79 Free Things to do in Nashville Between Now and Thanksgiving

by brenna

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Looking for some free Nashville events to keep your family occupied and happy this fall? Look no further!

There are lots and lots of fun things to do around Nashville and the surrounding communities. But, it’s hard to believe how much of it is free…that’s right zero dollars.

Today, I give you “79 free things to do in Middle Tennessee between now and Thanksgiving weekend” courtesy of our resident expert, Ms. Cheap.

What I especially love about this list is that it also covers areas and neighborhoods just outside of Nashville as well. This means that whenever you come to Music City, there will be something fun (& free!) for your family to do.

97 Free Things to do in Nashville between now and Thanksgiving!

The fall season brings a colorful calendar of free things to do in the Nashville area of Middle Tennessee — concerts, festivals, art and history events, children’s activities, nature happening and more.

Everything in my “Ms. Cheap Guide to Fall” is free and I hope it helps you to have a fabulous fall season on the cheap.

1. Symphony Free Day of Music

The Nashville Symphony Free Day of Music will take place Oct. 21 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The Symphony will kick off the day with a full orchestra concert in the Laura Turner Concert Hall at 11 a.m., followed by more than 20 acts, representing all genres of music. They will be playing on four indoor and outside stages until 9 p.m. In addition to the music, there will be an Instrument Petting Zoo, and food trucks. Details: Nashvillesymphony.org. 

2. Southern Festival of Books

The 29th annual Southern Festival of Books is Oct. 13-15 in Legislative Plaza, featuring author talks, readings, panels, signings, children’s story times and a book sale. The roster includes: Jami Attenberg, Ann Beattie, Chris Bohjalian, Wiley Cash, Clyde Edgerton, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Eig, Radney Foster, Andy Hardin, Corabel Shofner, Rodney Jones, Nicole Krauss, Peter Cooper, Ron Rash and Ben Winters. Details: humanitiestennessee.org.

3. Courtyard Concerts at the Library

Nashville Public Library’s Courtyard Concert Series returns to Nashville’s Main Library, with concerts on Tuesdays from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., in the library courtyard at 615 Church St. The lineup includes: Shawn Camp Bluegrass Band on Sept. 26; Mike Farris on Oct. 3; Riders in the Sky on Oct. 10; Crackerboots, on Oct. 17; Mark Collie on Oct. 24; and The WannaBeatles on Oct. 31. Details: library.nashville.org/courtyardconcerts.

4. Tennessee Craft Fair

The 39th Annual Fall Tennessee Craft Fair, with more than 200 craft artists, is at Centennial Park Sept. 22-24. Shopping, plus craft demonstrations and hands-on kids tent. Details: 615-736-7600 or tennesseecraft.org.

5. Musicians Corner

Musicians Corner, the free family-friendly series of multi-genre concerts, takes place in Centennial Park from noon – 6 p.m. on Saturdays into September. On Sept. 9, the bands include North Mississippi Allstars, Future Thieves, Okey Dokey and Early James and the Latest; on Sept. 16, Colin Hay, Joe Pug, Kaia Kater and The Americans. The lawn party format also includes food trucks, Musicians Corner Pub, local artisan vendors, and Kidsville activities. Details: Musicianscornernashville.com.

6. Celebration of Our Cultures

The 21st annual Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival is 10 a.m- 6 p.m. Oct. 7, bringing together music, dance and food from more than 50 cultures that are now part of Middle Tennessee, for a day of international fun in Centennial Park. The event, which attracts as many as 60,000 people, celebrates the city’s diversity and includes 60 music and dance performances, a marketplace with handcrafted and imported items, more than 50 international food vendors, an interactive children’s area and an area just for teens. This year, there will be a beer garden hosted by Musician’s Corner with proceeds benefiting the Festival and Musician’s Corner.
Admission to the Parthenon will be free from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Details: 615-862-8400 or celebratenashville.org.

7. Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park continues its performances of “Antony & Cleopatra” and “The Winters Tale” Thursdays through Sundays through Sept. 17, at the Centennial Park Band Shell. There are pre-show “Talking Shakespeare” talks and family entertainment at 6 p.m., with the play at 7:30 p.m. Nashville Shakespeare Festival will present four extra performances of the plays at Academy Park in Franklin  on Sept. 28- Oct. 1. All are free but have a $10 suggested donation, and Royal Packages that include VIP seating, and food and drink are available. Details: 615-255-2273 or nashvilleshakes.org.

8. Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Fisk Jubilee Singers perform at the Jubilee Day Convocation on Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at Fisk Memorial Chapel on the Fisk University campus. Details: 615-329-8744.

