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Destinee Arroyo, 9, scrambles through the obstacle course during Apple Dash at Papa's Pumpkin Patch on Sunday. The annual event is part of the Bismarck Public Schools Foundation and helps raise funds to support innovation grants for teachers at Bismarck Public Schools. Destinee is a student at Dorothy Moses Elementary School. 

WILL KINCAID, TRIBUNE

It’s hard to believe that summer’s winding down. On Sept. 22, a week from this Friday, autumn officially begins. Annual events this weekend remind us of the changing seasons.

The trees started changing colors early this year so we already have the look of fall. We also have the activities that go with it. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and have fun.

On Friday and Saturday there’s the Downtowners’ Street Fair. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday folks can enjoy arts, crafts and food in downtown Bismarck. Now in its 44th year, the fair started in 1973 as “Customer Appreciation Days” and blossomed into a street fair. It’s enjoyed some great weather and endured some not-so-great days.

It remains a big draw for residents who want to get out and enjoy the downtown.

Along with the fair on Saturday there’s the Autumnfest Parade. It starts at 10 a.m. at the Capitol grounds and goes south down Sixth Street. At East Avenue A, the parade turns right and goes west for two blocks to Fourth Street. The parade will then head north on Fourth Street, finishing at the west Capitol parking lot.

There are bands, floats and more in the parade.

Another longtime event returns on Friday and Saturday. There’s a kids’ mini marathon on Friday and on Saturday is the annual Bismarck Marathon at Cottonwood Park. A marathon, half marathon and marathon relay begin at 7:30 a.m. and a 5k walk/run starts at 7:40 a.m. At 7:50 a.m. there is a 10k walk/run.

The marathon was started in 1981 by the Missouri Valley YMCA. Money raised at the marathon goes to local charities.

The Shaggy Shuffle will end the weekend on Sunday. Starting at 1 p.m. at the state Capitol (registration at noon), it’s an annual fundraiser by the Central Dakota Humane Society. Participants can take pets on a .5-mile walk, a 2-mile walk, a 3.5-mile walk and a virtual walk. It’s fun and for a good cause.

North Dakotans like to soak up the nice weather in the spring and fall so there are plenty of activities. There will be more walks and benefits through the fall, so if you can’t participate this weekend there will be more opportunities.

Some upcoming events include the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sept. 23 at Shiloh Christian School; the 2017 Designer Genes Buddy Walk Sept. 23 at the Capitol grounds; the Mandan Fire Department’s 10k and 5k run and 5k walk on Sept. 30; and the Harmon Lake Trail Run Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

They are all worthwhile events and we hope as many people as possible can participate or go out and show support.

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