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Taking the Kids -- to a fall festival

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Time travel back to a 16th-century English village, complete with King Henry VIII and his court, at the Maryland Renaissance Festival (weekends through Oct 22) in Annapolis. Maryland. Enjoy jousting competitions music, food, crafts and more.

Got any young musicians in the crowd? Columbia, Missouri's Roots N Blues BBQ Festival, Sept 29 through Oct 1, is not only one of the Midwest's biggest music festivals, but welcomes kids 12 and under free with an adult admission. They'll love all the interactive art installations!

Kids will also love stomping on the grapes in Sonoma County, California, or trailing sheep in Idaho or listening to Elk bugle in Estes Park, Colorado. Celebrate all things elk (including a bugling contest) in Estes Park, during Elk Fest the last weekend in September while Snow Mountain Ranch on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park hosts Fall Fest weekends in September, complete with a pumpkin seed-spitting contest and a fortune-telling goat.

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair runs Oct. 6 through 8 in Sonoma, California, and invites everyone to join in the World Championship Grape Stomp, along with cow milking contests, pumpkin tosses, an Easy Bake Oven Bake-Off, as well as music and art.

Let's not forget corn mazes (like the huge one with more than nine miles of trails at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring, Grove, Illinois, about an hour from Chicago. This year's maze is a tribute to the champion Chicago Cubs), carnival rides, and jumping in the leaves.

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(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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