Pumpkins and gourds are showing up in grocery stores, which means autumn is right around the corner. Start daydreaming about enjoying outdoor family fun in cooler temps with this list of free fall festivals in Austin, brought to you by Fare.
A special thanks to Fare for presenting this list of free fall festivals in Austin. If you need a ride to a local event, Fare can get you there! Just download the free Fare app and start planning your next adventure. Request a car immediately, or schedule rides up to seven days in advance. Fare’s mission is to become the safest, most advanced and effective transportation network company in the country.
Want more info before you decide? I tried Fare today for an impromptu outing and found it easy (and fun!) to use. After requesting a ride in the app, my driver arrived with his pristine vehicle in less than ten minutes. I asked him endless questions about Fare, and learned a lot about ride sharing in the greater Austin area. I’ve shared my experience at the end of this post, along with some tips on using Fare to get around town. But first, the festivals!
Free Fall Festivals in Austin
Mother Earth Day Festival at the Springs
September 16 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
A FREE festival designed for environmental awareness and fun, especially relating to Barton Springs and Barton Creek. Special emphasis on water conservation. Every activity is made to ensure that kids from 4-13 years of age have a great time and an interactive learning experience.
St. Elias Mediterranean Festival
September 23 & 24 | 408 East 11th Street, Austin
Enjoy one of Austin’s most beloved, delicious, and fun-filled festivals—the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival. Friday from 6-11 p.m. and Saturday from noon-11 p.m. Enjoy FREE admission on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m!
Pecan Street Festival
September 24 & 25 | 6th Street between Brazos & IH35, Austin
The Pecan Street Festival is a FREE two-day arts festival held twice yearly in downtown Austin’s Sixth Street Historic District. Taking place the first weekend in May and the last weekend in September, the juried festival attracts hundreds of local and national artisans offering original handcrafted creations in a variety of mediums, from metal, wood, fiber, clay, leather, glass and stone to repurposed materials of all kinds. Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Family Fun Fest and Diaper Drive
September 24 from 12-3 p.m. | Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive, Austin
Enjoy fun activities for preschool and elementary school kids at this FREE festival! There will be musicians, a bounce house, goody bags, and giveaways, plus photo opportunities with Princess Sofia, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Also, look for appearances by Austin Fire Department Firetruck, Spike, the Round Rock Express mascot, and Austin Reptile Show.
Gateway Community Church Fall Festival
September 24 from 4-7:30 p.m. | Gateway Community Church, 6800 West Gate Blvd., Ste. 120, Austin
Gateway Church’s’ Fall Fest is FREE and open to the public! There will be non-stop entertainment from the best in local music and theater, bouncy houses, a dunking booth, food, art, face painting, games for young and old, prizes, and demonstrations from karate experts, firemen and dancers. This Fall Fest is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face!
Fall Concert in the Park
September 25 from 7-8:30 p.m. | Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin
The Austin Symphonic Band presents its traditional fall concert in Zilker Park. Bring a picnic and spread your blanket under the pecan trees at the beautiful Hillside Theater. Then watch the stars come out as the band showcases music as big as the great outdoors. This event is FREE and open to the public.
September 30 from 5-10 p.m. & October 1 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Centennial Plaza, 301 West Bagdad, Round Rock
Chalk is the theme. Artists are free to create a picture on the concrete with chalk pastels. Music, children’s activities, art created by local artists, and wonderful food booths abound! FREE, including parking!
Texas American Indian Heritage Day
September 30 from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave., Austin
The Texas State Legislature has named the last Friday in September as American Indian Heritage Day, which recognizes the historic, cultural, and social contributions American Indian communities and leaders have made to the state. To celebrate this special day, the Bullock Museum will feature a range of activities with dancing and drumming performances and interactive experiences for school groups during the morning, and a FREE evening program that celebrates the traditional and contemporary arts of Texas’s American Indian groups.
Texas Teen Book Festival
October 1 | St. Edward’s University, 3001 S Congress Ave, Austin
The FREE annual one-day festival takes place on the campus of St. Edward’s University. More than 4,000 YA enthusiasts are expected to attend.
