By Sarah Rigby and Cassidy Gaudes
**New events added as of Oct 1, 2019
There is always something happening in Tampa Bay. Especially in the fall which seems to be one of the busiest times of the year — and the best time of year to cozy up to your date on a hay ride, comfort them in a haunted house, or have a day date carving pumpkins. The list is never ending. Check out our top events in Tampa Bay happening this October!
Tailgate Taste Fest | Oct. 5, 3-10:30 p.m.
Located at Curtis Hixon Park, Tailgate Taste Fest is a FREE event perfect for the “casual event goer and the sports fanatic alike.” Enjoy mouth-watering tailgate food, live bands, corn hole tournaments and huge LED screens playing the day’s most exciting college football moments. tailgatetastefest.com
Brandon Pumpkin Spice Festival | Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At the first sign of fall every year, pumpkin spice makes its return. What better way to celebrate fall than with everything pumpkin spice? The Rustic Door Decor & More will be hosting be food trucks and vendors that will make food and art with pumpkin spice! Bring a date or your friend for some yummy pumpkin spice! In addition to the pumpkin spice festival, there will be the Brandon Sunday Market’s Season Opener from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.! The market will be selling organic produce, handmade soaps and home decor, pet supplies and more! facebook.com
Feast with Friends at Locale Market’s Oktoberfest Beer Dinner | Oct. 7, 6 p.m.
Feast your eyes on six German-inspired courses prepared by Locale Market chefs, and paired with German-style beers in this Oktoberfest Beer Dinner. Courses such as Räucherforel (smoked trout, pumpernickel crostini, capers, shaved red onion, rye mustard) and Shwein (slow-braised pork cheek, root vegetable atem, crispy brussels sprouts, natural jus) will be served. Tickets are $55 (before tax) and are available at LocaleMarket.TockTix.com.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory | Oct. 8-13, various times
Tampa’s won the golden ticket, and now you get to visit Join Charlie Bucket and four other golden ticket winners as they venture inside this Willy Wonka’s magical and mysterious chocolate factory! Come out to the Straz for a sweet treat featuring the original songs from the film like “Pure Imagination” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.” Ticket prices start at $41.00. strazcenter.org
Brews by the Bay | Oct. 11, 8-11 p.m.
Hosted by the Florida Aquarium, Brews by the Bay boasts samples of 100-plus beers, food tastings from 30-plus restaurants, live entertainment by #NoFilter and Frankie Raye and a silent disco. All aquarium exhibits will also be open for the public to view and enjoy. Tickets start at $69. flaquarium.org
Oktoberfest Tampa | Oct. 11-13, various times
Celebrate all things German – German music, dance, food and fun – as part of this fall tradition at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa. The event features games and competitions all weekend long, and of course, beer! oktoberfesttampa.com
John’s Pass Seafood Festival | Oct. 18-20, Times vary
What is the best thing to eat when by the Gulf? Seafood! Visit John’s Pass for the annual seafood festival! With over 15 food trucks, there will be seafood you don’t want to miss eating! There will be live music from Kenny Mullins, Spy versus Spy and Wendy Barmore Band. This family-friendly event will have pirates, interactive performers, treasure hunts, water events, pet adoptions and, of course, to celebrate Halloween, a costume contest! facebook.com
Dunedin Stone Crab Festival | Oct. 18-19, Times Vary
Located at Edgewater Park, the festival will feature food from 20 locations including, local and non-local restaurants and pop-up cafes! The main focus of the food will be seafood, but there will also be BBQ and burgers and hot dogs. Spend the nights eating food while enjoying a picturesque view of a marina and feeling a gentle fall breeze. In addition to food, there will be live music, arts and crafts merchants, and civic groups! It’s sure to be a lively night! facebook.com
First Annual Italian Food and Wine Festival | Oct. 18, 6-11 p.m.
Bring your tastebuds to Albert Whitted Park for this first annual festival filled with good food and drink! Admission is FREE and the event is family-friendly! There will be lots of gourmet food trucks attending, as well as dessert trucks, and the most important part of the festival- wine! During the festival, there will be live music and a children’s playground! The best part is the event is PET-FRIENDLY, which means your furry friend can accompany everyone on the night out! facebook.com
2019 Sylvan Ramble Lights Halloween Lights Show | Select nights Oct. 18-31, various times
What started a small neighborhood Christmas light display has become city-wide entertainment with a Halloween angle added. Head to West Sylvan Ramble Street for an eye-catching, spooky light show. Along with your favorite Halloween tunes there will be strobes, fog and ghostly effects to keep you on the edge of your seat! eventbrite.com
9th Annual Tampa Pig Jig | Oct. 19, 1-10 p.m.
Read our feature article —> Tampa Pig Jig 2019
The Tampa Pig Jig is back at Curtis Hixon Park. Enjoy live music by Jake Owen, LANCO, Dr. Dog and more, plus great food, a barbecue competition, drinks and games. The event benefits NephCure Kidney International, the only nonprofit organization committed to finding a cure for the debilitating kidney disease, FSGS and Nephrotic Syndrome. Tickets start at $25. tampapigjig.com
Tampa Bay’s Annual Macaroni & Cheese Fall Festival | Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
October is about to get cheesy for more than some Halloween Costumes! Tampa Bay’s FREE Admission Macaroni & Cheese Festival will take place at SunWest Park! Listen to live music as you try Mac and Cheese from different food trucks and vote on the best one for the title of Tampa Bay’s Best Mac-N-Cheese! Visitors can enter door prizes and pick the charity their money goes towards! There will be inflatable zones if you want to bring the family! facebook.com
Livefor24 5K/Mile Relay | Oct. 19, 8 a.m.
The University of Tampa’s campus is the setting for the second annual Livefor24 5K/Mile Relay, hosted by The Live for 24 Foundation and The University of Tampa Athletic Department. Proceeds will go towards life-enriching opportunities to deserving youth in Tampa Bay. Runners can do a 5K or a four-member team mile relay. A pre-race party, with food, music and more, will take place at Pepin Field at 6:30 a.m. livefor24.org
Free Pops in the Park | Oct. 19-20, 7 p.m.
Free Pops in the Park is just the right night out for you and your significant other—a night full of music featuring film scores, Broadway hits and of course, some symphonic goodies. floridaorchestra.org
Bill Engvall | Oct. 25, 8 p.m.
Bill Engvall, known for his self-titled sitcom which ran for three seasons and as the host of television game shows and awards shows, makes his 10th appearance at the Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets start at $50.50. rutheckerdhall.com
Tampa Bay October Crazy Fest | Oct. 26, 1-7 p.m.
Crazy Fest will be located at Burger Culture on N. Dale Mabry. There will be gourmet food trucks cooking the foods of Octoberfest! The event will be free to enter. Make sure to check the Facebook page for an updated list of vendors! facebook.com
19th Annual Bolt Run | Oct. 27, various start times
Presented by AdventHealth, The 19th Annual Bolt Run will be held at Amalie Arena and include the 5 Mile, 5K, a Family Fun Run/Walk and family-friendly activities. The race will finish inside Amalie Arena. runsignup.com
So You Think You Can Dance Live! | Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.
See your favorite “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants live on tour at Ruth Eckerd Hall, featuring the show’s Top 10 Finalists, including season 16’s winner, America’s favorite dancers and All-Star Guests. rutheckerdhall.com
Cirque du Soleil AXEL | Oct. 31- Nov. 3, Times Vary
Read our feature article —> Experience Cirque du Soleil’s AXEL this October!
Cirque du Soleil is back on ice with AXEL, an electrifying new experience fusing world-class ice skating with breathtaking acrobatics and astonishing projections. Follow AXEL and his dynamic group of friends in an exhilarating adventure that reminds us that our dreams are always within reach. Tickets are on sale now. amaliearena.com
Spooky Empire | Oct. 31- Nov. 3, various times
For the first time in their 17 years in operation, Spooky Empire is taking their thrills and chills to the Tampa Convention Center. From cosplay to costume contests, exhibitors, vendors and even trick-or-treating, Spooky Empire is the best place to be this Halloween. For more details on dates, pricing and the full list of celebrity guests in attendance visit spookyempire.com.
For a Screamin’ (and Scream-ish) Good Time!
Scream-A-Geddon | Oct. 3. – Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
It’s officially that time of year! Scream-A-Geddon is returning to Dade City to terrify guests once again with haunted house attractions and creepy crawlies wandering the grounds to give you your first frights of the season. New this year, make sure to visit Bonzo’s Beer Garden! screamageddon.com
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party | Select Nights through Nov. 1, various times
Channel your inner child at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for a night of fun. Check out the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Boo-to-You Halloween Parade and NEW this year, Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular! Guests are encouraged to arrive in costume. disneyworld.com
Halloween Horror Nights | Select Nights through Nov. 2, various times
Dare yourself to experience Halloween at its most frightening at this Universal Studios Orlando event. This year’s haunted houses include “Stranger Things,” “Ghostbusters,” “John Peele’s Us” and more! Flex tickets are available so visitors can decide what night is best for them. halloweenhorrornights.com
Howl-O-Scream: 20 Years of Fear | Select Nights through Nov. 2, various times
Read our feature article —> Howl-O-Scream is Back!
