October ushers in shorter days, (somewhat) cooler weather, and fall-related drinks and bites available nearly everywhere. It's also a time of festivals, Halloween events and seasonal activities. We aren't exaggerating when we say there is something happening every weekend in October. There's no reason for anyone to say there's nothing to do or they're bored.
Below is a sampling of what you can discover this month.
A festival here, a festival there ... In addition to Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the South, you'll also find other festivals to enjoy.
It's a great time for art lovers to add another piece or two to their collections or start early holiday shopping at the Norcross (Ga.) Art Splash Festival, Oct. 7- 8, or the weekend of Oct. 14 - 15 with the Pearland (Texas) Art on the Pavilion and the Kentuck Arts Festival in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The River Arts Fest in Memphis, Tenn., comes in strong, Oct. 21 - 22, and wrapping up the month is the Mount Dora (Fla.) Craft Fair, Oct. 28 -29.
We'll be the first to admit it doesn't have to be a specific month for us to be excited about food, but there is something in the October air that encourages all kinds of food festivals and celebrations. Grab your most comfortable pair of stretchy pants and get ready to nosh at the Destin (Fla.) Seafood Festival, Oct. 6 -8, National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., Oct. 12 -15, Delta Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, Miss., and NC Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach, Oct. 21 - 22, and Hot Brown Showdown, Oct. 22, in Louisville, Ky.
Of course, when we mention food, we must point out Louisiana, the state that mainly leads the way with food festivals. This month, you can indulge in the International French Bread Festival in Jeanerette, Oct. 7, the Louisiana Gumbo Festival in Chackbay, Oct. 13 - 15, and the Andouille Festival, in LaPlace, Oct. 20- 22, among others.
And then there are the seasonal events at theme parks like pumpkin-perfect Dollywood's Harvest Festival, through Oct. 30, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Get Your Boo On ... Spooky season is on, and if you like to be scared, you are in luck, and if you are like us, who don't want to be totally freaked out, there are plenty of options out there, too.
Spine-tingling, hair-raising experiences are best found at haunted houses and trails like Exiled: Trail of Terrors, weekends through Oct. 28, in Bonner Springs, Mo., Dread Hollow's Camp Dread in Chattanooga, Tenn., select days through Oct. 31, NETHERWORLD Haunted House in Atlanta, select days through Nov. 11, and Helheim Haunted Attraction in Wytheville, Va., weekends through Oct. 29. For those who want a combination of fear and entertainment, check out Scarowinds, select nights through Oct. 29, at Carowinds, located on the South Carolina/North Carolina border.
Take a "walk" on the paranormal side with the Huntsville (Ala.) Ghost Tour or partake in ghost stories and ghost hunts in Perryville (Ky.) Battlefield, Oct. 21, 28. For "spirited" tales and lores, join Saint Charles, Mo.'s Legends & Lanterns Tour, weekends Oct. 14- 29, or the "Haint Mistress" of Abingdon, Va., for an eerie look at the city's historic district.
As you may be aware, the South loves a parade for any holiday or observance, Halloween included. Known as New Orleans' official Halloween Parade, the Krewe of Boo rolls on Oct. 21. Over in Atlanta, the Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade takes place on Oct. 22, while about an hour east of the city in Athens, Ga., Wild Rumpus marches through downtown, Oct. 28.
Fun on the Farms ...
Many farms throughout the South become (controlled) playgrounds for all ages in the fall. Enjoy a niche atmosphere like Pumpkin Towne, Oct. 5 -31, in Jupiter, Stuart or Wellington, Fla., or try it all at Graff 7A Ranch, through Nov. 12, in Hondo, Texas, or Hubb's Farm, through Nov. 4, in Clinton, N.C. Whatever you choose, you're guaranteed to have a good time.