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76 FREE Things to do Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving

We’re all looking for fun things to do that don’t cost money, here is a great Fall list thanks to Ms. Cheap!

Everything in the guide is free. We hope it helps you to have a fabulous three months of fun full of interesting things for you, your family and friends to do on the cheap!

1. Symphony Free Day of Music

The Nashville Symphony’s 13th annual Free Day of Music will be Oct. 27 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The symphony will kick off the day with a full orchestra concert in the Laura Turner Concert Hall at 11 a.m., followed by free performances until 9 p.m. There will be 25 performers (everything from classical to rock and country) on four stages inside and outside the center. Acts include Nashville in Harmony, Nashville Salsa Machine and classical ensemble Chatterbird. In addition to music, there will be a Q&A with the symphony conductors, family activities, the popular Instrument Petting Zoo, an outdoor beer garden and food trucks.


2. Southern Festival of Books

The 30th annual Southern Festival of Books is Oct. 12-14 at War Memorial Plaza and the Downtown Nashville Public Library. The festival features author talks, readings, panels, signings, children’s storytimes and new and used book sales. The roster includes Rick Bragg, Ben Fountain, Craig Johnson, Tayari Jones, Lorrie Moore, Celeste Ng, Deborah Plant, Luis Alberto Urrea, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Jacqueline Woodson. The festival annually attracts 25,000 attendees.


3. Courtyard concerts at the library

Nashville Public Library’s Courtyard Concert Series returns to Nashville’s main library, with concerts on Tuesdays from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the library courtyard at 615 Church St. The lineup includes: Sept. 4, The Steve Pardo Trio; Sept. 11, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mary Gauthier and Ashley Cleveland; Sept. 18, Riders in the Sky; Sept. 25, Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley; Oct. 2, The Muzik Meisters; and Oct. 9, The WannaBeatles. Rain or shine.


4. Tennessee Craft Fair

The 40th annual Fall Tennessee Craft Fair, with more than 200 craft artists, is at Centennial Park Oct. 12-14. The fair has shopping, craft demonstrations, a hands-on kids tent and food.

Details: 615-736-7600 or

5. Musicians Corner

Musicians Corner, the free family-friendly series of multi-genre concerts, has a new September Sundown offering in Centennial Park from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays in September. The lawn party format also includes food trucks, the Musicians Corner Pub, local artisan vendors and Kidsville activities. The lineup includes: Birdtalker, Amy Stroup, Jason Eskridge, Bentley Caldwell and Albatross on Sept. 6; Sarah Siskind, Scott Mulvahill, Greyhounds and Great Peacock on Sept. 13; Adia Victoria, Liz Cooper & the Stampede, Rashad Tha Poet, Sad Penny and Cameron Bedell on Sept. 20; and The Whigs, Skyway Man, Smart Objects, That’s My Kid and Byron Harvey on Sept. 27.


6. Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival

The 22nd annual Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at Centennial Park. The festival showcases music and dance performances and includes a marketplace with handcrafted and imported items, more than 40 food vendors, an interactive children’s area and the Global Village, where you can experience the traditional music, languages, food, colorful clothing, decorations and traditions of the cultures that are right here in Nashville. Plus, admission to the Parthenon is free that day.

Details: 615-862-8400 or

7. Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park continues its performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Thursday-Sunday through Sept. 9 at the Centennial Park Band Shell. There are pre-show “Talking Shakespeare” talks and family entertainment at 6 p.m., with the play at 7:30 p.m. Nashville Shakespeare Festival will present four performances of the play at Academy Park in Franklin on Sept. 13-16. All are free but have a $10 suggested donation, and there are $75 Royal Packages that include VIP seating, and food and drink.

Details: 615-255-2273 or

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8. Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Fisk Jubilee Singers perform at the Jubilee Day Convocation at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 at Fisk Memorial Chapel on the Fisk University campus. The original Jubilee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals.

Details: 615-329-8744 or

9. Touch a Truck

Williamson County Parks’ Touch-a-Truck is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Thompson Station Church parking lot, 2604 Thompson Station Road. Children can explore construction and public service vehicles, including emergency vehicles, firetrucks, construction equipment, military vehicles and a helicopter.

