Fall Fest set for next week at Giants Ridge

Free hay rides will part of this year's Fall Fest at Giants Ridge. The celebration, which runs Thursday through Oct. 20, will include an early-bird season pass sale and ski swap.

BIWABIK — Mother Nature may sometimes be confused about what season it is this time of year in northern Minnesota.

But at Giants Ridge in the fall, that’s no problem.

The changing seasons will be celebrated at the annual Fall Fest, which runs Thursday through Oct. 20 at the golf and ski resort in Biwabik.

The festivities observe fall while kicking off ski season with the last chance to take part in summer activities and the first chance to get ready for winter.

Fall Fest “reminds our local community how great Giants Ridge is in the summer and winter with a fun, family event for all ages,” said Benji Neff, director of mountain sports. “There will be kids events to live local music … Something for everybody.”

A season pass sale — with “the lowest prices of the season” — is set for 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 18, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20.

A ski swap, which supports the volunteer ski patrol, will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday; during the pass sale Oct. 18; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 19.

Participants can buy or sell gently used equipment that is no older than 4 years old, said Jaimie Niska, director of marketing and sales.

The Snow Sports Academy will hold an open house Oct. 19 with activities including fall arts and crafts. During “Fall Fest only” it will offer special lesson packages for sale, Neff said.

The holiday season is coming up, he noted, and it’s a good time to purchase lessons for those “thinking of getting the kids or grandkids into skiing.” There is also a family lesson package available.

Fall Fest attendees will have their last chance to tackle the climbing wall, ride the scenic chair lift to take in fall colors, and traverse the mountain bike trails, all weather-permitting, Neff said.

On Oct. 19, free hay rides will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — and the always-popular rail jam is set from noon to 3 p.m., with prizes for the top three male and female finishers. The only entry free for the contest is one non-perishable food item.

In fact, all weekend, fest-goers are encouraged “help us give back” by bringing non-perishables to help stock local food shelves this winter, Niska said.

There will also be a Fall Fest 5K Fun Run/Walk and the First National Bank of Gilbert Golf Scramble on Oct. 19. “It’s our last day of golf at The Quarry,” she said. The scramble will include food and prizes.

The Burnt Onion Kitchen & Brews will also serve a special Fall Fest menu.

And to top it all off, Psycho Jane will perform its acoustic “unplugged” set beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Burnt Onion, followed by its “plugged-in” set at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the main chalet for a “rocking good time,” Neff said. “It will bring the festivities past daylight.” Admission is free.

The music aims to “cater to the Iron Range live music audience” and bring people out “to enjoy a popular local band,” Niska said.

“It’s a fun way to highlight the change of seasons,” Neff said of the celebration. “Come out and enjoy the last little bits of fall.”

“We really want to invite our locals out to enjoy the gem that Giants Ridge is as we head into winter season,” Niska added.

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