The Weekend Top 10 is brought to you by QS World Grad School Tour, returning to Austin on Monday, October 19 from 4:30–9:00 p.m. This event brings together the world’s top grad schools at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown and is FREE for Free Fun in Austin readers who pre-register online and then mention Free Fun in Austin at the door!
Weekend Top 10 FREE Events
- Williamson County Symphony Orchestra Concerts – Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. Two nights of FREE and family-friendly concerts! Listen to the music of America and American composers and you can hear the movement of Americans across this great land. America has produced great styles of music which have influenced music across the globe. The Orchestra will play a sample of what makes American music great. The Friday night performance is at Anderson Mill Baptist Church, 10633 Lake Creek Pkwy, Austin. The Saturday night performance is at Sweet Home Baptist Church, 3200 Sunrise Rd, Round Rock.
- Classical Mandolin Society of America Concerts – Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. The Classical Mandolin Society of America will be holding its annual convention in Austin this weekend. FREE concerts will be held at the Holiday Inn Midtown Ballroom on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, featuring local to international artists. Friday is Classical Mandolin and Guitar Night, featuring classical guitar duo René Izuierdo and Elina Chekan and mandolin and classical guitar duo Carlo Aonzo and René Izuierdo. Saturday is Gala Night, featuring mandolin and classical guitar duo Carlo Aonzo and René Izuierdo and the CMSA 2015 En Masse Orchestra of 100+ members premiering a new work by Composer-In-Residence Joel Hobbs. Holiday Inn Midtown Ballroom, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin.
- Chisholm Trail Days (Georgetown) – Saturday, October 17 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Chisholm Trail Days is a FREE public event day with live music, chuck wagons, living history demonstrations, hands-on activities, and live Longhorn Cattle Drive! For more info, check out our post here. San Gabriel Park, 445 E Morrow St, Georgetown.
- St. Market Day Fall Festival – Saturday, October 17 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. St. Market Day is a fun festival for the whole family. There will be great authentic BBQ, games for the family, live music, a bounce house, and a pumpkin patch. Some of the games and events include life-size Angry Birds, stuff-a-scarecrow, life-size Jenga, paint a pumpkin, photo booth, and much more. Admission is FREE! St. Mark United Methodist Church, 601 W Braker Ln, Austin.
- Texas Book Festival – Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 18 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 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! Texas State Capitol Grounds, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin.
- Red Barn Garden Center Pumpkinfest – Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This FREE event will feature a moon bounce and a petting zoo. Red Barn Garden Center, 12881 Pond Springs Rd, Austin.
- 8th Annual Pfall Chili Pfest (Pflugerville) – Saturday, October 17 from 12-5 p.m. The sweet and spicy aroma of chili cooking lingers over the streets of downtown as 30-40 teams compete for the title of “Best Chili.” In addition to the Chili Tasting Booths providing samples (for a fee), this family-friendly event features live music, Heat Wave Car Show, Jalapeno Eating Contest and a Shoppers Village with dozens of vendors. The FREE Children’s Area has a petting zoo, choo choo train ride, face painter and balloon artist (this area is less crowded after 3 p.m.). The Man Cave at Hanovers Draught Haus features college football on TV, indoors and outside at the back deck. A FREE shuttle bus runs from Pflugerville High School, 1301 S. Pecan St., starting at 12 p.m. The drop-off point is at 4th Street. The event is staged on Main Street, between Railroad Avenue and 4th Street, Pflugerville.
- Courtyard Artworks and Costume Exchange – Saturday, October 17 from 2-5 p.m. FREE family art activities and Halloween fun. Costume exchange, painting, Tarot card reading, and more! Costumes, pets, and kids encouraged. Courtyard Artworks, 81 San Marcos St., Austin.
- Ashley’s Playhouse Fall Fun Festival – Sunday, October 18 from 1-4 p.m. Enjoy a bounce house, games, playhouse tours, train rides and more. BYOP: Bring your own pumpkins for decorating with APH’s supplies. Or, be one of the first 200 kids in line to receive a FREE mini pumpkin from APH. Invite your friends, classmates and neighbors to this fun, FREE event. Ashley’s Playhouse, 13343 N Hwy 183, Suite 200, Austin.
- Community Art Sunday – Sunday, October 18 from 2-5 p.m. This FREE, family-friendly event will be themed “Celebrate Chestnut,” in honor of the history of the surrounding neighborhood. There will be live music, AcroYoga, silk screening, drum circles, face painting, time capsule labs, storytelling, and an unveiling of the massive mural created by Color Squad! As always, FREE food, drinks, beer and cake will be provided by H-E-B,Chameleon Cold-Brew, and KIND Snacks. Center for Creative Action, 2921 E 17th St, Bldg B, Austin.
Bonus Nearly Free Fun
- St. Elias Mediterranean Festival – Friday, October 16 from 6-11 p.m. and Saturday, October 17 from 12–11 p.m. Enjoy one of Austin’s most beloved, delicious, and fun-filled festivals—the St. Elias Mediterranean Festival. FREE admission on Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m! Any other time, admission is a $5 donation. 408 East 11th Street, Austin.
- Oktoberfest – Saturday, October 17 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Oktoberfest is an annual German-Texan event that occurs on the 3rd Saturday of October. German food, beer, music, magic shows, face painting, balloons, and games. Tickets $10 (discounted tickets online); kids 12 and under are FREE. German Free School of Austin, 507 E 10th St, Austin.
- Aki Matsuri – Japanese Fall Festival – Saturday, October 17 from 12-4 p.m. Taiko drums, Japanese traditional and festive dance, traditional musical instruments, the beauty of the Chanoyu ceremony, Japanese martial arts, and Okinawan traditional dance — all this will bring the esthetic gifts of Japanese culture to Austin and Central Texas during the 2015 Aki Matsuri, Japan Fall Festival. Visitors will enjoy a range of Japanese food and sweets, drink sampler, arts and Japanese goods, Yukata booth, calligraphy, origami hands-on, Japanese games and entertainment. In addition, there will be a Raffle and Silent Auction for items such as restaurants massage/spa gift certificates, Japanese art collections, Anime and Festive goods, games, film screening passes, Kimono, Obi, Kimono accessories, door prize, and more! FREE for JASGA members and kids under 18; $5 for non-members. O. Henry Middle School, 2610 West 10th Street, Austin.
- NXNW Oktoberfest – Saturday, October 17 from 12-11 p.m. and Sunday, October 18 from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Oktoberfest at North by Northwest is an Austin tradition that is 13 years old! Every year they celebrate Oktoberfest with special German brews, classic German food, German music and plenty of fun for the whole family. Admission is only $2 and benefits Oncology Massage Alliance, Central TX Dachsund Rescue, 1400 Miles, and Pints for Prostate. North By Northwest, 10010 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin.
- Leander Fall Festival (Leander) – Saturday, October 17 from 5:30-10 p.m. Come join Leander Fire Department at the Annual Fall Fun Festival. LFD has carnival style games, vendors, food, haunted house, silent auction and more at this family event. FREE to enter festival. Tickets for games start at just 50¢ and touring the Tower of Terror is only $5! Leander Fire Department, 101 Sonny Dr, Leander.