Details: 615-790-5719

10. Tennessee State Museum opening

The new Tennessee State Museum plans to open Oct. 4 at its new location, at the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street. Admission to the museum will be free, and details about free opening festivities will be released closer to the opening.


11. Ghost story festival

The annual Haunted Museum Ghost Story Festival will be one of the first events at the new Tennessee State Museum. The festival is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27. There will be a photo booth, costume contest, crafts, scary stories and games. Weather permitting, it will have a small hay bale maze outside. This popular event always includes a ghost trail, chilling ghost stories and Tennessee characters such as the Bell Witch, Cherokee spirit Spearfinger and John Murrell’s thumb.


12. Kidsville Family Festival

Kidsville has its second annual Kidsville Family Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8  in Centennial Park, with live music, a scavenger hunt, crafts, a mascot photo station, musical meet and greets, inflatable and lawn games, face painting, child-focused vendors and food trucks.

Kidsville at the Parthenon storytimes take place at 11 a.m. Saturdays inside the Parthenon at the foot of Athena (which is an experience in itself). Designed for children 2-12 and their families, the 45 minutes of storytime, crafts and exploring stations feature classic children’s stories, but they also incorporate the Parthenon’s architecture and other exhibits. Plus, you get free admission to the Parthenon, the centerpiece of Centennial Park.

Details: 615-862-8431 or

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13. Art crawls

The seating chart, parking and bag policy for Nissan stadium in Nashville where the Tennessee Titans play Michael Schwab/USA TODAY NEWTWORK – TENNESSEE

Monthly art crawls offer great art and complimentary wine and appetizers at many galleries. The downtown Franklin Tour of the Arts is 6-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month around downtown Franklin.


Downtown Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl is 6-9 p.m. the first Saturday of every month along Fifth Avenue North and around downtown, with more than 20 art galleries participating. A free shuttle is available.

Details: 615-743-3090 or

On the first Saturday of the month, there is an art night in the Wedgewood-Houstonarea, where you can join a free arts and music walk beginning at 6 p.m.


The East Side Art Stumble is 6-9 p.m. the second Saturday of each month in East Nashville and Inglewood.

Details: Follow East Side Art Stumble on Facebook.

The Jefferson Street Art Crawl is 6-9 p.m. the fourth Saturday of the month in the North Nashville/Jefferson Street area.


14. Veterans Day parade

The Veterans Day parade will take place at 11 a.m. Nov. 12 instead of the actual Veterans Day holiday because of a conflict with a Tennessee Titans football game. The parade will make its way along Broadway from 14th Avenue to Third Avenue in downtown Nashville with veterans from every branch of the military participating, from World War II to Afghanistan and Iraq.

15. Farm Day at Bells Bend

Bells Bend Outdoor Center’s Farm Day is 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13. You can enjoy hayrides, farm games and a chance to see farming equipment, meet barnyard animals and enjoy old-time music, including a fiddle and banjo competition. The nature center is at 4187 W. Old Hickory Blvd.

Details: 615-862-4187

16. Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music

The Vanderbilt University Orchestra plays at 8 p.m. Sept. 14. The program includes the overture to Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and Brahm’s “Second Symphony.”

Vanderbilt family weekend includes a 6 p.m. Sept. 28 concert featuring the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, along with the Vanderbilt Chorale and Symphonic Choir and the Vanderbilt Wind Symphony.

Blair Big Band will play at 8 p.m. Oct. 4, and the Blair Jazz Combos play at 8 p.m. Nov. 4.

Vanderbilt Opera Theatre and Vanderbilt University Orchestra present “Candide: A Comic Operetta in Two Acts” at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 and 2 p.m. Nov. 11.

All of these concerts, and many others, take place at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt, 2400 Blakemore Ave.


17. Belmont School of Music

Belmont Camerata, the Belmont faculty chamber music ensemble, has concerts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 and Oct. 29 in the Belmont Mansion.