9. Touch a Truck

Williamson County Parks Touch-a-Truck is set for Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Thompson’s Station Church parking lot, 2604 Thompson Station Road. The event features construction and public service vehicles including emergency vehicles, fire trucks, construction equipment and military vehicles for children to explore. Details: 615-790-5719.

10. Ghost Story Festival

Tennessee State Museum is free all the time, but a great time to go would be for the annual ghost story festival, “Haunted Museum,” which will take place Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. There will be a ghost trail, chilling ghost stories and Tennessee characters such as the Bell Witch, Cherokee spirit Spearfinger and John Murrell’s thumb. Children are invited to wear costumes, and there will be prizes, crafts and refreshments. The trail ends at the Haunted Storytellers stage where professional storytellers will tell chilling stories about Tennessee.

The State Museum also has a free monthly third Thursday Lunch & Learn, where you bring your lunch and hear a free presentation. The Sept. 21 program is “Egypt to Tennessee: The Story Behind the State Museum’s Mummy.” Details: tnmuseum.org.

11. National Public Lands Day

All Tennessee State Parks will have events — hikes, clean ups, trail maintenance, and even a few canoe floats — on National Public Lands  Day, Sept. 30. Details: https://tnstateparks.com.

12. Kidsville at the Parthenon

Kidsville has its first ever Kidsville Family Festival from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oct. 14 in Centennial Park, with live music, costume pageant, arts & crafts, a mascot photo station, musical meet and greets, inflatable and lawn games, obstacle course, scavenger hunt, pumpkin painting, face painting and balloon artist, child-focused vendors, food trucks and more fun for the whole family.

Kidsville at the Parthenon story times take place at 11 a.m. on Saturdays inside the Parthenon at the foot of Athena (which is an experience in itself). Designed for children 2-12 and their families, the 45-minutes of story time, crafts and exploring stations feature classic children’s stories, but they also incorporate the Parthenon’s architecture and other exhibits. Plus, you get free admission to the Parthenon, which is the centerpiece of Centennial Park. Details: kidsvilleonline.org or 615-862-8431.

13. Art Crawls

The monthly art crawls offer great art and complementary wine and appetizers at many of the galleries. The downtown Franklin Tour of the Arts is 6-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month around downtown Franklin. Details: franklinartscene.com.

Downtown Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl is 6-9 p.m. the first Saturday of every month, along Fifth Avenue North and around downtown, with more than 20 downtown art galleries participating. A free shuttle from gallery to gallery is available. Details: 615-743-3090 or nashvilledowntown.com.

On the first Saturday of the month, there is an art night in the Wedgewood-Houston area, where you can join a free arts and music walk beginning at 6 p.m. Details: am-wh.com.

14. Veterans Day Parade

The annual Veterans Day Parade is always at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month (Nov. 11) in along Broadway in downtown Nashville and should be especially good since it falls on a Saturday this year. Veterans from every branch of the military participate, from World War II to Afghanistan and Iraq.

15. Farm Day at Bells Bend

Bells Bend Outdoor Center’s Farm Day is Oct. 14, with hayrides, farm games and a chance to see farming equipment,meet some barnyard animals and enjoy some old time music, including a fiddle and banjo competition. The nature center is at 4187 W. Old Hickory Blvd. Details: 615-862-4187.

16. Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music

Vanderbilt’s Blair School has an impressive fall lineup:

Aug. 29: The Blair Jazz Faculty present the music from Miles Davis’ classic recording, “Birth of the Cool.” Recorded in 1949 and 1950, this music was not released until 1957, when the “cool” jazz style became more defined. Now, 60 years after the album’s release, the Jazz faculty will present this music live. 8 p.m.

Sept. 10:  Blair Pre-college Festival of Music kicks off the new school year with an afternoon of family friendly musical fun and games: Kindermusik playdates, musical instrument petting zoos and demonstrations, Sankofa performances of African-style drumming and dancing, backstage tours, face-painting, open steel band rehearsals, and performances by the Children’s Cello Choir, the Suzuki violin performing group, and Fiddle Frenzy. 1- 5 p.m.

Oct. 4-6: There will be several opportunities to hear soprano Ah Young Hong, during her week long residency at Blair: Oct. 4, when she and pianist Mark Wait perform; and Oct. 6, when Hong will be accompanied by an assortment of Blair musicians including violinist Carolyn Huebl, cellist Felix Wang and Wait. 8 p.m.

Nov. 10 and Nov. 12: Vanderbilt Opera Theatre and Vanderbilt University Orchestra present “The Marriage of Figaro,” in a creative interactive collaboration with Vanderbilt’s department of Cinema and Media Arts. “Sung in English and fully staged, so be prepared for a rousing, interactive evening of suspense and fun.” 8 p.m. Nov. 10 and 2 p.m. Nov. 12.

