Find comprehensive info about the festivals here — The kids are in school, the temperature has dropped and the pumpkin spice latte is back on the menu — it's time to admit that it's fall, folks.

The kids are in school, the temperature has dropped and the pumpkin spice latte is back on the menu — it's time to admit that it's fall, folks.

This weekend, the 24th annual Harvest Festival will usher in the new season with barrels and bales of old-fashioned family fun.

The event will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point. Admission is free.

Local chefs and amateurs with a favorite red chili or barbecue rib recipe will compete in cookoffs held Saturday and Sunday morning. Everyone else can line up at noon Saturday for chili or 11 a.m. Sunday for ribs to taste entries ($3 for a sample of each entry) and vote for favorites.

Still not full? Eat your way into Harvest Festival history when you compete in the annual pie-eating competition, hosted by Rooster's Restaurant, at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in front of the Compton Arena. The first adult to finish a whole pie and the first youth to finish half of a pie — no hands — wins. The competition is free but is limited to the number of pies on hand. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. both days.

If you're not keen on gorging but still want to make a mess, sign up for the very aerobic Del Rio Vineyard Grape Stomp. Heats will be held at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Grab a partner, kick off your shoes, roll up your jeans and try to stomp the juice out of 30 pounds of grapes in just three minutes. (Note, this juice is not for consumption.) Space is limited, so register online soon.

The recent beer boom will be evident at this year's Southern Oregon Brew Fest.

"This is the largest brew fest that has ever come to Southern Oregon," says Brew Fest coordinator Bob Bacolas, who owns Grains, Beans & Things. "We have 86 taps confirmed by more than 40 breweries. All the local breweries, except one, will be there. This year it's taking us 200 volunteers to pull it off."

In addition to microbrews, the beer garden will feature more than 10 taps of gluten-free fermented beverages. (For a list of participating breweries, see

For $15, you'll receive a souvenir glass and six, 3-ounce tastes. Additional taste tickets cost $1 each or $5 for six.

"Every penny generated goes to the Friend of the Fair Foundation," Bacolas says.

To top off the experience, football games will be showing on large-screen TVs throughout Compton Arena, and authentic Greek, Turkish and German food will be served. Of course, if you'd prefer the greasy stuff, there will be vendors serving that and other "fair" foods as well.

Other festival highlights include sanctioned stock-dog trials, pumpkin decorating, puppet shows with Annie the Clown, an inflatable jump house, agricultural equipment displays, a tractor-driving contest, a silent auction to benefit FFA, a casting activity with the Upper Rogue Steelheaders, and exhibits of canned goods, flowers, vegetables and more.

FFA and 4-H youths will be able to purchase calves and heifers for this year's projects at the festival.

Live music will be offered all three days in the Compton Arena. Look for Colonel Mustard, Jef Fretwell & the Detractors, Jason Johnston and Michael Boren, David Pinsky and Phil Newton, and Broadway Phil and the Shouters.

"It's great entertainment, and the price is right," Expo Director Dave Koellermeier says.