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PianoMen2Over the next few weeks, visiting Southwest Michigan is a treat for all of your senses. Crunch into a Honey Crisp apple dipped in creamy caramel. Hold a hefty orange pumpkin as you jostle along in a hay-filled wagon. Feel chills race down your spine in an eerie haunted house. Sit on the edge of your seat as two amazing musicians take to the stage ...

Sept. 29 | Piano Men - a Tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel | 7:30 pm | Mainstage | The Mendel Center | Benton Harbor

What do you get when you combine the music of two pop music giants Elton John and Billy Joel? A night of Grammy Award-winning, legendary songs like “Piano Man,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Rocket Man,” “You May Be Right,” “Saturday Night’s Alright,” “Movin’ Out,” and many, many more. Broadway veterans Craig A. Meyer and Donnie Kehr bring these amazing Piano Men to life in an unbelievable concert enriched by our Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. ​

Grape squashing!

Sept. 8 | Annual Grape Stomp | noon-8 pm/3 pm Stomp | Baroda Founders Wine Cellar | Baroda

Grape CostumeUsing feet to crush grapes dates back thousands of years. While we use more sanitary methods to extract juice from our locally grown wine grapes, this is your chance to feel the little orbs explode beneath your heels and toes. To enter, pull together a team of four and vie for two prizes: the most juice extracted and the best costume. There’s no fee to enter. Register your grape stomping team before 3 pm, listen to music and enjoy trying Baroda Founders’ selections of wine throughout the day.


Sept. 22 | 4-8 pm | Corner of Broad St. and Lake Blvd. | St. Joseph

Roots & BrewsJoin us by the beach to toast the beginning of fall with regional craft beers, wines and ciders, great food pairings and get-in-your-groove roots music. Your $35 ticket (must be 21 years or older to attend) includes admission, sample cup, 12 tokens and live performances by:
4:30 pm: Elephant Rescue
6:15 pm: Jared & The Mill
Buy your tickets online; by phone or in person at The Mendel Center; or in person at St. Joseph Today.

Make it a getaway weekend with these fun add-ons

Bed RaceSept. 21: The Great Bed Race, 4:30 p.m. St. Joseph
Sept. 21 & 22: Fall Fest Sidewalk Sales, St. Joseph
Sept. 22: Pumpkin 5K/10K & Walk, 7:15 am registration, Benton Harbor
Great Pumpkin Festival & Race, 10 am-2 pm, St. Joseph
Fall Fest, 11 am-3 pm, St. Joseph. Bring the family! Gather up farm fresh fruits and vegetables, pet farm animals, join the kids’ activities, ride the horse-drawn trolley through town and bid to own your favorite knight or dragon during the public art auction that starts at 2:30 pm.

Enjoy apple everything

Sept. 27-30 | Four Flags Apple Festival | Niles

Pie EatingMichigan is the third largest grower of apples in the U.S. and Southwest Michigan is a major contributor to that star status. The last weekend of September, the City of Niles does everything apples. New this year is a Backyard Grillers BBQ Contest with $1,000 in prizes for the top-tasting chicken or pork ribs. Other festival favorites are the biggest apple, pie eating and log cutting contests; carnival rides; arts and crafts; custom car show; concerts and Grande Parade.

While you’re in the area, visit nearby orchards or farm stands (weekends typically include hayrides) and bring home your own bag or bushel of tree-fresh apples and delicious baked goods. If you need fall recipe ideas (or are willing to share your own), click here.

Free admission for two!

Sept. 22 | Smithsonian Magazine Museum Free Day | 10 am-6 pm | Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve | Niles

Fall Fernwood IMG 1048 NowickiFor fall color in Southwest Michigan, few places rival Fernwood. Download this coupon and get free admission for two to explore the miles of outdoor trails and gardens in our scenic St. Joseph River Valley.


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