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It’s officially fall, which means there is no shortage of festivals, fundraisers, or fun runs to attend this month. Whether you’re looking for date night ideas or Halloween-themed fun for the kids, here are our top picks of can’t-miss events happening this October.

28 Nashville Events & Happenings: October 2021

Through October 6, 2021: Nashville Film Festival

The 52nd Annual Nashville Film Festival presents some of the best independent films and documentaries by master filmmakers and up-and-coming directors. This year’s event is hybrid, offering both in-person and online film screenings. In-person screening venues include Rocketown, Belmont University, Marathon Music Works, and Belcourt Theater. The event runs through Wednesday, October 6, and individual screening tickets begin at $15 each.

Through October 31, 2021: Cheekwood Harvest

There’s no better way to celebrate fall in Nashville than at Cheekwood Harvest. Stroll through the gardens and witness the beauty of changing leaves on oaks, maples, dogwoods, and many other trees. The six-week event runs through Sunday, October 31, and entry is included with all Cheekwood tickets.

Through October 31, 2021: Goblins & Giggles

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.

October 2, 2021: Stephens Valley Fall Festival

Celebrate the arrival of fall and its crisp air at Stephens Valley’s 3rd Annual Fall Festival on Saturday, October 2. The family-friendly event begins at 11 a.m. and includes live music, local food trucks, pony rides, face painting, balloon artists, and more. The event is free to attend.

October 2, 2021: Pups & Pints

Who says dogs can’t celebrate the start of fall, too? On Saturday, October 2, head to oneC1TY for Pups & Pints, a dog-friendly celebration that includes local pet vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts, a pop-up dog park, and more. Dog owners are also invited to enjoy craft beer and cocktails from the on-site bar as well as participate in lawn games. Admission is free, and the event begins at 2 p.m.

October 3, 2021: Tennessee Honey Festival

Learn about the importance of bees and other pollinators on Sunday, October 3, at the Tennessee Honey Festival. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. and includes local honey vendors, live music, honey-infused drinks, live bee demonstrations, and more family-friendly fun. Tickets begin at $10, and the event takes place at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

October 5, 2021: Taste of West Nashville

Hosted at Fat Bottom Brewing Co. on Tuesday, October 5, Taste of West Nashville provides samples from some of the city’s best local restaurants, such as Daddy’s Dogs, Rolled 4 Ever Ice Cream, Hattie B’s, and more. In addition, the event includes live music and a silent auction, and proceeds benefit the West Nashville Dream Center, a nonprofit that protects and empowers individuals living in crisis. Tickets are $40, and the event begins at 5:30 p.m.

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October 7, 2021: Whiskey, Wine, & Cider Festival

Head to The Bedford on Thursday, October 7, to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the Whiskey, Wine, and Cider Festival. In addition to over 20 samples of whiskey, wine, and cider, attendees can enjoy appetizers and receive a complimentary tasting glass. Tickets are $50, and the event begins at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition’s Emergency Access Fund, which helps breast cancer patients with mortgage or rent, utilities, and insurance premiums. (Note: All attendees must be vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.)

October 8 – 10, 2021: Carden International Circus Spectacular

The Carden International Circus Spectacular makes its way to Nashville October 8-10. Taking place at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, the show includes aerial acrobats as well as fantastic animal appearances. Showtimes vary based on the day, and tickets start at $17.

October 8 – 10, 2021: Peter Pan

Nashville Ballet kicks off its 2021-22 season at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center with Paul Vasterling’s Peter Pan. The show runs from October 8-10 and includes a newly arranged score, costumes and sets designed by renowned designer Campbell Baird, on-stage flying by Nashville Ballet company artists, and more. Showtimes vary based on the day, and tickets start at $35. (Note: The Tennessee Performing Arts Center requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for individuals ages 12 and up.)

October 8, 2021 – January 2, 2022: American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939

Beginning Friday, October 8, the Frist Art Museum welcomes a new exhibition to its lineup, American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939. The exhibit appropriately aligns with the Frist’s own art deco interior and offers an overview of the international style that impacted decorative arts, fine arts, architecture, and design during the 1920s and 1930s. Museum tickets are free for Frist members and $15 for non-member adults.

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

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. Event hours are Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 3:30 p.m.

October 12 – 16, 2021: IMAGINE Nashville Fashion Week 2021

IMAGINE Nashville Fashion Week 2021 has been reimagined to safely explore, test, and shape the future of Nashville fashion. The event takes place October 12-16 and includes a diverse schedule of digital and live programming designed to showcase and support the fashion community. Fifteen local designer runway shows are also scheduled through the Council of Fashion Designer’s of America’s Runway360 digital programming platform. Additionally, NFW hosts three free learning labs, The Intersection of Sound + Style: A Conversation + Museum Tour presented by the National Museum of African American Music, and the Shop Nashville Pop-Up Market at oneC1TY. Events are free to attend, but VIP passes are available for $300 and include access to all events, two VIP mixers, the Suiting the Sound: The Rodeo Tailors Who Made Country Stars Shine Brighter panel discussion, and a tour at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

October 14, 2021: Nashville Predators vs. Seattle Kraken

Cheer on the Nashville Predators at their first regular game of the season on Thursday, October 14. The team takes on the Seattle Kraken at Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets begin at $55. (Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are required to attend this event.)

October 14 – 16, 2021: Rennie Harris/Puremovement: Nuttin’ But a Word

Rennie Harris’ internationally acclaimed dance company, Puremovent, makes its way to OZ Arts on October 14-16 for a special performance of Nuttin’ But a Word. Rennie is known for his mix of contemporary dance, hip-hop, and street dance that is rooted in dance history. Tickets start at $25, and performances begin at 8 p.m. (Note: OZ Arts requires a negative COVID-19 test that is taken 48 hours before the event or proof of vaccination.)

