Weekend Highlights October 19-21, 2018

Gainesville, Florida– Famed home of the University of Florida Gators is much more than just a southern college town. Community events abound especially during the cooler fall months and that holds especially true during the upcoming football bye-weekend. Here are just a few activities to help you plan your own adventure-packed weekend around Gainesville & Alachua County.

1) Tom Petty Birthday Celebrations- Gainesville, hometown to the legendary singer/songwriter Tom Petty, will honor its #1 son’s birthday weekend with 2 concert events taking place in downtown Gainesville.

Tom Petty Birthday Bash: Friday, Oct. 19th 5-11pm, Sat. 20th 2-11pm, This Free music festival celebrates the life and legacy of the late musician. “Heavy Petty” a Tom Petty tribute band will headline the weekend’s festivities at Depot Park. The event will feature a Main Stage and Special Access acoustic stage, beer and wine served by The BoxCar, Food and Craft Vendors. Parking is extremely limited so attendees are encouraged to carpool, bike, uber or walk!  First Magnitude Brewing Company, a noted local craft brewery and taproom, will join in the fun by hosting bands throughout the weekend at a second event stage. Depot Park: 200 S.E. Depot Ave.

Tom Petty Birthday Weekend at Heartwood Soundstage: Thursday, Oct. 18th 3pm to Sunday, Oct. 21st at Noon. Tickets $20-25, Line-up includes over 10 bands between an outdoor and indoor stage, national touring Tom Petty Tribute Band, “Free Fallin” will headline. Event weekend includes: Super Fan hospitality tent, beer and wine, Madhatter hookah lounge, and Tom Petty themed art gallery. Seating will be first come, first served, but all inside shows will be shown on a large LED screen outside. 619 South Main

2) 50th Annual Alachua County Fair: Friday, Oct. 19th-27th, The Alachua County Fair celebrates 50 years at the Alachua County Fairgrounds. Events include Youth Livestock and Youth Horse shows, Voice Contest, Pie eating contests, and Entertainment with amazing shows daily. 3100 NE 39th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32609. Get more fair information including map, entertainment lineup, and schedule of events at

3) Alligator Warrior Festival: Friday, Oct. 19th- Sunday, Oct. 21st  at O’Leno State Park in High Springs. This exciting annual non-profit festival honors the memory of Seminole Commander, Alligator Warrior, and the 1826 Battle of San Felasco Hammock. In addition to the battle reenactment, the event celebrates Native American and immigrant cultures with music and dancing, living-history camps, demonstrators of historic skills, traders, craftspeople, and food vendors.

4) Into the Springs Music Festival: October 20th – 21st, Enjoy the 2nd Annual Into the Springs Music Festival, at Deep Spring Farm, organized by the Florida Springs Institute. Tickets: $20-60. Enjoy a weekend full of live music, camping, organic farming workshops, yoga, and community in support of the Florida springs! 16419 W County Rd 1491, Alachua, FL 32615

5) 14th Annual Florida Bat Festival: Oct. 20th 10am-5pm, at the Lubee Bat Conservancy. Come meet the “Winged Crusaders: NO Capes Needed” and celebrate some real Superheroes of nature! The festival is a local event held every fall on the beautiful grounds of Lubee Bat Conservancy. This Fun, Family Friendly Festival features Games, Music, Environmental Discussions, Vendors, Crafts, Food Trucks, a Beer Garden, and of course the world’s largest bats with 6’ wingspans! Guests are encouraged to wear their favorite superhero costume. Ten gift certificates for children and adults will be handed out to the best superhero costumes. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to dress up, have fun at BAT FEST!  1309 NW 192nd Ave.

6) Gainesville Pride Festival and Parade: Oct. 20th 1-9pm. Don’t miss the annual Pride Festival in Downtown Gainesville’s Bo Diddley Plaza and on the surrounding streets. The Festival will have dozens of local musical acts, over one hundred vendors and a kids’ area. The event is free and open to the public. Preceding the Festival is the Annual Pride Parade which begins at 7th Street and W University Ave before proceeding east on University Ave to S 1st Street and the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Feel free to join the march to show your PRIDE or cheer them on as a spectator! 111 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601

7) Gainesville Cycling Festival: Saturday, Oct. 20th – Sunday, 21st. This 38-year-old tradition among the Gainesville cycling community raises funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County. This cycling festival takes place over 2 days and many miles all across Alachua County. Four ride options per day include the Santa Fe Century, Gravel Challenge, Millhopper Ramble, Providence Ride, Horse Farm Hundred, and Horse Farm Tour. Ride distances range from 18 miles to 103 miles. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the riders and can find more info on festival ride routes at

Fun around Alachua County continues year round but here is a sneak peek at a couple other big events coming up in October. Don’t forget to visit our events calendar for a complete listing.

44th Annual Micanopy Fall Festival: Oct. 27th-28th, This family-friendly event hosts local artists, crafters, and musicians from across the southeast. This traditional southern two-day festival boasts over two hundred arts and crafts vendors, a variety of good time musicians across several stages, and an old-time auction of items. 2018 dates and times are Saturday, October 27,9 am – 5 pm. Sunday, October 28,9 am – 4 pm.

The FEST 2018: Oct. 26-28th, 17th Annual independent multi-day, multi-venue music festival. This year’s fest line-up features over 400+Bands, Comedians, and Wrestlers at 20 venues across downtown Gainesville. Not only offering great music, but Fest will also include a flea market, branded swag, and live podcast tapings. On Sunday– FEST WRESTLING will once again bring their crazy SUPER SHOW called WE ARE FAMILY. This show will not only feature the best FEST WRESTLING talent but will also have featured matches showcasing other independent promotions.

Logo for FEST17 music festival
FEST17 in Gainesville FL