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Knives and arrows will make their mark at the Harvest Festival Rendezvous at Fort Bon Secours in Cornell, October 11-12. Re-enactors at the fort take you back in time to 1754 to savor the flavor of life in colonial New France. The encampment features vintage music, foods, costumed settlers and contests like hawk and knife throws, archery shoots and matches that test canoe skills. The fort is located at 15859 292nd Street in Cornell, northeast of Chippewa Falls and just southwest of Pike Lake. (715) 667-5362, Fort Bon Secours.
Bring those four-legged lederhosen to Barktoberfest in Cambridge in central Dane County on Sunday, October 12. This canine-friendly festival in Veterans Park on Main Street (Highway 12) runs noon to 2 p.m. Go through your Olympic withdrawal watching athletic dogs play flyball and canine freestyle and exhibit their agility. The crowd can root for the best dog costumes and applaud the "best trick for a treat" pet contest. Follow the parade to lap up a cool one with your tail-wagging buddies during Yappy Hour from 2-4 p.m. (608) 445-0755, email: Dirtdogs.
Take a hike and chow down some homemade goodies at the 15th annual Romp in the Swamp on Saturday, October 18 at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, 4815 Lynndale Drive in Appleton. Walk the trails, enjoy the wandering folk musicians, play games for treats and bring a sack to haul home some of the cider, caramel apples and s'mores for sale. Advance registration recommended for the 12:30-4:30 p.m. event, (920) 731-6041, email: Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve.
As it cools down and daylight starts to drop off, birds are on the move. Visit the annual sawwhet owl banding and migration on October 18 from 8 a.m. to noon at Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Two Rivers. The center is on Highway 310 west of town. An $8 fee per family brings you close as these yellow-eyed, seven-inch owls are fitted with bracelets and released on their fall journeys. Food and other nature activities round out the morning. (920) 794-4007, email: Woodland Dunes Nature Center.
Before the sun sets, continue your travels to Lake Kegonsa State Park in Stoughton for a candlelight hike on October 18 from 6-9 p.m. Weather permitting, the 1.2 mile White Oaks Nature Trail will be glowing with hundreds of jack-o-lantern luminaries. Stick around after your hike for a bonfire and refreshments or roast some weenies on the grills provided. You'll need a valid parks sticker, but there is no fee for the walk. The park is located at 2405 Door Creek Road, (608) 873-9695.
For those who can't wait for winter (and what's WRONG with you anyway?), head north for the Dirty Dog Dryland Derby, a sled dog race without the snow on October 25- 26 at the Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Boy Scout Reservation in Pearson. That's on County Road T southwest of Crandon heading towards Antigo. Dogs need to run year-round and the races through the scenic grassy hills and trails let mushers and teams show their stuff as their wheeled sleds wind through the woods. Beverages and food are available. The event is free. Cheer on the sledders, and pat the dogs on the head to show your appreciation. (715) 882- 8080, (715) 487-4191 or visit Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club.