Belmont’s University Symphony Orchestra will play a concert at 7:30 p.m Oct. 11 in McAfee Concert Hall.

The Belmont Chorale and Women’s Choir will be in concert at 3 p.m. Oct. 28 in McAfee Concert Hall.

The Air Force Jazz Band “Airmen of Note” will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19  in Massey Concert Hall.

Belmont also offers a free Brown Bag Concert Series at noon Fridays in the atrium at Massey Performing Arts Center: Jazz Small Groups on Sept. 21; String Chamber Orchestra on Sept. 28; and World Percussion Ensemble on Oct. 5.

There is a parking lot behind Massey Performing Arts Center and street parking along Belmont Boulevard for guests.


18. Lipscomb University music

Lipscomb’s School of Music presents the Lipscomb Wind Ensemble performing at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 8 in Collins Auditorium.

Lipscomb’s Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ben Blasko, will perform classical music selections at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in Shamblin Theatre on campus.

Lipscomb is hosting the 44th annual Christian High School Choral Festival featuring Christian choirs from Middle Tennessee and surrounding states on Nov. 12. All of the choirs will combine for the grand choir performance, which is open to the public, at 5 p.m.

Details: 615-966-5929 or

19. Trevecca University music

The Trevecca University fall lineup of free concerts includes: 7 p.m. Sept. 12, alumni concert featuring Rachel Nemiroff and Sam Nichol in Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall; 7 p.m. Oct. 30, Halloween Wind Ensemble concert in Trevecca Quad; 1 p.m. Nov. 2, Expo of Sound Festival in the Jackson Center for Music and Worship Arts; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, Jenny & Tyler Album Release Concert in Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall.

Details: 615-248-7415 or

20. MTSU music

Middle Tennessee State University’s School of Music has some great offerings, including MTSU Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in Hinton Music Hall of Wright Music Building; and the U.S. Air Force Band, Airmen of Note at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 in Tucker Theatre in the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Building.

Details: 615-898-2493 or

21. Tennessee Public Lands Day

All Tennessee state parks will have events — hikes, cleanups, trail maintenance and canoe floats — on Sept. 22.


22. Country Music Hall of Fame

Youth from Davidson and bordering counties get in free to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the museum’s Community Counts initiative. Up to two accompanying adults receive 25 percent off. Fall break is a good time to check it out, with the museum’s Fall Break Fun program Sept. 29-Oct. 21. During that time, students can explore the museum with a fall break activity pack, with gallery games, take-home activities and keepsakes. Programs take place in the Taylor Swift Education Center Thursday-Sunday. Proof of local residency is required for free admission. The Community Counts program also allows Davidson County residents of any age to visit for free by checking out a Community Counts Passport from any Nashville Public Library branch.

Details: 615-416-2001 or 

23. Free program at Hatch Show Print

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a free Letterpress Art Workshop at the museum’s Hatch Show Print one Sunday a month. The family program, for ages 5 and up and accompanying adults, has sessions at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Attendees need a program pass to guarantee admission, and the passes are handed out free 30 minutes before each session.

Details: 615-416-2001 or

24. Jazz on the Cumberland

The Jazz on the Cumberland concert series has concerts 5:30-8 p.m. Sept. 23 and Oct. 21 at Cumberland Park amphitheater, 592 S. First St. Lineup TBA.

Details: 615-578-7525

25. Music at the Wineries

Beachaven Winery in Clarksville has a free Lee Greenwood concert at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 as part of the Welcome Home Celebration that is bringing the Vietnam Veterans wall to Clarksville. Beachaven also has Jazz on the Lawn concerts — on Sept. 29, Clarksville Jazz Quintet; Oct. 13, Tim Gonzalez and Friends; and Oct. 27, Joel Brown. Concerts are 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Details: 931-645-8867 or

Sumner Crest Winery in Portland has its fall Classic Car Show, Cruise-In and Concert, featuring Four on the Floor, Sept. 15. The car show is 4-6 p.m., and the concert starts at 6:30 p.m.

Details: 615-325-4086 or

Arrington Vineyards in Arrington has outdoor bluegrass and jazz 4-8 p.m. Saturdays and 2-6 p.m. Sundays through October.

Details: 615-395-0102 or

26. Williamson County Community Band concert

The Williamson County Community Band will play at 3 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Williamson County Enrichment Center, 110 Everbright Ave., Franklin.


27. Nashville Oktoberfest

The 39th annual Nashville Oktoberfest, Oct. 11-14, will span 10 city blocks on the edge of historic Germantown next to the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. In addition to parades, crafts, German food and multiple music stages (including but not limited to German music), the festival boasts “the world’s longest beer slide,” plus beer tasting stations and beer gardens. Don’t miss annual traditions such as the Oktoberfest parade on Saturday, which includes a Pup Parade; wiener dog races on Sunday; and the bratwurst eating contest. Organizers expect 300,000 attendees this year, making it one of the largest Oktoberfests in the country.


28. University art galleries

The Carl Van Vechten Gallery, 1000 17th Ave. N., on the Fisk University campus, usually has a $10 admission fee, but there are two free community days this fall on Oct. 6, for Jubilee Day, and Nov. 3, in honor of the gallery’s 69th birthday (founded Nov. 4, 1949).


The Vanderbilt Fine Art Gallery, 1220 21st Ave. S., is always free.

Details: 615-322-0605 or

Vanderbilt also has the Sarratt Gallery inside the Sarratt Student Center on campus.

Details: 615-322-2471 or

The Leu Art Gallery is inside the Lila D. Bunch Library on the Belmont University campus and is always free.


29. Tennessee history event

Tennessee Timeline: DeSoto to Desert Storm will be at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on Oct. 19-20. The event focuses on stories of the people of Tennessee from the days of Hernando de Soto to the Gulf War, and includes re-enactments, living history, weapon firing demonstrations, children’s activities and historical talks. The event is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The rangers also offer free walking tours of this downtown park at 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, starting under the train trestle. The tours last about an hour and include about a mile of walking.

Details: 615-741-5280 and

30. Pumpkinfest

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s 35th annual Pumpkinfest celebrates fall and Halloween from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 27 along Main Street in downtown Franklin. Festive fun for families includes live entertainment, a Great Pumpkin display, arts and crafts vendors, extreme pumpkin carving, and costume contests for kids, pets and adults. Last year it attracted more than 65,000 people.


31. String City

“String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry,” the original puppet show chronicling the history of country music, is back for a series of performances in the Ford Theater of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This production is for music lovers of all ages. It uses marionettes, rod puppetry, shadow/animation puppetry and an ever-changing set to tell country music history as it relates to Nashville’s transformation into Music City. The program is co-presented by the Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Shows are 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Nov. 23-24.


32. Tootsie’s Birthday Bash

Legendary Lower Broadway honky-tonk Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge will celebrate its 58th birthday Oct. 10 with a free street party on Broadway and live music.


33. Horse races

Kentucky Downs has live turf horse racing Sept. 1, 6, 8, 9 and 13. The race track, which is America’s only European-style turf course, is in Franklin, Kentucky. The first race each day is at 1:25 p.m., and there are 10 races per day. Sept. 1, 8 and 9 are Family Fun Days,with pony rides, a petting zoo and face painting. Free parking.

Details: 270-586-7778 or

34. Jack Daniel’s BBQ fest

The 30th annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship International Barbecue is Oct. 26-27 in Lynchburg. There will be live music, barbecue cooking competitions, games (butt bowling, bung toss and a country dog contest) and a lot of sampling.


35. African Street Festival

The 36th annual African Street Festival is Sept. 21-23, featuring gospel, reggae, jazz, blues, African drumming and R&B music; African dance; health walks; 30 ethnic cuisines; more than 150 international vendors; and a children’s pavilion. The African-American Cultural Alliance runs this festival at the Hadley Park band shell, 1215 Ninth Ave. N. Parking is free.

