Autumn events abound as fall arrives in the Ozarks

Owen and Emery Hogan, children of Gainesville residents Kyle and Sarah Hogan, visited the McWilliams Pumpkin patch near West Plains on Sunday.

Fall is here, and autumn events around the Ozarks are being held to celebrate the season and in anticipation of Halloween. Listed below are events happening soon in this area. Watch the Times each week for an updated list of seasonal events. Those organizing a local fall or Halloween-themed event should contact Jessi Dreckman at or 417-679-4641 to have the event added to the listings. 


This weekend

Movie night at Gainesville Saddle Club Grounds, Saturday

As a thank you to the community for its help after the 2017 flood, the Gainesville Saddle Club is planning a community movie night at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Saddle Club Grounds. The club will show, on a large inflatable screen, Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, an animated movie about a horse in the Old West. The community event is free and open to everyone. Organizers suggest bringing a blanket or lawn chairs for seating.

The saddle club’s cook shack will be open for purchase of burgers, hot dogs, chili pies, nachos and drinks beginning at 5:30 p.m.


Oktoberfest at Dawt Mill, Saturday, Tecumseh

The fourth annual Oktoberfest at Dawt Mill will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Attendees can order off Dawt’s new open-fire-pit menu. A variety of beer choices, including several local craft beer options, will be available. Live music will be provided by Wes Dorethy and Larry McGrath. For more information, call Dawt Mill at 417-284-3540 or search for Dawt Mill on Facebook. 


Ozark Fall Farmfest, Friday through Sunday, Springfield 

The 39th annual Ozark Fall Farmfest will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield. The event is free, and free parking is also offered. The event features more than 750 agricultural exhibits, 800 booths and 500 head of registered livestock. Booths will offer a wide selection of home decor, lawn furniture, cosmetics, clothing and apparel and rural living displays. Livestock exhibits will include Angus, Belgian Blue, Brahmousin, Brangus, Braunvieh, Beefalo, Beefmaster, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Irish Dexter, Limousin, Longhorn, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus, Salers, Scottish Highland, Shorthorn, Sim-Angus, Simmental and White Park cattle in addition to horses, Boer goats, dairy goats, Katahdin hair sheep, swine, miniature donkeys and rabbits.


Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks, Saturday and Sunday, 12 miles east of Ava 

For many years the popular Pioneer Descendants Gathering was hosted each October by Dale and Betty Thomas at their farm on Bryant Creek, but organizers discontinued the event  at the Thomas farm in 2016. Last year the festival was renamed the Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks, and a new location was secured at the Chapel Grove area near the Bryant Creek Bridge 12 miles east of Ava on Highway 14. Watch for signs. The festival features many old-time exhibits including basketry, chair-seat weaving, pottery, bow-making, flint-knapping, handmade turkey calls, fiber arts, woodworking, traditional blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, lye soap making, broom making, handmade soap, hand-forged knives, leatherwork, herbal remedies, walking sticks, clothing from the American Civil War and Medieval era and more. 

Saturday’s events include a full lineup of live music and cloggers, a cornbread cookoff, an embroidery contest and a period costume contest, fruit pie contest, a youth stringed instrument talent show and several games for kids, including a three-legged race, a water-carrying race, a sack race and an egg toss contest. 

Sunday’s events begin with a 10 a.m. nondenominational church service and singing, followed by more live music and kids games. An open music jam session will be held at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, and organizers encourage festival-goers to bring an instrument and join in for the one-hour jam session. 

Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets for a benefit raffle featuring a custom-made bow and arrows by Butch Stone will be available. There is no gate admission charge, but the festival has a suggested gate donation of $5 per adult for those who wish to contribute. For more information, visit or search for “Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks, Inc.” on Facebook or contact or 417-746-4006.


