Autumn brings fun events to ‘fall’ into throughout area

Five-year-old twin brothers Dalton, left, and Dakota Morgan, visited the McWilliams Pumpkin Patch near West Plains Saturday during its opening weekend. The twins, sons of Joe and Kristin Morgan of Gainesville, are shown riding the farm’s tractor train.

The weather forecast for this coming weekend features a prediction of beautiful, crisp, fall temperatures that promise to provide the perfect setting for a fun day at an area event or activity celebrating the season. Listed here are events happening soon in this area. Watch the Times each week for updated lists of seasonal activities. 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 Oct. 4-6

Needmore Church of God, Saturday, near Dora

Needmore Pastor Betty Stanley said the church’s events team has planned a wide variety of games and activities, including a chili supper and the highlight of the games, “punkin chunkin.”

“I’m not real sure how that works,” Stanley said, “but it seems to be a sling-shot-type apparatus by which one can hoist a pumpkin a distance based on his or her strength.”

Other activities will include a bake-walk, face-painting, horseshoes, bean-bag toss and other games suitable for the whole family. Drawings will be held for prizes, including family movie night baskets, and Wal-mart and pizza gift cards. 

Treats will be available, and the chili supper will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. A sing-along around the campfire will close out the evening. 

“We have tried to plan an event that focuses on families,” Stanley said. “We encourage everyone to come out and join us for this afternoon and evening of festival fun as we welcome the fall season.”

Needmore Church is about 3 miles north of Hodgson Mill on Highway 181. For more information, call 417-284-3366.


Ozark Fall Farmfest, Friday-Sunday, Springfield 

The 40th annual Ozark Fall Farmfest will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield. The event is free, and free parking is also offered. The event features more than 900 agricultural and rural living exhibits and 500 head of registered livestock. Booths will offer a wide selection of home decor, lawn furniture, cosmetics, clothing and apparel, antique tractors and rural living displays. Livestock exhibits will include cattle, goats, rabbits, pigs, donkeys, sheet and horses. 


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

The third annual Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6 at the New Haven Event Center in Chapel Grove, 15 miles east of Ava on Highway 14.  

The festival, which celebrates “Ozarks culture with heritage artisans, great live music, historical exhibits, food and lots of fun activities,” was organized in 2017 after the long-time Pioneer Descendants Gathering was discontinued. 

The event features many old-time exhibits including basketry, flint-knapping, decorated gourds and nature art jewelry, fabric arts, apothecary, trapping, primitive archery,  homesteading, tomato canning and food preservation, scroll saw, spinners and weavers, fiber artists, beadwork, pottery, woodworking, crochet, corn broom making, basketry, soap making, chair caning, blacksmithing, leatherwork, flute making, foraging natural foods, wood carving, sustainable agriculture and more.

Saturday’s events kick off at 9 a.m. with an opening ceremony, followed by square dancing with live fiddle and guitar accompaniment. The Possum Trot Band plays at 10:30 a.m., followed by Jeremy Myers at 11:30 a.m. 

Two cook-off events, cornbread and fruit pie contests provide the Ozarks’ best cooks a chance to win a ribbon. Those attending should bring their made-from-scratch cornbread (sweet or savory) and/or fruit pies no later than 11:30 a.m. Judging will be at 12:15 p.m. for each of the respective contests. Cornbread, fruit pie filling and pie crusts should all be homemade, from scratch.

An embroidery contest featuring new (completed after 2000) and historic (completed before 2000) categories. Entries must be brought to the chapel building by 11 a.m. Saturday. Judging will be held at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, and all entries will be displayed throughout the festival Saturday and Sunday.   

Following the cook-offs, a youth stringed instrument talent show, open to youth age 16 and younger who play traditional stringed instruments, will be held at 12:30 p.m. 

The Possum Trot Band plays for a second time at 1:30 p.m. Southwynns Band is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. performance, and the Ozark Thunder Cloggers take the stage at 3:30 p.m. 

A period costume contest will be held at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Entry categories include children, age 13 or younger, and adult, age 14 and older. Those entering should dress in the clothing style that might have been worn from the 1860s through the 1920s. 

Kids activities on Saturday include an 11:30 a.m. three-legged race contest, a 1 p.m. water-carrying race, a 2 p.m. sack race and a 4 p.m. egg toss contest (for all ages). 

Sunday’s events begin with a 9 a.m. opening ceremony followed by gospel singing at 10 a.m. An open music jam session will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, and organizers encourage festival-goers to bring an instrument and join in. The Stringed Union Bluegrass Band takes the stage at 1:15 p.m. followed by the Finley River Boys at 2:15 and the Celtic Fire Irish Dance group at 3:15 p.m. A second open jam session is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.  

Tickets for a benefit raffle featuring one of two Branson vacations will be available for purchase. 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, and on Halloween night and Nov. 1-2. The haunted house operates from dark until 10 p.m. or until all visitors have left. This year marks the ninth 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. The zombie paintball hayrides will be held from dark until 10 p.m. (or later) every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 2 and on Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31.

A 15-room haunted house provides guests with another spooky experience. The haunted house was renovated and extended this year, and organizers say it is twice as big as last year. 

Admission to the zombie paintball hayride is $15 per person, and admission to the haunted house is $10 per person. Those wishing to do both can purchase a combo ticket for $20 per person. 

Fields of Terror is 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.” 


McWilliams Pumpkin Patch, West Plains 

This popular 700-acre farm and pumpkin patch on County Road 6920 off Highway 160, 5 miles west of West Plains, has expanded this year to include a new jumbo jumper, a large air-filled jumping mat. Other activities include the Pumpkin Patch Express train ride through the pumpkin farm fields, a 40-foot monster slide, a zip line, corn maze, horse and wagon rides, straw mountain, petting zoo, pony rides, pumpkin paintball target shooting and a large pumpkin patch with pumpkins and other fall decor for purchase.

General admission is $3 for those who are only shopping; the $10 activity admission band includes most activities. Children age 2 and younger are free. See a full price list at

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 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for its fall festival, which runs on weekends through the second weekend in November. The farm is located at 693 County Road 57 near Mountain Home. 

The pumpkin patch is open for purchasing pumpkins, and this year’s festival includes a hayrides, pony rides, sunflowers, pumpkins, photo opportunities, petting zoo, corn maze, bounce house, playground, Spring House trail, popcorn, hotdogs and more. 

Activity passes are $7 per person for ages 3 and up. Ages 2 and younger are admitted free. 

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