Frankly speaking, the entire month of October is essentially a highlight reel of events, with many signature annual festivals making their return, Halloween festivities lurking around every corner and cultural and culinary celebrations galore. We’re barely even scratching the surface of what’s on the docket this month, so enjoy every minute of these fun-filled weeks ahead.

Sweeney Todd at Trustus Theatre | September 29 – October 28

Kicking off their 39th season, catch the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in all his gory – oops, we meant glory – on stage at Trustus this month. This twisted, tragic tale is just the thing to get you into the spooky spirit. 

ColaJazz Fest at South Carolina State Museum and Main Street | September 30 – October 1

Just try to stop your toes from tapping or your fingers from snapping along with the beats played by renowned jazz musicians during this two-day event. Saturday night brings you a gala at the South Carolina State Museum and Sunday swings over to Main Street for six hours of live music, food trucks and good times. 

JerryFest 2023 at Five Points FountainOctober 1

Expanding upon the event’s tradition of focusing solely on the music of Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead, this year’s festival will feature two stages and also include performances of hits from other bands within the jam-band wheelhouse. The live music will go all day and if event attendees want to keep the groovy vibes going, there’s an afterparty at Publico. 

Restaurant Week at varying locations | October 5 – 15 

Now’s your chance to dabble around Columbia’s dining scene. Enjoy ten days of combos, deals and special tasting menus that encourage you to try new spots, revisit classic favorites and delight in the top-notch culinary talent found all throughout the region.

Rendez-Vous Opening Party at Columbia Museum of ArtOctober 6

Get gussied up and make the Columbia Museum of Art your runway as you snag an exclusive sneak peek at Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous before it opens up to the public on October 7. Celebrate the departed icon’s impact on the fashion industry as shown through the lens of his longtime photographer friend, all while donning your own wearable art. Tickets include timed entry into the exhibit, heavy hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails and more. 

The Great American Whiskey Fair at 701 WhaleyOctober 6

Wet your whistle with more than 300 whiskeys, bourbons and ryes representing over 100 distilleries and bottlers from all over the globe at the 11th annual Great American Whiskey Fair. Whether you’re a bonafide beginner or consider yourself a connoisseur, this event welcomes all who wish to immerse and educate themselves in the wide world of whiskey.

SERCO Congaree SwampFest 2023 at Historic Harriet Barber House & GroundsOctober 6 – 7 

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, this two-day festival in the Lower Richland area kicks things off with one heck of a party by way of the Friday night BBQ Blues & Soul Concert before moving into a family fun day on Saturday. Shuttles will be on hand to taxi attendees back and forth between Congaree National Park, where guided tours and wildlife art displays will showcase the natural beauty of the region, and the Historic Harriet Barber House, where there will be live entertainment, vendors, and a children’s carnival, among other activities. 

Cayce Fall Fest at Granby Gardens Park | October 7

If you feel as though the mere changing of the seasons is cause enough for celebration, then you’re in good company, because so do we and so do the people of Cayce. Enjoy the cooler fall temps alongside live music, face painters, a petting zoo, local food and drink options and more. There’ll even be a dance floor!

Rosewood Art & Music Festival at 901 S Holly Street | October 7

To us, a Saturday well spent includes art, live music, great food and time outside in one of Columbia’s iconic neighborhoods. And with free admission, that just means a few more dollars in your pocket to put towards supporting a local artist and taking something beautiful back home with you. Does it get any better than that?

Big Red Barn Retreat Fall Jam at the Ballpark at Segra ParkOctober 7

Straight from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to the home field of the Columbia Fireflies comes multi-platinum Country music singer and songwriter Chris Janson. Grab your clear bag and cowboy boots, then kick back for a crisp fall night enjoying a special concert under the stadium lights. 

South Carolina State Fair at South Carolina State Fairgrounds | 11 – 22 

Meet us at the rocket for twelve days of rides, games, live music, circus performances, exhibits (like an accredited Princess Diana Exhibition!) and fair food favorites like funnel cakes (peep the new pumpkin spice flavor), corn dogs and Fiske fries mixing in with new offerings this year like a dill pickle pizza, deep fried s’mores on a stick, a donut dog and more. Bonus – the only Gamecocks home football game this month coincides with the fair, so up your tailgate experience with a jaunt through the fairgrounds before watching them take on the Florida Gators. 

19th Annual Bidding & BBQ at Hampton-Preston Mansion & GardensOctober 19

Get swept up in the exhilarating rush of a silent auction amidst the enchanting grounds of one of Columbia’s historic venues. Bid on unique destination experiences or gift cards to local establishments while indulging in, you may have guessed it, dishes piled high with barbecue offerings, all in support of Historic Columbia’s organizational efforts.

Famously Hot South Carolina Pride Festival at Main StreetOctober 20 – 21 

Now in its 34th year, the largest pride festival in the state covers a lot of ground over the course of two days. The Friday night parade makes its way down Main Street, culminating in the free Get Lit Concert that never fails to pack the streets. Saturday is the main festival day full of vendors, performances, special storytimes for the kids, free hugs and more. Come show your support in a sea of rainbows, acceptance, allyship and, of course, pride.

EarleJam 2023 at Earlewood ParkOctober 22

So much more than a music festival, EarleJam is a full-blown community gathering that really gives you a sense of the neighborhood with local businesses from the area onsite providing entertainment like cornhole and a Disc Golf Exhibition, tasty eats from local food trucks and beverage options from Curiosity Coffee Bar in addition to the full lineup of live musical performances.

Craftsmen’s Classics Holiday Market at South Carolina State FairgroundsOctober 27 – 29 

If Halloween isn’t really your thing, then why not go ahead and set your sights on those joyous winter holidays that’ll be here before you know it instead? Soak up all the jolly vibes as you shop early for gifts or find some fun décor items to get your home in holiday mode. This massive annual show just might take the full three days it encompasses to discover all the wonderful handmade items that lie in store.


After getting a solid start in September, the bulk of the Oktoberfest celebrations are still to come this month, with several of them even spanning multiple days. Prepare to prost and check out our comprehensive roundup here


From Boo at the Zoo and Dracula – Ballet with a Bite to Deceased Farm and Harry Potter-focused events like SC Philharmonic’s annual Halloween at Hogwarts concert at Koger Center for the Arts (plus a frightful amount of parties, bashes and bar crawls to boot), keep an eye out for our upcoming blog featuring all this and more to keep the Halloween fun going all month long. 

Live Music Mentions

Some additional concert events this month include Fallapalooza ’23 at Icehouse Amphitheater, Jonas Brothers and The Capital City Blues Festival at Colonial Life Arena and Foreigner at Township Auditorium. Get your tickets now if you haven’t already!