Mark your calendars for our top 21 picks for family fun coming September & October.
It won’t be long until there’s an autumnal nip in the air. With autumn in Middle Tennessee comes lots of family-friendly fall festivals like the popular Music & Molasses Festival at the Tennessee Ag Museum (pictured above). Here are our editors’ picks you’ll want to have on your family calendar:
1. TENNESSEE STATE FAIR (Sept. 8 – 17)
This year’s fair boasts 29 rides, plus games, food, children’s activities, livestock competitions and more. The Children’s Barnyard includes several friendly critters.
Admission is $8 adults, $6 ages 3 – 17; unlimited ride wristbands are $25 Mon-Fri, $30 Sat-Sun. Visit tnstatefair.org.
2. 30th ANNUAL NASHVILLE GREEK FESTIVAL (Sept. 8 – 10)
Explore Greek culture through authentic food, music, children’s games and other festive activities at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Nashville.
Admission is $3 adults, free ages 12 & younger. Call 615-333-1047 or visit nashvillegreekfestival.com.
3. MIDDLE TENNESSEE HIGHLAND GAMES (Sept. 9)
This Celtic festival takes place on the grounds at The Hermitage. It features music, dancing, exhibits, games, competitions and more. New this year — an expanded Kids’ Zone, three entertainment stages and specialty vendors.
Admission is $15 adults, $7 ages 6 – 12 ($2 off in advance). Visit midtenngames.com.
4. DOG DAY FESTIVAL (Sept. 9)
This annual fundraising festivity at Centennial Park for Nashville Humane Association includes contests, children’s activities, doggie demonstrations, food trucks, giveaways, food trucks, a doggie fun zone and more.
Admission is $5. Call 615-352-1010 or visit nashvillehumane.org.
5. LUCKY LADD FARM FALL FESTIVAL (Sept. 20 – Oct. 29)
Tennessee’s largest petting farm in Eagleville has a gazillion activities for kids. The farm features lots of friendly animals that enjoy up close encounters with kids. Pick pumpkins and make your way through the Corn Maze Adventure. The corn maze has new twists each year, so it’s always different. This year, everyone who finds the six hidden checkpoints inside the maze will go into a random drawing for an iPad! The fall stretch includes special events like Grandparent’s Day (Sept. 24), Scout Day (Oct. 1) and the popular Pumpkin Princess & Corn Maze King Pageant (Oct. 28).
Admission is $13 adults, $11 ages 2 – 12. Call 615-274-3786 or visit luckyladdfarms.com.
6. 39th ANNUAL FALL TENNESSEE CRAFT FAIR (Sept. 22 – 24)
Hundreds of craftsmen and artisans from across the Volunteer State show and sell their wares at Centennial Park. The Children’s Tent features a bevy of hands-on creative activities for kids, plus kid-friendly performances by local arts groups.
FREE Admission. Visit tennesseecraft.org.
7. EAGLEVILLE FALL FESTIVAL (Sept. 23)
Live music and other entertainment, vendors, food and more. New this year — an expanded Kid’s Corner with a petting zoo, inflatables, face paintings and games.
FREE Admission. Call 615-274-2922 or visit eaglevilletn.com.
8. CHEEKWOOD HARVEST (Sept. 23 – Oct. 29)
An 11-foot-tall pumpkin house is the centerpiece of the pumpkin patch. Weekend activities include live music and other special performances, the annual Scarecrows exhibit and more. The El Dia de los Muertos festival on Saturday, Oct. 28 is the pinnacle of the season at Cheekwood. The Latin American celebration features traditional music, food, dance and art activities.
Admission is $20 adults, $13 ages 3 – 17. Call 615-356-8000 or visit cheekwood.org.
9. MUSIC & MOLASSES FESTIVAL (Sept. 23 – 24)
This country celebration of the harvest season features arts and crafts, old-time demonstrations, local artisans, children’s activities and more. It’s at the Tennessee Ag Museum in Nashville.
Admission is $5. Call 615-837-5197 or visit tnagmuseum.org.
