Here are the highlights for this October holiday weekend. Also, please check out our various editions of the "Fall Guide 2012" for info on pumpkin patches, hayrack rides, apple orchards and great spots to check out the fall foliage. Plus, the Go West Calendar might have some events that better fit your family's interests or schedule.
ST. CHARLES: The St. Charles Scarecrow Festival, one of the biggest events of fall in the Fox Valley, gets underway Friday and runs through Sunday evening. It's been held for more than 25 years and attracts thousands of visitors to see more than 150 scarecrows hand-crafted by businesses, families, organizations and individuals. There is also a carnival, live music and entertainment, opportunities to create your own scarecrows and more. The heart of the festival is Lincoln Park on the west side of St. Charles, along Route 64. But while scarecrows used to be exclusively displayed in Lincoln Park, they are now also displayed on 1st Street and the Riverwalk. This event does get very busy and crowded; your best bet is to attend Friday during the day or early on Saturday or Sunday morning.
MINOOKA: If you love horses and live in the Oswego or Plainfield areas, you'll want to know about the "Friday Family Fun Night" held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. the first Friday of every month at the Ellis Equestrian Center in Minooka. Admission is free. The evening includes pony rides, a movie, bonfire, face painting, nature trails, crafts and a tractor pulled hay ride (weather permitting.) Pony rides are $3 per ride, or $5 for two rides. Concessions available for purchase.. This event is sponsored by the Oswegoland Park District.
OSWEGO & BATAVIA: The "Free Fall Movies" series continues at Goodrich Quality Theaters in both Batavia and Oswego. The PG-rated animated film "Rango" will be shown at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at the Kendall 10 and the Randall 15 IMAX. It will also be show in a sensory-friendly manner (lights up, sound down on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
VARIOUS: Home Depot holds free "Kids Workshops" on the first Saturday of every month. At this month's workshop, kids will build a fire truck as well as receive a kid-sized orange apron, a commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. This is a drop-in activity, offered from 9 a.m. to noon, but an associate at the Geneva location told me they are popular, and sometimes stores run out of kits, so the closer to 9 a.m. the better. Home Depot also has stores in South Elgin, Aurora, Bartlett and Naperville.
ELGIN: The Elgin Public Museum will be hosting its annual "Native American Cultural Day" on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lords Park. The event is free, and will feature different activities, including a Bison Blessing in front of the bison pen, and the portrayal of a Pottawatomi Indian from the late 18th century.
GENEVA: Peck Farm Park Interpretative Center will host a public star party on Saturday night, organized by the Fox Valley Astronomical Society. There will be a short discussion in the Orientation Barn at 7 p.m. After that, there will be telescopes available until 9:30 p.m. This is a free event.
COLUMBUS DAY: The Go West Calendar has a number of fun activiites happening on Monday, including a special holiday edition of "Pumpkin Weekends" at Blackberry Farm in Aurora, and the Geneva Public Library offering a coloring page and puzzles all day long.