Details: blair.vanderbilt.edu 

17. Belmont’s Top Free Concerts

Sept. 24: This “A Few of My Favorite Things”  4 p.m. concert at the Bellmont Bell Tower celebrates Richard Shadinger’s retirement after 44 years as a faculty member. Shadinger will play standard works for the carillon as well as arrangements of folk songs and favorite show tunes.

Oct. 3: The Woods Piano Concert Series presents a 7:30 p.m. performance by Dror Biran, an award winning pianist who is on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Oct. 12: The Belmont Symphony Orchestra will open the season with a 7:30 p.m. concert at the McAfee Concert Hall of all-Dvorak music including the Carnival Overture and Symphony #9 “From the New World.”  The concert is a good chance to check out McAfee, which was created by the same architects and acoustic designers responsible for the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Belmont also offers a free Brown Bag Concert Series at noon on Fridays in the atrium at Massey Performing Arts Center: Jazz Small Groups on Sept. 22;   String Chamber Orchestra on Sept. 29; Concert Band on Oct. 6; and World Percussion Ensemble on Oct. 13.

There is a parking lot behind Massey Performing Arts Center and street parking along Belmont Blvd. for the brown bag guests. Details: belmont.edu/music.

18. Lipscomb University Music

Lipscomb University has a Faculty and Friends concert series that will include: a Sept. 30 Duo Scorpio harp concert, with harpists Kathryn Andrews and Kristi Shade; and a Nov. 2 “Evening with Emily Dickinson,” featuring Lipscomb vocal professors Patricia Roberts and Fain Spray performing poems by Emily Dickinson that have been set to music for voice and piano. Both are at 7:30 p.m. in Ward Hall on campus.

Lipscomb also has an outdoor University Wind Ensemble concert on Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. in Flatt Amphitheater that will be conducted by Dr. Stephen L. Rhodes; as well as two Contemporary Music Concerts on Nov. 9 and Nov. 14 featuring music majors in a contemporary music program that includes original songs and covers in a variety of styles at 7:30 p.m. in Shamblin Theatre. Details: 615-966-5932 or lipscomb.edu/music. 

19. African Street Festival

35th African Street Festival is Sept. 22-24 and features music (gospel, reggae, jazz, blues, African drumming and R&B), African dance, health walks, 30 ethnic cuisines, more than 110 vendors and children’s activities. The African-American Cultural Alliance runs this festival at the Hadley Park band shell in North Nashville. Parking is free. Details: aacanashville.org or 615-942-0706.

20. Trevecca University Music

The Trevecca University Symphony Orchestra will play a classical concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall on campus and another concert at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16.

Other concerts on the Trevecca fall schedule are: Tres Vida, at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in Waggoner Performance Hall; Wind Ensemble at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in Cierpke Choral Hall; Choral Concert at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 in Cierpke Choral Hall; and Jazz Band Concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Zelma Waggoner Performance Hall. Details: 615-248-1311, or trevecca.edu.

21. MTSU Music

Middle Tennessee State University’s School of Music has some great offerings, including: MTSU Wind Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, the MTSU Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. on Sept. 30, the MTSU Faculty Jazztet with guest artist Mei Han, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, the Stones River Chamber Players at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, the MTSU Women’s Chorale at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, and MTSU Jazz Ensemble 1 at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13. All are in Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus, Murfreesboro. Details: 615-898-2493 or mtsumusic.com.

22. Kids get in free to Country Music Hall of Fame

Youth from Davidson and bordering counties now get in free to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as part of the museum’s Community Counts initiative. Up to two accompanying adults receive 25 percent off. Fall break is a good time to check it out, with the museum’s Fall Break Fun program, which is from Sept. 30-Oct. 15). During that time, students can explore the museum with a fall break activity packed full of gallery games, at-home activities, and cool keepsakes. Proof of local residency is required for the free admission. The Community Counts program also allows Davidson County residents of any age to visit the museum for free by checking out a Community Counts Passport from any Nashville Public Library. Details: 615-416-2001 or countrymusichalloffame.org or at the museum box office.

23. Free Program at Hatch

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a free monthly Sunday family program for ages 5 and up and accompanying adults — Letterpress Art Workshop at the museum’s Hatch Show Print at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Attendees need a program pass to guarantee admission and the passes are handed out free 30 minutes prior to each session. Details: 615-416-2001 or countrymusichalloffame.org.

24. Jazz on the Cumberland

Jazz on the Cumberland concert series has concerts Sept. 17 and Oct. 15 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Cumberland Park amphitheater, 592 S. First St. Details: jazzblues.org/jazz-on-the-cumberland-series-returns-for-2017 or 615-731-9001.

