A number of area communities have fall festivals and events planned for this weekend and into the first half of October.

Festivities start this week with the 47th annual Four Flags Area Apple Festival running Thursday through Sunday in Niles. This year’s theme is “Apple Festival Celebrates Michigan.”

Most activities will take place at the festival grounds at Lake and 17th Streets on the city’s northeast side, although Saturday afternoon’s Grande Parade will start in downtown Niles.

Carnival rides, apple related and other contests, concessions and the apple products tent open Thursday and run through the weekend. In addition, the annual arts and crafts fair runs Saturday and Sunday.

A full listing of festival activities can be found at www.fourflagsapplefestival.org.

Also this weekend, the village of Eau Claire will host its annual “Build a Scarecrow” event Saturday morning. The workshop starts at 10 a.m. in the building behind the village hall on Main Street.

It is free and refreshments will be provided. Materials will be provided but people can also bring overalls and other clothing items they want for dressing their scarecrows.

Both Buchanan and Dowagiac have events scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12. In Buchanan, it is the first annual Scarecrow Festival at Lehman’s Brewery and Farmhouse, while the ninth annual Under the Harvest Moon Festival gets underway that day in Dowagiac.

The Lehman’s Brewery Scarecrow Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lehman’s at 204 N. Redbud Trail in downtown Buchanan. Activities on the schedule include games, scarecrow making workshops, mini pumpkin painting, a bike ride and robotics and Boy Scout demonstrations. There will also be a craft show and antique tractors on display. Find out more about the festival on the Lehman’s Farmhouse website and Facebook page.

A wide variety of activities are on the schedule for the Under the Harvest Moon Festival which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dowagiac downtown. Front Street will be closed in the downtown for the festival, which features live entertainment and family events like a petting zoo.

Among the activities and attractions on the schedule are displays of antique vintage tractors, Taste of Michigan Wine & Craft Brew Festival, blacksmithing and wood sculpting demonstrations, crafts and pumpkin decorating and a parade of Halloween Hounds.

Find a full schedule of events at the www.DowagiacChamber.com website.