Red Barn’s Annual PumpkinFest
October 15 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Red Barn Garden Center, 12881 Pond Springs Rd, Austin
A special fall festival is planned for Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 10 a.m. PumpkinFest 2016 will be FREE and will feature a bounce house and petting zoo.
Fall Holidays Fair
October 15 at noon | Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd, Austin
Explore Fall and Winter festivals celebrated in Asia and Beyond! Learn about these celebrations through hands-on activities, demonstrations and cultural performances. FREE!
Pfall Chili Pfest
October 15 from 12-5 p.m. | 100 E Main Street, Pflugerville
Annual chili cook-off contest with as many as 40 teams entered, plus vendors, car show and children’s area, with live music on stage. FREE to attend, with packages of tasting cups and spoons for sale.
Shepherd of the Hills Church Fall Festival
October 16 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Shepherd of the Hills Christian Church, 6909 W Courtyard Dr, Austin
The annual Fall Festival at Shepherd of the Hills Christian Church is a long-time favorite event that will include games, sports, face painting, prizes, food and more! All ages are welcome! FREE!
Festival de las Artes Latinoamericanas
October 21 | Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St, Austin
The Latin American Arts Festival is a celebration of Hispanic heritage that brings a multicultural sample of Film, Theater, Literature, Music and Folklore, along with a variety of Latin American cuisine. The Festival is not only an invitation to become familiar with the most representative of the culture of each country, but is open forum for our local artists who give life and color to our city. FREE and open to the public.
St. Market Day Fall Festival
October 22 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | St. Mark United Methodist Church, 601 W Braker, Austin
The St. Market Day Fall Festival will be October 22 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. In addition to the Pumpkin Patch, there will be BBQ, games, live music, and a bounce house. Admission is FREE but activities may cost extra.
Hairy Man SpookyFest
October 22 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Cat Hollow Park, 8600 O’Connor Dr, Austin
The Hairy Man Festival is a family-oriented festival that includes an arts and crafts area with numerous artisans participating. There are special performances and live music by local groups and organizations on the Festival Stage. Judged by local community leaders, the festival closes out with the legendary ‘Hairiest Man’ contest. Admission to the festival is FREE with two non-perishable food items (or $2 per person) to go to local food banks.
Diwali Festival of Lights in Austin
October 22 from 5 p.m. – midnight | Radha Madhav Dham, 400 Barsana Rd, Austin
Austin: Sparkle up your Diwali with Joy at Radha Madhav Dham! Ignite the flame of spirituality in your heart! Join in the magnificent festival of Diwali, the festival of lights, at Radha Madhav Dham Austin! This is one of the most favorite Indian festivals of the year! FREE admission with free parking!
Last Straw Fest at UMLAUF
October 23 from 12-5 p.m. | UMLAUF, 605 Robert E. Lee Road, Austin
Last Straw Fest is a FREE event for all ages. Activities will include pumpkin carving with “Professor Pumpkin,” with an optional contest judged by We Are Austin hosts Taylor Ellison and Jordan Steele, face painting, storytelling, family yoga, balloon demos and other seasonal crafts and games, music from DJ Gatsby, and opportunities to meet and adopt cats, with fees waived, from the Austin Animal Center. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from several local food trucks.
October 28 from 3:30-6 p.m. | Oswaldo A.B. Cantu / Pan American Recreation Center, 2100 East 3rd St., Austin
Open to all ages and FREE! Enjoy fun, games, candy, prizes and more. Don’t miss the costume contest at 5 p.m.
October 28 from 6-8 p.m. | Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, 2803 Loyola Ln, Austin
Have a spooktacular time and enjoy carnival games, music, snacks, a cake walk, and more! FREE!
October 29 at 6:30 p.m. | Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Rd, Austin
Haunted House and Carnival begin at 6:30 p.m. Movie begins at sundown. FREE!
