While the locals know you can experience Pensacola’s colorful arts scene year-round, our visitors continue to specifically flock to Pensacola each fall for our array of unique, cultural affairs and festivals. (Those white, pristine beaches stay plenty warm as the temperatures drop, and there’s no place better suited to vacation artfully as the leaves begin to fall than this cultural coastal destination of the South.)
October is filled and thrilled with an eclectic lineup of vibrant arts and crafts for any age, but perhaps the biggest bang for your entertainment buck is at the Grand Dame of Palafox, the Pensacola Saenger Theatre. From spending time with the kids at Baby Shark Live!, enjoying some local rock talent with White Tie Rock Ensemble’s ode to classic Guitar Heroes, swaying to the classic sounds of Pensacola Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night! (where refined meets sequins), or laughing in awe of the mainstream musical sensation Miranda Sings!, the Saenger offers something for everyone this October. (Even you Mississippi-rooted folks like myself can enjoy an evening of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives to get your country rockabilly fix.) Saenger your heart out!
Creep it Real
No October is complete without local booze and boos. Sink your teeth into performances like Dracula: A Real Pain in the Neck at Pensacola Little Theatre or feel Ballet Pensacola’s A Nightmare Before Christmas in your bones – and don’t be afraid to bring your kids! Get Your Ghoul On with the UWF Historic Trust’s annual haunted walking and trolley tours, or bring your four-legged friends to Barktoberfest for a little Wagoween. Grab your fellow and see Othello by the University of West Florida’s theatre department or catch the electrifying fusion of ice-skating and acrobatics with Cirque Du Soleil – Axel at the Pensacola Bay Center.
The (Fall) Festival City of the South
Experience more than 200 of the nation’s best artists – painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, graphic artists, musicians, and more – this November during Pensacola’s annual three-day juried art show, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival.
But no two weeks are as vibrant as Foo Foo Fest, and no exhibition is quite as high on my priority list as Fire and Rain, the 9,500-square-foot sea of billowing holographic strands to be suspended over Downtown Pensacola all November. (If you loved Pensacola’s Umbrella Sky Project in 2017, then you can’t miss this.)
But Foo Foo Fest covers all the artistic bases. Just here for Jazz? Check out Big Bad VooDoo Daddy or Jazz for Justice at Seville Quarter. Step on over to the Pensacola Bay Center for StompFest, or skate around the unveiling of Pensacola’s 3D-printed skateable concrete exhibit, “Skulpture” at First City Art Center during 3D Printsacola.
Have a thing for theatre? Pensacola Little Theatre’s production of The Savannah Sipping Society is the ultimate girls’ night, with a laugh-a-minute comedy and the strongest sips in town. Rather singalong instead? Choir! Choir! Choir! is equal parts singing and comedy, but YOU become the talent right from your seat at the Rex Theatre, or quietly take your seat and hear the most renowned pianist to ever play with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra during Ohlsson Plays Brahms.
But Fall is Not All Foo.
The Pensacola Opera presents As One this November, which beautifully centers on the LGBTQ community, while the Pensacola Museum of Art showcases the traveling Smithsonian exhibition 100 Faces of War, portraying Americans who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or spend your Veteran’s Day with the Pensacola Mess Hall Exploring Space as Mercury transits between us and the sun (with free admission to active duty and retired military.)
And We’re Shore You Want to Visit the Beach.
So don’t miss the culinary creations at the annual Taste of the Beach or the Pensacola Beach Arts & Wine Festival, which fuses art and vino to create a perfect afternoon stroll on the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk.
The city of Pensacola has a charming, quaint feel, but when it comes to arts and entertainment, this coastal city knows how to make quite a scene.
Calendar of Events
Dracula: A Real Pain in the Neck | October 4-12
Opening Night! | October 5
Baby Shark Live! | October 8
White Tie Rock Ensemble: Guitar Heroes | October 12
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives | October 15
A Nightmare Before Christmas | October 18-27
Othello | October 18-27
Cirque Du Soleil – Axel | October 18-27
Taste of the Beach | October 18, 19
Miranda Sings! | October 19
Get Your Ghoul On | October 19, 25, 26
Barktoberfest | October 27
Fire and Rain | October 31 – November 11
Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival | November 1-3
As One | November 1-3
The Savannah Sipping Society | November 1-10
Ohlsson Plays Brahms | November 2
StompFest | November 2
3D Printsacola | November 4 -8
Big Bad VooDoo Daddy | November 4
Choir! Choir! Choir! | November 6
Jazz for Justice | November 10
Pensacola Beach Arts and Wine Festival | November 10
Exploring Space | November 11
100 Faces of War | November - January