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Dakota City Heritage Village plans new festival Oct. 22-23

There's not always something new out of an old place like Dakota City Heritage Village, but the folks out there are giving it a shot this month.

Instead of offering the Grand History Day program Dakota City has held for the better part of two decades, this year, they're trying something new: the Harvest Moon Festival.

Somewhere along the line, attendance at Grand History Days started to drop.

But organizers believe the program is important because it offers a time for families to do things together, and there are certain educational values to it. Members of the Dakota City board of directors didn't want to lose the activity. So, they chose to tweak it a bit.

The dates will be the same as before -- Grand History Days were always held during the Minnesota Educators Association break for kids -- and quite a few of the activities will be the same, too. Visitors will still be able to grind coffee, make rope, peel apples and make cornhusk dolls, but vice president Mary Hendricks said there are a whole lot of new activities being planned, too.

The Harvest Moon Festival will feature old time skits, candle dipping, face painting and even a fortune teller.

"That was big in the day," Hendricks said. "That was just what all of these parties would be about, who your mate would be and that sort of thing."

Speaking of parties, on Friday, Oct.22, starting at 6 p.m., there will be an old-fashioned barn dance with live music in the fire hall.

But Friday's barn dance isn't the only thing that will happen in the evenings. The folks at Dakota City have extended the hours so visitors can go on haunted hayrides with costumed characters along the way.

When families arrive, kids will get a list of the activities to do at Dakota City. If they go to each of the stations around the village and complete the activities there, they will have lots of goodies to take home, and they'll get a free pass to the Christmas in the Village event in December.

But since this year's Harvest Moon Festival is taking on a Halloween feel, kids are also invited to wear their Halloween costumes and participate in costume parades through the village. Those parades will be held at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., each day of the festival.

The Harvest Moon Festival will be held Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days. Admission is $2 for students, $3 for adults.