An autumn chill is in the air and that means the forests of Northern Michigan will be bursting with brilliant color very soon. Farm stands are already brimming with apples, pumpkins and fresh-pressed cider. The fall festival season also kicks off this month, too. But where to start?

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau has the answer. Check out this rundown of the dates and links to information on the most popular things to do in and around the dunes this fall. 

Empire Hops Festival

Oct 4th

On October 4th from noon to 10 p.m., the Empire Chamber of Commerce will team up with local hops farms, breweries and local food establishments to host the first annual Empire Hops Festival. The location of Empire Hops festival will be on Front Street in downtown Empire. The festival will feature beer from local craft beer makers including New Holland, Right Brain, Stormcloud Brewing of Frankfort, The Workshop Brewery, Beards of Petoskey and Shorts. Festival goers will also enjoy food, hops and live music. Admission is $10, which will include a festival beer glass and a drinks ticket.


Fall for Art

October 10th

The Glen Arbor Art Association is planning this exhibition of GAAA members’ artwork as part of the 2014 “Fall for Art” in Leelanau Gallery Tour. There will be an opening reception Friday, October 10th, 6 – 8 pm at the Glen Arbor Art Association. Gallery hours will be Friday and Saturday, October 10th and 11th, 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, October 12th, 10 am – 2:00 pm.

Watch for the bright yellow “Fall for Art” window signs that indicate participating galleries. Start your tour by picking up a brochure at any participating gallery displaying a sign. Staff at each gallery will sign the tour brochures, which ensure entry in the prize drawing at the closing reception on Sunday.


8th Annual Suttons Bay Art & Wine Walk

October 17th

Visit participating shops, meet award-winning local artists and sample Leelanau County Wines. Again this year, art-and-wine-walkers are urged to pick up a walking guide when you start your downtown tour. The guides include the names of the participating merchants along with the artist they are hosting and a winery if they so choose to sponsor one. The guides will be stamped after visiting the store and at the end of the evening leave your card with one of the merchants and it will be entered to win a $250 Village shopping spree.

Glen Arbor Merchant Trick-or-Treat

October 26th

A Halloween tradition was started to give local children a safe alternative to walking on the road, or as a trick-or-treating option for those who may not live in a neighborhood, the Glen Arbor Merchants Trick-or-Treat happens downtown again this year from 1 pm to 4 pm. Bring your little witches and goblins to share in the fun of Halloween and the delight of their costumes as they circle around the business district in Glen Arbor gathering candy and other treats.