12 Top Midwest Events in October | Midwest Living

12 Top Midwest Events in October

Catch a songwriters festival, follow an antiquing trail and check out new art exhibits—just a few of our top events in the Midwest in October.



Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis October 12–22 Catch a sneak peek of Oscar-hopeful shorts and feature films at this respected festival. Various venues around the city host screenings (heartlandfilm.org). 


Back Roads Junk-It Trail, Marshalltown October 6–8 Go on a personal treasure hunt (and scenic drive) through antiques shops in small Iowa towns. Stops on the mapped route include Eldora, Colfax, Gladbrook and others (backroadsjunkittrail.com). 

Iowa City Book Festival, Iowa City October 8–15 Catch public readings, discussions and a book fair lauding authors from around the world (iowacitybookfestival.org)


Lake Garnett Grand Prix Revival, Garnett October 13–15 Classic cars from makers like Maserati, Chevrolet and Ferrari zip around the Lake Garnett Race Track in this competitive match. Participate by navigating cones on an autocross track or registering in a car show (lggpr.org). 


Rivertown Fall Art Festival, Stillwater October 7–8 Thousands turn out to experience the beauty of the neighboring St. Croix River and pieces created by Midwest artists (rivertownfallartfestival.com). 

Rivertown Fall Art Festival

Photo courtesy of Rivertown Fall Art Festival


Olde Tyme Apple Festival, Versailles October 7 Revel in the return of apple season with a pie-baking contest and plentiful apple treats (versailleschamber.com). 

Through the Eyes of Picasso, Kansas City October 15–April 16, 2018 The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art welcomes an exhibition that focuses on a specific niche—Picasso’s penchant for African and Oceanic art. View paintings, sculptures and ceramics, alongside photos of the artist (nelson-atkins.org). 


SumTur Twilight Dash, Papillion October 21 Tackle an evening 5K or 10K run with the masses, setting out from SumTur Amphitheater. Then gather around bonfires with libations (papillionraceseries.com). 

North Dakota

FM Studio Crawl, Fargo October 7–8 You’re invited into the spaces where Fargo artists work. Follow provided maps and stroll from studio to studio, including some across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota (fmva.org). 


Columbus Coffee Fest, Columbus September 30–October 1 Join kindred caffeine-cravers as local roasters take up residence in historical buildings at Ohio Village. They’ll serve up dizzying drink options—even coffee-flavored cocktails and beers—for you to sample, and then you can buy coffee to take home (columbuscoffeefest.com). 

South Dakota

Wild West Songwriters Festival, Deadwood October 12–14 This fest spotlights the art of song writing with performances at Main Street venues and The Deadwood Mountain Grand. Jewel is set to perform, along with other songwriters and rising stars (wildwestsongwriters.com). 


World Dairy Expo, Madison October 3–7 Cows, experts and dairy enthusiasts represent at this global event for the dairy industry. The Alliant Energy Center brims with cattle looking their best, virtual farm tours and local cheese-laden eats (worlddairyexpo.com).


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