Fall for Door County
By Donna Marie Pocius
Special to DoorCountyNavigator.com
It's time to don some microfleece, lace up hiking boots and head to Door County to take in a kaleidoscope of color.
Plan your visit around one of four major fall festivals taking place in September and October. Be sure to also visit the art galleries, clothing boutiques and home furnishings stores. They have fantastic sales this time of year.
And don't miss the opportunity to feel crunchy colorful leaves beneath your feet as you walk gorgeous trails like the Yellow Trail in Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay, (near Jacksonport) and famed Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek (this writer's favorite trails).
But if you're more a city guy or gal, just hike Third Avenue during the Harvest Festival, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, in Sturgeon Bay. The day-long festival takes place on the historic avenue between Michigan Street and Jefferson Street. About 40 arts and crafts exhibitors and many food vendors will be available.
Enjoy musical entertainment, too. The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, which organizes the event, confirmed that Hot off the Grill, a Milwaukee area light rock band will play from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the intersection of Third Avenue and Louisiana. Also, Centerline, a Door County country western rock 'n roll band, performs from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the intersection of Third Avenue and Jefferson Street.
Food sales at Harvest Festival benefit organizations including the Sturgeon Bay Rotary, Jaycees, Knights of Columbus, Marine Corps. League, Door Peninsula Detachment and others. People can choose from traditional fair fare like brats, burgers and roast corn. Also available are steak sandwiches, quesadillas, fajitas, Italian sausage sandwiches, pizza and kettle corn.
The fall festivities continue the following Saturday, Sept. 26, when Baileys Harbor hosts Autumn Fest from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Car collectors may display their antiques in Baileys Harbor's fire station. Trophies will be awarded for different car categories.
Autumn Fest will also feature music by the River City Six Band from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A bake sale will take place in the Baileys Harbor Town Hall, and brat sandwiches will be sold.
Arts and crafts exhibitors will display their wares in Kendall Park outside the town hall building, and visitors can buy tickets for a day-long raffle. Prizes, which were donated by Baileys Harbor businesses, include overnight stays at hotels, gift certificates and gift shop merchandise.
"It's a small hometown festival, and we run it," said Sandy Weisgerber, co-owner of Weisgerber's Cornerstone Pub and Restaurant in Baileys Harbor and a volunteer organizer for Autumn Fest.
"It's a nice getaway, and there are a lot of locals who come," she added. (And that's always a good sign, right?)
And many people plan a Door County getaway October 10 and 11, when the Pumpkin Patch Festival is staged in Egg Harbor and the leaf colors are usually at their peak. The Egg Harbor Visitor Center said that the event this year offers food sales, arts and crafts, a silent auction, live entertainment and a best putt contest.
Also, bring the kids for activities such as face painting and storytelling.
Then, the Sister Bay Fall Festival, Oct. 16 to 18, welcomes people back for a wide variety of activities. And if you haven't been here for a while, you may be surprised and delighted to discover that the arts and crafts exhibitors now spread out along Mill Street instead of in the park.
Food booths and bands are still staged on Hwy. 42, which is closed to traffic in town for fair activities, of course. The iconic dropping of ping pong balls happens on Sunday afternoon, "affording a one in ten chance of winning a prize from a participating Sister Bay business," organizers tout.
Now, how Door County is all that?