Tennessee makes the perfect backdrop for fall festivals. From cozy events serving up small town charm and autumnal bites and drinks to ghost stories and haunted houses for getting that Halloween fright, make Tennessee your destination for some fall fun. We’ve put together a list of activities you’ll want to check out:
World-renowned storytellers flock to Tennessee Oldest Town, Jonesborough for the annual festival that celebrates the art of storytelling. Main stage performances welcome some of the nation’s top tellers like Chirine El Ansary, Matteson Perry, Anne Rutherford, Bil Lepp, Jennifer Munro and more. Special events include Midnight Cabaret, Ghost Story Concerts, Story Slam!
Unicoi County Apple Festival – Erwin – Oct. 4-6, 2019
More than 110,000 people come to this small Tennessee town to enjoy more than 350 arts and crafts vendors from around the U.S., apple dumpling contest, fried pies, an extensive children’s area, three stages of music and entertainment and much more.
Cleveland Apple Festival – Cleveland – Oct. 19-20, 2019
The annual festival is held each fall in downtown Cleveland, Tennessee and hosts a variety of activities. From an art and craft show, pony and hayrides to children’s activities, the Apple Talent Show, music and other entertainment and an Apple Dessert Contest.
Halloween in Tennessee
Travel to one of Tennessee’s most haunted spots, Thomas House Hotel, where Halloween movies become a reality. Brave an overnight stay during a Ghost Hunt Weekend as paranormal researchers guide you through one of the most terrifying places in the state. Registration includes meals, lodging, guided tours of the property, ghost hunting training and a full night of ghost hunting. The Thomas House Hotel was the site for three fires, suspected murders, accidents and the home of a cult. Reports of cold spots, disembodied voices, dark figures and moving beds have been shared by previous guests. Sleep tight.
Kids can enjoy safe and family-friendly Halloween fun at Boo at the Zoo hosted at Nashville Zoo with games, entertainment, carousel rides, trick-or-treating and more 5-9 p.m. Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 24-27, 2019; Boo! at the Zoo at Zoo Knoxville is slated for 5:30-8 p.m. each evening Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-27, 2019 where trick-or-treaters can get lots of goodies along the BOO! Trail and enjoy a variety of entertainment. Boo in the Zoo Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26, 2019 at Chattanooga Zoo has trick-or-treat stations, pony rides, inflatables, costume contests and much more. Finally, Le Bonheur Zoo Boo 2019 at Memphis Zoo happens where families can enjoy straw mazes, candy stations, hayrides and more OCt. 18-20, Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 31, 2019.
Kid-friendly fall events
The Pumpkin Paradise Festival has endless fall fun each weekend during the month of October at the 250-acre Satterwhite Farms in Columbia. Take a hayride, play in the corn box and test your skills with steer roping. Kids spend some energy running around the indoor hay maze, enjoying the duck races and the corn cannon which launches corn in the air.
Take the family on a Fall Color Trip 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. throughout October at Norris Dam State Park in Rocky Top. One-hour pontoon boat trips are available to see the colors reflected on Norris Lake. Spot wildlife and migrating birds, too. Boat tickets are $7 per adult and $5 for five-year-old children and younger.
Walden Farm in Smyrna has farm activities for every age range from Toddlers Town, face painting and sand art for children, and hay rides to the pumpkin patch to pick the largest one you can find for kids and adults alike. Hop on the pumpkin train and visit the barn to make friends with the farm animals. Be sure to purchase a few fall decorations for your home and even a Walden Farm t-shirt as a souvenir at the Ole Country Store to cap off a fun visit to the farm.
Wooden’s Apple House in Pikeville offers a wide selection of apples to pick over 100 acres for the perfect day spent in the orchard. Pick up a few bottles of apple cider to take home along with a pie shop with delicious apple dumplings and meat-and-three restaurant.
The Mid-South BBQ Festival takes place Oct. 18-20, 2019 in Mount Pleasant. The barbecue competition is KCBS sanctioned and includes a classic car show, entertainment, and art and crafts vendors. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costume early to participate in the costume contest and enjoy endless play at the Kid’s Zone. Hungry? Tennessee knows how to do barbecue and the Mid-South BBQ Festival showcases local smokers, offering endless samples along the downtown area.
Little to no crowds. Places of instant respite. Explore these off-the-beaten-path Tennessee waterfalls.