JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Autumn in Jefferson City is a feast for the senses. It's not only the leaves on the trees that make fall a beautiful time in the Capital City; Jefferson City's true colors come out in festivals featuring the sights, sounds and tastes of its heritage.
Experience Oktoberfest the German Way
Old Munichburg, Jefferson City's historic German "Southside" neighborhood, is the perfect place to celebrate Oktoberfest in true German fashion. This free, family-friendly event on Saturday, Sept. 28 welcomes October to the Capital City with German music and dancing. The Dachshund Arena will feature events for canines of German heritage, including a Dachshund costume contest and derby. And local celebrities are participating in the "Are You Smarter than a Dachshund" Game Show from 11 a.m. to noon also at the arena. Children, ages 6-10, will enjoy the Kids' Corner, sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital City.
Craft and food vendors will line the streets and a car show will feature vintage automobiles in a number of classes, including Best German Car.
The Muenchberg Beer & Wine Garden will serve German food like bratwursts, sauerkraut and apple strudel, celebrating Muenchberg, Bavaria's status as sister city to Jefferson City. Local entertainers include the Loehnig German Band, the Rhineland Wurstjaegers and the Cedar Hill Elementary School German Club. In addition to the traditional German sounds, the Washington Street Main Stage will feature a performance from 3-6 p.m. by one of Columbia's most popular folk rock bands, Man in the Ring.
The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Old Munichburg. For more information, visit www.OldMunichburg.com.
Taste the Magic of Jefferson City's
MultiCultural Fall Festival
Where might you hear both bagpipes and drum music, see dances by Native Americans and Germans, and taste foods from China and Mexico? Jefferson City's MultiCultural Fall Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 12 allows attendees to embrace the diverse cultures found in mid-Missouri. This event is guaranteed to have something for everyone, with food, arts and crafts, storytellers for the children and community information booths.
The MultiCultural Festival blends with the annual Downtown HarvestFest to create one super-event that promises a great day of entertainment. Governor and Mrs. Jay Nixon will also welcome visitors to the HarvestFest at the Governor's Mansion. The fall event features animals, crafts, live music and tours of the Mansion's first floor. For more information, go to www.jcmcf.net.
Feel the Chill of Ghost Tours "Inside the Walls"
Those looking for Halloween ghosts should take a haunting nighttime tour at the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP). Visitors to Jefferson City can take a tour of the historic 1836 facility, now decommissioned, to see what life might have been like "inside the walls." The Penitentiary, which held prisoners until 2004, offers tours of several areas, including an unnerving visits to death row and the gas chamber. Paranormal experts have investigated the prison and reported paranormal activities. People who hope to have their own paranormal experiences can take a 2-hour ghost tour; go on a 3-hour ghost hunt, complete with "activity-finding" devices; or participate in an overnight paranormal investigation.
All tours feature knowledgeable guides, most of whom worked in the facility as wardens or guards, who share with guests the history and personal stories of the prison and its former inmates.
Visitors who want to learn more about the history of MSP can visit the newly opened Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, located at 100 E. High Street in downtown Jefferson City. The museum contains artifacts and memorabilia from the nearly two centuries the prison was in operation.
For more information on the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, call (800) 769-4183. To book a daytime historic tour, or nighttime ghost tour of the prison, call the same number or visit MissouriPenTours.com. Tours are available through the end of November, weather permitting.
See Autumn at its Best on the Katy Trail
The heart of Missouri's Katy Trail State Park winds through beautiful scenery just north of Jefferson City. The trail is the country's largest rails-to-trails conversion, turning the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad into a recreational trail. The trail parallels the Missouri River in many places, along tree-covered bluffs, which are a riot of color in the fall. Missouri's autumn temperatures are comfortable for hiking, biking, running or just strolling.
A pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River leads Katy Trail enthusiasts right to the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City's downtown. The downtown streets offer bikers or hikers the chance to enjoy an al fresco lunch or an afternoon of shopping in locally owned boutiques and galleries.
Christmas Is Coming!
Fall's chill in the air is a signal Christmas is on its way to mid-Missouri. Jefferson City glows during the Christmas season with colorful lights and a warm welcome for visitors. Special events and hometown hospitality make visitors a part of the Capital City "family."
The lighting of the Mayor's Christmas Tree in Rotary Park is the official beginning of the Christmas season in Jefferson City. This year's festivities on Dec. 5 will feature entertainment, refreshments and a special visit from Santa Claus.
On Dec. 6, downtown storefront windows come alive from 6-9 p.m. with dancers, singers and holiday scenes at the annual Living Windows event. For nearly 20 years, residents and visitors have had the opportunity to stroll along High Street and enjoy the sights and sounds of this Christmas celebration. There will also be hayrides winding through the streets, carolers and other entertainment and refreshments.
Missouri's Governor and First Lady will greet visitors to Missouri's beautifully restored Governor's Mansion on Dec. 6 and 7. Holiday decorations add to the stately grandeur of the home, which has been restored to its 1871 splendor. The mansion will be open from 6:30 until 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, coinciding with Living Windows, and also from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 7, immediately prior to the annual Jefferson City Christmas Parade.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., the parade meanders through downtown Jefferson City in a visual celebration of the season, featuring dozens of lighted floats decorated in holiday themes and bands playing Christmas carols. Santa Claus always ends the parade, calling "Merry Christmas" from his sleigh to spirited spectators lining the parade route.
Two annual choral events bring the music of the season to Jefferson City. For 75 years, the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda has been filled with Christmas music for Capitol Caroling. The Fine Arts departments at Jefferson City High School and Simonsen 9th Grade Center showcase the talents of their bands, orchestras and choirs at the event, to be held on Dec. 10, from 7-10 p.m. The acoustics of the rotunda make this a one-of-a-kind event in Missouri.
Jefferson City's own Cantorum will present its 2013 Christmas Program on Dec. 14 at the Miller Performing Arts Center, beginning at 7 p.m. This community choir offers entertaining concerts throughout the year, but none is more special than the holiday tunes offered during this festive season.
For more information about the sights, sounds and activities of Jefferson City, call the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-769-4183
, or visit www.VisitJeffersonCity.com
. You can also find more information on the city's Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages.