Louisville October Events: Festivals, Haunts & More : GoToLouisville.com Official Travel Source

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17 Things to do in Louisville this October

Plenty of pumpkins and a whole lot of Hot Browns can be found when visiting Louisville this October and Halloween season.

Fresh off of Bourbon Heritage Month, Louisville will still be buzzing come October. Old Louisville especially comes alive during this month with some of the neighborhood's most popular events. South Louisville will play home to thousands of pumpkins and hand-carved jack o' lanterns with both Kentucky Kingdom and Iroquois Park staying lit well into the night to celebrate the Halloween season.

PNC Broadway presents: WICKED | Thru October 8

Broadway sensation WICKED will be coming to the Kentucky Center with two dozen performances taking place in downtown Louisville this Fall. With a thrilling score that includes the hits “Defying Gravity,” “Popular” and “For Good,” WICKED has been hailed by The New York Times as “the defining musical of the decade.”

Homearama | Sept. 29 & 30, Oct. 1, 6-8, and 13-15

This annual showcase of custom-built homes organized by the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (BIA), is returning to the Louisville area and will feature 9 homes throughout Jefferson, Spencer, and Oldham Counties. The event showcases the latest building trends, technology, and interior design of modern homes, giving visitors ideas and inspiration for their current homes as well as chances to purchase furniture or services showcased.

Twilight Tour - Hayride and Lantern Walk | Wednesdays - Saturdays thru Oct. 21

Head to Hermitage Farm and climb aboard a tractor-pulled Hay wagon and grab a cup of boozy Bourbon Hot Cider (non-alcoholic available) for a relaxing tour of the farm's pastures, learning about the property's history intertwined with Kentucky, horse racing, and local folktales. Once the sun sets, visit the Barn6 Speakeasy to meet with resident retired racehorses Dubious Miss and Future Prospect. Afterward, follow your guide with a lantern in hand to experience the gardens and learn about the farm's conservation efforts and farm-to-table dining experience.

Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom | Weekends in October

Back for its second year, discover more than 1,000 illuminated pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. By day, fly through the crisp fall air on world-class rides, savor tasty autumn treats and discover new seasonal fun around every corner. Wait until night falls to see expertly carved towering pumpkin sculptures that light up the night with special effects and pops of color, in addition to family-friendly entertainment, mazes, special fall photo opportunities, trick-or-treating, and limited-time seasonal bites.

Boo at the Zoo | Sept. 30- Oct. 29, Thursdays - Sundays

A tradition for over 40 years, Boo at the Zoo transforms the Louisville Zoo into a living storybook, complete with some of your favorite characters brought to life, fun music, and a safe place for trick-or-treating for kids 11 and under. Celebrate with an all-inclusive party experience designed to give all the kooky you love with less of the spooky. A Spooktacular Carousel, "not-so-itsy-bitsy" Spider House, and a Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow experience are all included with admission.

Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular | October 3-31

Fall favorite Jack O'Lantern Spectacular is back at Louisville Iroquois Park for another season of Halloween fun. Visitors can stroll along a 1/3-mile path to enjoy over 5,000 carved pumpkins illuminated every evening as a part of the nightly art show. This family-friendly Fall celebration is the perfect ending to a day of exploration and has become one of Louisville’s most popular October traditions. This year's theme is Wanderlust: The World Is Your Pumpkin.

Venardos Circus | October 5-15

Venardos' classic red-and-white striped circus tent will return to Waterfront Park this October with over a dozen shows to choose from. Founded by former Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Kevin Venardos, this new-age circus brings a modern-day twist to the classic tradition. Adults and children alike will enjoy trapeze artists, aerial stunts, dance numbers, jugglers, and more.

St. James Court Art Show | October 6-8 | FREE

Celebrating its 67th anniversary in 2023, the St. James Court Art Show is a juried fine art, and contemporary crafts show that brings over 600 artists to the city every first full weekend in October. The event spans 4 square blocks and is set in the Old Louisville neighborhood, home to the country’s most extensive collection of Victorian-era homes.

