second year, the MacKenzie Center will host a cornucopia of fall activities. 

The Fall Festival will return Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., merging autumn staples with the center’s unique offerings. 

Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Educator Hayley Parsons said the Friends of MacKenzie and the center’s staff came up with the festival last year as a way to do something that “encompasses the fall activities … with the programs at the MacKenzie center that the public doesn’t always get to do.” 

And that first year was wildly successful, drawing over 1,300 people, she said. 

The festival’s seasonal offerings include pumpkin painting, a hay bale maze, gunny sack races, face painting, scarecrow making and hayrides. This year they’re bringing back an activity where visitors can make “wood cookies” using a two-person crosscut saw and adding a new activity where guests can decorate pre-made wood cookie necklaces. 

These autumnal activities will merge with the MacKenzie Center’s usual activities, which are often only offered to school groups. Visitors will be invited to try archery (and blow-up archery for younger kids), leaf and wildlife track rubbings, compass skills, wildlife viewing, fire building, hiking, scavenger hunts and studying pond critters.

The day’s entertainment includes a D.J. starting at 11 a.m. 16-person ukulele band performing at 1 p.m. 

Parsons said the center will bring back the hayride and add a second wagon. 

“We created a hayride path that goes around some of our prairies, through a little part of the woods, through the higher level of our property,” she said. “You can see the fire tower, you can see some of our buildings.” 

To keep the festivities accessible to families, the admission fee is $15 per car, she said. Food and gift shop items will be available at an additional cost. 

All proceeds from the event go to the Friends of the MacKenzie Center to support the MacKenzie Center and its programs. 

For more information visit or find Friends of the MacKenzie Education Center on Facebook. 



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