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Fall’s Last Hurrah –– A Great Time to Enjoy Outdoor Festivals

Locally, fall color is beginning to make an appearance in Ava and the Douglas County area.

Fall has finally arrived in the Ozark hills of Douglas County, and as cooler temperatures are making headway into our area, the desire to spend time outdoors seems much more appealing especially after the sweltering days of August and September.  

With enjoyable fall temperatures now in the forecast, it is timely to revisit outdoor events, and for those who prefer the autumn season, it is timely to seize the opportunity to participate in a few more fall outings before winter descends on the area.     

The good news is there are still several local events slated for this weekend and next week that may be of interest –– some are nearby, others may require a little travel, but the majority of the events are free to the public.

Rockbridge Trout & Game Ranch, south of Ava, is hosting a fall festival event Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 & Oct. 26.  Vendors will be on site Friday and Saturday, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, fun fall offerings will include train rides, hay rides, bounce house, carnival style games, costume contest, caramel apple bar, apple cider and more. For directions or more information, visit

Ava United Methodist Church is hosting a Fall Festival Trunk – Or – Treat on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 4-6 p.m. on the church grounds located at 945 W. Washington Avenue in Ava.  The evening offers food, fun games, and prizes.  For additional details, call 683-4460 or email

The Springfield Art Museum is hosting a Trick Art Treat morning event on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the museum located at 1111 Brookside Drive, in Springfield.  The event is from 10 a.m. to noon, and free to the public.  Activities include family fun with Halloween themed art projects, games, pumpkin decorating, spooky stories, and a costume contest.  For participation in the event, costumes are encouraged, but not required. For additional information or directions, visit the Springfield Art Museum Facebook page. 

First Southern Baptist Church is hosting a Fall Trunk or Treat event on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the church location, 714 Johnson Avenue in Ava.  The event will take place rain or shine.  

The Thriller on C-Street will take place on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m., and later that evening at 7:00 p.m.  This is the tenth anniversary of the tribute to Michael Jackson, which features a free show of street dance performance led by ghouls and goblins as they dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller!  The first street performance will take place between Robberson and Boonville streets at 3:30 p.m., and the production features “The Dr. Deadalous Traveling Zombie Show.”  After the afternoon performance, more fun and games  will be available, along with a DJ for entertainment.  The evening show begins at 7 p.m., and is followed by the 92.9 The Beat’s Killer Thriller Afterparty at the Savoy dance studio on C Street, beginning at 8 p.m.  The Afterparty has a $5 door charge, with admission for ages 18 and older. The Savoy is located at 224 East Commercial Street.   For more information, visit

Sweden Church is having a hayride event on Saturday, Oct. 26, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The evening includes a bonfire, weenie roast with all the trimmings, apple cider, and desserts.  For more info, visit

In Springfield, Kings Way United Methodist Church located at 2401 South Lone Pine will be hosting a fall festival event on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.  The free event offers inflatables, hayrides, a bonfire, treats, and games.  For more information click on the events icon on their website, 

High Street Baptist Church, 900 N. Eastgate Avenue, in Springfield,  is hosting a free community event on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 5 – 7 p.m.  During the evening, little ones are invited to hang out with Elsa, Anna, Woody, Minions and other favorite characters.  Amusement rides, such as bungee trampoline, kiddie swing and buckets of fun will be available, along with inflatables, hayride, carnival games, photo booth and lots of candy.  An exotic animal petting zoo is also planned.  Food concessions will be available for purchase.  For more information, go to 

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park in Springfield will be hosting the final fall weekend of fun at the farm.  Event hours are Friday, Oct. 25, from 6:30 – 10 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 noon – 6 p.m.  Activities include a corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin patch, Cow Train, carnival games, bounce inflatables and more.  There is a minor charge for participating.  For costs, visit the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park website or Facebook page. 

Ava General Baptist Church, 231 Spring Street, in Ava, is hosting a fall festival on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the church between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.  The event is open to the public and welcomes ages pre-K through 6th-grade.  

On Halloween evening, Oct. 31, Ava Place residents will be ready to hand out candy from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Ghosts and goblins are urged to stop by, visit with residents, and take advantage of the Halloween decorations which will provide several photo opportunities.  The assisted living facility is located one block south of Town & Country Supermarket, near the intersection of Dean Avenue and Lyle Street, in Ava. 

Ava Full Gospel Church and Common Grounds Coffee Shop, located at 465 SE Spring Street, Ava, is hosting a Trunk – Or – Treat event in the parking lot across from the church, October 31, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Free hamburgers and hot dogs, along with candy, will be given away, while the supply lasts.  

On Halloween evening Oct. 31, Branson Landing is hosting the 13th Annual Safe Street Trick or Treat evening from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  For the occasion, Sonshine Dance Studio, of Springfield, will entertain with a performance of the Monster Mob Flash Dance, following the 7:00 p.m. laser light fountain show.   

Harvest Festival at Silver Dollar City is coming to a close, as Oct. 24-26 are the final days for the season event.  This year the festival offers several new artisans and crafters, and a night time pumpkin glowing event. More information, along with ticket costs, are available on the Silver Dollar City website. 

For those interested in driving, another event of interest may be Grants Farm Fall Fest, in St. Louis, Mo.   The location offers a corn maze, home grown pumpkin patch, animal keeper talks, and the Kid Fun Zone, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  The event site is located  near the Clydesdale stable.  More information is available on the Grants Farm website.