October 15 – 17, 19 – 24, & 26 – 30, 2021: Boo at the Zoo

Nashville Zoo’s much-anticipated Boo at the Zoo returns for another year, offering family-friendly fun for everyone. The event includes fall-themed scenes and activities, trick-or-treating, special animal shows, and more. The event begins at 5 p.m. on October 15-17, 19-24, and 26-30. Tickets start at $14 for zoo members and $18 for non-members, and children under 2 are free.

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October 16, 2021: Dog Day Festival

Grab your dog and head to Nashville Humane Association’s Dog Day Festival on Saturday, October 16. The event includes a costume contest, pupper parade, contests, pet portraits, food trucks, prizes, and more. The fun begins at 10 a.m. at Centennial Park. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and VIP packages are also available. Proceeds benefit Nashville Humane Association.

October 20, 2021: [email protected] Special Edition with Susan Orlean & Elizabeth Strout in conversation with Ann Patchett

On Wednesday, October 20, Parnassus Books, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Public Library Foundation, Humanities TN, and Bookpage host Susan Orlean and Elizabeth Strout as part of the [email protected] speaker series. The event is moderated by Ann Patchett as the authors discuss Susan’s new book, On Animals, and Elizabeth’s new book, Oh William!. The event takes place at Montgomery Bell Academy’s Paschall Theater at 6:15 p.m. Tickets begin at $34 and include a signed copy of On Animals or Oh William!. You can also purchase a ticket for $63.50 and receive a signed copy of both novels.

October 21, 2021: Image Surgical Arts’ Annual Fall Event

Image Surgical Arts’ premier fall event returns on Thursday, October 21. This year’s celebration is live and in-person and includes giveaways, special event-only offers, and delicious food and wine. Exclusive offers include 20% off all products, 20% off all PCA peels, $149 Hydrafacials, and more. The event is free to attend and begins at 4 p.m.

October 21 – 23, 2021: Artclectic 2021

Returning for its 25th year, Artclectic offers unique artwork from across the country, including mixed media, pottery, jewelry, and more. Benefiting University School of Nashville’s Artclectic Endowment for Innovative Teaching, the event offers an opportunity to view art both virtually and in person. The fun kicks off on Thursday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m. with a Patrons’ Party. The are gallery is open Saturday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patrons’ Party tickets are $125 each, and other events are free and open to the public.

October 21 – 24, 2021: Halloween Dash: Supporting Emergency Care for Children

Lace up your running shoes, put on your best Halloween costume, and head out on the trail of your choice between October 21-24 for Nashville’s Halloween Dash. With options to run or walk a 5K ($25), 10K ($30), half marathon ($35), or kids’ fun run ($20), proceeds from the event support Children Emergency Care Alliance’s mission to improve pediatric emergency care in Tennessee.

October 23, 2021: Botanical Watercolors Workshop: Fall Flora

The Watkins College of Art at Belmont University hosts a botanical watercolors workshop on Saturday, October 23, at 10 a.m. The class explores the accurate rendering of plants and flowers in watercolor, such as sunflowers, pansies, and aster. The emphasis of the class is on layering and color mixing using hues traditional to the field of botanical illustration. Tickets are $80, and the class takes place at the Leu Center for Visual Art at Belmont University. All necessary materials are provided.

October 23, 2021: 42nd Annual l’Eté du Vin

The Nashville Wine Auction hosts the 42nd Annual l’Eté du Vin on Saturday, October 23, at the JW Marriott. The event is the nation’s longest-running charity wine auction, and featured guests include Alessia Antinori, a 26th generation winemaker, and Niccolo Maltinti from Antinori. The fun begins at 5 p.m. with a silent auction and Antinori wine tasting, and the seated dinner and spirited live auction begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $375 per person.

October 23, 2021: Mad Hatter 2021: The Art of Healing

Join the Sexual Assault Center of Middle Tennessee on Saturday, October 23, for its premier fundraising event. Mad Hatter 2021: The Art of Healing includes a performance from country singer Lindsay Ell, a virtual auction, and the exclusive launch of the SEEN project, a collection of photographs by Dan Heller as well as stories from the healing journeys of survivors. The free virtual event kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

October 23 & 24, 2021: Centennial Craft Fest

Hosted by the Centennial Park Conservancy, Centennial Craft Fest returns on Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 24. The free event includes food vendors, an Oktoberfest pub, handmade goods from local artisans, live music, and children’s activities.

October 28 – 30, 2021: Dorsia at the Fairlane Hotel

Head to Ellington’s on the fourth floor of the Fairlane Hotel for an exclusive pop-up dining experience called Dorsia. Guests are greeted with a welcome cocktail and entertained throughout a three-course dinner by an immersive theater performance inspired by the film American Psycho. Guests have the option to reserve a table during one of two seating times (6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) on October 28-30. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of Patrick Bateman himself.

October 29, 2021: Hermitage Gala

The annual Hermitage Gala benefits the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s education and public programming, as well as assists the home with its ongoing preservation and restoration projects. The evening includes the presentation of the Lewis R. Donelson Award, which honors a leader who has supported The Hermitage and its preservation efforts or has brought honor and recognition to President Andrew Jackson’s legacy. The 2021 gala takes place on Friday, October 29, at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $375.

October 30, 2021: 4th Annual Nashville Harvest Festival

The Nashville Harvest Festival returns to City Winery on Saturday, October 30. The event includes over 20 wines, food pairings, wine and music pairings, live performances, and more. General admission tickets are $60 and include wine tastings, light bites, live music, and winery tours. VIP packages are also available. The event begins at 1 p.m.

Happy October, Nashville!


To see even more great Nashville events, visit our Happenings page.

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