Experience terrors around every corner at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Meet up with hundreds of roaming creatures, explore new haunted houses and see live, interactive entertainment. Don’t miss the NEW First Fear scare zone bringing 20 years of history back to life! buschgardenstampabay.com
Pirate Water Taxi Haunted River Tours | Every Friday-Sunday in October, various times
Hop aboard the Pirate Water Taxi for a frighteningly good time on the water. Join us select nights in October for an entertaining evening with tales of ghosts along the Hillsborough River. Each tour will be led by a dead-lightful docent who will tell spooky stories of Tampa’s past. piratewatertaxi.com
Creatures of the Night | Fridays and Saturdays Oct. 4-26, 4-10 p.m.
Return to ZooTampa for a Halloween event even spookier than last year. Ghouls and goblins of all ages can watch the zoo transform into an eerie and immersive Halloween adventure for the whole family. Creatures emerge at dusk with startling surprises but without the horror or gore. Guests are encouraged to arrive dressed up in their best family-friendly costumes! NEW this year is the Twisted Tale Trail and Rising Waters! zootampa.org
Tall Tales of Old Florida | Oct. 12, Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
Come out and join Tall Tales of Old Florida as they tell some mysterious stories of the past! You will encounter six tellers who will share some spooky Florida stories that will have you on the edge of your seat wanting more! There will be a magic lantern show and old tales of ghouls and pirates you don’t want to miss it! Come early and enjoy harvest games and decor while you wait for your tour to begin. crackercountry.org
Pumpkin’ Pickin’, Corn Mazes and Hay Rides Galore!
Harvest Holler Corn Maze | Weekends through Nov. 10, various times
Come out for a fun fall tradition and stroll the fields of this year’s corn maze at Harvest Holler Farm, a working family farm in Polk City. Check out the pumpkin patch, go on a hayride or play a round of mini-golf! harvestholler.com
The Pickin’ Patch in Dunnellon | Weekends through Oct. 27, various times
Pack a lunch and enjoy a fun day trip to the Pickin’ Patch, located in Dunnellon, Florida, where you can pick your very own white pumpkin from the vine, as well as fall sunflowers and gourds. On Saturdays and Sundays, they host live bluegrass music while you enjoy a corn maze, hay ride and more! $5 per person. dunnellonpumpkinpatch.com
HarvestMoon Farm in Masaryktown | Weekends Oct. 5 – Nov. 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
HarvestMoon Farm offers five acres of nonstop fun. Come out and get lost in their 5-acre corn maze and see if you get through all the twists and turns to find your way out. Other activities include the pumpkin patch, petting farm and more. Tickets are $11.95 plus tax. harvestmoonfl.com
Sweetfield Farms Fall Corn Maze | Select days through Nov. 3, various times
Come out for corn maze fun at Sweetfield Farms in Masaryktown, but stay for the Pitcher Pump Duck Race, hay ride and more. Stick around to meet up with special visiting vendors including Heyman Kettle Corn, Ex-Squeeze-Me Lemonade, Fresh Pressed Apple Cider and more. sweetfieldsfarm.com
8th Annual Fox Squirrel Corn Maze | Weekends, Oct. 5-27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take part in exciting, family-friendly fall games and activities at Fox Squirrel Corn Maze in Plant City. Tackle the corn maze, check out fun duck races, challenge friends to a game of cornhole or badminton, and shop for a pumpkin in the patch. Free parking. Maze cost is $11 plus tax. futchentertainment.com
Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival | Oct. 10-13, various times
Experience this Dunedin tradition on the grounds of Our Lady of Lourdes. There’s tasty fair food, craft beer, sports tent, rides, games and music. Admission and parking are free with free trolley shuttle service available. Proceeds benefit Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. ollfallfestival.com
28th Annual Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival | Weekends Oct. 12-27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Come out to Hunsader Farms in Bradenton for this yearly fall celebration. Festival will include live entertainment as well as fall eats and a variety of fun fall activities for all ages. $10 Admission, $5 parking. hunsaderfarms.com
Sacred Heart Fall Festival | Oct. 16-20, various times
Get ready for Sacred Heart Church’s annual fall celebration and fundraiser held at 4661 82nd Ave. N. in Pinellas Park. The event includes games, Midway rides, food, music, and prizes. Free admission and parking; rides ticket sheets start at $12 when purchased online in advance, can be purchased on site as well. sacredheartfestival.com
Halloween Howl | Oct. 26, 4-9 p.m.
Join Main Street Zephyrhills, Inc. as they host their annual Halloween Howl, which is 5 hours of fun…and FRIGHT, if you choose to enter their haunted house! Free to attend with trick-or-treating, a haunted house, hay ride (gets scary after dark), costume parade, bounce house, games, free entertainment and more! mainstreetzephyrhills.org
Dunedin Halloween Happenings | Oct. 26, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Don’t miss this spooktacular annual event at Highlander Park including a haunted hayride, carnival games, crafts, bounce houses, costume contests for all ages, DJ music jams, as well as Boo in the Zoo and Little Goblins Hayride for little ones. For more information, call 727-812-4530. dunedingov.com/events