2018 Memphis Fall Events Guide
Ed. Note: Contributor Aisling is here with a guide to all the best Memphis fall events, plus details to help you decide what to do.
Throw on your jeans and a light jacket, breathe in that crisp air, admire the reds and golds of the changing leaves, and buy yourself a super-sized calendar, because there’s A LOT happening in the Bluff City this fall and you want to be ready to roll.
Make plans to watch movies under the stars in Overton Square, jam to live bands on the Levitt Shell lawn, dance in the streets in Soulsville, and cheer on the Grizzlies at FedExForum.
Autumn in Memphis means a steady stream of fantastic festivals, sassy soirees, cool concerts, innovative indie films, awesome art exhibitions, and fierce football showdowns. Whether you dig yoga, tequila, Harry Potter, comic conventions or group bicycle rides, you’ll find something you love in Memphis’ fall events lineup.
30 Days of Opera, Various Locations, September 1-30, free, all ages
30 Days of Opera is exactly what it sounds like: 30 days of totally awesome, totally free performances by Opera Memphis held in locations throughout the city, including libraries, farmers markets and playgrounds.
Levitt Shell Fall Concert Series, Levitt Shell, Thursdays – Sundays, September – October, free, all ages
Get your picnics ready – free outdoor concerts featuring bands like North Mississippi Allstars, Snowglobe, Star & Micey and Joyce Cobb start September 9 and continue through late October in Overton Park.
Memphis Tigers Football, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, September 1-November 23, ticket prices vary, all ages
The Memphis Tigers football team embarks on its 2018 season at the Liberty Bowl.
Hispanic Film Festival, University of Memphis, September – October, 6-8 p.m., free
Explore the creativity and culture of Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala and Chile through film in the UC Theater on campus.
Fall Movie Nights at Chimes Square, Overton Square, September 13-November 15, free, all ages
Join your Memphis peeps for free movies on Thursday nights in Overton Square, shown on an outdoor screen with state-of-the-art surround sound. Movies include Wonder Woman, Ghostbusters and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Order ahead from your favorite Square restaurant to enjoy dinner under the stars while you watch the movie.
MLK Soul Concert Series, September 14, 21 & 28, 6-9 p.m. Founders Park, free, all ages
This series at the National Civil Rights Museum returns this year by popular demand, with the theme of “Be Loud, Vote Proud,” emphasizing voter education and registration. Bring your blankets and chairs for an evening of jazzy, soulful and classic tunes with your fellow Memphians. Dancing on the lawn is strongly encouraged.
Mid-South Fair, Landers Center, September 20-30, $10 adults, $5 seniors and kids 5-12, all ages
Head to Southaven for the annual Mid-South Fair to get your fill of funnel cakes, rides, games, live entertainment, talent contests and more.
Memphis Renaissance: Forward Together, Levitt Shell, September 21, 7-9 p.m., free, all ages
The third annual Memphis Renaissance performance from the creative alliance of New Ballet Ensemble & School, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Levitt Shell features music, dance, and spoken word emphasizing the creative energy that emerges from the city’s intersection of cultures.
Memphis Yoga Festival, Rhodes College, September 22, gates open 7:30 a.m., $35 in advance, all ages
Memphis’ first yoga festival, benefiting Memphis Rox Climbing, salutes the city, its yoga community and its partnership with Memphis Rox through yoga practice, music, conservation and celebration. The day includes more than 30 yoga classes, a kids’ zone, vendors, food trucks, and a tea and kombucha garden. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Potterfest, Rec Room, September 22, Noon-Midnight, $10-$15, all ages, free for kids 4 and under
Potterheads are invited to celebrate the wizarding world with a costume contest, trivia, dueling, transfiguration, wand-making, giveaways and more. Join in the live sorting contest on stage to finally prove you’re a Ravenclaw and not the Slytherin that your friends insist you are.
Tour de Brewer, Memphis Made Brewing, September 22, 12-6:30 p.m., $15 to ride, 21+
On this guided bicycle tour of local Memphis breweries, cyclists will stop in to grab a beer at each location — Memphis Made, High Cotton Brewing Co., Ghost River Brewing Co. and Crosstown Brewing Company. A portion of proceeds will benefit Revolutions’ 4th Grade Bicycle Safety Program at Shelby County Schools. Explore Bike Share will have a limited number of bikes available — first come, first served.
Spillit, Various Locations, September 22, October 19, November 10 and November 17, $10-$20, 18 +
Memphians tell their stories at monthly events and compete for the title of best storyteller. Some stories are funny, others are heartbreaking, but all are true. No notes allowed. The $10 admission includes drinks (but please tip!). Stories might be PG-13 and seats are first come, first served, so get there early. The final event of 2018, The Grand Slam, featuring winners from the year’s story slams, will take place November 17.
Freewheel Slow Ride – Uptown, September 26, 6-7 p.m., free, all ages
Freewheel offers Memphians a chance to better understand a neighborhood’s history and assets by visiting it on group bicycle rides that focus on community and neighborhoods. It is a SLOW ride, so all skill levels are welcome. If you don’t have a bike, you can borrow one for free from Explore Bike Share. It’s a great way to meet some new folks.
Gonerfest 15, Hi-Tone/Cooper-Young Gazebo/Murphy’s/Memphis Made Brewing, September 27-30, free-$75, all ages
Goner Record’s signature festival is where bands and fans from around the world happily gather at local venues for the love of rock and roll. This year’s lineup includes Robyn Hitchcock, The Oblivians, and a host of other great artists. Find the full lineup here.
Memphis Pride Fest, Tom Lee Park, September 28-30, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., free, all ages
The 15th Annual Memphis Pride Fest kicks off Friday night with the Big Gay Dance Party at the New Daisy Theatre. Saturday will feature a full day of entertainment, music, food, drink, education, and about 200 vendors. Check out national and local talent on two stages. On Saturday, a parade will kick off on Beale Street at 1 p.m., with trophies awarded for titles such as best use of theme, best walking group, and best in show.
Southern Junkers Vintage Market, Agricenter, September 28-29, $10, free for kids 13 and under
More than 75 vendors be on hand with antiques and art. After you grab your cool finds, treat yourself to some hot dishes from local food trucks.
Memphis Japan Fest, September 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 adults, $2.50 kids 2-12, free for members
Immerse yourself in Japanese music, dance, art, food, theatre, martial arts and more, surrounded by the beauty of Memphis Botanic Garden.
Memphis Grizzlies Basketball, FedEx Forum, preseason homes games start October 5, prices vary, all ages
We don’t bluff, y’all. Get ready to grit ‘n’ grind with the Grizz starting October 5 with a home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Freewheel Slow Ride – Clayborne Temple and Downtown, October 3, 6-7 p.m., free, all ages
Freewheel offers Memphians a chance to better understand a neighborhood’s history and assets by visiting it on group bicycle rides that focus on community and neighborhoods. All skill levels are welcome. If you don’t have a bike, you can borrow one for free from Explore Bike Share.
Creative Works Market, Halloran Centre, October 5 – 6, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., free to enter, all ages
Creative Works conference is in town this weekend – a ton of artists, designers, and creatives descend upon our fair city – and while the conference is sold out, everyone is welcome to shop at the market. The vendors are a mix of out-of-town makers/artists and local folks. Check out the vendors here.
A Day of Merrymaking, Overton Park, October 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free, all ages
Merrymake with your fellow Memphians in the heart of the city, as the Autumn colors are at their most vibrant. Overton Park Conservancy’s annual family festival will feature music, food, games and activities.
Mempho Music Fest, Shelby Farms Park, October 6 & 7, $99 and up
Mempho returns to Shelby Farms with a slew of awesome artists. This year’s festival includes Beck, Post Malone, Phoenix, Nas, Janelle Monáe, and many more.