Ongoing events


Bakersfield Haunted House, Bakersfield

 The Bakersfield Haunted House, a half-mile down County Road 585 off Highway 101, is open every Friday and Saturday night through October, on Hallow-een night and on Nov. 2-3. Organizers say the two-story haunted house operates from dark until 10 p.m. or until all visitors have left. This year marks the eighth year it has been open, and organizers say it’s the spookiest ever. A concession stand is on site, and T-shirts are available for purchase. For more information call 417-284-7215, visit or search for “Bakersfield Haunted House” on Facebook.


Fields of Terror Zombie Paintball Hayride, Midway, Arkansas

This attraction in Midway, Arkansas, features a half-mile, 20-minute ride through “zombie-infected zones” in which hayride attendees, armed with fully loaded paintball guns, aim and shoot the zombies with glow-in-the-dark paintballs. Fortunately, the zombies aren’t able to shoot back. The hayrides are on trailers pulled by 2.5-ton military trucks; the trailers come equipped with 28 high-pressure, 50-caliber paintball guns preloaded with 100 glow-in-the-dark paintballs, which are included in the admission price. More paintballs can be purchased at the ticket booth if 100 aren’t enough. The zombie paintball hayrides will be held from 6 until 10 p.m. (or later) every Thursday, Frid-ay and Saturday through Nov. 3 and on Halloween. 

This year, a new haunted house has been added. The Fields of Terror Facebook page says those who go through the haunted house will “get a glimpse at how it all began!” 

Fields of Terror is located at 1062 Cannie Baker Road, off Highway 5, about 3 miles south of Midway. For more information visit, call 870-405-9826 or search Facebook for “Fields of Terror.” 


Haunted Lost Caverns at Top of the Rock, Branson

Organizers say living history will become “undead history” at the Haunted Lost Caverns at Top of the Rock near Branson. Guests ages 13 and older can take part in the tour group shuttles that run through the golf-course-turned-graveyard, where an archaeological dig has reportedly uncovered the (fictitious) restless remains of Civil War soldiers, Bald Knobbers and native Osage tribe members. Those who escape with their lives will reach the Halloween cave, where more than 100 animatronic displays accompany menacing figures, fearless frontier moonshiners operating hidden stills and other sights. “Survivors” can relax with a drink or snack at the Bat’s Blood Bar before a golf cart escort returns them to the Welcome Center. The site operates from 7:15 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday and Satur-day through Oct. 21 and then Oct. 26-31. For more information or to purchase tickets visit or call 800-597-9926.


McWilliams Pumpkin Patch, West Plains 

This 700-acre farm and pumpkin patch on County Road 6920 off Highway 160, 5 miles west of West Plains, is a favorite of many Ozark Countians. General admission is $3 for shoppers only; the $10 activity admission band includes most activities. Children age 2 and younger are free. See a full price list at

The pumpkin patch has several family-friendly activities including a 30-acre corn maze, horse-and-wagon rides, a 40-foot monster slide, a zipline and mini-zipline, train rides aboard the pumpkin patch express, animal maze, straw mountain, monster slide and a large pumpkin patch with pumpkins and other fall decor for purchase. For more information, visit or call or text 417-372-0389.


Mountain Home Berry Farm, Mountain Home, Arkansas 

Mountain Home Berry Farm is currently open on weekends through Nov. 11 for its fall festival. The farm, at 693 County Road 57 near Mountain Home, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The pumpkin patch is open for purchasing pumpkins, and this year’s festival includes a new and improved corn maze, a bounce house, hay-bale maze for young children, petting zoo with various animals including chickens, mini horses, donkeys, rabbis, pigs, ducks and more, mulch mountain, photo opportunities, pony rides, face painting, food and drink vendors, hayrides, old fashioned kid’s games and more. Playtime on the haystack and in the hay bale maze are free for children age 6 and younger. Other activities are available for a $6.50 activity pass for those age 4 and older. 

A country store is on site with homemade jams, jellies, butters, fresh-pressed apple cider, local honey, salsas, spices, sauces, scented candles, squash, fresh and frozen raspberries, ornamental gourds, corn stalks and hay bales. For more information, visit or call 1-870-425-7028.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423