25. Music at the Wineries

Beachaven Winery in Clarksville has Jazz on the Lawn concerts from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, Oct. 7, 21. Details: beachavenwinery.com or 931-645-8867.

Sumner Crest Winery in Portland has its fall Classic Car Show, Cruise-In and Concert, featuring Four on the Floor, on Sept. 16. The car show is 4-6 p.m. and the concert, 6:30 p.m. Details: 615-325-4086 or sumnercrestwinery.com.

Arrington Vineyards in Arrington has outdoor music bluegrass and jazz on Saturday nights, 4-8 p.m. and Sundays, 2-6 p.m. through October, with some of the jazz continuing into November. Details: 615-395-0102 or arringtonvineyards.com.

26. Tour the Symphony Center

Take a free tour of Schermerhorn Symphony Center with docents. These are offered  several times a month at 1 p.m., and you can call 615-687-6500 for upcoming dates. Reservations are not required for groups of 10 or fewer. For groups, call 615-687-6542. Details: nashvillesymphony.org/about/Schermerhorn-Symphony-Center/tour.

27. Nashville Oktoberfest

The Nashville Oktoberfest, which is Oct. 5-8, will span 10 city blocks on the edge of historic Germantown next to the Bicentennial Mall. In addition to parades, crafts, German food and multiple stages of music (including but not limited to German music), the festival boasts “the world’s longest beer slide,” plus beer tasting stations and beer gardens. Don’t miss annual traditions such as: the Oktoberfest parade on Saturday, which includes a Pup Parade; the wiener dog races on Sunday; Bratwurst Eating Contest & more. Organizers expect 300,000 attendees this year, and believe the festival is the second largest Oktoberfest in the US, and the longest running festival in Nashville.
Details: thenashvilleoktoberfest.com.

28. Celebrate 90 years of Warner Parks

Celebrate the 90th anniversary of Warner Parks from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct.  28. Meet historic characters the Natchez Trace, take a ride on Gravity Hill, and visit exhibits from
Nashville Natives, Belle Meade Plantation, Barnard -Seyfert Astronomical Society,
and others. Plus birthday cake. No registration is required. Details: wpnc.nashville.gov.

29. Tennessee History Festival

The 14th annual Tennessee History Festival at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park downtown will be Oct. 20-21. The festival focuses on the stories of the people of Tennessee from the days of Hernando de Soto to the Gulf War, and includes re-enactments, living history and weapon firing demonstrations, children’s activities and historical talks. The event is from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Details: 615-741-5800.

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park also has Tuesday lunchtime “Experience Tennessee History” programs, where you can bring a lunch and hear rangers and others talk about Tennessee history, offer demonstrations, and tell first person stories from Tennessee history.

The rangers also offer free walking tours of this park at 2 p.m. on Monday -Friday. The tours last about an hour (and include about a mile of walking)  and start under the train trestle. Just show up.

30. Pumpkinfest

The Heritage Foundation’s 34th Annual Pumpkinfest celebrates fall and Halloween Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. along Main Street in downtown Franklin with kids’ activities, putt putt golf, pet and kids costume contests, pumpkin carving, music and food. Last year, it attracted more than 68,000 people. historicfranklin.com/events/event/pumpkin-fest. 

31. String City

The popular “String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry,” the original puppet show chronicling the history of country music, is back for a series of performances in the Ford Theater of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This production is for music lovers of all ages as well as children ages 6 and up and uses marionettes, rod puppetry, shadow/animation puppetry and an ever-changing set to tell country music history as it relates to Nashville’s transformation into Music City. The program is co-presented by the Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Shows are 10, 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 24-25. Details: Countrymusichalloffame.org.

32. Tootsie’s Birthday Bash

Legendary Lower Broadway honky-tonk Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge will celebrate its 57th birthday on Oct. 10 with a free Broadway street party and live music. Details: tootsies.net.

33. Horse races

Kentucky Downs has live turf horse racing Sept. 2, 7, 9, 10, 14. The race track, which is America’s only European-style turf course, is in Franklin, Kentucky. Kids activities will be in abundance on the two Saturdays (Sept. 2 and 9) and Sunday (Sept. 10), including pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, balloon artist and airbrush tattoos. Details: 270-586-7778 or kentuckydowns.com.

34. Jack Daniel’s BBQ Fest

The 28th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship International BBQ is Oct. 27-28, in Lynchburg, with live music, barbecue cooking competitions, games (butt bowling, bung toss and country dog contest) and lots of sampling. Details: https://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/BBQ.

35. Free Yoga at the Library

There’s yoga on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. from Sept. 5 – Nov. 21 at the Edmondson Pike branch library and on Thursdays at 6:15 p.m. from Sept. 7 – Nov. 16 at the Richland Park branch. Plus there is lunchtime yoga at the Main Library, gentle yoga sessions at Madison, Bellevue, Edmondson and Bordeaux, and some hour-long Sahaja yoga meditation sessions on Saturdays from Sept. 9 -Nov. 18 at the Donelson branch.

The library branches also have community yoga classes for all ages and abilities, an advanced yoga for the culture class and yoga for kids at Green Hills and Richland Park. Details: library.nashville.gov. 

36. Frist Center offerings

Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 919 Broadway, is always free for ages 18 and younger and for college students on Thursday and Friday evenings. There is also free music from 6-8 p.m., Thursday and Friday nights in the Frist Cafe. The Frist offers free architectural tours of its Art Deco building at 4:30 p.m., Saturdays. Meet in the Frist’s Grand Lobby. Tour does not include gallery admission.

The Frist’s fall Free Family Festival Day is Nov. 12, with free admission and special activities in Martin ArtQuest. Details: 615-244-3340.

Another free admission opportunity at the Frist is part of the national Smithsonian Museum Day on Sept. 23. Register to receive a free ticket, good for two admissions, atsmithsonianmag.com/museumday/ticket. Tickets will be emailed.

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts has a “Artful Tales” family program series on the last Monday of each month, with story times at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 25 and Oct. 30 in the Frist auditorium. These are interactive story times geared toward ages 3 and older followed by artwork that relates to the story. Details: fristcenter.org or 615-244-3340.

37. Puppet Shows

Nashville Public Library is one of the best resources for free family fun, and its professional puppet troupe, Wishing Chair Productions, offers several fall productions at the Main Library, 615 Church St. The lineup is “Anansi the Spider” at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 8-30; “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” at 10:30 and 11:30 on Oct. 13-14 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 15; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 20-28; and “Sailors and Maidens” at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Nov. 17-18.

The Nashville Public Library’s Puppet Truck will make the rounds to various library branches with “Tomas and the Library Lady” Sept. 16- Oct. 11 and “Puss in Boots” from Oct. 18-28.

38. Centennial Dance Open House

Join Friends of Metro Dance at Centennial Performing Arts Studios for a “Family Fun-raising Event” from  2-4 p.m. on Oct 22. Tour the studios and get a sneak peek of Centennial Youth Ballet’s “Mini-Nutcracker” rehearsal process. Children can get their faces painted and enjoy treats.

39. Granville Fall Celebration

The 18th Annual Granville Fall Celebration is Oct. 7, with music (jazz, big band, bluegrass, gospel and patriotic), a quilt festival, arts festival, motorcycle show, storytelling, blacksmith demonstrations and a chance to check out Granville’s T.B. Sutton General Store, which was named one of the top 13 “most charming general stores” in America. You can also see Sutton Homestead ($3 for the tour) with its 1880s home, blacksmith shop, grist mill shop, log cabin and weaving shop. There is also a scarecrow festival throughout October.  Details: 931-653-4151 or granvilletn.com.

40. Archaeology Day at Bells Bend

There is an Archaeology Day at Bells Bend Park from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Sept. 16, with hands on activities for the whole family. Put on by the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology, it is designed to help people learn about archaeology and history in Tennessee, and a chance to interact with local archaeologists. Bells Bend Park is 4187 Old Hickory Blvd. Details: 615-687-4783.

41. Artclectic at USN

University School of Nashville (USN) presents its annual “Artclectic” juried art show and sale Oct. 19-21, featuring selected artists from across the U.S. The Oct. 19 date is a ticketed event but the ARTbash community party from 5:30-8:30 p.m on the 20th and the community arts day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the 21st are free. Saturday activities include the show, a Popclectic artisan market and a free hands-on art activity scrap exchange hands-on activity for children. The artwork is $20 and up. USN is at 2000 Edgehill Ave. Details: artclectic.org.

42. Centennial Art Center Shows

Metro Parks Centennial Art Center, 301 25th Ave. N. in Centennial Park, will open its annual “Get Cultured” exhibit with a reception from 5-7 on Oct. 6. The exhibit features international artists in conjunction with the Oct. 7 Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival. The exhibit will be on display through Oct. 30. There will also be a reception from 5-8 p.m., Nov. 10 to open the Holiday Season Art Exhibition and Sale, which features works by Centennial Art Center students and staff. Details: 615-862-8442 or nashville.gov/cac.

43. Salon@615

The fall lineup for the Salon@615 author talk series includes: National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Parnassus Books; R.L. Stine and Mark Brown at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 13 at Harding Academy; Jeff Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (co-creators of “Welcome to Night Vale”) at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 18, and Becca Stevens at MainiLibrary at 6:15 p.m. on Oct.19. There are a limited number of seats available on the day of the talks. This Salon@615 series is a partnership between the Nashville Public Library, Parnassus Books, the Nashville Public Library Foundation, BookPage and Humanities Tennessee. Details: salonat615.org.