Details: 615-942-0706 or 

36. Frist Art Museum offerings

Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway, is always free for ages 18 and younger and for college students on Thursday and Friday evenings. There is also free music 6-8 p.m. Thursday and Fridays in the Frist Cafe. The Frist offers free architectural tours of its art deco building at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays. Meet in the Frist’s grand lobby. The tour does not include gallery admission.

The Frist’s fall Free Family Festival Day is Oct. 21. Visitors of all ages are invited to enjoy a free day of performances and activities inspired by the exhibition “Paris 1900: City of Entertainment and the International Exposition.”

Another free admission opportunity at the Frist is the national Smithsonian Museum Day on Sept. 22, during which you can register to receive a free ticket, good for two admissions. Sign up at Tickets will be emailed.


37. Puppet shows

The Nashville Public Library’s professional puppet troupe Wishing Chair Productions offers several fall productions at the main library, 615 Church St. The lineup includes “Puss in Boots,” a jazz-infused version of the classic Brothers Grimm story, at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 7-Oct. 13; and the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (for ages 8 and up) at 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 19-27.

The Nashville Public Library’s Puppet Truck will make the rounds to library branches with “Tomas and the Library Lady” and “The Frog Prince” this fall.


38. Dance open house

Join Friends of Metro Dance for an open house at Centennial Performing Arts Studios  from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct 21. Tour the studios and get a sneak peek of Centennial Youth Ballet’s “Mini-Nutcracker,” as well as enjoy refreshments and crafts.

Details: 615-862-8400

39. Granville Fall Celebration

The 19th annual Granville Fall Celebration is Oct. 6, with big band sound and military music from Jazz on the Cumberland, a quilt festival, an arts festival, a motorcycle show, storytelling, blacksmith demonstrations and a chance to check out Granville’s 1865 T.B. Sutton General Store, which was named one of the top 13 “most charming general stores” in America.

You also can see Sutton Homestead ($3) with its 1880s home, blacksmith shop, grist mill shop, log cabin, weaving shop and traveling “I Love Lucy” exhibit. The sixth annual scarecrow festival, with 350 scarecrows, is on display in Granville throughout October.

Details: 931-653-4151 or

40. Archaeology Day at Bells Bend

There is an Archaeology Day at Bells Bend Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8, with hands-on activities for the whole family. Put on by the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology, it is designed to help people learn about archaeology and history in Tennessee and a chance to interact with local archaeologists. The park is at 4187 Old Hickory Blvd.

Details: 615-687-4783

41. ‘Artclectic’ at USN

University School of Nashville presents its annual “Artclectic” juried art show and sale Oct. 18-20, featuring selected artists from across the U.S. The Oct. 18 event is ticketed, but the ARTbash community party from 6 to 9 p.m Oct. 19 and the community arts day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 are free. Saturday activities include the show, a Popclectic artisan market and a free hands-on art activity scrap exchange for children. The artwork is $20 and up. USN is at 2000 Edgehill Ave.


42. Centennial Art Center shows

Metro Parks’ Centennial Art Center, 301 25th Ave. N. in Centennial Park, will open its annual “Get Cultured” exhibit with a reception 5-7:30 p.m. Oct. 5. The exhibit features international artists in conjunction with the Oct. 6 Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival. The exhibit will be on display through Oct. 30.

There also will be a reception 5-8 p.m. Nov. 16 to open the Holiday Season Art Exhibition and Sale, which features works by Centennial Art Center students and staff.

Details: 615-862-8442 or

43. Salon@615

The fall lineup for the free Salon@615 author talk series includes: Deborah Harkness at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 26; Nathaniel Philbrick at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 22; and Kate DiCamillo at 2 p.m. Nov. 3, at the main library, 615 Church St. There is also a 6:15 p.m. Nov. 2 Salon talk featuring Barbara Kingsolver at Montgomery Bell Academy’s Paschall Theatre. There are a limited number of seats available. The Salon@615 series is a partnership between the Nashville Public Library, Parnassus Books, the Nashville Public Library Foundation, BookPage and Humanities Tennessee.


