Is there a better time of year than the last weekend of September? It truly feels like a kick off to the fall season as the trees begin to show shades of yellow and crisp afternoons start to replace the exhausting summer sauna.

Saturdays revolve around apple picking, football and generally making excuses to be outside as much as possible. There is hardly a time of year where there seems to be more going on during each weekend.

The Overland Park Fall Festival is a microcosm of all the things we love about the fall season crammed into one day. The Fall Fest is an annual tradition for many in the community and it continues to grow every year.  We want to point you in the right direction to maximize your fun on this day, whether you’re a seasoned veteran who hasn’t missed the festival in decades, or if you’re looking to branch out and start a new tradition.

1. Family

With the abundance of things to do on a fall Saturday, sometimes the differing activities can pull the family in four different directions. Fortunately you can maximize your fun with children’s concerts and free activities, great shopping at the craft fair and around Downtown OP, fantastic food and loads of free performances throughout the day. Every minute of the schedule is filled, so be sure to check it out to see what is your can’t-miss part of the day.

2. Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade? It’s a traditional community rally, the county’s longest running parade at 54 years strong and a long march of excitement to kick off the day that you have been looking forward to. There’s a good chance that you recognize several of the local businesses passing by, or perhaps your child is included in the excitement. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m., so come early and stake out a spot along the parade route.

3. Music

You’re going to find some of Kansas City’s favorite performers taking multiple stages during the Fall Fest. The Grand Marquis will be dressed up on the clock tower patio with their timeless swingin’ jazz. Did you know this year includes an amazing headliner, The Elders? They will be rocking the park with their upbeat, boot stomping Celtic music. There are so many bands and some amazing music; bring a lawn chair and your (leashed) pup to kick back and listen all day.

4. Food

You know what else is good about the kick start fall? It’s not January 1st and those resolutions can be put on the back burner! Fall Fest day is funnel cake and deep fried candy bar day. It’s a day to game plan meals and snacks between all the different multi-cultural restaurants of Downtown OP and the food trucks surrounding the festival. It’s tempting to recommend eating everything, but if you have to circle one thing, make sure to get some kettle corn. If reading about it doesn’t sway you, the smell wafting through the festival should do the trick.

5. Market

The most popular Farmers’ Market in the area is going on throughout most of the day during the Fall Festival. You’ll find fall produce and goodies popping up from your local farmers; they bring their pumpkin patch to you, along with gourds, sweet potatoes, apples and loads of other fresh food. The already festive market feels amplified during the Fall Festival, so make sure to stroll through and support eating locally grown food. Fortunately, the market season runs throughout the fall. Check out the full schedule here.

~Adam Adam Schaumburg is the Director of Marketing and Events at the Downtown Overland Park Partnership.