Sever’s is kicking off the fall season with its annual fall festival in Shakopee.

The festival will take place 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays starting Saturday, Sept. 17, and running through Sunday, Oct. 30. It will also be open MEA weekend from Oct. 20-23.

“Every fall, I really look forward to seeing families out here,” Sever’s staff member Nicola Peterson said. “It’s very much a festival, it’s fun, there’s lots of activities but it’s still getting back to those farming roots. We really enjoy that as a family farm — seeing other people come out and enjoy it.”

This is the fall festival’s 26th season and fourth at its newer Shakopee location, 3121 150th Street W.

NEW FEATURES

Sever’s has added a couple new features to the festival this year — its biggest standing at about 50 feet tall.

This large addition is a brand new slide akin to what would be included in a state fair. Sever’s recently purchased this specific slide from the Ohio State Fair and has it set up to premiere at this year’s festival.

The new slide, Peterson said, is much larger than its previous one and is an upgrade the festival has been seeking for around a decade.

“They’re not necessarily being made anymore as far as the ‘state fair’ style, so we were lucky to come across one this season,” she said.

The new slide will be a permanent fixture at Sever’s moving forward.

Another change going into this year was adding semi-permanent zoo infrastructure to better host the petting zoo animals and guests. Sever’s continues to work with Safari North, a family-owned zoo based in Brainerd. The two have worked together bringing animals to the fall festival for over 20 years.

While this year’s animals will include the typical farm animals like goats, sheeps and pigs, guests can also expect to see an array of more exotic animals. These range from kangaroos to a zebra-donkey mix referred to as a “zonkey.”

COMMUNITY STAPLE

Returning visitors attending Sever’s this year can look forward to seeing many of their familiar favorites.

Two of the festival’s famous corn pits will be featured, each filled with about 10,000 bushels of corn. “People love them,” Peterson said. “Five year olds, 25 year olds, 55 year olds — they love the corn pits. Those are a ton of fun.”

Other features include the state’s largest corn maze, straw bale maze, pumpkin patch, three jumping pillows, obstacle courses, zip lines, “tire mountain” and photo opportunities.

Additional attractions are also available for small, additional fees like pony rides, pumpkin blasters, hay rides and face painting.

Peterson said a highlight of the festival is the set of scheduled, live entertainment shows. This year’s shows include a magic show, juggling, wildlife shows, kids’ dances and pig races.

Beyond entertainment, Sever’s also connects with many local vendors and artisans to sell a variety of foods, drinks, fall produce, art and other various goods. The festival added a second food court last year, making room for an increased number of vendors. Three bars are also on site providing beer, wine, hard ciders and cocktails to guests.

This year, Peterson said she anticipates somewhere between 25-30 vendors, artisans and entertainers to participate at the festival — all of them local.

“Everything is really focused on ‘local,’ and we like to work with those local partnerships,” she said.

Beyond local support with fellow businesses and vendors, Peterson said she and her family appreciate being considered a staple in the community for yet another fall season.

“To be able to say that you’re part of a community that not only enjoys what you’re doing but is also supportive is huge. It’s so, so crucial,” she said. “It’s such a compliment … so we feel really grateful.”

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