FestiFall’ at Newton Hills State Park

An early-fall leaf in Newton Hills State Park, near Canton, S.D. (Photo by Seth Tupper)In an earlier post, I mentioned a couple of great places in South Dakota to see fall colors. Another less-heralded but equally great fall-colors spot is Newton Hills State Park, located six miles south of the city of Canton and only about 30 miles from Sioux Falls

Newton Hills provides visitors the rare opportunity to see a forest in eastern South Dakota, which is dominated by prairie. I visited the park once when the leaves were just starting to turn color, and it was beautiful.

The state Department of Game, Fish and Parks just sent out the following news release to announce the park’s "FestiFall," an upcoming event for people of all ages that includes a "deep woods" hike. 

Celebrate fall at Newton Hills State Park’s 10th annual celebration

CANTON, S.D. – Pumpkin catapulting, carving and seed guessing are just a few of the activities for visitors to Newton Hills State Park. The 10th Annual FestiFall runs from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3.

The popular FestiFall event is attended annually by people of all ages. This year features many family activities including arts and crafts, kids’ games and bluegrass music. Kids of all ages can participate in “make and take” craft activities such as gourd heads, wreath of leaves & egg carton spiders.

As in year’s past, the pumpkin will take center stage with pumpkin catapulting, pumpkin carving demonstrations and decorated pumpkin contests. Visitors are encouraged to bring in their own decorated or carved pumpkins for judging. If you wish, carved pumpkins may also be used on the Candlelight Walk.

Following the afternoon FestiFall celebration, the Candlelight Walk will lead visitors along 2.2 miles of candle-lit trail through the deep woods of Newton Hills. The trail will be solely lit by candles and carved pumpkins. Walkers will encounter many surprises along the trail, including musicians and colorful characters from the past. Walkers may begin the self-led adventure anytime between 7:15 and 8:30 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, campers are encouraged to decorate their campsites with a fall theme. Hay wagon rides will be available Saturday afternoon to take visitors through the campground to view and judge the decorated campsites. Winners of the campsite decorating, pumpkin seed guessing and pumpkin decorating contest will be announced at 4 p.m.

There is no cost to participate in any of the events; however a park entrance license is required. For additional information, please contact Newton Hills State Park at (605) 987-2263 or NewtonHills@state.sd.us or visit www.SDparks.info.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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