The MHM Blog

Fall Events & Outdoor Activities Around Champaign For 2021

Posted October 15, 2021

With the beginning of fall among us, college students are itching to get out of their dorms and apartments and experience the fall activities their community has to offer. While college can put on quite a show for the holidays, piling up the on-campus events, what do you do if you want to go off-campus and get a little break? 

Since Champaign is a college town before anything else, the community is always prepared to host students worldwide and bring the college and community together to celebrate fall and Halloween. Here’s our list of the best fall events and outdoor activities coming up in the fall of 2021.

Flannel Fest

When looking for fall activities, something called Flannel Fest hits the nail on the head. A Champaign classic, Fall fest has an abundance of different activities and is fun for college students and families alike. If you’re looking to live your best lumberjack life, don’t sleep on Flannel Fest. “Get your flannel ready and come out for a day of fun fall festivities! Watch the Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show perform demonstrations throughout the event, including log rolling, axe throwing, and speed carving. Enjoy music, art, games, crafts, food trucks, Lumberjack Dash, and much more at this fall event!” Check out details for the event here

Grange Grove

We know this event is technically on campus. But it’s in a parking lot, so does it even count? Grange Grove is hosted as a tailgate pre-football game and encourages goers to “Bring your tailgate party inside Grange Grove during the 2021 Fighting Illini Football season. Grange Grove includes live music and entertainment, a family zone, student tailgates, corporate hospitality, the Fighting Illini Team Walk, the Marching Illini pregame show, and GameDay Spirit merchandise locations.” If you’re not a football fan, this can be an awesome compromise to get you in the fall mood. Check out the schedule and details here

Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul

If you’re willing to do just a little bit of driving, this place is the ULTIMATE fall event that features all the favorites like pumpkins, apples and cider, hayrides, a corn maze, and more. This event is definitely more catered to the younger crowd, but we all know college kids are still young at heart and can have fun running around the ranch as well. 

And did we mention there are reindeer, and you can take a reindeer tour where you get up close and personal? It is stellar; you can’t miss the event for this very reason. Its website describes it as “a unique and fun tour destination in Central Illinois. The ranch is an unusual and unique attraction that features a herd of authentic Alaskan reindeer ready for you to have an up-close encounter.[…] The rebuilt and restored 100-year-old barns and 5,000 Christmas trees combine to form a beautiful setting for families, individuals, and groups to get away from the ordinary and hurried pace of city life.” Open all winter; check out the schedule here

Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch 

Exactly what you think it’s going to be, and exactly what you need it to be, Curtis’s Orchard and Pumpkin Patch has a main attraction of, you guessed it, apples and pumpkins. For a small fee you can pick your apples right off the trees and bring home a gorgeous pumpkin for your front steps or to carve. They even provide you with a wagon! 

According to, “Curtis Orchard is open from July 20 until Dec. 23, and it has apples available most of that time. You can see what varieties are available on its website. You can even sign up to get emails when certain varieties are ready. However, not all varieties are available for picking.” Don’t miss their cute website with more info, found here

Negangard Pumpkin Patch

For the absolute cheapest pumpkins around, Negangard is a must-visit patch that will provide you with beautifully orange and round pumpkins (and even the ugly little grouds) for extremely cheap, some as little as $1! And while you can’t pick them out of the patch yourself, the price makes up for that. “Owned by the Negangard family, who have farmed in the area for more than 50 years, the pumpkin patch continues to grow — in size and popularity – every year. The brilliance of their business is its simplicity and its reasonable prices.” If you want to buy a pumpkin for you and all your friends, look no further than Negangard’s

St. Matthews Oktoberfest

What UIUC students want to go to – Oktoberfest. Don’t mind that it’s at a church. This awesome fest with German-style food and music! And don’t forget about the German beer – available for purchase with a wristband. A cute event with good food and beer, what else do you need? Check out the event info here

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