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As we head into October, there are countless exciting events to look forward to in the South. Our schedules are packed with live music performances, Halloween celebrations, fall festivals, and more. Here are 19 can’t-miss October events happening throughout the South!

20 Southern Events & Happenings: October 2021

Through January 7, 2022: John Crist’s “Fresh Cuts Tour” — throughout the South

John Crist is one of today’s fast-rising stand-up comedians, with more than one billion video views, five million fans on social media, and sold-out shows from coast to coast. Now you can experience his comedy firsthand at one of his shows on the “Fresh Cuts Tour.” The tour runs through Friday, January 7, and includes shows across the South, from Tennessee to North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and more. For a full list of tour dates and ticket prices, visit

Through October 17, 2021: State Fair of Texas — Dallas, TX

Since 1886, the State Fair of Texas has celebrated all things Texan. As both the longest-running and largest fair, the annual celebration is not to be missed. This year’s event runs through Sunday, October 17, and includes delicious fair food, rides, pig races, celebrity chef demonstrations, and more. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. General admission tickets begin at $15.

Through October 31, 2021: Goblins & Giggles — Nashville, TN

Through Sunday, October 31, Gaylord Opryland Hotel offers a robust lineup of family-friendly Halloween-themed activities. This year’s Goblins & Googles’ itinerary includes scavenger hunts, trick-or-treating, bedtime stories, animal encounters, an escape room, and more. In celebration of this event, the hotel also offers a special overnight package for four people starting at $245.

Through October 31, 2021: Jack O’Lantern Spectacular — Louisville, KY

Held in Iroquois Park with 5,000 illuminated carved pumpkins, Louisville’s annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular has been named the region’s best Halloween event. Running through Sunday, October 31, the event is open Sunday through Thursday from dusk to 11 p.m. and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Tickets begin at $15 for adults and $12 for children. Proceeds benefit the Louisville Parks Foundation.

RELATED: Music, Food + Travel: Fall Festivals in the South

October 1 & 2, 2021: 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival — Chattanooga, TN

Named after the three daughters of bluegrass fiddler Fletcher Bright, the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival is a free two-day music event that hosts some of the biggest names in bluegrass. This year’s festival takes place at Ross’ Landing in Chattanooga, TN, and includes performers like Ricky Skaggs, Brothers Comatose, the Del McCoury Band, and Missy Raines. The festival begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 1, and noon on Saturday, October 2.

October 1 – 3, 2021: MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas — Austin, TX

Experience some of the fastest motorcycles on Earth at the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix. The three-day event takes place at the Circuit of The Americas on October 1-3. While general admission tickets are not offered this year, fans can purchase an upgraded viewing experience starting at $49. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day.

October 1 – 3, 2021: Mempho Music Festival — Memphis, TN

Get ready to rock out at Mempho Music Festival on October 1-3 at Radians Amphitheater. This year’s lineup includes acts like The Avett Brothers, Billy Strings, Moon Taxi, and Southern Avenue. Three-day passes are $185, and single-day admission is $80. Start times vary based on the day.

October 1 – 3, 7 – 10, 14 – 17, 21 – 24, & 28 – 30, 2021: Boo at the Zoo — Louisville, KY

One of Louisville’s favorite Halloween traditions returns to the Louisville Zoo this month. Beginning Friday, October 1, Boo at the Zoo invites visitors to enjoy not-so-scary Halloween fun, including trick-or-treating, live music, and your favorite storybook characters brought to life. Tickets for zoo members are $6, and non-member tickets are $12.50. Event hours are Thursday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

October 2, 2021: Atlanta Pizza Festival — Atlanta, GA

Referred to as “the best pizza party on the planet,” the Atlanta Pizza Festival makes its way to Atlantic Station on Saturday, October 2. Each pie is made on-site in a hand-crafted oven made by Marra Forni. In addition to delicious pizza, the festival also includes live music, beer, and wine. Tickets begin at $15, and the festival kicks off at noon.

October 2 & 3, 2021: BHM26.2 — Birmingham, AL

One of the biggest race weekends in the South is officially on for 2021. This year, BHM26.2 includes a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and a fun run. Join over 2,000 runners from across the country for this exciting, family-friendly weekend on Saturday, October 2, and Sunday, October 3. Enjoy scenic, non-looping courses throughout Homewood and downtown Birmingham as you run for an amazing cause. All proceeds benefit Magic Moments and Children’s of Alabama. Stick around after the race on Sunday for an exciting after-party featuring Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, live music, a bar, a kids zone, and more. Registration fees start at $35.

