51 Things To Do In Memphis This Fall
Fall events and festivals are right around the corner, so there’s the annual guide. If your favorite event isn’t listed, feel free to submit it to the events calendar. Click here to skip to October, and click here to skip to November.
Want more info on the latest festival news, including what’s new this fall in Memphis? Listen to the August Bonus Cilp (below the photo) for more in-depth info.
1. You Look Like A Comedy Show, P&H Cafe, August 22 and September 19, 9 p.m., $5, 21 and up
This monthly comedy tournament is all about the roast: prepare yourself to witness put-downs, bullying, and insults – all between friendly comics, of course.
2. Mid-South Renaissance Faire, Shelby Farms, Saturdays and Sundays August 22 – 30, $13 adults/$8 kids/under 6 free
The first-ever Mid-South Ren Faire features Elizabethan dances, giant turkey legs and other food, merchants, pirates, and of course, jousters on horseback.
3. Tuesday Show Comedy, Hi-Tone/Chase the Vape/Brass Door, August 25/September 29/October 27
This monthly comedy show hosted by local comics Doug & Kyle features national and local comedians and live music at different establishments. August’s show features Jordan Jensen and Josh Lewis, September’s show features Byron Stamps, and October’s show features Ben Dalby and Luke Mater.
4. Sweatfest, Shangri-La Records, August 29, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., free to attend
Sweatfest is brought to you by Shangri-La Records. Head to the record shop (1916 Madison Avenue) for thousands of $1 records, merch discounts, and eight acts including James and the Ultrasounds, The Sheik, Toy Trucks, and more.
5. 30 Days of Opera, Various Locations, September 1 – 30, free
You never know when you might be serenaded by the professionals from Opera Memphis during 30 Days of Opera. Singers host pop-up performances at events and locations around town every day for a month, including a show at the Levitt Shell on September 18.
6. On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival, Studio on the Square/Cooper Walker Place, September 3 – 6, $45 – $65
The 16th annual film and music festival celebrates independent films with a renewed focus on music this year, including a blues concert on on Friday evening.
7. Rock for Love, Crosstown / Lafayette’s / Levitt Shell, September 3 – 6, various prices
The Church Health Center’s ninth annual Rock for Love festival is going to be bigger than ever, with three days of music in a bunch of cool venues. Check out the full lineup, schedule, and more information by clicking here.
8. Zoo Brew, Memphis Zoo, September 4, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m, $40 members/$45 nonmembers, 21 and up
Zoo Brew is one of Memphis’ biggest beer tasting events, with tasting tables set up throughout the exhibits, plus live music and a VIP Lounge.
9. Night Shift, TheatreWorks (2085 Monroe Avenue), September 4, 11:55 p.m., $11 advance/$15 at the door, 21 and up
The brand-new late variety show has music, games, comedy, burlesque, and more. Not that you’d take your kids out at nearly midnight (no assumptions here) but leave the kids at home, and bring cash for concessions and drinks.
10. Delta Fair, Agricenter International, September 4 -13, $13 adults / $5 kids and seniors
The Delta Fair is a classic. It’s a week of midway games, rides, livestock and homemaking competitions, exhibits, and more. For $25, you can get a daily wristband for unlimited rides. The fair is open every day until at least 10 p.m.
11. Levitt Shell Fall Concert Series, Levitt Shell, Thursdays – Sundays, September 4 – October 10, free
Get your picnics ready – free music returns to the Levitt Shell this fall. The fall lineup includes a ton of great bands (think St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Marcella and Her Lovers, and The Subteens) playing free outdoor shows (though donations are appreciated). View the full lineup here
12. Slide Fest, Shelby Farms, September 5, noon to 6 p.m., $15 – $60, 5 and up
Head to Shelby Farms and bring your tube (or buy one there) and slide down a 1,000-foot plastic water slide. You must be 46″ to ride.
13. U of Memphis Tigers Football, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (home games), September 5 – November 28, $15 and up
Coming off one of their most successful seasons in many years, the Memphis Tigers football team embarks on their 2015 season starting on Labor Day weekend. Click here for more detailed ticket and tailgating info.
