Cheekwood Harvest opens for the season

The annual Nashville fall favorite festival is now open for visitors, boasting attractions such as pumpkin houses, the Halloween Pooch Parade and a celebration for El Día de los Muertos.

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Is it possible to decorate everything with pumpkins? Cheekwood Harvest answers with a resounding “yes.” (Photo from cheekwood.org)

Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer

It’s finally fall in Nashville, and a favorite annual celebration is opening back up just in time for the season. If changing leaves, pumpkin spice and Halloween all bring a smile to your face, then Cheekwood Harvest is for you. 

Cheekwood Harvest, hosted annually at the Cheekwood Estate and Botanical Gardens as one of their four seasonal festivals, boasts many autumn attractions. The six-week celebration began this past weekend on Sept. 18 and remains open until Halloween. 

The Pumpkin Houses are a perfect fall photo op at Cheekwood Harvest. (Photo from cheekwood.org)

The sheer number and diversity of trees—including oaks, maples and dogwoods—create an ethereal autumn experience as they shed their colorful leaves. And of course, the festival offers activities and experiences for all age groups. Some highlights include not one, but two life-size pumpkin houses in Pumpkin Village, a chrysanthemum explosion throughout the gardens and Cheekwood Beer Garden events as well. 

Kids, teenagers and adults alike can also look forward to the season’s Pooch Parade, taking place this year on Oct. 23. In this special eight-hour parade, costumed canines march around the estate, vying for awards like “Best Adult Owner and Dog Combo,” “Spookiest Costume,” and the esteemed grand prize. Local vendors such as Painted Paw Studio, Proverbs 12:10, the Doggie Joggers and Poodoo Leash will provide prizes for the winners.

Not only that, but food trucks will arrive on site for human friends as well—including Daddy’s Dogs, 4 Paws Pastries and Nashville Chicken and Waffles. Whether you attend the Pooch Parade as a participant or just to snap some photos of some well-dressed doggies, there is sure to be something for everyone. Cheekwood requires advanced reservations for this special event, but it’s bound to be worth it. Check them out here.

Thursday Nights Out is just one of many special event series hosted as part of this year’s festival. (Photo from cheekwood.org)

Patrons may also look forward to a celebration for El Día de los Muertos on Oct. 30. This important celebration in Mexico and Latin American countries involves lively decor and exciting music, and Cheekwood will bring these traditions to life with traditional music and dance, as well as art and authentic food. Again, these tickets require an advance reservation.

Even if you don’t stop by Cheekwood Harvest for the parade or the Día de los Muertos festival, be sure to check out this season’s pumpkin village and beer garden (if you’re of age, duh). I personally can’t think of a better beginning to the fall.