Garvin Gates Blues Festival | October 13 & 14 | FREE

Set in Old Louisville, Louisville's largest free street music festival makes a triumphant two-day return in 2023. This annual tradition is celebrating its 28th year of arts and blues music, featuring local and regional performers, including Ray Fuller & The Bluesrockers, Walnut Street Rhythm &Blue Band, and the Hole Shot Blues Band. In addition to continuous live entertainment, the festival will feature an array of food and drink vendors. The festival takes place on Oak Street between 4th & 6th. You can find the full musical lineup and schedule on their website.

Urban Bourbon Half Marathon | October 14

Presented by Jim Beam® and routed through Louisville's historic Whiskey Row and scenic Cherokee Park, this experiential event celebrates the area's 200+ years of distilling history. The half marathon features exclusive bourbon experiences and a post-race party that Runners’ World magazine heralded as one of the "Best Half Marathon After-Parties in the Country." You must be at least 21 or older to participate in the event.

Louisville's Great Chili Cook Off | Oct. 14 & 15

Taking place on the 800 block of East Market Street in the NuLu neighborhood this annual event brings together chili enthusiasts, food lovers, and families from across the city. Happening from noon to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, the event will feature delicious chili tastings, live music, family-friendly activities, and friendly competition among participating teams.

Victorian Ghost Walk | October 20-22

Visit one of "America's most haunted neighborhoods" during this annual ghost tour in Old Louisville. Created by Louisville local and New York Times-reviewed author David Domine, this limited-time event will bring spirits to life with actors portraying the figures that allegedly roam some of the neighborhood's most haunted buildings. If you can't make it this weekend, Louisville Historic Tours offers nightly ghost tours through the Fall, though if you spot a ghost during one of those, it may be the real thing.

Louisville Beer Week | October 20-27

Though referred to as Bourbon City, Louisville's Beer scene holds its own with dozens of top-tier breweries located around the city. Louisville Beer Week will kick off with the return of Louisville Beer Fest at the German-American Club and fill the following week with brewery collabs, interactive panel discussions, and more. This year's theme is Around The World in 8 Days with participating breweries partnering with each other as well as some of Louisville's international restaurants to create some genuinely unique tasting experiences.

Louisville Taco Festival | October 21 & 22

Returning to Fourth Street LIVE! for its fifth year, the Louisville Taco Festival features two days of tacos, nachos, margs, and access to over twenty taco and food vendors. A general admission ticket ($10) gets you entry into the festival and a complimentary drink. Upgrade to VIP ($50) for early admission, four drink vouchers, five taco vouchers, and a swag bag. If you're looking to try your tacos a la carte, the festival works on a voucher system with each taco voucher costing $4 and sold in sheets of 5 for $20. Children 10 and under are free and do not need a ticket.

Hot Brown Showdown | October 22

Celebrating the official sandwich of the state of Kentucky, this popular edible event returns to Louisville's Waterfront Park to highlight local professional and amateur chefs and their spin on the iconic dish. The event will kick off the annual Louisville Hot Brown Week, which takes place October 23-29 and offers $9 Hot Browns or Hot Brown-inspired dishes at select restaurants around the city. Use the Hot Brown Week app to be in the running for a free weekend stay at the iconic Brown Hotel.

Halloween Parade & Festival | October 26-29

One of the region's largest Halloween celebrations will take place in Butchertown this Fall with over a dozen events to attend to get you in the Halloween spirit. Mostly taking place at Lynn Family Stadium, events include musical performances by Molly's Midnight Villains, The Dead Speak, and the Blue Brothers, among others, as well as a two-night Balloon Glow, costume contests, car show, trick-or-treating, and of course, the annual Halloween Parade, which will kick off at Louisville Slugger Field on Oct. 28.

Shania Twain: Queen of Me Tour | October 28

Headlining her first tour in nearly five years, following a highly successful residency run in Las Vegas, five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning legend and the best-selling female artist in country music history Shania Twain, will be heading to the KFC Yum! Center in Downtown Louisville this Fall.

For more ideas on what to do in Louisville this Fall, click here. Halloween-related, spooktacular happenings can be found here.

To find all events happening in and around the city be sure to check out our event calendar and subscribe to our email newsletters for the latest updates on news and events.

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