Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fabulous Fall in McHenry County Illinois

Scare Yourself at 'Terror on the Railroad' in Union
On Friday and Saturday nights throughout October, the Illinois Railway Museum presents "Terror on the Railroad", a darkly haunted train experience for those over 13 whose hearts can stand the ride. Bigger and better each year, three haunts await in 2015.
First, ride the Screamliner, a vintage passenger train that's been overrun with insane scientists determined to keep their train moving by sucking the life out of the passengers. Next, step aboard the Train of Chills, an abandoned set of decrepit train cars where asylum escapees have taken up residence. Face your fears in their new home; they're dying to see you. Finally, visit Cirque de Decay, where a circus train unloaded its twisted freaks. Details and tickets at

21st Annual Shades of Autumn Near McHenry: Families love this eight-weekend fall extravaganza on Stade's (pronounced STAH-dee's) Farm, near the town of McHenry. Ride a wagon into a giant pumpkin patch and enjoy hayrides, petting zoo, corn maze, crafts, outdoor concerts, zip-lines, climbing bins, jumping pillow, corn box, barrel train and pedal cars. See Stade's celebrated pumpkin cannon blast giant orange missiles into a distant cornfield, and ride on Frank, the big purple combine. Enjoy farm-cooked food and more. Open Saturdays and Sundays starting Sept. 12, then Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, Oct. 2 through Nov. 1, plus Columbus Day on Oct.12.  

Second Annual Main Street Fest in Cary: This outdoor fest, Sept. 19 & 20, features restaurants, businesses, outdoor marketplace, live entertainment and children's area. Craft beers and select wines complement the menus at participating eateries; a fine arts component showcases local artists with live art creation and interactive displays; the main stage has live entertainment; the family stage highlights theater, dance and interactive programs.
Cody's Farm Annual Pumpkin Festival Near Marengo: Take a hayride into Cody's giant pumpkin patch to pick out your favorite. Explore the four-acre corn maze, corn tunnel. pumpkin launchers, corn box, barrel rides and tractor track. Enjoy fresh cider, brats, apple cider donuts, burgers, caramel apples, fresh fruit pies and more. Open every weekend in October.
10th Annual Fall Fest in Huntley: Soar high in the sky with tethered hot air balloon rides, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 25, 26 & 27. Enjoy carnival midway rides, car show, beer garden, food vendors, hay rides, craft show, business expo, model train display, ice cream eating contest, puppet show, live music, magic show and fireworks. Kids will love the kids' stage, petting zoo, pony rides, straw maze, pumpkin bowling and scarecrow building.
Johnny Appleseed Festival in Crystal Lake: Johnny Appleseed is the guest of honor at Crystal Lake's largest one-day festival, held Saturday, Sept. 26 throughout downtown. Meet and greet Johnny himself, see cider-making, apple pie-baking and pie-eating contests, craft fair, music, dance demonstrations, children's games, pony rides, pumpkin bowling, petting zoo, face painting, carnival rides, scarecrow contest, balloon art, heritage demonstrations, storytelling, food, cider donuts, apple treats and more.
28th Annual Autumn Drive, Woodstock to Marengo: This progressive fall festival on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 16, 17 & 18, moves at whatever pace you choose. Spend a leisurely day driving Garden Valley Road between Woodstock and Marengo, when McHenry County farms open their barnyards and farmhouses to the public. Pick up fall produce, honey, jams, soaps and vinegars along the way. Ride a tractor, visit petting zoos, twist through corn mazes, pick apples and pumpkins, take a hayride. Many stops include crafters selling pottery, jewelry, lawn ornaments and more. Antique dealers sell furniture, trunks, cookbooks, tools, collectibles and jewelry. Garage sales and barn sales are scattered throughout the drive, as are produce, and baked goods. Garden Valley Road is a 30-minute-drive north of I-90.


Pumpkins are the star attractions at many of the orchards and festivals listed above, but you can pick your own or choose from pre-picked ones at many other locations throughout McHenry County, along with squash, gourds and autumn decorations. 
  • Patyk's Farm Market & Greenhouse, Richmond
  • Twin Garden Farms, Harvard
  • Von Bergen's Country Market, Hebron
  • Tom's Farm Market, Huntley
  • Grace Farm Studios, Woodstock
  • Dave's Pumpkins, Huntley
  • Red Barn Market, Woodstock

Plan an Overnight in McHenry County

McHenry County is just an hour's drive northwest of Chicago, bordered on the north by Wisconsin, and on the south by I-90. The Fox River winds down from the Chain of Lakes through the towns on the eastern side of the county, while country roads meander the western side. 

For visitor info, including lodging and dining 
options throughout McHenry County, log on 
Visit McHenry County toll-free at 888-363-6177. 
Follow on Twitter and Facebook. For a digital 
McHenry County 2015/16 Visitor's Guide, 
click on the image to the left. 

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