44. Stones River National Battlefield

Stones River National Battlefield, 3501 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, has a lot to do and see. There are self-guided tours daily, as well as ranger-led bike tours of the battlefield at 9 a.m. most Saturdays through October. It has caravan tours on Saturdays and Sundays that take you to four or more battlefield stops with 10 to 15 minutes of commentary from a ranger.


45. Visit Fort Negley

Visit Fort Negley at 1100 Fort Negley Blvd. The 156-year-old fort’s visitors center offers interpretative exhibits, interactive touch screens, artifact displays and videos about the Civil War and the fort. The center, open Tuesday-Saturday, offers group tours by appointment or self-guided tours anytime. The park has a second Saturday Fossil Finders program with a geologist on hand, and there is an outdoor hands-on fossil collection site where visitors can dig for fossils to keep.

Details: 615-862-8470

46. Flea market

The monthly flea market at The Fairgrounds Nashville is always fun to explore. Parking is $5, but admission is free. Fall dates include Sept. 21-23, Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 23-25.

Details: 615-862-5016 or

47. Nashville British Car Club Show

Nashville British Car Club’s 24th annual show is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13 on the lawn at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, 1310 Franklin Road, Brentwood. There will be over 100 cars — MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Land Rovers, Rolls-Royces and Mini Coopers. The free event benefits the children helped by the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes.


48. Volunteer

Hands on Nashville, the Nashville area’s premier volunteer organization, has volunteer opportunities all the time. A good time to check it out is the Hands On Nashville Day from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 22, during which volunteers work on projects to help our local schools.


49. Lebanon Oktoberfest

Wilson Bank & Trust has a free annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 20-21 at the bank’s main office, 623 W. Main St., with music, children’s games, craft booths, a youth talent show, a car show on Oct. 21 and contests.

Details: 615-444-2265 or

50. Cannonsburgh Harvest Days

The 43rd annual Harvest Days Celebration and Blacksmith Demonstration/Trade Day is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at Cannonsburgh Village, 312 S. Front St., Murfreesboro. The event celebrates fall in pioneer fashion with old-time music (including Hands of Time Band and Uptown Country Band), clogging, hayrides, a craft fair, blacksmithing, broom making, an antique car show, an art league show, food trucks and a Riverchase Posse Gun Show.

Details: 615-890-0355

51. Fontanel festival

Fontanel, 4241 White’s Creek Pike, is having a Harvest Fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 29-30, with a farmers market, local vendors, live music, food and drinks. The festival is family and pet friendly.

Details: 615-724-1600 or 

52. EMS Nite Lights

Williamson County Parks has “EMS Nite Lites” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Fairview Recreation Complex, 2714 Fairview Blvd., where you can meet first responders and see ambulances, firetrucks and more.

Details: 615-790-5719

53. Tour the governor’s mansion

Free tours of the Tennessee governor’s mansion/executive residence are offered on most Tuesday and Thursday mornings through early November. Reservations are required (two weeks ahead is best), and adults must have a photo ID to be admitted.

Details: For reservations visit, then click on “Tennessee Residence,” or call 615-532-0494.

54. Franklin Family Day

Franklin’s 12th annual Family Day Celebration is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. There will be live music, hayrides, a petting zoo, horse  demonstrations, pony rides, crafts, games, face painting and more.


55. Hispanic Heritage Day

The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, 502 SE Broad St., Murfreesboro, has a free Hispanic Heritage Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15, during which you can explore the rich history and traditions of Hispanic culture through food, art and music.

Details: 615-890-2300 or

56. Storytimes

Nashville Public Library has regular story times at the main library, 615 Church St., featuring Library Pete, The Professor and Mary Mary singing, juggling and reading at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Every branch has a storytime schedule.

Details: 615-862-5800 or

The Brentwood Library, 8109 Concord Road, has preschool storytimes, including songs, finger plays and crafts, at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.


Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Road, has two storytimes every week for children 6 and younger: 10:30 a.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Thursdays, when Emily Arrow reads, sings and plays ukulele. Children are always invited to come in and pet the store dogs, Lewis, Bear, Opie and Mary Todd Lincoln.

Details: 615-953-2243 or

Barnes & Noble bookstores in Cool Springs, Murfreesboro and Hendersonville have regular storytimes, with the focus being primarily 2- to 5-year-olds.