14. Time Warp Drive In, Summer Drive In, September 5, September 23, October 4, movies begin at dusk, $10
Head to the Summer Drive-In for all night movies and the occasional musical intermission. Sept. 5th’s theme is cartoons, Sept. 23rd’s theme is rock ‘n’ roll, and Oct. 24th’s theme is late night science fiction. Click here for the lineup.
15. Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, Center for Southern Folklore, September 5-6, free
The Center for Southern Folklore’s annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival is two days of southern-fried live music on six stages, dancing, cooking, storytelling and vendors that happens downtown over Labor Day weekend. The festival is completely free and family friendly, so don’t hesitate to bring everyone you know.
16. Mid-South Book Festival, Playhouse on the Square & Circuit Playhouse, September 9 – 13, mostly free, all ages
More than 50 local and national authors will come to Memphis for five days of literary bliss in late September. Expect speakers, book signings, vendors, workshops, and entertainment, all benefitting Literacy Mid-South. A couple of the workshops require you to buy tickets, but most of the events are free.
17. Southern Heritage Classic Weekend, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (and other locations), September 10 – 12, priced per event
The Southern Heritage Classic is so much more than the annual football game between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University. It’s also a weekend-long celebration that includes golf tournaments, music, fashion shows, marching bands, comedians and tons of tailgaiting. Here’s a full schedule of events.
18. Art on Tap, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, September 11, $30 members/$40 non-members 21 and up
The Dixon’s annual beer tasting event features beer from around the world and food from Rock ‘n’ Dough, Bosco’s, Gus’, and Frost Bake Shop. For another $10, you can get some wine into your system, too.
19. Outflix Film Festival, Malco Ridgeway Four, Sept. 11 – 17, full fest pass $99, individual films $10
The Outflix film festival returns to the Ridgeway Four for a week of documentaries, feature films and short films with an LGBTQ focus. The films are from all over the world, and the schedule is pretty impressive.
20. Hack Memphis, Cowork Memphis , September 11 – 14, $10/$30 with t-shirt
Calling all designers, developers, programmers and people with big ideas: Hack Memphis wants you for an intense weekend of creating and building. Hack Memphis is a day for the Memphis tech community to come together to create new things, hack existing software and share ideas. Pre-registration is required.
21. 25th Annual International Goat Days Festival, USA Stadium, September 11 – 12, $5 parking/free admission, all ages
Millington’s annual celebration of the noble goat includes vendors, demonstrations, a petting zoo, goat chariot races and more. This year celebrates a quarter-century of Goat Days with the “World’s Greatest Goat Parade” on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
22. Germantown Festival, Germantown Civic Club Complex, September 12 – 13, free
You could go to the Germantown Festival for the crafts, demonstrations, live music, vendors, classic cars and overall sense of community. You wouldn’t be wrong to do so. You would, however, be wrong to miss the annual Running of the Weenies, an adorably chaotic dachshund race.
23. Rise ‘N’ Slide Festival, Memphis International Raceway (550 Victory Lane, September 19, Millington, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., $10 – $40, all ages
Grab a tube (provided) and slide down a 500-foot plastic water slide. You must be 46″ to ride.
24. Cooper-Young Festival, Cooper Young neighborhood, September 19, free to attend
The Cooper-Young Festival shuts down the intersection of Cooper and Young (and several blocks in each direction) for a gigantic street fair on the third Saturday in September.
25. Memphis Farmer’s Market Ten Year Anniversary Party, Tennessee Brewery, September 20, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., $40 in advance
Celebrate ten years of the Memphis Farmer’s Market by getting back into the TN Brewery, enjoying food, beer, and wine, an auction, and music from Star & Micey.
26. GonerFest 12, The Buccaneer / Hi-Tone / Murphy’s, September 23 – 27, $5 – $25 individual shows/$75 festival pass
Gonerfest, Goner Records’ annual four-day celebration of garage, punk and indie rock, turns twelve this year. Celebrate another year of loud music, spilled beer and good times that brings in rock fans from all over the world. This one’s not for the kids.
