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Fall Festivities

Autumn’s calendar of festivals and events


Compiled by Erin G. Edwards

Through Sept. 15

Tennessee State Fair at the Tennessee Sate Fairgrounds, off Wedgewood Ave. Where else can you take in a pig race, a largest-cow contest, a monster-truck rally, an Elvis impersonator contest, a live concert and numerous amusement park rides, all in one day? There’s still time to catch this year’s State Fair, which offers countless livestock, crafts, agricultural and cooking competitions, a carnival midway, the “Kids Town” entertainment area and grandstand performances by .38 Special and Morris Day and the Time—and more. Opens 1 p.m. Tues.-Fri.; 10 a.m. Sat.-Mon. Grandstand concerts start at 7 p.m. For a complete schedule of events, visit For information, call 862-8980. $7 adults; $4 sr. citizens (Mon.-Thurs.); $3 children 3-12; 25 cents children under 2.

Sept. 13-15

20th Annual African Street Festival at Tennessee State University’s main campus. “2002: 20 Years of Cultural Celebration” is the theme for this year’s African Street Festival, organized by The African American Cultural Alliance. Festival highlights include over 100 international vendors, African and Caribbean dance performances, a children’s activity area, an African fashion show, ethnic cuisine and much more. Hours: 6-10 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat.-Sun. For details, visit or call the festival hotline at 963-5561 or 482-1036 (daytime) and 299-0412 (nighttime). Free admission.

Sept. 14-15

Centennial Celebration 2002 at Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave. This annual event showcases works by local artists in a variety of mediums, including watercolors, pottery, fiber, jewelry and more. There will be plenty of children’s activities, plus musical performances by The Grand Old Dulcimer Club and the Centennial Recorder Consort. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. For information, call 862-8442. Free admission.

Sept. 14-Nov. 9

Farmers Market Festivals at 900 Eighth Ave. N., adjacent to the Bicentennial Mall. The Farmers Market holds monthly themed festivals the second Saturday of each month through November. Upcoming festivals include: The Apple Festival on Sept. 14, featuring bushels of fresh apples for sampling, country tunes, a farm animal petting zoo and more; The Fall Fest on Oct. 12, featuring pumpkin-themed contests, carnival games, live bluegrass music and more; The Turnip Green Festival on Nov. 9, featuring free samples of Southern food, live blues music, an antique tractor show and more. Festival hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Market hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. For information, call 880-2001. Free admission.

Sept. 21-22

6th Annual Australian Festival and Corrobo’Roo at Elmington Park, 3500 West End Ave.; and Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Ave. The Nashville Kangaroos host what has developed into the largest Australian festival in North America, offering women’s rugby, cricket and Aussie Rules football matches, a variety of Australian goods and tucker (that’s food) for sale, live music and several prize giveaways, including two round-trip tickets to Australia with Air New Zealand. Kids will also have the chance to pet native Australian animals such as kangaroos and wallabies. The festival’s gala event, Corrobo’Roo, features screenings of several award winning Australian films, an Aboriginal didgeridoo presentation by Wayne Roland-Brown and musical performances by Anne McCue and Kylie Harris, 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Belcourt. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 846-3150. Festival hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. For information, visit Free admission. A portion of the festival’s proceeds benefit Elmington Park.

Sept. 21-22

17th Annual Fall Fest at Belle Meade Plantation, 5025 Harding Road. Historic Belle Meade Plantation, featuring the 1853-built Greek Revival Mansion, comes alive for this family event featuring arts and crafts booths, fine antiques, live entertainment, children’s activities, seasonal foods and more. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Call 356-0501 for more information. $6 adults; $2 children 6-12. All proceeds benefit the Belle Meade Plantation.

Sept. 27-29

24th Annual TACA Fall Crafts Fair at Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave. Head to the grounds of the Parthenon for this family arts festival featuring works by over 190 artists from 26 states. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase fine crafts and observe a variety of crafts demonstrations by the artists. The weekend also features live folk music by Nashville Weather, plus international food and drinks. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. For information, call 385-1904 or visit Free admission.

Oct. 4-6

7th Annual Tennessee Highland Games, at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro. Middle Tennessee’s annual celebration of Scottish ancestry and culture features performances by Scottish pipe bands, a Highland Dance competition, whiskey tasting, a variety of seminars and children’s activities. Competitions include such popular sporting events as “Tossing the Sheaf,” “Turning the Caber” and “Clachneart.” Hours: noon-4 p.m. Fri. (seminars only); 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. (Highland games); 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sat. (whiskey tasting); 8:30 p.m. Sat. (live music); 10:30 a.m. Sun. (Kirkin’ of the Tartan ceremony). For locations and a schedule of events, visit or call 848-9193. $8 adults (prior to Sep. 28); $10 adults (at the gate); $3 children; seminars are free of charge.

Oct. 11-13

14th Annual Southern Festival of Books at the War Memorial Plaza, Union St. and 6th Ave. N.; and Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St. This three-day celebration features appearances by over 200 authors, who will read, discuss and sign their books, plus over 90 exhibitors representing major national and regional publishers, booksellers and nonprofit organizations. The festival also features performances by poets, musicians, storytellers, actors and more. Hours: noon-6 p.m. Fri.; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. For information and a list of this year’s exhibitors and visiting authors, visit or contact Humanities Tennessee at 320-7001. Free admission.

Oct. 12

22nd Annual Oktoberfest at the corner of 8th Ave. N. and Monroe St. in Historic Germantown. Twenty-two years ago, Germantown resident John Connelly organized a small gathering of neighbors and friends. Today, the gathering has developed into a huge fall festival celebrating German culture and heritage. The day’s events kick off with a 5K run through the neighborhood at 8 a.m., followed by two church services at Assumption Church and Monroe Street United Methodist Church. The festival continues at 10:30 a.m. with an antique car show, followed by live music, polka dancing, carriage rides and tours of the neighborhood’s historic homes and gardens. The event also includes over 80 booths featuring German and American crafts, plus authentic German foods and beverages. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. For information, call Rich Boyd at 259-0750 or Kris Mumford at 254-7381. For questions regarding arts and crafts booths, call 748-3180. Free admission. Proceeds benefit the Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association and its preservation efforts.

Oct. 26

El Dia de Los Muertos at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, 1200 Forrest Park Drive. Translated as “The Day of the Dead,” Cheekwood’s El Dia de Los Muertos is a lively family celebration of the Hispanic family holiday. Highlights include mask-making activities, scavenger hunts along the Sculpture Trail, bilingual storytelling and poetry readings, mariachi music, salsa dancing, Mexican food and more. Free shuttle service to Cheekwood and passes are available for those in need. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call 353-9827. $5 Cheekwood members; $10 nonmembers; children under 2 admitted free.

Oct. 26

Pumpkin Fest on Main Street in Downtown Franklin. Historic Franklin closes down Main Street between Second and Fifth avenues for this annual fall festival, which offers hayrides, children’s activities, fall and holiday crafts, food and entertainment. Each year the festival is organized by the Heritage Foundation and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For information, visit To rent a vendor’s booth, call 591-8500. Free admission.

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