Fairs, Flannel and Funnel Cakes, Oh My!

by Janice Barniak, contributor

Celebrate the Fall-idays in Gibson County

Christmas and Thanksgiving can be stress and work, so in Gibson County families like to celebrate what I call the “fall-idays” through October—there are flannels, hay bales, and inevitably someone sipping pumpkin spice or cider.  Don’t think of it as “basic” so much as back-to-the-basics.  Every weekend this month there are events perfect for families, date night, and even spending time on your own. Here’s a look at my calendar, with ideas for this first October weekend!


Corn Maze

All month is the Lyles Station Corn Maze, which is more than just a maze.  It also features a petting zoo, a tour of their historic schoolhouse museum, a beautiful garden and historic crop areas, s’mores and hot dogs around a bonfire, and pumpkin painting.  It’s going every Friday through Sunday, and culminates in a Haunted Maze on Halloween this year! This is a cash attraction, so I always make a note to pick up a little fun money so I can visit the concession stand.

Best selfie: The porch of the little log cabin by the pumpkins and gourds, or lost in the corn.


This weekend, Oct. 8-10, a 10-ride carnival will be hosted by Brady’s Amusements, (the carnival that normally serves the Gibson County Fair.) They’ll be at the fairgrounds offering my favorite fair foods—fair fish and funnel cakes. Malone’s Taffy is something the locals look forward to every year.  This week, on Thursday, first responders get two free ride bands when they show their badge, and last weekend, when they debuted the carnival, they had no lines at any of the rides.

Best Selfie: The top of the ferris wheel, looking down on the mini fair!

Make it a weekend with the arts!

If the corn maze and carnival sounds like too much for one night, make it a weekend! This weekend is especially artistic in Princeton, with Murder on Maui, a murder mystery dinner theater and a craft show. “Murder on Maui” is a hotel whodunit by the Broadway Players, with a quirky cast that includes an island voodoo specialist, a Hawaiian singer, a professional wrestler and more. Dressing up isn’t necessary, but no one would look out of place in a flower lei or Hawaiian shirt.

Best selfie: The whole cast will happily pose for pics after the show, but the voodoo character, played by the lovely Maria Weaver, has one of the most outlandish outfits and would make an over-the-top pose if asked.

If you do the Murder Mystery on Friday and the corn maze on Saturday afternoon, you’ll have time to get your engines revving Saturday night for the season finale race at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. The art of racing will be shown off during the Harvest Cup, starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, (with a rain date for Sunday.)

Best Selfie: Get pit tickets and the best shot will be next to a driver after the races. Kids love the chance to get up close to the race cars.

Then wake up Sunday morning and top off the artistic weekend with Downtown Princeton’s fall craft show. Fifty crafters, many who normally exhibit at the Heritage Days craft fair, are having a fall craft show in downtown Princeton from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday on the courthouse square.  The event will showcase crafters of all kinds, and would be the perfect place to do some early Christmas shopping. Speaking of shopping, those interested in handmade items may also appreciate the Little House of Yarn only across the street from the craft fair, or may like to shop at Princeton’s Antique Mall, across the street from the vendor fair.

Best Selfie: At the craft fair, it’s pretty much obligatory to pose by a handmade wooden sign that says “It’s fall y’all” or with a crafted pumpkin, but for something different there are benches around the square, and Princeton’s pocket park mural is a fun backdrop.

This is just one of many great October weekends in Gibson County. How do you celebrate your fall-idays? Fall-la-la-la-la…