In addition, the Nashville Public Library 2017 Literary Award Winner Elizabeth Gilbert will speak at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 at Montgomery Bell Academy.

44. Stones River National Battlefield

Stones River National Battlefield, 3501 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, has lots to do and see, including its Hallowed Ground Tour at 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 9 (reservations start the Monday before the tours at 615-893-9501). There are self-guided tours as well as ranger-led bike tours of the battlefield at 9 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month  through October. They also have caravan tours on Saturdays and Sundays that take you to four or more battlefield stops and with 10-15 minutes of commentary from a ranger. Details: nps.gov/stri or 615-893-9501.

45. Visit Fort Negley

Visit Fort Negley at 1100 Fort Negley Blvd. The 155-year-old fort’s visitors center offers interpretative exhibits, interactive touch screens, artifact displays and videos about the Civil War and the fort. The center, open Tuesday through Saturday, offers group tours by appointment or self-guided tours anytime. The park has a second Saturday “Fossil Finders” program with a geologist on hand and  there is an outdoor hands-on fossil collection site where visitors can dig and can keep any fossil they find. Details: 615-862-8470 or nashville.gov/parks.

46. Exotic Bird Fair

Middle Tennessee Exotic Bird Fair (aka the Heart of Tennessee Aviculture Society Bird Fair and Show) will bring exotic birds, plus sugar gliders, bearded dragons, hedgehogs, hamsters, and marmocet monkeys to Middle Tennessee State University’s Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro on Sept. 9-10.  Parking is free. Details: heartoftnaviculturesociety.com.

47. Nashville British Car Club Show

Nashville British Car Club’s 23nd annual show is set for Saturday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m.-2p.m, on the lawn at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home 1310 Franklin Road in Brentwood. There will be over 100 cars — MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Land Rovers, Rolls-Royces and MINI Coopers. The free event benefits the children helped by the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. Details: nashvillebritishcarclub.org.

48. Country Ham Festival

14th annual John Maher Builders’ Country Ham Festival is from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Oct. 7 offering music, food, kids’ area, crafts, hog calling, monster trucks, mechanical bulls, hot air balloons and more on the grounds of the Tennessee Children’s Home, 804 Branham Hughes Blvd., Spring Hill. Free parking, too. countryhamfest.com.

49. Lebanon Oktoberfest

Wilson Bank & Trust has a free annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 21-22 at the bank’s main office, 623 W. Main St., with music, kids’ games, craft booths, youth talent show, car show and contests. Details: 615-444-2265 or wilsonbank.com.

50. Cannonsburgh Harvest Days

41st annual Harvest Days Celebration and Blacksmith Demonstration/Trade Day is set for Oct. 28 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Cannonsburgh Village, 312 S. Front St., Murfreesboro. The event celebrates fall in pioneer fashion with old-time music and clogging, hayrides, pottery demonstrations, blacksmithing, broom making, butter churning, and car show auto exhibits, plus more than 40 local crafters and food vendors. Details: 615-890-0355.

51. Back Porch concerts at Fontanel

Fontanel has a series of free Back Porch concerts from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays in The Grove at Fontanel at 4241 Whites Creek Pike. The fall schedule includes The Rocketmen on Sept. 7, Scott Dorman on Sept. 14, Strung Together on Sept. 21 and Fontanel Records Jam on Sept. 28.  Food trucks, lawn games and coupons for free car washes. Details: Fontanel.com or 615-724-1600.

52. EMS Nite Lights

Williamson County Parks has an “EMS Nite Lites” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Fairview Recreation Complex at 2714 Fairview Blvd. where you can meet first responders, see ambulances, fire trucks and more. Details: 615-790-5719.

53. Tour the Governor’s Mansion

Free tours of the Tennessee governor’s mansion/executive residence are offered on most Tuesday and Thursday mornings through early November. There is no charge, but reservations are required (two weeks ahead is best) and adults must have a photo ID to be admitted. Details: For reservations visit tn.gov/firstlady, then click on Residence, or call 615-532-0494.

54. Franklin Family Day

Franklin’s 11th annual Family Day Celebration is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 4 at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm with live music, hay rides, a petting zoo, cane pole fishing, crafts, games, face painting, and more. Details: franklintn.gov/parks.

55. Hispanic Heritage Day

The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring in Murfreesboro has a free Hispanic Heritage Day on Sept. 16 where you can explore the rich history and traditions of Hispanic culture through food, art and music of Hispanic cultures from across the globe. Discovery Center is at 502 SE Broad St., Murfreesboro. Details: explorethedc.org or call 615-890-2300.

