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Get to Galena: October Edition

October reminds us of the crisp air that goes from hot to cool in a matter of hours, of ghosts and candy, of German beer and bratwursts. Thankfully, Galena has something for everyone no matter what October reminds them of. That’s why Galena seems to be the perfect experience for any type of adventure in this Spooktacular month.

Have Fun & Give Back

There are fun and exciting events happening in October that also allow you to donate to great causes. The money raised at each of these events from the entry fees to drink sales to everything in between is accumulated and given back to the community. So, come out and have fun in Galena while also inadvertently giving back!

Galena Oktoberfest

On Saturday, October 5, head to Galena for attending their local Oktoberfest. Often identified as one of the best festivals in Illinois, this event is the perfect place for the family to spend their day. The event technically kicks off at noon with the firing of the cannon and tapping of the keg. However, starting at 9 a.m. there is a Midwest Health and Fitness Center 5K that starts and ends at Depot Park, the same location as the Oktoberfest festivities. During Oktoberfest, the park will be filled with live music, a bounce house and art station for the kids, polka dance classes, a bean bag tournament, and a beer stein endurance competition. There will also be wiener dog competitions that include a parade showcasing the little dogs, a best-dressed award, and paw races that are separated by the age of the dog (puppy, adult, senior). Not only is this event a fun celebration for the whole family, but 100% of the sales go back to the Galena Lion’s Club for future use in Galena Country events and businesses.

Galena Country Fair

The following weekend, on October 12 and 13, the Galena Country Fair will also be held in the picturesque Grant Park. It started 40 years ago as a Columbus Day weekend celebration and has turned into a weekend full of fun to help the community. With a suggested $2 donation amount at the gate, everyone is welcome to come to browse through arts, crafts, home décor, clothing, toys, jewelry, and photography from more than 150 vendors. The fair will also have a plethora of food from chicken and pork chop sandwiches to funnel cake and homemade fudge, they have something for everyone. When it comes to adult beverages to enjoy, there will be both domestic and craft beers as well as a gazebo wine garden with red and white wine, sangria, and hot spiced wine. Starting at 10 a.m. each day, there is live music, a games area, face painting stations, Irish dancing, a raffle, and a silent auction. All profits are collected by the Jo Daviess County Fair Charities and returned to the county through donations to not-for-profit organizations. Over $1 million have gone to community emergency services, programs for youth, and improving the well-being of local citizens.

Autumn Arts in Galena

Art is something that everyone can enjoy, whether they are creators or enthusiasts or simply viewers. October in Galena has a few amazing opportunities to get your hands and eyes on unique and exciting pieces from local artists. Going to these events will not only open your eyes to things you may have never heard of before, but it will also give you an appreciation of those who spend their livelihoods creating unique pieces for everyone else.

Autumn Craft Fair

The Autumn Craft Fair is being held at River Ridge School’s two gyms in Hanover, IL. The fair will take place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 and from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the 13th. With over 100 vendors set up in booths inside the gymnasiums, there will be plenty of browsing to get through before you find the perfect piece for you. All vendors handmake their work in unique and creative ways. There will also be a food court in the area that you can stop and grab lunch or a snack in between your browsing sessions.

Twenty Dirty Hands

Twenty Dirty Hands is a pottery tour that was put together by some of the area’s local artists. The tour happens on October 18 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., October 19 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and October 20 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and goes from Galena to Elizabeth. You’ll get to tour the beautiful Galena countryside while going between some of Illinois’ best pottery and sculpture studios. There will be special art exhibits and events for visitors as well as options to tour the artists’ kilns, forges, and workspaces – giving you a behind-the-scenes look at where the magic comes to life.

Halloweekend in Galena

When people think of October, they think of Halloween, so it makes perfect sense that Galena has a weekend packed full of the most exciting and spookiest event the tri-state area has to offer. Come for the whole weekend to experience how Halloween is celebrated in this historic town. From a gala to hot air balloons, this is the most unique Halloweekend you could bring your family to.

Galena’s Ghoulish Gala

Come to the 2nd Annual Ghoulish Gala on October 25 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sponsored by the Galena Area of Commerce, this event is open to everyone – but make sure you dress in costume. The street dance is at Commerce and Green in Galena. For $5, you can enjoy live music, street dancing, food, and drinks.

Galena Balloon Glow

The night after the Ghoulish Gala, head to the Galena River Levee to kick off the Halloween Parade by watching 18 hot air balloons fly high in the sky. These glowing balloons will head up into the sky at 6:30 p.m. along Highway 20 and the Galena River Levee. The next morning, they will fly from the back of the Palace Campground so you can see them in the light. This experience is free to the public.

Halloween Parade and Festival

From 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., head to North Main St. in Galena to enjoy the Halloween festival and parade. Considered the “largest, longest, and spookiest parade and festival in the Tri-State area,” this will be one day you won’t want to miss. From 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., there will be a Kids Fest at the Galena Middle School Gym, so make sure you bring the kiddos to wear them out a little bit before the parade. After the Kids Fest, go grab a bite to eat at the Food Festival from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Perry St. and Washington St. There will be limited edition t-shirts, as well as raffle tickets for a chance to win a prize. Park in the Walmart parking lot and a shuttle will take you to and from the festivities for free. The last shuttle for the parade will pick people up at 6:10 p.m. and none will be running during the parade. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. when the hot air balloons are getting lit and flying down by the levee. There will be spectacular floats, marching bands, costumed participants, prizes, and treats throughout the parade, so make sure you come ready to be spooked.

Stay Active in Fall

With the weather cooling down and winter close enough we can see it, it becomes hard to gather the motivation to step outside and be active. Thankfully, Chestnut Mountain Resort knows this and is offering some fun and exciting events to head to in the middle of this Fall season.

Kronk Disc Golf Tournament

If you like frolfing and have been looking for a tournament in the area to participate in, look no farther. On Sunday, October 20, Chestnut Mountain Resort is hosting a PDGA Sanctioned singles disc golf tournament. There will be 2 rounds of 18 holes and you are able to register in different divisions. There is an MPO/FPO (Male and Female Professional Open) for $60, an Advanced division costing $50, an Intermediate and a Recreational division also both costing $50. You must have a current PDGA membership or pay a $10 additional fee. You can register online at or you can register the day of from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Tee-off will begin at 9:15 a.m. So come out and experience disc golf for a whole day at a beautiful location overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

Open House Ski & Snowboard Swap

If you’re a fan of skiing and snowboarding and are looking for new equipment, head to Chestnut Mountain Resort from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on October 26 or between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on October 27. The Resort is hosting the Midwest’s Largest Tent and Ski/Snowboard Swap featuring the best deals on new and used equipment. You can bring your equipment in to sell or swap there as well. The times to do that are anytime from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and between 9 a.m. and noon on Sunday. All equipment must be picked up by 4 p.m. on Sunday. Chestnut will also be selling discounted season passes for everyone who likes shreddin’ the slopes, giving you the perfect excuse to come check out this shopping extravaganza!