A stand sells apple cider
Cider Days on Historic Walnut Street returns for its 24th year Sept. 17-18. (Photo: Downtown Springfield Association)

The whole family can say hello to fall at the 24th Cider Days on Historic Walnut Street in downtown Springfield. The two-day festival, Sept. 17-18, will look a lot like it has in previous years, but with a youthful twist. That goes for artists as well as attendees.

“We’ve got several new artists and performers we’re excited to have around,” said Hailey Magnus, communications manager for the Downtown Springfield Association, which puts on the event. “We have one artist, in particular, that is a 12-year-old girl named Mabel Smallwood. We’re excited about her. She’s got some really cute stuff she’s bringing in that we’re excited about.”

There’s also plenty for the younger crowd to do.

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“I am excited for all the kid-friendly activities we’ve got going on,” Magnus said. “We’ll, of course, have Andy B’s there. They’ll bring lots of games. Discovery Center’s going to be there doing some fun stuff. Princesses of the 417 will be there and we’ll have a face painter this year. We’ll also have Artistree Pottery coming out. They’ll have some cute little fall ceramics that people can paint on-site at Cider Days.”

More than 60 artists, crafters and vendors

In all, there are nearly 65 regional artists, crafters and vendors signed up to sell at the festival, which takes up nearly all of Walnut Street from just west of John Q. Hammons Parkway to National Avenue. Many popular favorites are back, including last year’s award winners including Chrisara Designs (Best Regional Artist), RedBarnProducts89 (Award of Excellence) and Debbie’s Birdhouses (Best in Show).

“We’ll also have the Embers Candle Bar bus,” Magnus said. “They’re a business out of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, but they’re bringing down a school bus that they’ve revamped to sell candles out of and do a pour-your-own candle experience.”

A woman stands outside a black bus
Embers Candle Bar is bringing its bus all the way from Lee’s Summit to Cider Days, Sept. 17-18 on Historic Walnut Street. (Photo: Downtown Springfield Association)

Plenty of food for hungry festivalgoers

Magnus recommends guests come hungry. Some 20 food vendors will be on-hand to serve up a variety of delicious food and drink.

“Crosstown and Greek Belly will both be there, and Pineapple Whip, so we’ve got the classics back,” she said. “Lae’s Authentic Eggrolls were a big hit at Artsfest, and they’ll be back for Cider Days. The Xurros are coming back, so lots of good stuff.”

Wide variety of entertainment across three stages

Enjoy some great entertainment while all that food digests. Cider Days once again features three stages, with music and dance acts scheduled to perform — including the Princesses of the 417 — as well as a new, high-flying act.

“We also have some new performers coming in, like Queen City Acro,” Magnus said. “They’re going to come do some acrobatics for us, which will be really cool.”

History lovers won’t want to miss another new twist at Cider Days — walking tours of the historic neighborhood.

“We’ll have local historian David Eslick leading Historic Walnut Street Walking Tours each day of the festival,” Magnus said. “On the tours, people will learn about the rich history of the Queen Anne architecture and some of the prominent local families who have lived on Walnut Street. These tours will leave from the Walnut Street Inn at 1 p.m. each day and are free with entry into the festival.”

A large crowd of people on a city street, with blue skies
Cider Days on Historic Walnut street annually draws tens of thousands of guests. This year’s festival is Sept. 17-18, 2022.

And don’t forget the apple cider

And, of course, no trip to Cider Days is complete without delicious apple cider — hot or cold — from the Ozark Empire Fair Foundation and apple cider donuts from Gardners Orchard and Bakery.

Cider Days is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on both days. Admission is $5 for adults, while children ages 10 and under are free with a paying adult. For more information, visit the official Cider Days website and download the Cider Days brochure, which includes listings of all artists, food vendors and the performance schedule.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger