A woman and child pick pumpkins

When the stuttering heat of summer in Florida finally begins to wane and temperatures lower to a bearable Autumnal level, that’s when Floridians start peeking outside and making plans. Suddenly there’s an explosion of community events all over the place; farmer’s markets, swap meets, carnivals, and festivals pack the calendar with gleeful abandon. There is now the eager pace of running children, colorful booths and artwork, and the bustle of human beings on the go with things to do. Fall is when Florida really comes alive.

The only issue might be choosing where to go to do your thing; between Marion and Citrus Counties, there are a plethora of fun, free events in both communities to check out and enjoy. We’ve compiled some suggestions for you, and if you’re interested in searching out more, we’ve added some helpful links below for you. Go have fun!

Here’s the Five By Five:

Citrus County


a selection of artisan cheeses

Market At the Depot – Inverness 

On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, under the shaded pavilion at Liberty Park in Inverness, the Market is open from 9am-2pm starting October 7. You’ll find fresh produce, meats, artisan cheeses, jams, jellies, honey, and local arts and crafts from over 75 vendors at this popular county staple. Occasional specialty events are a big hit, too, from vintage themes to swap meets. Creative, fun, and a great opportunity to spend a family day outdoors!

a cooter turtle sunning on a log

Cootertober – Inverness

Inverness doesn’t do things by halves; the tenth month on the calendar is celebrated as “Cootertober” – named after the large river turtles that swim in the local waterways. It’s a monthlong calendar of multiple events, from the Market at the Depot to the ROCCS Regatta, the Zombie Scavenger Hunt and Cooterween. The Twistid Arts Initiative and City of Inverness starts off the month-long celebration with the live Music Festival October 7-8 at Liberty Park with the Kyle Ingram Trio, Jeff Scott Soto, Jason Bieler, Howie Day and Vertical Horizon. The Cooter Carnival on October 8 has tons of family-friendly activities from 10am-3pm, with acrobats, free face painting, pumpkin design competition, and loads of carnival games, plus plenty of food and drink. All events are free and open to the public, so head over to check it out!

Kids riding bikes on a paved trail

Cycle With Lacoochie – Inverness

Formerly the Withlacoochie Annual Ride, this popular biking event is back after a 4-year hiatus! Cyclists choose any distance they want to go on this autumn nature ride on the 47-mile paved Withlacoochie State Trail, with fully supported SAG stops (Supply And Gear). Beginning at the Depot at 7am, the ride goes through Ridge Manor, Nobelton, Citrus Springs, Pasco, and Hernando from 7am-9am on October 8. Participants enjoy a Continental Breakfast after registration and check-in, and food truck luncheon at 11am. For entry fees and additional information, visit the official website for details.

A table with fall theme and two scarecrows

Heritage Village Scarecrow Festival – Crystal River

Celebrating the harvest season in style, the City of Crystal River and Heritage Village kick things off with costumes, games, tons of vendors, live music, great food, and Citrus Sertoma’s fantastic beer and wines. This is the city’s 35th year throwing this community-favorite festival, where locals and tourists alike come to take in the sights, sounds, food, and shopping. Local non-profits, clubs, and organizations participate in this free event festival on October 14 at Heritage Village from 10am-5pm.

A child sliding on an inflatable slide.

Family Fall Festival – Homosassa

In this beautiful river community, there’s no shortage of fun things to do and see, but the Family Fall Festival is a party you don’t want to miss if you’re in the area. This free event has something for everyone looking for a great day out: Inflatable wet/dry slide, arts, crafts, a blood drive with Life South from 9am-noon, and a chance for kids to meet the Sheriff’s Bloodhound Tracking Unit and Dutch the Therapy Dogs. You can also shop for everything from home decor to plants to food with the Huge Homosassa Rummage Sale, Live Plant Sale, and the Big and Best Bake Sale (Cash only for purchases!). The festival is free and open to the public and starts Oct 7 from 9am-2pm at Grace Methodist Church; visit the website and make plans to go!

Marion County


a girl holding a decorated mini pumpkin

Marion County Annual Carnival/Micanopy Fall Festival – Ocala/Micanopy

Presented by Marion County Parks and Recreation, this is the 5th Annual Marion County Carnival, with everything you’d expect from one. It’s a perfect day for the family, with games, giveaways, prizes, music, costume contests, bouncy house, food and drink, and plenty of entertainment from 5pm-9pm on October 7. For more details, visit the website linked above, or go to their Facebook page for information and updates.

Just a hop, skip and jump down the road, the Micanopy Fall Festival kicks off the weekend of October 28-29 from 9am to 5pm; the town is celebrating the 48th year of this annual extravaganza, when what is normally a quiet little hamlet makes a big noise. Cholokka Boulevard is lined with vendors from the local community as well as the outlying region. Artists, crafters and musicians attract a vibrant, diverse crowd of participants who have a great time browsing the displays and attractions and generally having a great time.

a selection of antique tableware

McIntosh 1890s Festival –  McIntosh

Time travel isn’t real, but you can pretend it is at this 19th-Century themed festival as you delve into the area’s fascinating history and enjoy everything the day has to offer. Take a stroll down the tree-lined streets filled with over 250 vendors with arts, crafts, jewelry, antiques, face painting, music, and food galore. This is one of Florida’s premiere festivals, with up to 40,000 visitors flocking to the area to take in the atmosphere. Located in northern Marion County on Highway 441, the festival will be held October 14 from 8am-4pm and is free to the public.

a musician playing an acoustic guitar

Two Rivers Music Festival and Food Truck Rally – Dunnellon

If there’s anything better than live music and food, we can’t think of what that might be. The Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers converge in the charming hamlet of Dunnellon, where the town welcomes the Festival back with a bang on October 16 at Ernie Mills Park from 5-10 pm. It’s free and open to the public, featuring music from a wide range of genres from rock and jazz to folk, country, and bluegrass, plus more food than your stomach can handle.

a table with autumn leaves and wrapped gifts

Autumn Gift Market – Ocala

The Junior League of Ocala hosts the yearly event now in its 27th year at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion October 20-21. This event is a fantastic opportunity to get some holiday shopping done early, with plenty of activities for kids and lots of food and drink. It’s one of the most popular Fall events in the area that draws a huge crowd from across Central Florida; you won’t want to miss it! Tickets are $5.00, and all proceeds benefit the Junior League of Ocala’s community efforts.

A view of a street with art vendors

Fine Arts for Ocala – Downtown Ocala

FAFO takes over Downtown Ocala for two days of art, music, artist demonstrations, great food, and live entertainment. It’s a beloved and popular annual event that draws more than 25,000 people to Ocala each year, and a great opportunity for over 155 local artists to see, be seen, and sell their work to local patrons. FAFO is held October 28-29 from 10am-5pm, is free and open to the public, and (leashed) pets are welcome! For more information, visit the official website for maps, vendor details, and FAQ.