October festivals tend to focus on harvest and fall colors. Northeast Tennessee festivals and events for October 2021 also include storytelling. I’ve focused primarily on family-friendly and recurring events. You might want to also check the lists for Middle East Tennessee and Southeast Tennessee.
Covid-19 is still very active and should be a factor in planning your trips. For your own and everyone else’s protection please wear your masks in crowded areas and follow any safety rules these events have in place. We advise checking websites or Facebook pages or calling ahead to make sure any of these you plan on attending haven’t been canceled or decided to change times and dates.
The Event List (in calendar order)
October 1st and 2nd
The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough was planned as an in-person event this year but has decided to change to a virtual-only event. A $75 ticket will get you access to over 20 hours of storytelling over the weekend with continued viewing access for 14 days after the event ends. If you have already purchased tickets for the live event up until September 30th you have your choice of rolling over the tickets to 2022, getting a refund, or donating your tickets to ISC and receiving free access to the virtual event.
The Unicoi County Apple Festival will take place in Erwin. An apple baking contest will be held Saturday and both a 4K run and a 3K race walk will take place Sunday. Besides these events, there will be live music, lots of food, kids’ rides, and craft and other vendors. Admission is free but there will be a fee for parking which will benefit local churches, clubs, and school groups depending on the lot you park in.
A Bike Rally will be held at Bays Mountain in Kingsport on the 2nd. There will be both fun runs and 4-person 50-mile relay races. Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for those aged 13-18, and riders 12 and under can register for free. Online registration must be completed by September 30th. Food vendors will be at the park for riders and those who attend just to cheer on the racers.
October 8th through 10th
The Heritage Days Festival will be held the 8th through 10th in Rogersville. Friday night will feature a chili cook-off, antique car drive in, and a costumed children’s parade. Craft booths and demonstrations will be Saturday and Sunday along with a lot of other festival activity. There will be traditional music, storytellers, and dancers, lots of food, and even Civil War Reenactors at Crockett Spring Park.
Bays Mountain Park’s Fall Fest will take place on October 9th. The park, located near Kingsport, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The festival, which is free with park admission, will include kids’ activities like pumpkin painting and animal mask crafts, live music, and a cake walk. Food vendors will be present or you can bring your own picnic.
Roan Mountain State Park and Roan Mountain Citizens Club will be hosting their first Fall-O-Dendron Festival to highlight all the beautiful fall colors. There will be a living history program at the farmstead, live music at the amphitheater, and lots of handmade arts and crafts.
October 22nd through 24th
Model City Antique and Flea will be hosting a Fall and Holiday Market at the historic Civic Auditorium in Kingsport. A wide variety of vendors and food trucks will be present. There will be antiques, architectural salvage, art, books, handmade goods, specialty food, gifts, garden fare, home decor, and more. Tickets are $5 at the door (cash preferred) but can currently be prepurchased at a discount. Admission is free for children 12 and under.
October 28th through 31st
There will be a Jack-o-lantern Drive-Thru on Main Street in Jonesborough. All 4 nights there will have a lit display of jack-o-lanterns from 6 to 9 PM for everyone to drive through and enjoy. If you want to contribute pick up your pumpkin at the Visitors Center on the 25th and bring it back the evening of the 27th or morning of the 28th. Prizes of local gift certificates will be awarded to the winners of a carving contest in three categories.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol will be hosting a Community Day on October 30th. Free admission for everyone for one day only. You can view their permanent exhibits, check out The Way We Worked, the new special exhibit from the Smithsonian, and listen to the spooky storyteller tales that will be playing in the Performance Theater throughout the day.
The second annual Lick or Treat Parade will be held at 4:00 on October 30th on Main Street in Historic Jonesborough. Prizes will be awarded for 3 of the best-dressed pets. It’s free to come and watch. If you want to participate there is an entry fee of $10 for each pet with proceeds benefiting the Washington County Humane Society.
A Trunk or Treat event will be held on October 30th from 5 to 8 PM in the downtown Historic District of Rogersville. There will be costume contests for those 12 and under. Admission is free.
Fall is my favorite time of year. If it was safer (no Covid) I would want to attend several events. Hopefully, this list of Northeast Tennessee festivals and events for October 2021 will help you find the ones you will enjoy the most. I will try to add to this post and update information (especially about cancelations) at least once a week.
If you are the organizer or publicity manager of an upcoming event contact me at LucindaBrown@TravelEastTennessee.com to have your event added to this or any future monthly posts.
Are you planning on attending any of these Northeast Tennessee festivals and events for October 2021? Did I miss an event you would recommend others attending? Let us know in the comments.