Rocky Horror Drag Show, Zebra Lounge, October 11, 8-11 p.m., $20 donation, 21+
Dammit, Janet! Come in costume to win special prizes and sign up for the Time Warp competition before the show begins. Your optional $20 donation to benefit Friends For Life will give you a chance to win raffle prizes throughout the night.
Taste of Cooper-Young, First Congregational Church, October 11, 5:30-9:30 p.m., $50
A walking tour and food sampling of Cooper-Young’s finest restaurants, followed by a silent auction and concert. Proceeds benefit Memphians experiencing food insecurity.
Pink Palace Crafts Fair, Audubon Park, October 12-14, $0-$15, all ages
The popular, annual Pink Palace Crafts Fair offers three days of outdoor artisan demonstrations in everything from candle making to metalsmithing, as well as kids’ activities, eating and shopping at booths run by artists and craftspeople from around the country, and more. Proceeds benefit the Pink Palace Museum.
The Science of Wine, Pink Palace, October 12, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $65 non-members, $60 members, $35 designated drivers, 21+
Educate yourself about the world of vino by sampling wine and food pairings from around the world, talking to wine experts, and attending mini-lectures. This is your chance to talk to sommeliers and learn all those fancy wine terms while supporting a museum that offers wonderful educational opportunities.
BAE: Black Art Experience, Starlight Event Center, October 13, 6-9 p.m., 21+
This visual arts show features several African American fine artists, whose art will be on display and for sale. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about and support a host of local black-owned businesses.
Cider Fest at Celtic Crossing, October 13, 11:00 a.m. until closing
Enjoy live music, apple-themed food specials and a wide variety of ciders, including some from Long Road Cider Co. Bluff City Backsliders will provide live jams from 3-6 p.m.
Mid-South Renaissance Fair, USA Baseball Stadium, Millington. October 13-14 & 20-21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., $12 adults, $6 kids, free for kids under 6
Travel back in time to the Elizabethan era with music, games, live full-contact jousting, archery, food and ale, and much more at this family friendly festival.
Memphis Tequila Fest, Overton Square, October 19, 6-9 p.m. $34 and up, 21
Featuring more than 30 different types of tequila, dance music from local DJs, face painting, a costume photo booth, and food for purchase. Proceeds benefit Volunteer Memphis.
Art on Fire 2018, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, October 20, 7-11 p.m., $75+, 21+
Enjoy a bonfire, live music and other entertainment, a silent auction, food samples from local restaurants, and beer and wine on the Dixon’s south lawn. Proceeds benefit the Dixon’s art education and outreach programs.
Beale Street Art Crawl, October 20, 12-7 p.m., free, all ages
This quarterly event takes you on an art tour of what’s been called America’s Most Iconic Street — Beale Street.
Cooper-Young Beer Fest, 795 S. Cooper. October 20, 1-5 p.m., $45-$50, 21+
The 9th annual Cooper-Young Beerfest will feature beers from 35 craft breweries and two home-brew clubs. Goner Records will supply tunes and food from local food trucks will be available for purchase.
Memphis Comic Expo, October 20-21, Agricenter International, 10 a.m.-6 pm. $20-$75, free for kids 12 and under
This two-day family event focuses on comic creators but also features vendors, a costume contest, and guest panels.
Soulsville USA Festival, College & McLemore, October 20, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free, all ages
As the world mourns the loss of legendary Soulsville-born singer Aretha Franklin, this will undoubtedly be an especially poignant year in this annual rich celebration of the cultural and worldwide musical contributions of this storied neighborhood. In addition to the stellar music line-up, the festival will feature 40 vendors and food trucks, admission to Stax Museum of American Soul Music, demos from an array of visual and performing artists, and a kids’ center with carnival games, face-painting, caricature drawings, and other activities to enrich, educate and celebrate South Memphis’ innovative and robust global contributions to music.
Time Warp Drive-In: Shocktober, Summer Drive In, October 20, Gates open at 7 p.m., movies begin at sundown
Head to the Summer Drive-In for all-night movies throughout the fall. October 20 features: The Lost Boys; Fright Night; The Hunger; and Near Dark.