Viva la Vida Festival and Parade
October 29 from 12-8 p.m. | 419 Congress Ave, Austin
Viva la Vida is Austin’s largest and longest-running Day of the Dead festival featuring Latino artists and entertainment, an exhibition, and educational programs in the heart of downtown. Part of the proceeds will benefit the education programs of Mexic-Arte Museum, whose mission is to enrich the community through education programs and exhibitions focusing on traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Mexic-Arte Museum presents Día de los Muertos as Viva la Vida Fest to celebrate life by promoting health and environmental awareness through art and culture. Mexic-Arte Museum’s Viva la Vida Fest brings together Austin’s diverse population to pay homage to friends, family, and heroes. The FREE festival features an exhibition of contemporary art as well as community altars. Attendees can also enjoy wall murals, education programs, a grand procession with costumes and props, and a street celebration with traditional foods, hands-on art activities, artist demos, local retail booths, live music and performances.
The Great Pumpkin Festival
October 30 from 2-6 p.m. | Dell Diamond, 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock
Live music from Lost & Nameless, food trucks, Trunk R Treat, carnival games, inflatable bounce houses, silent auction and more! FREE admission and activities.
Texas Book Festival
November 5-6 | State Capitol and surrounding grounds, Austin
One of the largest and most prestigious literary festivals in the country, the annual Texas Book Festival features 250+ nationally and critically recognized authors, 20+ venues including the State Capitol, 80+ exhibitors, live music, local food trucks, family activities, and countless opportunities to meet authors and fellow book lovers. FREE!
East Austin Studio Tour
November 12 & 13, 19 & 20 | Various locations in Austin
EAST is an annual, FREE, self-guided art event occurring over two weekends in November, providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers–the local artists and artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin’s vibrant, dynamic culture. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists’ tools, techniques, and inspirations, and explore unique exhibition spaces and local businesses.
Need a Ride?
Let me start by saying, I am not a ride sharing expert. Before today, I had used a car service exactly one time, in another state. But, I was eager to give it a try in Texas, so I downloaded the free Fare app and set up an account in minutes. For a week, I looked at the app whenever I visited a new part of town, to see the locations of nearby Fare drivers in real time. There were always plenty of cars downtown, of course, but there were also Fare drivers out by the airport, in Pflugerville, and as far north as Round Rock and Cedar Park. I decided to book my first trip from Pflugerville, to see how fast a car would arrive in the suburbs. The app estimated my driver would get to my location in nine minutes and he arrived in eight. So we were off to a good start!
My driver, Albert, was so much fun. When I got in the car, he turned around and said, “Are you ready to rock and roll?” And we were off. As he drove, he told me all about Fare, and the best ways to use the app. He recommended scheduling all my trips in advance with one of my preferred drivers, which can be selected in the app. Users can schedule a trip anywhere from 30 minutes out to a week away, and cancel with no penalty if plans change. After scheduling a trip, the estimated fare is available in the app, as well as the assigned driver’s phone number, in case you have any questions.
One general question I had was about car seats. Albert said that if I needed to bring a car seat along, I could schedule an outing and return trip with him, and leave the seat in his car in between rides. I thought that was an interesting idea. It certainly sounds better than lugging a booster seat around a festival! Obviously, this is something you would have to arrange with each driver, but it gives added value to the idea of having a preferred driver that you use on a regular basis.
When I asked Albert what he liked about Fare, as opposed to other rideshare services, he said that the technology is excellent and he appreciated that riders can tip in the app. He loves the added incentive to be the very best driver he can be. (In my Fare app, at the end of the ride, I received a message that said, “Gratuities are appreciated but not required” and listed amounts from $1 to $10 that I could select. I was also asked if I would ride with Albert again, and if I would like to add him to my Preferred Driver List. I answered “yes” to both.)
After learning that I was planning to write about Fare, Albert asked what I would say about my experience. I told him I would say that Albert–whose Fare name is Albert26–was a fantastic driver. He joked, “No. You will say that for the first five minutes, Albert misbehaved. But then he learned whom he had in his car and he started being on his best behavior.” Ha! Not true. He was a perfect gentleman (and entertainer) the entire trip.
Why Choose Fare?
- Fingerprint background checks standard (which means they can operate within Austin city limits).
- Ride safe. You choose who you ride with by building a list of preferred drivers.
- You can schedule pickups 30 minutes to seven days in advance, and see your estimated fare and drive time.
- You can earn free rides by referring friends. The more you share the better you fare.
This post was sponsored by Fare. We will not earn ride credits for referring you. All opinions are our own.