What better place to celebrate the season than Bavarian-infused Leavenworth when the leaves are blazing orange and red, the markets and restaurants crammed with harvest foods, the wines ripe for the sipping, and the sounds of music echo from alpine peaks?
Leavenworth is just a hop, skip and a jump over the hump, Stevens Pass, great for a day or a weekend getaway.
Don't wait for the leaf-turning, however, to take a trip. The music, the food, the entertainment and the festivals go on all year long.
If you can pull it off today, the 11th annual Wine Tasting Festival is going on from noon to 6 p.m. at Smallwood's Harvest, about 2 miles east of Leavenworth on U.S. 2 at 10461 Stemm Road, Peshastin.
Sample local and regional wines and tunes at this indoor/outdoor market. Call 509-548-5807.
If you act fast you may score tickets to the Aug. 30 or Sept. 1 productions of "The Sound of Music" at the Leavenworth Ski Hill Amphitheater.
There are limited seats available also for upcoming performances of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the FestHalle Theater or "Annie Get Your Gun," playing at the Hatchery Park Amphitheater.
Check out the availability for these shows at www.leavenworthsummertheater.org then quickly call 509-548-2000 or head to the box office at Icicle Resort, 565 U.S. 2, Leavenworth.
The weekend-long Wild & Scenic Music Festival at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts features barn dances, live music jams, food, beer and wine.
It goes from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to whenever Aug. 25. The hoedown begins Friday night with an old-fashioned barn dance at Canyon Wren Recital Hall. Tickets are $8 at the door.
Things start jamming at noon Aug. 25 on two stages, beginning with Spare Rib and the Bluegrass Sauce and winding up with Buzz Brump.
Tickets are $25. Kids 12 and younger are free with a parent or guardian. Call 509-548-6347 or go to icicle.org.
For a little quieter afternoon, slip out of town for one of Sleeping Lady's Organic Garden Tours at 4 p.m. Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and 22. The resort at 7375 Icicle Road offers free guided and informative tours of its vegetable gardens.
You can enjoy the bounty at special Harvest Dinners starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 and Sept. 16 at the Kingfisher Restaurant at Sleeping Lady. Check the menu at sleepinglady.com.
Dinners are $45 for adults and $17 for kids ages 5 to 12. Call 509-548-6344 for reservations.
Want to fix your own harvest dinner? The Leavenworth Community Farmers Market continues from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday through at Lions Club Park on Front Street. In addition to local fruits and vegetables, the farmers sell sheep-milk cheeses, homemade baked good, and jewelry, pottery and baskets. See www.leavenworthfarmersmarket.org.
Kick off the month with Pearl Django at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts, 7409 Icicle Road.
The evening's entertainment includes champagne, chocolate and wine along with the jazzy Django for $25. Tickets and information at icicle.org or call 509-548-6347.
The Leavenworth Quilt Show 2012 covers the town from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 5 through 9 at three venues displaying 250 award-winning quilts at Quilts in the Village Shops and the FestHalle.
Want to enter a quilt? Print out a form at www.quiltersheaven.com/leavenworth_quilt_show.htm or call 509-548-5311.
We haven't mentioned beer yet, but, yes, Leavenworth has it, and it's a headliner along with music and food at Blues, Brews & BBQ from noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 15.
Five bands will play at Leavenworth Festhalle, including SlackDaddy, Doctorfunk and Big Mumbo. Microbrews, soft drinks and plenty of barbecue will be available to buy.
Tickets in advance online are $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger at leavenworthblues.eventbrite.com. They're $25 and $15 at the door. Wristbands allow you to come and go all day.
Call 509-433-7414 or check leavenworthblues.com for more information.
He's here! "Phantom of the Opera" fans can indulge in the Masquerade in the Meadows at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. Dinner catered by IvyWild, a wine tasting and silent auction precede the concert under the stars with vocal selections from the musical.
Tickets are $100. Make reservations at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/259512 or call 509-548-6347, ext. 40. For more information see icicle.org.
And remember those leaves we talked about? Check them out at the Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival from Sept. 28 to 30.
The leaf festival has been a feature since Leavenworth went Bavarian way back in 1964.
The celebration includes street dancing, a parade with floats and all, pretzel tossing and pumpkin pie eating, plenty of music and more beer. Find out all about it at autumnleaffestival.com.
Begin the leaf-peeping as you drive over U.S. 2 and wind through Tumwater Canyon skirting white water sections of the Wenatchee River. Or veer off U.S. 2 and meander Highway 207 (Lake Wenatchee Highway), curving through the Plain area and on into Leavenworth.
Need more fall color? Continue east and take Highway 97 up and over Blewett Pass through the Wenatchee National Forest replete with fiery red huckleberry bushes, golden aspens and cottonwoods.
Of course, the granddaddy of all German-style burgs is Oktoberfest. Leavenworth sets aside Oct. 5 and 6, 12 and 13, and 19 and 20, when music, German food, arts and crafts, and family fun will be on tap all over town.
Speaking of tapping, all the Saturday celebrations begin at 1 p.m. when Leavenworth's burgermeister does the traditional tapping of the keg.
Musical groups will play at three venues and free shuttles will roam around to take you here and there.
Tickets go sale at leavenworthoktoberfest.com/ in September. The cost is $10 on Fridays and $20 on Saturdays. Children under 12 are free.
• Events, lodging, maps and directions: www.leavenworth.org.
• Icicle Creek Center for the Arts: 7409 Icicle Road; 877-265-6026, http://icicle.org.
• Sleeping Lady Resort: 7375 Icicle Road; 800-574-2123, www.sleepinglady.com.
• Leavenworth Summer Theater: www.leavenworth summertheater.org, 509-548-2000.
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