1019EverydayGetawayjb.cfm Autumn spreads its joy in Topeka, Kansas
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Autumn spreads its joy in Topeka, Kansas

There is no denying that fall is finally here. Pumpkins are appearing on doorsteps; and, the leaves are starting to turn, brilliant orange and red--replacing green. The weather is getting cooler, but don't let that keep you indoors. There's still plenty to see and do in Topeka, Kan.

Gary's Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festival has something to offer every member of your family. Lose yourself in the 8-acre corn maze or enjoy the breathtaking beauty of fall foliage on the Halloween-themed hayride. The hay-bale jungle gym, tire maze, corn-filled sandbox, pig races and the giant slither slides will keep the kids entertained, as well. Don't forget to pick the perfect pumpkin from Gary's 5-acre pumpkin patch. Schedule a late night outing to experience the spooks and thrills of Gary's Frightmare Farm every Friday and Saturday night through October. Gary's Pumpkin Patch is located eight miles east of Topeka on U.S. Hwy. 24, then south on Decatur Road. For more information, go to www.garys-berries.com.

If you like a little mystery with your history, Ghost Tours of Kansas will give you goosebumps. Visit Topeka cemeteries, Topeka State Hospital, a former insane asylum, Gage Park, Topeka High School, and more. Guaranteed to show you a side of Topeka you've never seen, these guided ghost tours are $17.50 per person. For tour dates, go to www.ghosttourskansas.com.

Topeka offers two family-friendly events that will be sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. Winter Wonderland is a celebration of lights and whimsy that takes place nightly Nov. 20 through Dec. 31 at Tinman Circle, 29th and S.E. Croco Road. More than 1 million lights create marvelous displays of holiday themes and childhood fun on a two-mile drive around the lake. This annual event raises money for TARC, an agency that serves people with developmental disabilities.

Another great holiday tradition is Miracle on Kansas Avenue at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. Held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this event is the official lighting of the community Christmas tree, followed by a lighted holiday-theme parade through the streets of downtown Topeka.

Sports fans, don't miss the first Kanza Bowl on Dec. 5. This NCAA Division II Bowl Game will match non-playoff qualifying teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association--which includes Washburn, Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State--against a team from the Lone Star Conference. A tailgate party will kick-off game day at 9 a.m. Warm up with a bowl of chili from Beto Junction Catering, while the kids jump in the inflatable bounce house. The game starts at 1 p.m. at Hummer Sports Park. Save money and buy your tickets ahead of time--only $8 for adults, $5 for kids. Call Visit Topeka Inc. at 785-234-1030.

For a complete list of seasonal events and things to do, go to www.VisitTopeka.com.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Greater Success Advertising. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.

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