56. Story times

Nashville Public Library also has regular story times at the main library, 615 Church St., featuring Library Pete, The Professor and Mary Mary singing, juggling and reading at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Plus every branch has a story time schedule. Details: Library.nashville.org, or call 615-862-5800.

The Brentwood Library has preschool story times, including songs, finger plays and a crafts at 10 and 11 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Details: Brentwoodtn.gov/departments/library.

Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Road, has two story times every week for children 6 and younger: 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Thursdays, when Emily Arrow reads, sings and plays her ukulele. Plus, children are always invited to come in and pet the store dogs, Lewis, Bear, Opie,and Mary Todd Lincoln. Details: Parnassusbooks.net or 615-953-2243.

Barnes & Noble book stores at Cool Springs, Murfreesboro and Hendersonville, have regular story times, with the focus being primarily 2- to 5-year-olds. Details: See BN.com and click on Find a Stores and Events.

57. Halloween at the Library

Celebrate Halloween at the Library: a Halloween Party at 3 p.m. on Oct. 31 at Inglewood branch library; a trick-or-treat party at 3 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Bellevue; making Halloween masks at 3 p.m. on Oct. 24 at East; or making power tool Jack-O-Lanterns at 3 p.m. on Oct. 31 also at East; a Halloween “Monster Mash Bash” at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Hermitage location; a fun time Halloween concert at 10 a.m.on Oct. 25 at Edmondson Pike. Performer Rachel Sumner will offer two “Halloween Fun Time” concerts on Oct. 25 at 10 and 11 a.m. both at the Edmondson Pike branch. Details: library.nashville.org.

58. Nashville Library Programs

Fall programs include: Scott Tripp, The Balloon Guy at 2 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Bellevue branch; library and magic with Gary Flegal on at 4 p.m. Oct. 4, at the Pruitt location; songwriter Dennis Scott will perform at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 at Madison, at 10:30 a.m.  on Oct. 11 at the East and at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 18 at Inglewood.

The Global Education Center has interactive, multicultural performances with “The People of Mexico” at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Madison; Peruvian folk dance at 1 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Madison; performances by its Afro-Cuban dance team at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 at Madison, at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 30 at the Southeast, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5 at Hermitage and at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Watkins Park. They also have two interactive demonstrations of capoeira, the Brazilian blend of martial arts and dance on at 5 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Madison and at 1 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Hadley Park. And Rachel Sumner will do a sing-dance-play concert at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 3 at Bordeaux.

The Country Music Hall of Fame will bring its musical petting zoo to the Library: 4:30 p.m.on Sept. 21 at Madison; 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 4 at the Green Hills location; at 6 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Old Hickory branch library and at 4 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the Bordeaux location. Details: library.nashville.org 

59. Brentwood Library Programs

There is a weekly 10 a.m. Thursday program called “it looks like play” that uses mixing, pouring, shaping, squishing and talking to help little ones (9 months to 4 year olds ) develop math science and social development skills.

Harry Potter fans will want to know about the Chamber of Knowledge chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, which  is a collection of Harry Potter fans of all ages who love the series and are passionate about taking care of the community and environment. Quarterly meetings are open to all.

There are also several teen programs including a Minecraft Club, a Teen Anime Club and a DC/Marvel Comics Club. Details: https://www.brentwoodtn.gov/departments/library.

60. Nashville Ballet Programs

A teaching artist with the Nashville Ballet will give several movement-based story times, based on the book “Little Cloud” by Eric Carle, “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Aesop’s Fables” at various branch libraries in September and October. Most are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Details: library.nashville.gov.

61. Explore Warner Park Nature Center

Walk the trails marveling at wildflowers (Sept. 2 and 29 hikes) and birds (hikes scheduled throughout October). Enjoy a night under the stars at the Fall Star Party at 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Nature Center is located at 7311 Highway 100. Details: wpnc.nashville.gov or call  615-352-6299.

62. Green Hills Park Fest

Green Hills Park Festival is 4 p.m. Sept. 16  at the park, 1200 Lone Oak Road. This second annual event will include Touch-A-Truck, with fire and police, and face painting and a family movie. Attendees can bring picnics and  blankets to watch the movie. Follow the festival on Facebook.

63. Night Markets at Farmers Market

The Nashville Farmers’ Market at 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. not only has local and regional produce and Tennessee products but also some seasonally themed monthly third Friday 5-9 p.m. Night Market “shop and sip” experiences, with live music, cocktails, wine, beer and food. Coming up are Night markets on Sept. 15 and Oct. 20. The market also has an International Pepperfest scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 9. Details: Nashvillefarmersmarket.org.

