Celebrate the fall season by checking out some of our favorite October festivals across the state. From German traditions to blues music to local markets, Tennessee has plenty of activities perfect for the whole family.
9/30 – 10/3—Sisters Bluegrass Festival | Chattanooga, TN
Enjoy some rich southern Bluegrass in the Scenic City at the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival. Featuring more than 10 performances in two days, it’s no wonder this festival was recently named one of the Top Five Bluegrass Festivals by Great American Country. And admission is free!
10/1 – 10/15—RiverRocks Festival | Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga wasn’t named the “Best Town Ever” by Outdoor magazine for nothing. Check out the annual RiverRocks Festival, a multi-day event celebrating the city’s outdoor lifestyle with pro and amateur competitions, various festival events including the Best Town (for) Ever Celebration, and, of course, some live music.
10/7 – 10/9—National Storytelling Festival | Jonesborough, TN
More than 40 years ago, National Storytelling Festival started with just 60 people using hay bales and wagons for stages. Now, the festival attracts dozens of storytellers and more than 10,000 visitors each year. Located in historic Jonesborough, head to this event to hear stories from acclaimed tellers and even tell your own at the Swappin’ Ground, where anyone is invited to tell a tale.
10/8—Pumpkintown Festival | Athens, TN
Celebrate the rich history, heritage and harvest of historic Athens at the annual Pumpkintown festival. Enjoy the day with local art, entertainment and a look at some of the rich Native American culture. Your pet can even join in on the fun at the Mutt Strut parade and costume contest.
10/16—Apple Festival | Location—Cleveland, TN
This annual Cleveland celebration has something for everyone. Check out arts and crafts from local vendors, cheer on participants in the talent show or listen to live bluegrass music. Kids can enjoy pony and hay rides and other entertainment in the kids’ zone.
Discover more activities for your family to enjoy in Tennessee.
10/1 – 10/2—National Banana Pudding Festival | Centerville, TN
Celebrating one of the South’s most beloved desserts, you don’t want to miss out on this unique fall festival. The National Banana Pudding Festival features plenty of games and activities, music, and of course, lots of banana pudding. Watch chefs compete live for the title of America’s Best Banana Pudding and sample some for yourself by taking a stroll down Puddin’ Path.
10/1—Spring Hill Country Ham Festival | Spring Hill, TN
Your family will never get bored at this annual festival. Enjoy a variety of fun activities including live music, games and even hot air balloon rides this year at the Country Ham Festival. Let the kids explore the festival’s kid’s zone with huge inflatables, face painting and much more.
10/7 – 10/9—Oktoberfest | Nashville, TN
Now in its 37th year, celebrate Oktoberfest in historic Germantown this year, with activities spanning six city blocks. Enjoy traditional German food, street performances and other live entertainment. There’s even a free children’s area and the Dachshund Dash race to entertain the little ones.
10/14 – 10/16—Southern Festival of Books | Nashville, TN
For almost 30 years, the Southern Festival of Books has brought over 200 authors from across the nation. Bring the whole family to this three-day celebration and listen to readings, panel discussions and maybe even have some of your favorite books signed! The kids will have the opportunity to check out some new children’s stories and even meet the authors.
10/29—Pumpkinfest | Franklin, TN
Celebrate fall in historic Franklin at the annual Pumpkinfest festival. This festival is packed with tons of events perfect for the whole family. Let the kids enjoy the Kids’ Zone, participate in costume contests, check out some extreme pumpkin carving or even guess the weight of the Great Pumpkin in the square. While you’re there, you can check out some live music along with work from local artisans.
9/30 – 10/1—Bona Fide Blues Festival | Memphis, TN
Enjoy live blues music in the city where it all started. Located in Overton Square in the Midtown area in Memphis, The Bona Fide Blues Festival features only musicians located within 100 miles of the city. Enjoy free music at the outdoor stage or head to one of the nearby participating venues to listen to one of the dozens of scheduled performances.
10/1—Oakland in October Festival | Oakland, TN
Located just outside Memphis, head to Oakland in October Festival for a full day of activities. Start your day at the pancake breakfast, participate in the karaoke contest and take part in the annual pet parade.
10/7 – 10/9—Moon River Music Festival | Memphis, TN
Created by Memphis native and renowned musician Drew Holcomb, the Moon River Music Festival returns to Levitt Shell, one of the city’s most popular outdoor music venues. Enjoy three days of performances from local and national folk rock and Americana musicians. Part of the proceeds benefit area non-profit organizations, like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Soulsville Foundation.
10/8—Bristerfest | Memphis, TN
Celebrate fall with this one-of-a-kind street music festival dedicated to the local environment. Last year, the festival donated $5,000 to GrowMemphis, a non-profit that helps communities build gardens and improve access to locally grown foods. Going strong since 2011, Bristerfest brings music, arts and fun activities to the Overton Square Tower Courtyard.
10/15—Hatchie Fall Fest | Brownsville, TN
Known as Brownsville’s largest annual celebration, Hatchie Fall Fest is sure to be a blast for the whole family. Named after the scenic Hatchie River and Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, this community event is all about celebrating the area’s history and bringing families together. You’ll find plenty of games and activities for the kids along with a variety of musical performances, a cake baking contest and a cornhole competition.
10/21 – 10/23—RiverArtsFest | Memphis, TN
Named by Travel magazine as one of the best festivals and fairs in Tennessee, celebrate the arts, local music and some fantastic southern cuisine at the annual RiverArtsFest. More than 180 fine artists from around the country gather in the historic South Main Arts District to exhibit and sell their latest works. RiverArtsFest also has plenty of games and activities for children as well.
Do you have a favorite fall festival? Let us know in the comments.
Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.