Details: See and click on “Find a Store” and “Events.”

57. Symphony Chamber Music Series

The Nashville Symphony’s Chamber Music Series is an informal and interactive concert experience of music and conversation with symphony musicians. In the program on Sept. 11, principal timpanist Josh Hickman will explore the connection between Baroque timpani and modern counterparts. On Oct. 9, symphony violist Christopher Farrell steps forward as a composer with two new works that show his creativity.


58. Library programs

The Nashville Ballet will give free shows of “HONK! The Story of a Prima Swanerina.” Showtimes vary at multiple Nashville library locations, including 10:30 a.m. Oct. 1 at Edgehill; 10:30 a.m. Oct. 8 at Richland Park; 10:30 a.m. Oct. 13 at Donelson; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Bellevue; and 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31 at East.

Also making the rounds to the branches will be family entertainers, including magician/juggler Scott Tripp.

All ages can enjoy Hispanic Heritage Month, with an assortment of art and music programs at various library locations in September. In October, there are multiple Halloween programs, and November brings Thanksgiving programs to the branches.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will take its musical petting zoo to a number of Nashville library branches in October, including 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Pruitt branch, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at Thompson Lane and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Watkins Park. Check the library’s online events calendar for details on these and other programs.


59. Brentwood Library programs

The Brentwood Library, 8109 Concord Road, has a weekly program at 10 a.m. Thursdays beginning Sept. 6 called “It Looks Like Play.” The sessions use mixing, pouring, shaping, squishing and talking to help little ones (9 months to 4 years) develop math, science and social skills.

There is a weekly “Kids’ Make” program at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays. It is a chance for kids to explore new tools, fine motor skills, creative problem solving and self-directed play, with art supplies, recyclables and imagination.

“Games Club” and “Lego Mania” are every other Friday. And there are teen programs at 4 p.m. every Thursday — everything from a “Pizza and Pages” book club to “Anime Club.”


60. Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

The Moving Wall, which is a 254-foot half-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, will make a three-day stop at the Harpeth Hills Memory Garden, 9090 Highway 100 on Sept. 21-23. The Tennessee Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a collection of items and gear from the Vietnam War era, also will be on display. The Welcome Home Ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Sept. 22, with WSM radio’s Bill Cody as emcee and music from the Nashville Community Concert Band. Mayor David Briley and Diocese of Nashville Bishop Mark Spalding also will participate.


61. Explore Warner Park Nature Center

The Warner Park Nature Center has a family-friendly iSpy program from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Thanksgiving, with a different topic explored each week.

There is a family bird hike at 10 a.m Oct. 6, a Warner After Dark night hike on Oct. 17, and an archaeology program at 10 a.m. Nov. 6 looking into Tennessee’s prehistoric past with archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf. Enjoy a night under the stars at the Fall Star Party from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 16 at Special Events Field in Warner Park, 61 Vaughn Road. The nature center is at 7311 Highway 100, and most programs require registration.

Details: 615-862-8555 or

62. Green Hills Park Festival

The Green Hills Park Festival is 5 p.m. until sunset Sept. 15, 1200 Lone Oak Road. This third annual event will include food trucks, outdoor games, obstacle courses, a beer garden and a showing of “Despicable Me 3.”


63. Nashville Farmers’ Market

The Nashville Farmers’ Market, 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., not only has local and regional produce and Tennessee products, but also seasonally themed Night Markets from 5 to 9 p.m. the third Friday of the month. These “shop and sip” experiences include live music, cocktails, wine, beer and food. Coming up: Sept. 21, Squash Hunger Night Market, which includes a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank, a cooking demo featuring squash, kids crafts, beer, cocktails, wine, fall shopping (mums, pumpkins, gourds, etc.) and live music; Oct. 19, Monster Mash Night Market, with a costume contest and Monster Mash dance party for all ages; and Nov. 16: “Shop Sip Give” Night Market featuring a Room in the Inn sock collection drive.