27. Repair Days, National Ornamental Metal Museum, September 24 – 27, free to attend
Bring your busted, rusted and otherwise damaged metal items to the Metal Museum for a little TLC this October. During Repair Days, the museums’ crew of blacksmiths and metalworkers will fix your items for a fee (which benefits the museum).
28. Mid-South Fair, Landers Center, September 25 – October 4, $12 adults/$6 kids and seniors, all ages
Head to the Landers Center (in Southaven) for the 159th annual Mid-South Fair to get your fill of funnel cakes, rides, more. It’s a solid week of rides, games, MMA fights, talent contests, roller derby and carnival food.
29. Alpha Omega Veterans Services Golf Classic, Memphis National Golf Club, September 25, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., $125 person/$450 team
AOVS’s tenth annual charity golf tournament is a fundraiser for military veterans who use the organization’s housing, counseling, and rehab services. There’s a BBQ lunch at noon before the tourney starts at 1.
30. Spillit Memphis, September 25, October 23, November 6 and 20, Amurica Photo, $10
Memphians tell their stories of Coming Out, Toil & Trouble, Disasters & Escapes, and M-E-M-P-H-I-S, all live from the Amurica Photo stage. Some of the stories are funny, some are heartbreaking, but all of them are true, and notes aren’t allowed. The $10 includes drinks (but please tip) the stories might be PG-13, and seats are first-come, first-serve, so get there early.
31. Mid-South Pride Parade and Festival, Robert Church Park / Beale St., September 26, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., free
The annual Mid-South Pride Parade and Festival is the largest annual LGBT event in the Mid-South, and it’s a fun one. Expect vendors, live music, drag queens (and kings), floats, beads, and more than 40 participating community organizations. The parade steps off at 5 p.m. at the corner of 2nd and Beale.
32. BreakFest, Broad Avenue Water Tower Pavilion, September 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., $8 adv./$10 gate
Teams will compete in five categories (bacon, omelets, breakfast sandwich, and more) to earn the title of breakfast and brunch food champion at the inaugural BreakFest. There will be games, food trucks, and live music for the general public.
33. Memphis Rock ‘n’ Romp, Shelby Farms/Overton Park, September 26 and October 31, $5 adults/kids free
One of the coolest concert series in town will host its September show at the Mid-South Corn Maze at Shelby Farms and its October show on the greensward at Overton Park. These shows feature great Memphis music that grown-ups like, but in a daytime, kid-friendly show.
34. Station 3: Memphis Firehaus, 198 Dr. MLK, Jr. Avenue, October 1 – November 30
The abandoned firehouse next to FedExForum gets the “Brewery Untapped” treatment this fall. Station 3 will have four special-edition brews, food, live music, and big screens. They plan to be open Thursdays through Sundays, plus game days and for special events.
35. Creative Works Conference, Central Station, October 1 – 3, $150 student/$250 professional
This conference for designers, illustrators, developers, and other creatives brings the best talent from around the country to connect with Memphians and each other for three days. There will also be a vendor marketplace, workshops, and after parties.
36. Vin-A-Que, Brooks Museum, October 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., $80 before Sept. 25/$100 after, 21 and up
Celebrate all things swine and wine and support the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art with Rocks wines, live music, and as much local barbecue as you can eat.
37. Bona Fide Blues Festival, Overton Square venues, October 2 – 3, free/$25, all ages
The first blues festival to feature exclusively local blues musicians since 1969, the inaugural Bona Fide Blues Festival will bring 40 acts from a 100-mile-radius of Memphis to play two days of shows. Outdoor shows will be free, while shows at indoor venues (Lafayette’s, Blue Monkey, Zebra Lounge, etc.) will be $25.
38. Urban Barn Market, Woodruff-Fontaine House (680 Adams Ave.), October 2-4, $5 – $10
Are you addicted to vintage and antique things? Do you have a thoroughly curated, ridiculously picturesque Pinterest presence? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Urban Barn Market’s gathering of vendors, workshops, demos, and book signings is for you.