64. Go honky-tonking

Head for the honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. Many, including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World, never have a cover charge and have live music night and day. Details: Nashvilledowntown.com.

65. Community Bands

Williamson County Community Band plays a free concert at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 9. And Williamson County’s Five Points Swing Band will play at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24. Both are at the Williamson County Enrichment Center, 110 Everbright Ave. in Franklin. Details: Wcparksandrec.com.

66. Nashville Jazz Workshop

The Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Jazz on the Move series fall concert “The Life and Music of Cachao” will  take place at Plaza Mariachi, 3955 Nolensville Pike,  at 3 p.m. Sept. 17. Details: nashvillejazz.org or 615-242-JAZZ (5299).

67. Music for Seniors

Music for Seniors Free Daytime Concert Series, sponsored by Metro Arts and Tennessee Arts commissions, offers two fall concerts: Geary Moore Trio at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 25 at the Nashville Jazz Workshop at 1319 Adams St.; and 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 the Chinese Arts Alliance at the Gordon Jewish Community Center at 801 Percy Warner Blvd. RSVPs required. Details: musicforseniors.org, email sarah@musicforseniors.org or 615-330-1937.

68. New Johnsonville Battle Anniversary Tour

Johnsonville State Historic Park in New Johnsonville, one of Tennessee’s best-preserved Civil War sites, has a weekend of interpreted Civil War history Nov. 3-4 including a 153rd anniversary battlefield walking tour and a hike on Nov. 4. The weekend activities also include an encampment and living history demonstrations with union activities at the park in Humphreys County and Confederate activities across the Tennessee River at Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Benton County. Details: 931-535-2789.

69. Night Hikes

Hear the call of the wild on these naturalist led Night Hikes at Bells Bend and Beaman Nature Parks. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Beaman (615-862-8580), and 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at Bells Bend (615-862-4187). They are free but you need to register.

70. Festival and concert in Gallatin

The  Annual Gallatin Main Street Festival is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 7, with music, children’s area, craftsmen, and more than 200 vendors.

Greater Gallatin’s “3rd Thursday on Main” outdoor concert will feature Eric Heatherly (Sept. 21, 6:30 to 9 p.m., downtown Gallatin). Details: 615-452-5692 or downtowngallatin.com.

71. Murfreesboro 3rd Friday Concerts

Third Friday Night Concert series at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro continues with a variety of live music from 7-9 p.m., including South 231 Band on Sept. 15. Details: 615-890-0355.

72. Sumner County Art Tour

The 7th annual (self-guided) Sumner County Artists and Artisans Tour is Nov. 4-5, with more than 30 artists’ work at 13 studio locations. Start at any studio. Details: https://sumnercountystudiotour.com.

73. Family Food and Film Night

Williamson County Parks has a Family Food and Film Night (7-10 p.m, Sept. 9) on the multipurpose field at the Williamson County Enrichment Center 100 Everbright Ave. in Franklin. Details: 615-790-5719.

74. Classical Guitar concert

Nashville Public Library has a classical guitar concert featuring Grant Ferris at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Green Hills branch library. Details: library.nashville.org.

75. La Vergne Old Timers’ Festival

Old Timers’ Festival at La Vergne’s Veterans Memorial Park, (Sept. 9, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 115 Floyd Mayfield Drive) has a parade at 10 a.m. from City Hall to Veterans Park. There will be crafts, musical entertainment and children’s activities, including wildlife education. Details: 615-793-3224 or oldtimersfestival.com.

76. Ashland City’s Music on Main

Ashland City’s Music on Main, with live music (including Allison Clarke, Ashleigh Taylor,  Merchants of Cool, Preston James, The Martin Family Circus, and The Bicho Brothers) and 100 vendors  will take place from 9:30  a.m.- 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at Cheatham County Courthouse Square in downtown Ashland City.

77. Greenway Art Festival

The Greenway Art Festival at Old Fort Park in Murfreesboro (near the Children’s Castle) is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 16. It is a juried art show, with artisans set up along the Greenway, plus live music and children’s art and craft activities. Details: 615-893-2141.

78. Volunteer

Hands On Nashville offers an easy way for anyone to get involved. It pairs volunteers of all ages with projects in all segments of the community. Details: 615-298-1108 or Hon.org.

79. Flea Market

The monthly flea market at the Fairgrounds Nashville is always fun to explore. Parking is $5, but admission is free. Fall dates include Sept. 22-24, Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 24-26. Details: 615-862-5016 or www.thefairgrounds.com/fleamarket.



This article courtesy of Ms. Cheap, my frugal friend over at the Tennessean. As she likes to say, “Keep it cheap!”

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