The market also is having a Turnip Green Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3, with the “world’s largest pot of turnip greens,” a cornbread baking contest, bar, live bluegrass music, and free samples presented by Smiley’s Produce. ​​​​


BEFORE YOU GO: 13 things to know about the Nashville Farmers’ Market

64. Go honky-tonking

Head for the honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. Many, including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World, never have a cover charge and have live music night and day.


DOWNTOWN: How Nashville’s honky-tonk barons created an empire

65. Mariachi festival

There is a Music City Mariachi Festival at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center at 6 p.m. Sept. 6. It is part of the Nashville stop of the Mexico en el Corazon national tour, which features a 54-person ensemble from Guadalajara showcasing mariachi music and baile folklorica dance. The event is free, but tickets are required and can be reserved online.


66. Goats, Music and More Festival

The 16th annual Goats, Music and More Festival is Oct. 12-13 in Rock Creek Park in Lewisburg, with fainting goats, crafts and free concerts featuring Tyler Farr, Jimmie Allen and Craig Campbell.


67. Music for Seniors

Music for Seniors offers a daytime concert series of fall concerts. The lineup of hourlong concerts includes: Geary Moore Quartet at Nashville Jazz Workshop, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 10; Rodeo & Juliet at Williamson County Enrichment Center in Franklin, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 3; Steve Stern & the Stacy’s at Washington Theatre, Patterson Park in Murfreesboro, 10:30 a.m. Nov. 1.

Details: To register, call 615-330-1937 or go to

68. ‘Civil War Days’ weekend

Johnsonville State Historic Park in New Johnsonville, one of Tennessee’s best-preserved Civil War sites, has a “Civil War Days” weekend of interpreted Civil War history Nov. 2-3. The 154th anniversary weekend activities include an encampment and living history demonstrations, with Union activities at the Johnsonville park in Humphreys County and Confederate activities across the Tennessee River at Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Benton County.

Details: 931-535-2789

69. Beaman Park night hikes

Hear the call of the wild on a naturalist-led night hike at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Beaman Nature Park, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd. Beaman also has a nature center open house 5:30-7:30 Oct. 26, with campfires, s’mores and late-night hiking. Hikes are free, but you need to register.

Details: 615-862-8580

70. Festival and concert in Gallatin

Greater Gallatin’s 3rd Thursday on Main outdoor concert will feature Off Da Hook from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20 in downtown Gallatin.

The annual Gallatin Main Street Festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 6, with music, a children’s area, craftsmen and more than 200 vendors.

Details: 615-452-5692 or

71. 3rd Friday Night Concert series

The final concert in the 3rd Friday Night Concert series at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro will be 7-9 p.m. Sept. 7 featuring Everyday People.

Details: 615-890-0355

72. Sumner County art tour

The 8th annual self-guided Sumner County Artists and Artisans Tour is Nov. 3-5, with more than 30 artists’ work at 13 studio locations. You can start at any studio.


73. Ashland City’s Music on Main

Ashland City’s Music on Main will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 13, with live music on the main stage in front of the historic Cheatham County Courthouse. The lineup includes: Ronnie Anderson & the Bethesda Gang, Mel “Sonny” Tillis Jr., Ivy Phillips and the Bluegrass, The Lost Hollow Band, Dwanna Huges & the Prime Time Band, and the Eaglemaniacs.


74. Greenway Art Festival

The Greenway Art Festival at Old Fort Park in Murfreesboro is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15. It is a juried art show, with artisans set up along the greenway, plus live music and children’s art and craft activities.

Details: 615-893-2141

75. Free yoga at the library

There are various levels of yoga classes at 6:30 p.m. Mondays at the Southeast and Goodlettsville library branches; Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. at Bordeaux; Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. at Edgehill and Bellevue; and at 6:30 p.m. at the Donelson branch. More sessions are listed on the library calendar on the website.


76. Murfreesboro art studio tour

The 25th annual Rutherford County Art Studio Tour is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17-18, featuring eight studios, most of which will have holiday refreshments, as well as all types of art.


This post was originally published in The Tennesseean on August 30, 2018.

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