October 8, 2021: Chili Fest — Tupelo, MS

Whether you love eating chili or making chili, head to Tupelo’s annual Chili Fest on Friday, October 8. Awards are given to the best-tasting recipe, most original recipe, best team spirit, and more. Teams are made up of three, and registration is $50. For those who wish to sample chili, tickets begin at $5. The event starts at 11 a.m.

October 8 & 9, 2021: 13th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest — Sandestin, FL

Enjoy a variety of specialty beers at the 13th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9. Taking place at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, the festival offers samples of over 200 domestic and international craft beers. The festival begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets start at $40.

October 9, 2021: 6th Annual NC Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate Festival — Raleigh, NC

Wine, cheese, and chocolate? Count us in! The 6th Annual NC Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Festival returns to Lafayette Village on Saturday, October 9. Starting at noon, attendees are invited to enjoy samples, live music, and local vendors. Tickets begin at $40, and the event starts at noon. A premium to-go box is also available for $99.

October 9 & 10, 2021: 33rd Annual Southern Festival of Books — Nashville, TN

Join Southern readers and writers on Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10, for the 33rd Annual Southern Festival of Books. The free virtual event celebrates the joys of reading and features panels with over 100 authors, including Adrian Miller, Delaney Gray, Kristen Radke, and more.

October 14 – December 9, 2021: Ponce Goes Upside Down — Atlanta, GA

Beginning Thursday, October 14, head to Ponce City Market on the second Thursday of the month for a carnival-style party that pairs food and retail talent with Atlanta’s up-and-coming makers and creators. For this month’s celebration, Ponce City Market collaborates with the Atlanta School of Photography to provide fun backdrops and photo booths for attendees. The party also includes live jazz music, costumed performers, free cotton candy, and cornhole. The event is free to attend and begins at 5:30 p.m.

RELATED: The South’s Newest Food Halls

October 16, 2021: Arte Agave Tequila & Mezcal Festival — Atlanta, GA

Head to The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel on Saturday, October 16, for a unique celebration of agave spirits, art, and entertainment inspired by Latin culture. The Arte Agave Tequila & Mezcal Festival includes over 100 types of agave spirits, an opportunity to learn how to make your own agave-inspired cocktail, and the chance to win a bottle of your favorite agave spirit. The event begins at 5 p.m., and general admission tickets are $75.

October 16, 2021: Memphis Food & Wine Festival — Memphis, TN

The Memphis Food & Wine Festival returns to Radians Amphitheater on Saturday, October 16. Celebrate the city by tasting delicious food from local chefs and sample wine that complements each dish. All proceeds benefit the FedEx Family House, and tickets start at $200 per person. The fun begins at 6 p.m.

October 17, 2021: 9th Annual Bull City Race Fest — Durham, NC

Get outside and enjoy the crisp fall air on Sunday, October 17, at the 9th Annual Bull City Race Fest. Runners can choose to participate in a half marathon, 5K, or one-mile fun run. Plus, after you cross the finish line, you are invited to enjoy bites from local food trucks. Registration begins at $20, and races start at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Durham. A shadow runner option is also available for $50.

October 22 – 24, 2021: International Association of Culinary Professionals 43rd Annual Conference: An Alabama Feast — Birmingham, AL

The culinary event of the year makes its way to Pepper Place and Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, AL, on October 22-24. Hosted by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), this year’s conference is “an Alabama feast” and includes events like the Sweet Home Street Party, IACP Media & Cookbook Awards, Tasting TBL Experience at John Hand Club, Big Birmingham Bar Crawl, and Alabama Tastemaker Sessions. Events are open to the food-loving public, and tickets begin at $30.

October 30, 2021: Magic City Classic — Birmingham, AL

The Magic City Classic is the largest historically Black college and university (HBCU) football game in the country. Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University play in the game annually at Legion Field, and the winner could potentially earn a spot in the SWAC Championship. Festivities surrounding the game include the Classic Kickoff, Magic City Classic Parade, Tailgate Party, and the famed halftime show performed by the Mighty Marching Hornets and the Marching Maroon and White. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m., and tickets start at $25.

Here’s to a fun-filled October!


To see more great Southern events, visit our Happenings page!

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