October is one of the most exciting times of the year in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
With the arrival of fall colors and the calendar full of fun events, it’s the perfect time to plan a fall getaway to the mountains.
In addition to our list below of special events to check out during the month of October, we also encourage you to take a look at our Guide to 2023 Fall Festivals & Special Events in Virginia's Blue Ridge >
As you make your plans for this month, here is a preview of 25 special events happening this October in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
NOTE: All info is subject to change. Please check event websites and social media pages for the most updated information.
1. Henrietta Lacks Day & Statue Unveiling | October 4
Lacks Plaza - Downtown Roanoke
October 4 is Henrietta Lacks Day and the City of Roanoke will be celebrating with the unveiling of a new sculpture that commemorates the ongoing and long unrecognized contributions of Roanoke native Henrietta Lacks. She unknowingly provided the world with the HeLa cell, which has been used for decades to fuel life-saving and life-changing research in the medical and scientific fields.
The new sculpture will be located at Lacks Plaza in Downtown Roanoke and is featured in the new Hidden in Plain Site: Roanoke virtual tour experience.
2. Old Dominion | October 5
Old Dominion returns to Virginia's Blue Ridge for a special concert at the Berglund Center, featuring special guests Tyler Hubbard and Kylie Morgan. The group has local ties to the region, with lead singer Matthew Ramsey and drummer Whit Sellers attending high school in Botetourt County.
3. Blue Ridge Nightmares | Through October 29
Roanoke Industrial Center
Back for its 3rd year, Blue Ridge Nightmares is an exciting haunted attraction experience, presented by Center in the Square.
It’s a haunted attraction located in a massive warehouse space at the Roanoke Industrial Center, where they’ll be creating a city with a unique story and characters who are exciting, scary, and thrilling, while also incorporating lots of unique elements of local history.
The experience has been planned and created by Anthony Giordano, a Hollywood designer who has worked on multiple Academy Award nominated projects and specializes in makeup, special effects, and costuming.
4. Mountain Magic in Fall Bluegrass, Antiques & Crafts Festival | October 7
Town of Buchanan
The Mountain Magic in Fall Bluegrass, Antiques, & Crafts Festival is regarded as one of Botetourt County’s best annual events, and it’ll be celebrating its 28th anniversary this year.
Located in the Buchanan Town Park and near Buchanan’s charming Main Street, there are over 100 vendors showcasing an amazing assortment of arts, crafts, antiques, and food.
Guests are also encouraged to bring their own chairs and set up in the park to enjoy a full day of live bluegrass music.
5. Vinton Fall Festival | October 7
Town of Vinton
Get a head start on your holiday shopping by browsing from over 80 different vendors who will be participating in the 2023 Vinton Fall Festival.
The festival will also feature an afternoon of live music, a pet costume contest, great local food, and more.
6. 45th Annual Boones Mill Apple Festival | October 7
Town of Boones Mill
The 45th annual Boones Mill Apple Festival is a signature annual celebration for the historic Town of Boones Mill in Franklin County. Come enjoy a great day that will include local food vendors, a tractor pull, arts & crafts, and live entertainment.
7. Jeter Farm Fall Festival & Country Store | Through October 30
A visit to the Jeter Farm Fall Festival & Country Store in Botetourt County is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of fall in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Open through October 30, the farm is open every Saturday & Sunday and the festival includes a corn maze, hay rides, pumpkin patch, kettle corn, and more.
8. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo | October 8
Hosted by Muddy Squirrel, the VBR Gran Fondo is part of the Gran Fondo National Series, meaning participants in the Mountain Ride will be eligible to receive points used to calculate the national series winner in each age group.
The VBR Gran Fondo features three different routes - the Valley Ride (33 miles), River Ride (43 miles), and Mountain Ride (75 miles).
Each route will showcase the scenic beauty and charming small towns of Botetourt County and it's a great opportunity to experience the fun of cycling in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
9. Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour | October 11
Your kids will love getting to dance, sing, and learn with YouTube star Blippi and his friend Meekah as they make their way to the Berglund Center in Virginia's Blue Ridge as part of The Wonderful World Tour. Get ready for monster trucks, excavators, and garbage trucks galore!
10. Anthem GO Outside Festival | October 13-15
Go Fest is one of the best weekends of the year in the Roanoke Region in Virginia's Blue Ridge!
In what has become one of the signature annual events for the region, the GO Outside Festival is an incredible 3-day celebration of our outdoor culture and community, highlighted by an amazing collection of vendors, stunt shows, outdoor activities & workshops, and more.
With the festival now taking place in Downtown Roanoke, the activities will span from the City Market Building to Elmwood Park, with streets in between blocked off to vehicles, creating an awesome, walkable environment where you can take part in GO Fest and also support our great local downtown businesses.
11. 5K on the ROA Runway | October 14
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport
The 2nd annual 5K on the Runway is a unique opportunity to enjoy a run or walk on one of the runways at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. This is family-friendly 5K run/walk that is open to all ages and abilities, but space is limited to the first 500 registrants. Advance registration is required.
12. LewisGale Salem Half Marathon, 8K and Kids Fun Run | October 14
Run through Virginia’s Championship City and experience the history, scenic beauty, charm, and wonderful hospitality of the City of Salem when you take part in the Salem Half Marathon, 8K and Kids Fun Run.
The race begins and ends at the Salem Farmers Market and the route includes many unique Salem neighborhoods, the Roanoke College campus, and a portion of the Roanoke River Greenway.
13. Craig County Fall Festival | October 14
The 40th annual Craig County Fall Festival takes place in Historic New Castle and features over 100 vendors, raffles, and exhibits.
There will be great food and live music, including jitterbug and flatfoot contests, as well as an antique car show.
14. Southern Culture on the Skids | October 14
Harvester Performance Center
For over 40 years, Southern Culture on the Skids has been delivering concerts and live performances that Rolling Stone described as "a hell raising rock and roll party." The group has performed in venues all over the world and is credited as being one of the original bands to create the Southern Rock genre.
15. Travis Tritt with Crawford & Power | October 19
Salem Civic Center
Award-winning artist Travis Tritt returns to the Salem Civic Center and will be joined by Franklin County's own Crawford & Power to open the show. Tritt is one of the most decorated performers in the history of country music, earning multiple Grammy Awards, CMA Awards, and an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry.
16. Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs - Opening Night & Banner Raising | October 20
Friday, October 20 will be an exciting night for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs professional ice hockey team. Not only will the Dawgs begin the 2023-24 season, the team will also raise the championship banner in celebration of winning the 2023 Southern Professional Hockey League President's Cup.
As part of the celebration, the Dawgs will be wearing a different commemorative jersey for each period.
17. Open Studios Botetourt - Art in the Country | October 21-22
Various Studios - Botetourt County
This year is the 13th Anniversary Tour of Open Studios Botetourt - a self-guided driving tour of art studios in Botetourt County, which will be a variety of studios, workshops, and residences throughout the county.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the inspiration behind their work while also enjoying a beautiful drive through the scenic roads and charming small towns of Botetourt County.
18. Opera Roanoke: Strauss Ecstasy | October 22
Opera Roanoke presents Strauss Ecstasy, featuring the melodic lines and opulent harmonies of Richard Strauss at his operatic best. The show will be headlined by soprano Leah Hawkins, known for her astonishing vocal beauty and dramatic power. Strauss Ecstasy will be sung in German with projected translations above the stage.
19. CIAA & ODAC Cross Country Conference Championships | October 25-29
Green Hill Park
Green Hill Park in Roanoke County will host back-to-back cross country championship events as the runners from the CIAA & ODAC compete for conference titles! The CIAA Cross Country Championships will take place October 25-26, followed by the ODAC Cross Country Championships on October 27-29.
20. Pumpkinfest | October 27
Salem Farmers Market
The 23rd annual Pumpkinfest celebration is held at the Salem Farmers Market in Downtown Salem and is a great annual celebration of the fall season. It's a fun environment for the entire family, featuring inflatables, sand art, carnival games, pumpkin carving, kids costume contests, and a special trick-or-treat zone.
Pumpkinfest Details >
21. Historic Fincastle Ghost Walk | October 27-28
Take a ghostly walk through the shadowy streets of Historic Fincastle in Botetourt County! These guided walking tours will feature spooky stories of local legends and lore as you’re transported back to a time when the nights were darker and the mountains were wilder and more dangerous.
22. 50th Blue Ridge Folklife Festival | October 28
The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is an amazing annual celebration of the region’s folklife history and heritage, bringing together musicians, moonshiners, craftspeople, farmers, and others who carry on the many unique traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains that have been passed down for generations.
The event is coordinated by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum and takes place at Ferrum College, and it’s a great family-friendly & handicap accessible festival.
23. Into the Darkness Night Trail Run | October 28
Take part in one of the region's most unique trail running events. The night trail run will lead you through 4 miles of Roanoke County's Explore Park, consisting of two miles of twisty singletrack and two miles of grass and gravel roads. The trails will be marked with reflective arrows, glow sticks, and the occasional surprise. NOTE: A light source is mandatory - and it is recommended that you use a headlamp or flashlight.
24. Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre | October 29
Harvester Performance Center
As the guitarist for Jethro Tull, Martin Barre helped the group become one of the most iconic rock bands in the world. Barre is known for his historic riffs, power chords, and soaring melodic solos. Join Barre in this special concert that will celebrate the musical journey of Jethro Tull throughout the decades, which will feature a visual celebration combined with the legendary music.
25. Paw Patrol Live | October 31 - November 1
Salem Civic Center
Come along with Chase, Marshall, Skye and all your other Paw Patrol favorites as the crew discovers a secret treasure in Adventure Bay. The heroic pups will need to save the day and find the treasure before Mayor Humdinger gets to it first.
Save the Dates for November
Smith Mountain Lake Chili Festival - November 4
Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival - November 11
CIAA Football Championship - November 11
Star City Half Marathon & 10K - November 18
Roanoke Drumstick Dash - November 23