39. Best Memphis Burger Fest, Tiger Lane, October 3, 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., $10
Now on the first Saturday in October at Tiger Lane, teh annual Best Memphis Burger Fest should be cooler and more convenient. It works like most food fests in town: teams cook burgers for judges and you might be lucky enough to get samples from teams if you know someone/ask really nicely. Read more here.
40. Cordova Festival, Cordova Community Center, October 3, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., free
Cordova may be part of Memphis now, but it’s small farming town roots come out during the annual Cordova Festival. The fest is a full day of vendors, crafts, food, demonstrations, talks, live music and history at the Cordova Community Center.
41. Pink Palace Crafts Fair, Audubon Park, October 9 – 11, $9 adults / $6 seniors / $3 kids
The annual Pink Palace Crafts fair is three days of outdoor artisan demonstrations (in everything from candle making to metalsmithing), kids’ activities, eating and shopping at booths run by artists and craftspeople from around the country. Proceeds benefit the Pink Palace Museum.
42. Bristerfest, Overton Square Tower Courtyard, October 10, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., free (donations appreciated)
Bristerfest moves to the fall this year for seven local music acts, arts and crafts vendors, and more. The whole thing is in support of GrowMemphis, so be sure to bring some extra cash for donations.
43. Cooper-Young Regional Beer Fest, 795 S. Cooper, October 17, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., $40 (tickets go on sale September 1), 21 and up
The Cooper-Young Regional Beer Fest is one of my favorite annual Memphis events. The selection of regional craft beers is pretty great and a limited number of tickets are sold every year, which means that the lines are shorter, thus, there’s more time for beer tasting. Tickets will go on sale on September 1 and they will sell out.
44. A Magical Night in Overton Park, Overton Park, October 17, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., $100 per person, 21 and up
Support the Overton Park Conservancy with music, drinks, and special treats in a dramatic atmosphere – the Park’s formal gardens will be transformed into a stunningly lit forest wonderland.
45. Memphis Outdoor Festival, Shelby Farms Park, October 17 – 18, various prices
If you love trail running and biking, rejoice! The second annual Memphis Outdoor Festival is back this year. There are mountain bike races, trail running races, a beer garden, yoga, dock dogs competition, and a ton more things to do and see. Click here to read more about last year’s festival.
46. River Arts Fest, South Main Arts District, October 23 – 25, free Friday night / $5 Saturday and Sunday
During River Arts Fest, hundreds of local and national artists, craftsmen and bands pack the South Main Arts District for three days of selling, music, demonstrations, hands-on activities and fun. It’s completely family friendly, and worth the price of admission, especially for the 50 musical acts spread out on three stages.
47. Memphis Grizzlies Basketball, FedExForum (home games), begins October 28, tickets start at $10
Get ready to grit ‘n’ grind with the Grizz starting on Wednesday October 28 against the Cavs at home. Click here to read the 2014-2015 fan guide, and click here to read about where to watch the games if you can’t make it to FedExForum.
48. Indie Memphis Film Festival, November 3 – 10, ticket and schedule info TBA
The annual Indie Memphis Film Festival will no doubt be another amazing weekend of filmmakers, panels, awards, and lots and lots of films. More info is on the way, but check out these reasons to attend from last year’s fest.
49. India Fest 2015, Agricenter International, November 7, $5, all ages
Head to the Agricenter to shop in an Indian bazaar, try authentic Indian food, and see dance, hear music, and plenty of stuff for the kids.
50. U of Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball, FedExForum (home games), begins November 14, ticket info TBA
Coach Pastner’s Tigers start off the 2015-2016 hoops season with a home game against Southern Miss. Season tickets are on sale here, and individual game tickets will go on sale soon.
51. Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, Hilton Memphis, Nov. 20 – 22, $15 – $35
The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention is three glorious days of geekery. There will be panels, gaming, costumes (and a costume contest), and visiting artists and writers.
Know of any more awesome events happening in Memphis this fall? Submit them to the ILM Events Calendar, and I’ll add them to this list. I’ll be putting up a guide to Halloween in the Mid-South later in September.