Repair Days 2018, National Ornamental Metal Museum, October 18-21, free to attend, all ages
Bring your busted, rusted, and otherwise damaged metal items to the Metal Museum for a little TLC. During Repair Days, the museum’s crew of blacksmiths and metalworkers will fix your items for a fee, which benefits the museum. The day also includes family friendly activities, workshops, and a dinner and auction.
U of Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball, FedEx Forum, begins October 25, ticket info TBA
The Tigers kick off the 2018-2019 hoops season with an exhibition game against LeMoyne-Owen College at FedEx Forum..Here’s the schedule.
River Arts Fest, Riverside Drive, October 27-28, Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 am.-5 p.m., free, all ages
Art in the Autumn along the Mighty Mississippi. This street celebration of fine arts features local music, live artist demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages. More than 180 local, regional and national artists will exhibit and sell their original pieces.
BurgerFest, Tiger Lane, October 27, Saturday, noon – 10 p.m., $10 gen. admission/$25 tasting ticket, all ages
Best Memphis Burger Fest is back, under new ownership, and now called “Burgerfest”. There will be a burger bar, local beers, live music courtesy of GonerRecords and i96, and a kids’ area. No teams with samples this year, but the burger bar is being catered by Chef Tam, and it looks amazing.
Indie Memphis Film Fest, November 1-5, locations and prices vary
The Indie Memphis Film Festival showcases more than 200 films at seven venues. Mingle with your Memphis neighbors and folks from around the world at a free block party with live music, filmmaker talks, locally brewed adult beverages and much more. Festival screening venues include Malco Studio on the Square, Halloran Centre at the Orpheum, Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theatre and Theatreworks. This year’s fest will include a black creators forum and live music in the theater before each film screening.
India Fest, Agricenter, November 3, 10 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Price TBD, all ages
Organized by the India Association of Memphis, this festival showcases and promotes awareness and appreciation of the vibrant art, culture, music, cuisine, and heritage of the Indian diaspora in the Memphis area. It helps foster cross-cultural interaction, awareness and education to provide a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity of India’s culture. The food, shopping, entertainment and hospitality makes it one of the most fun and educational festivals in the city.
Grilled Cheese Festival, Hi-Tone Cafe, November 4, 12-6 p.m., $7.12 admission, all ages
This family and pet-friendly festival revolves around grilled cheese, with teams providing samples, but also features food trucks, kids activities, live music, and a cash bar for cocktails. Proceeds benefit Alive Rescue, for homeless animals in the Memphis area.
Memphis Hustle Basketball, Landers Center, Starts November 9, $10 +, all ages
Our minor league team’s season kicks off November 9 with a home opener against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Greenway Soiree, Opera Memphis, November 10, $100
Raise your glass to the l beautiful Wolf River. Enjoy food and cocktails, live and silent auctions, and live music at the Wolf River Conservancy’s signature event.
Memphis Flyer’s Crafts & Drafts, Crosstown Concourse, November 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free admission, all ages
The fourth annual Crafts & Drafts is an opportunity to shop for goods from more than 80 local artists, crafters, and makers while enjoying local craft beers on tap. Proceeds from beer sales benefit Crosstown Arts. Memphis Parent Magazine will host a children’s area with activities.
Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, Guest House at Graceland, November 16-18, $15-$40, all ages
The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention offers three glorious days of panels, gaming, costumes (and a costume contest), and visiting artists and writers. Schedule TBA.
Make Your Own Tile, Metal Museum, November 24, 10-2 p.m., $20 per tile, all ages
Design your own custom art tile and the museum’s foundry crew will cast it for you.
About The Contributor
Aisling Maki is a freelance writer, editor, and public and media relations specialist with awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Society of America, as well as several awards for fiction writing. Her work has appeared in publications in more than 20 countries. You can usually find her cheering on the Grizzlies, doing outdoorsy things, or traveling with her daughter, Brídín. They live in Cooper-Young with a dog, a guinea pig and a pair of pet mice.