10. HONEYSUCKLE HILL FARM FALL FESTIVAL (Sept. 23 – Nov. 4)
Located in Springfield, the farm’s fall fest boasts tons of activities. Explore this year’s new Country Music Corn Maze featuring Charles Esten from TV’s Nashville. Pick a pumpkin, visit with friendly farm animals, experience the zip line and lots more. Honeysuckle is also home the Scream Creek Haunted Attractions; there are three of ’em, and they’re for big kids only.
Admission is $14.95 per person (some activities require additional fees). Call 615-382-7593 or visit honeysucklehillfarm.com.
11. 31st ANNUAL HERITAGE DAYS (Sept. 28 – 29)
Sam Davis Home’s living history celebration features farm animals, old-time demonstrations, live music and lots of hands-on activities geared toward kids.
Admission is $5. Call 615-459-2341 or visit samdavishome.org.
12. HERMITAGE FALL FESTIVAL (Sept. 30 – Oct. 1)
Celebrating five years in 2017, Andrew Jackson’s former home hosts a variety of art, music and living history activities.
FREE Admission. Call 615-889-2941 or visit thehermitage.com.
13. 38th ANNUAL OKTOBERFEST (Oct. 5 – 8)
Three days of authentic German food, beer, polka dancing, street performers, a street full of children’s activities, arts and crafts, and exhibits. Located in Germantown.
FREE Admission. Call 616-686-2867 or visit thenashvilleoktoberfest.com.
14. CELEBRATE NASHVILLE CULTURAL FESTIVAL (Oct. 7)
Centennial Park hosts this outing celebrating the cultural diversity of Music City. There are seven performance stages, a plethora of children’s activities, a marketplace, a teen-only area and more.
FREE Admission. Visit celebratenashville.org.
15. RUTHERFORD PARENT’S FALL KIDS’ FEST (Oct. 21)
This outdoor festival at The Avenue Murfreesboro features live performances, dozens of local vendors, a Halloween costume parade, trick-or-treating, face painting, inflatables, food and more.
FREE Admission. Call 615-256-2158, ext. 135 or visit nashvilleparent.com.
16. BOO AT THE ZOO (Oct. 13 – 16, 20 – 22 & 27 -29)
Nashville Zoo’s annual ode to autumn features carnival games, the Enchanted Village, a talking pumpkin, the trick-or-treating trail, howl-o-ween hayride and more. It’s the top outing for youngsters during the Halloween season.
Admission is $12 zoo members, $15 non-members. Call 615-833-1534 or visit nashvillezoo.org.
17. PUMPKIN PATCH FESTIVAL (Oct. 14)
The Streets of Indian Lake in Hendersonville are home to this annual family festival that includes obstacle courses, pumpkin patch activities, live music and dance contests, a magic show, inflatables, carnival games and more.
FREE Admission. Visit streetsofindianlake.com.
18. 36th ANNUAL TENNESSEE STATE POW WOW & FALL FESTIVAL (Oct. 20 – 22)
This lush Native American celebration includes dancing, music, demonstrations, fry bread, storytelling, games and lots more at Long Hunter State Park in Nashville.
Admission is $8. Call 615-232-9179 or visit naiatn.org.
19. BARKTOBERFEST (Oct. 21)
Middle Tennessee’s largest dog festival draws crowds of 10,000+, and it’s at a new location this year — The Woods at Fontanel. More than 40 vendors will be on site, including local rescue groups, plus arts and crafts, a canine costume contest ($15 fee applies), a pet adoption fair, a kids’ carnival and more.
FREE Admission. Visit tnbarktoberfest.com.
20. 41st ANNUAL HARVEST DAYS CELEBRATION (Oct. 28)
Cannonsburgh Village in the ‘Boro hosts this family outing that includes music, clogging, pottery demonstrations, broom making, crafters, food vendors, hayrides, blacksmith demonstrations, an antique auto show and more.
FREE Admission. Call 615-890-0355 or visit murfreesborotn.gov/parks.
21. PUMPKINFEST (Oct. 28)
More than 65,000 folks descend upon the streets of downtown Franklin for this seasonal hoot that features kids’ costume contests and other activities, extreme pumpkin carving demonstrations, food, live entertainment and more.
FREE Admission. Visit historicfranklin.com.