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Cool, crisp air and changing leaves have us excited to welcome a new season, especially since October is filled with festivals, fun runs, and fundraisers. Get ready to enjoy the cooler temperatures and a jam-packed social calendar. Here are the best events happening in the Bluff City this month.

18 Memphis Events & Happenings: October 2021

October 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 2021: Fall Orion Free Music Concert Series at Levitt Shell

Join Levitt Shell every Friday and Saturday in October for a free concert! Picnic baskets, beverages, blankets, and lawn chairs are welcome. The music venue also offers food and beverages for purchase. Performers include The Sensational Barnes Brothers, Dale Watson, Cameron Bethany, and more. Dogs on a leash are welcome in the designated puppy bar, and all shows begin at 7 p.m.

October 1 – 3, 2021: Mempho Music Festival

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 2, 2021: CHF Race for Hope 5K

Lace up your tennis shoes and gear up for the 2021 CHF Race for Hope 5K on Saturday, October 2, at Court Square Park. Races begin at 7:30 a.m., and all participants receive a finisher’s medal. Registration begins at $30, or participants can choose a virtual option beginning at $25. All proceeds benefit the Chris Hope Foundation, which provides relief to families with children suffering from pediatric illnesses.

October 2, 2021: Wine on the River

On Saturday, October 2, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can enjoy wine from “around the world” to benefit the Dorothy Day House. General admission tickets are $59 with tax and include beverage samples and a souvenir wine glass. You can also purchase a designated driver ticket for $25. The event takes place at Riverside Drive in downtown Memphis. (Note: VIP packages are sold out.)

October 2, 2021: Oktoberfest 2021

Make a quick drive to Olive Branch, MS, for a fun afternoon of drinks, games, food, and music. Whether you want to try a new craft beer, order a flight, or just enjoy hanging out with friends and family, this is the weekend to do it! Hosted by Mississippi Ale House, festivities begin at 1 p.m.

October 3, 2021: Camp Good Grief 5K

Run for a good cause on Sunday, October 3. The 12th Annual Camp Good Grief 5K offers both in-person and virtual options for $30, and the one-mile fun run is $20. The race begins at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery.

October 8 & 9 & 11 – 15, 2021: Fall Plant Sale at the Garden

Fall is the perfect time for planting trees and shrubs, and Memphis Botanic Garden offers fall favorites like mums, pansies, and more. The annual plant sale is free and open to the public, but shopping entry is only guaranteed with an advanced reservation on Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9. There are no reservations for October 11-15. Hours are October 8-9, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;  and October 11-15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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October 9, 2021: Paint Memphis

Paint Memphis is a one-day festival that showcases local and regional artists. The free event offers food and drink trucks, live music, and more. The fun takes place at 660 South BB King Boulevard from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 9. Plus, be sure to attend the after-party at Carolina Watershed at 7 p.m.

October 15 – 17, 22 – 24, & 28 – 31, 2021: Le Bonheur Zoo Boo

You can attend Zoo Boo at the Memphis Zoo on different nights in October from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This event features candy stations, straw mazes, magic shows, hayrides, and so much more. Tickets are $13 for zoo members and $15 for non-members. Children 23 months and under are free. All tickets must be purchased online prior to the event.

October 16, 2021: Memphis Food & Wine Festival

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 16, 2021: Junior League of Memphis 5K & 10K

Funds raised through the Junior League of Memphis’ virtual 5K and 10K support partners and agencies like Habitat for Humanity, Carpenter Art Garden, Camp Good Grief, and more. Race for a cause and get your exercise in for the day on Saturday, October 16, at 9 a.m. Registration is $25 for the 5K and ghost runners, and the 10K is $35. Be sure to register soon, as prices increase on the day of the race. The race begins at the Junior League of Memphis office.

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October 16 & 17, 2021: Memphis Brewfest & Brunchfest Weekend

Memphis Brewfest is back and better than ever! Taking place at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, October 16, the event runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Patrons can enjoy 40+ brewery samples, live music, games, and more. The event is also rolling out Memphis Brunchfest this year on Sunday, October 17, and it offers brunch eats, Bloody Mary bars, and more. This event takes place from noon to 3:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45 for Brewfest and $50 for Brunchfest.

October 16 & 17, 2021: October Sunshine and Iris at the Brooks

Iris is back in bloom for its 22nd season! Iris at GPAC: October Sunshine is Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. with Michael Stern, founder of Iris Orchestra, conducting. The program is a combination of well-known Romantic composers Felix Mendelssohn and Pyotr Tchaikovsky and contemporary composer (and Atlanta native) Carlos Simon, a recent recipient of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, given to extraordinary Black and Latinx musicians. Iris at the Brooks: Schubert will have two performances, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 17, 2021. The program is Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major performed by the Dali Quartet with guest artist Arlen Hlusko, cellist. (The 2 p.m. performance at the Brooks Museum is sold out as of press time, owing to limited seating and social distancing.)

October 22 – 24, 2021: Holiday Market by Mistletoe Merchants

Get a jump-start on Christmas shopping at Agricenter International’s Holiday Market. With over 200 vendors selling jewelry, clothes, antiques, and home decor, you can find something for everyone, including yourself. These three days of holiday shopping give a whole new meaning to “shop ’til you drop.” A one-day pass is $10, and a three-day pass is $18. The event begins Friday, October 22, and ends Sunday, October 24. Hours vary per day.

October 23, 2021: Art on Fire

Head to Dixon Gallery & Gardens on Saturday, October 23, for tastings from local spots in town, drinks, live music, an auction, an art sale, and more. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is $60 for members and $75 for nonmembers. The price includes admission, beer, wine, and food. Hot Spot tickets are available for $250, which include a full bar and priority parking.

October 23, 2021: Big Buffalo 50

The Big Buffalo 50 race is set for Saturday, October 23, at 6 a.m. at Shelby Farms Park. The race offers food trucks, cold beer, and lots of post-race fun. Registration is $30 for a spirit runner, $40 for a relay team, $65 for the 50K, and $85 for the 50-miler.

October 23, 2021: Youth Villages 5K & 10-Miler

Youth Villages hosts its 39th Annual 5K and 10-miler on Saturday, October 23. The event offers awards for the top finishers and a post-race party with live entertainment, activities, and refreshments. The 10-Miler is $50 (or $40 for those 16 and under), and the 5K is $30 (or $20 for those 16 and under). A virtual option is also available for $20. Races begin at 8 a.m. at 1000 Ridgeway Loop.

October 23 & 24, 2021: River Arts Festival

On Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 24, you can see local and national artists (from all 50 states, to be exact), buy their work, and enjoy the spirit of Memphis at the River Arts Festival. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and children under 5 are free. The festival takes place at Renasant Convention Center.

October 23 & 31, 2021: Scandals & Scoundrels

If you’re in the mood for some Halloween fun, Elmwood Cemetery offers tours on Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 31, that are sure to get you in the spirit. The tour begins at noon on Saturday, October 23, and 1 p.m. on Halloween. Tours are known to sell out quickly, so grab your tickets for $20 today!

Have a happy (and spooky!) October, Memphis!


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

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