October is a great month for free things to do in Middle Tennessee.
And even with two of the regular blockbuster events not being held in person because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns (Southern Festival of Books and Oktoberfest), there is something great — and free — to do every weekend this month:
• Tennessee Timeline Festival at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Oct. 16-17. This free festival brings Tennessee park rangers, historians and educators from across the state to this downtown Nashville state park for a two-day living history event.
There will be presenters in historic period dress discussing the history of our state along the park’s “Pathway of History.” Get ready for historical demonstrations, food trucks and history-related activities for the entire family.
The event takes place along Seventh Avenue North between the park and the Nashville Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 17.
• Harvest Days at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro on Oct. 23.
Historic Cannonsburgh Village, a replica village that represents approximately 100 years of early Tennessee life from the 1830s to the 1930s, is fun anytime, but Harvest Days have some extra fun with all-age offerings, such as hayrides, live music by the Uptown Country Band and the Barn Stompers, dancing by the MidSouth Cloggers, hands- on demonstrations, storytelling and food trucks, as well as a chance to enjoy a self-guided tour of this historic village.
• The Haunted Museum Storytelling Festival at the Tennessee State Museum on Oct. 23.
This annual festival showcases some of the state’s best storytellers who deliver “chilling ghost stories” from Tennessee’s past.
There will be crafts, demonstrations, a scavenger hunt and performances of “The Ordeal of Dr. Trifulgus” (an adaption of Jules Verne’s short story) by the Nashville Public Library’s Nashville Puppet Truck.
The festival is geared for all ages, but the Puppet Truck performance is for ages 8 and up. In past years, this festival has attracted about 2,500 people.
The Tennessee State Museum is at 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. and is always free. Also good to know is that the museum has free Tennessee themed storytimes for ages 3-6 most Saturday mornings.
• 36th annual PumpkinFest in downtown Franklin on Oct. 30.
This festival, hosted by the Downtown Franklin Association, a division of the Heritage Foundation, is the largest family festival in Middle Tennessee, with an estimated 65,000 people in attendance in 2019.
PumpkinFest offers a full day of autumn-inspired children’s activities, including a Kids Zone presented by Grace Chapel with carnival games, giant inflatables, rock walls and more. There will also be trick-or-treating, live music, costume contests for pets and families, and lots of arts and crafts and gift items for sale.
The free festival, with food trucks and other vendors, takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 30 along Main Street and its side avenues in downtown Franklin.