The strangest fall festivals you’ve probably never been to

‘Stranger Things’ better buckle up for this.

A person dressed as the Pope Lick Monster, wearing a furry costume and goat horns, pretends to choke City Editor Katie. The photo has a playful and staged air about it.

City Editor Katie came face to face with the Pope Lick Monster for the first time last year.

Photo by LOUtoday

As the crisp autumn air ushers into Derby City it brings along with it annual fall favorites — like Oktoberfest, Harvest Homecoming, the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular, and the St. James Art Fair.

Louisville wouldn’t be the same without these annual traditions, but there are a few other festivals that take a little different approach to the standard autumnal celebrations.

🥭 Pawpaw Festival
Saturday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

For the first time ever, the Louisville Nature Center is pulling out all the stops to celebrate this regional tropical fruit. It looks like a small, green potato, but tastes like a cross between a mango and a banana.

What to expect: Workshops, guided hikes, foraging, live music

🐐 Goatman Festival
Friday, Oct. 13 + Saturday, Oct. 14

Ain’t no party like a cryptid party. The Legend at Pope Lick Park is honoring the most famous Louisville monster in history, the Goatman — AKA the Pope Lick Monster. The event is free and features showings of the 1988 “Legend of the Pope Lick Monster” film and a Q+A with actual Goatman hunters.

What to expect: Free movies, celebrities, cryptid vendors, music, a horror hike, escape games

🦇 Kentucky Bat Festival
Saturday, Oct. 21, 4-7 p.m.

Most people believe they’re creepy — thanks Dracula — but Second Chances Wildlife Center loves them. This annual event, dedicated to the only flying mammal around, is held at EP Tom Sawyer State Park and offers a rare opportunity to meet social media star and “batfluencer” Pepperoni. Tickets are $15-$35 and benefit the wildlife rescue organization.

What to expect: Live bat meetings, a silent auction, presentations, BBQ, local beer

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder… Check out these other unconventional fall festivals happening throughout the region: