Think you’ve seen it all? Just wait ‘til you stop by one of these unexpected and unforgettable events where local flavors, larger-than-life characters and true Tennessee pride will have you feeling right at home. 41A MUSIC FESTIVAL Every September, this two-day street festival in Tullahoma’s Historic Downtown District is a fundraiser for the Highland Rim Kiwanis Club, featuring live music, food vendors and visual art for the whole family to enjoy. BLOOMIN’ BARBECUE & BLUEGRASS This free festival in Sevierville features the Tennessee State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off, bluegrass concerts, kids’ games, authentic crafts and more from May 19-20. BRISTOL RHYTHM & ROOTS REUNION National, regional and local headliners performing on more than 20 stages are the draw at this festival from September 15-17 in Bristol, known as the “Birthplace of Country Music.” CARDBOARD BOAT REGATTA Watch as competitors race their cardboard-and-ducttape contraptions across the lake at Discovery Park America in Union City at this entertaining annual event in May. want more? Visit tnvacation.com for a full lineup of events and festivals. Turn the page for more exciting events taking place around the state. FESTIVALS AND EVENTS From sprawling music festivals to small-town craft fairs— and everything in between—Tennessee is studded with large and small celebrations of local food, music, arts, culture and more, all year long. Take your spot alongside the locals, and experience some of the best events in the state. International Biscuit Festival, Knoxville January JAN. 5–8 MEMPHIS ELVIS PRESLEY’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Elvis Presley fans celebrate what would have been his 82nd birthday, including enjoying a grand birthday cake. 901-332-3322, graceland.com JAN. 16 MEMPHIS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Programs at the National Civil Rights Museum celebrate the birthday of Dr. King. 901-521-9699, civilrightsmuseum.org JAN. 16–17 BIRCHWOOD TENNESSEE SANDHILL CRANE VIEWING FESTIVAL Celebrate thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate through or spend the winter at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers. Festival activities will be held at the Hiwassee Refuge and Birchwood Community Center. tn.gov JAN. 27–29 TOWNSEND WINTER HERITAGE FESTIVAL IN THE SMOKIES Celebrate the history, natural beauty and cultural traditions of Townsend, Cades Cove and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 800-525-6834, smokymountains.org February FEBRUARY 11 COVINGTON CHOCOLATE TOUR Take a tour around Covington’s Historic Square while tasting chocolate from local shops. 901-476-9727, covington-tiptoncochamber.com March MARCH 2–5 NASHVILLE NASHVILLE LAWN & GARDEN SHOW The timeless appeal and importance of gardens will be celebrated at The Fairgrounds Nashville. 615-876-7680, nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com MARCH 18 ERIN WEARIN’ OF THE GREEN IRISH DAY CELEBRATION Enjoy a parade, food, entertainment and crafts at the largest Irish Day celebration and parade in this area. 931-289-5100, houstoncochamber.com MARCH 19–APRIL 9 PIGEON FORGE DOLLYWOOD’S FESTIVAL OF NATIONS More than 200 performers from around the world celebrate music, dance and art. 800-DOLLYWOOD, dollywood.com MARCH 27–APRIL 2 COLUMBIA MULE DAY One of the world’s biggest mule celebrations, events include a mule sale, mule pulling, mule shows, pancake breakfast, flea market and parade. 931-381-9557, muleday.com April MONTHLONG KNOXVILLE DOGWOOD ARTS FESTIVAL Miles of trails feature some of the most spectacular dogwood trees. 865-637-4561, dogwoodarts.com MONTHLONG NASHVILLE AWESOME APRIL Enjoy a major event each weekend during this musical tribute to the city. 800-657-6910, visitmusiccity.com APRIL 4 MEMPHIS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMEMORATION The National Civil Rights Museum offers a special program to commemorate the late civil rights leader. 901-521-9699, civilrightsmuseum.org APRIL 7–9 KNOXVILLE RHYTHM N’ BLOOMS MUSIC FESTIVAL Rhythm N’ Blooms highlights Knoxville’s musical soundtrack, showcasing popular national acts alongside the finest musicians in East Tennessee. 865-637-4561, rhythmnbloomsfest.com APRIL 20–22 CLARKSVILLE RIVERS & SPIRES FESTIVAL This free festival features more than 100 entertainers, a kids area, car shows, food, jazz and more. 931-647-2331, riversandspires.com MEMPHIS AFRICA IN APRIL This annual cultural celebration highlights a different country in Africa every year, featuring arts and crafts, authentic cuisine and live music. africainapril.org APRIL 23 BRISTOL FOOD CITY 500 Race fans cheer their hearts out at this annual 500-lap, 266.5-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. 866-415-4158, bristolmotorspeedway.com APRIL 23–29 PARIS WORLD’S BIGGEST FISH FRY More than six tons of catfish are served to thousands of visitors, plus a rodeo, parade and catfish races. 731-642-3431, worldsbiggestfishfry.com APRIL 29–30 SOUTH PITTSBURG NATIONAL CORNBREAD FESTIVAL Enjoy the National Cornbread Cook- Off, art and shows. 423-837-0022, nationalcornbread.com May MAY 2–OCT. 28 JONESBOROUGH STORYTELLING LIVE! Storytellers from across the country will share stories and entertain guests each week. 800-952-8392, storytellingcenter.net MAY 5–28 MEMPHIS MEMPHIS IN MAY INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL This month-long series of events includes Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. 901-525-4611, memphisinmay.org MAY 7–13 HUMBOLDT WEST TENNESSEE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL This festival includes parades, live entertainment, a barbecue cook-off, concerts, fireworks and more. 731-784-1842, humboldttnchamber.org MAY 9–13 PIGEON FORGE WILDERNESS WILDLIFE WEEK The ultimate Smoky Mountain experience is a series of activities connecting Pigeon Forge visitors with the great outdoors. Experts share their knowledge at seminars, lectures and hands-on workshops. 800-251-9100, mypigeonforge.com MAY 13 NASHVILLE IROQUOIS STEEPLECHASE This is the nation’s oldest continuously run, weight-for-age steeplechase. 866-207-2391, iroquoissteeplechase.org MAY 13 DAYTON TENNESSEE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL This celebration includes a parade, food competition, live entertainment and more. 423-775-0361, tnstrawberryfestival.com MAY 20 KNOXVILLE INTERNATIONAL BISCUIT FESTIVAL Named one of the country’s top 10 food festivals, this popular event will rise again in downtown Knoxville at Market Square. Guests enjoy food, fun, music and more. biscuitfest.com MAY 25–27 ADAMSVILLE BUFORD PUSSER FESTIVAL This annual festival honors the famous “Walking Tall” sheriff and features good music, food and family fun. 731-632-4080, bufordpussermuseum.com MAY 25–28 CRAWFORD JAMMIN’ AT HIPPIE JACK’S Enjoy this camping and music festival that coincides with the taping of an episode of the “Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Series” on PBS. 931-445-2072, jamminathippiejacks.com June JUNE 1–3 MEMPHIS MEMPHIS ITALIAN FESTIVAL This community celebration demonstrates the values of family, faith and fellowship in the Italian- American tradition with music, food, events, games, arts and crafts and more. 901-767-6949, memphisitalianfestival.com JUNE 3–4 JOHNSON CITY BLUE PLUM FESTIVAL This outdoor music and arts festival in downtown Johnson City features children’s entertainment, music and more. blueplum.org JUNE 3–4 DUNLAP COKE OVENS BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL This festival celebrates the traditional bluegrass music of the Sequatchie Valley region. Guests can explore the 88-acre Dunlap Coke Ovens Park and Museum, which preserves the remains of 268 behive coke ovens that were part of a former coal mining operation dating back to the early 1900s. 423-949-3483, cokeovens.com JUNE 8–11 MANCHESTER BONNAROO MUSIC FESTIVAL More than 10 stages welcome the best performers in rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica and more. 800-594-8499, bonnaroo.com JUNE 8–11 NASHVILLE CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL “Country Music’s Biggest Party” brings country fans and artists together for four days and nights of live music. 800-CMA-FEST, cmafest.com JUNE 9–17 CHATTANOOGA RIVERBEND FESTIVAL Multiple stages of diverse music, plus fireworks, 5K and 10K runs and a children’s village. 423-756-2211, riverbendfestival.com JUNE 9–29 GATLINBURG SMOKY MOUNTAIN TUNES & TALES The summer session takes place each night in downtown Gatlinburg. Enjoy storytellers, musicians, artisans and cloggers at different locations along the Parkway. 865-436-4178, gatlinburg.com JUNE 17 BELL BUCKLE RC MOONPIE FESTIVAL Celebrate a Southern tradition with music, games, crafts and cutting the world’s largest MoonPie. 931-389-9663, bellbucklechamber.com Bonnaroo, Manchester JUNE 30–JULY 1 SMITHVILLE SMITHVILLE’S FIDDLER’S JAMBOREE & CRAFTS FESTIVAL Features various state and national championships, jam sessions and juried craft exhibitors. 615-597- 8500, smithvillejamboree.com Grainger County Tomato Festival, Rutledge July JULY 4 GATLINBURG MIDNIGHT INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE The “First July Fourth Parade of the Nation” kicks off at 12:01 a.m. on July 4. Floats, balloons and marching bands pay tribute to our country. 865-436-4178, gatlinburg.com JULY 4 NASHVILLE MUSIC CITY JULY 4TH SPECTACULAR This annual event, one of the nation’s largest fireworks displays, features live music, family activities and food. 800-657-6910, visitmusiccity.com JULY 13–15, 20–22, 27–29 ELIZABETHTON LIBERTY! THE SAGA OF SYCAMORE SHOALS Tennessee’s official outdoor drama continues for a three-weekend run (Thursdays through Saturdays) beginning each evening at 7:30 in Fort Watauga Amphitheater. 423-543-5808, friendsofsycamoreshoals.org JULY 14–22 KINGSPORT FUN FEST Live concerts, children’s activities and hot air balloons fill this familyfriendly festival. 800-743-5282, funfest.net JULY 27–30 RUTLEDGE GRAINGER COUNTY TOMATO FESTIVAL Events include a Civil War encampment, arts and cultural exposition, tomato wars, entertainment and more. 865-828-3433, graingercountytomatofestival.com MURFREESBORO UNCLE DAVE MACON DAYS MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL This festival honors the memory of Uncle Dave Macon, one of the first Grand Ole Opry superstars and features music, arts and crafts, food, storytelling and competitions. 615-893-2369, uncledavemacondays.com August AUG. 3–6 JAMESTOWN WORLD’S LONGEST YARD SALE Celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow and Mike Wolfe of “American Picker” are known to browse the antiques and wares of the 690 miles along Hwy. 127. 800-327-3945, 127sale.com AUG. 11–19 MEMPHIS ELVIS WEEK The celebration of Elvis Presley’s music, movies and life includes a moving candlelight vigil. 901-332-3322, graceland.com AUG. 16–19 BRISTOL BASS PRO SHOPS NRA NIGHT RACE When the sun goes down, the track heats up at this popular NASCAR night battle. bristolmotorspeedway.com AUG. 24–SEPT. 2 SHELBYVILLE TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE NATIONAL CELEBRATION The world championship of Tennessee’s native breed of show horse welcomes division champions who compete. The World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse is named. 931-684-5915, twhnc.com AUG. 27 KNOXVILLE KNOX ASIAN FESTIVAL This exciting outdoor event involves exhibits of culture, food, performances and more from China, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand and other countries. 831-241-1189, knoxasianfestival.com JACKSON ROCK-A-BILLY FESTIVAL The world’s largest gathering of Rock-A-Billy artists and musicians features pioneers of the genre as well as new artists. 731-427-6262, rockabillyhall.org MCKENZIE SOUTHERN FRIED AND SWEET TEA FESTIVAL Fried chicken, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes ... this festival celebrates all that and more! 731-427-6262, mckenzietn.gov September SEPT. 7–9 MEMPHIS SOUTHERN HERITAGE CLASSIC This football match-up between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University is preceded by fun events. 901-398-6655, southernheritageclassic.com SEPT. 9 CHARLESTON INTERNATIONAL COWPEA FESTIVAL & COOKOFF Enjoy a cook-off focusing on cowpea recipes, as well as a marketplace, pageant, entertainment and a heritage area. cowpeafestival.com SEPT. 9–11 MARTIN SOYBEAN FESTIVAL More than 50 events including live music will celebrate agriculture and a tiny yet worthy vegetable. 731-588-1263, tnsoybeanfestival.org SEPT. 12–17 NASHVILLE AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE Legendary artists, rising stars, industry professionals and music fans all flock to this educational music forum and festival. americanamusic.org SEPT. 23 HUNTINGDON ONE WAY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL Music, entertainment and artistic flair come together to celebrate the rich history of Huntingdon. 731-986-2100, dixiepac.net SEPT. 24–30 J PIGEON FORGE NATIONAL QUARTET CONVENTION The biggest event in Southern gospel music will draw more than 40,000 individuals to the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. 800-846-8499, natqc.com SEPT. 29–OCT. 1 TIPTONVILLE REELFOOT ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL Explore more than 300 exhibitors including artists, potters, carvers, jewelry makers, music, barbecue, fried pies, ice cream and more. 731-885-7295, reelfootartsandcrafts.com JACKSON AFRICAN STREET FESTIVAL This event promotes African culture awareness with entertainment, workshops, educational seminars and more. 731-267-3212, saaca.com JACKSON CASEY JONES VILLAGE OLD TIME MUSIC FESTIVAL This outdoor music festival is dedicated to preserving old-time string, bluegrass and gospel music at Casey Jones Village. 731-668-1222, caseyjones.com October OCT. 6–7 ERWIN UNICOI COUNTY APPLE FESTIVAL Explore vendors, apple dishes, crafts, a children’s area and entertainment. 423-743-3000, unicoicounty.org OCT. 6–8 JONESBOROUGH NATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL This three-day event features compelling performances by internationally known professional tellers. 800-952-8392, storytellingcenter.net Banana Pudding Festival, Centerville OCT. 7–8 CENTERVILLE NATIONAL BANANA PUDDING FESTIVAL In addition to a national cook-off for the best banana pudding in America, this two-day event includes two entertainment stages, a children’s area, craft booths, lots of pudding samples and more. 931-994-6273, bananapuddingfest.org OCT. 14 SPARTA LIBERTY SQUARE CELEBRATION & LESTER FLATT MEMORIAL BLUEGRASS DAY Visitors from across the country come to pay tribute to the bluegrass legend with a full day of music, crafts, food, games, truck and car shows and much more. 931-836-3248, sparta-chamber.net OCT. 21–22 WHITWELL KETNER’S MILL COUNTRY ARTS FAIR Visitors can watch the operation of the only remaining water-powered gristmill in the area, with parts dating back to 1824. Buy quality crafts, paddle a canoe, enjoy good country cooking, and listen to music. 423-267-5702, ketnersmill.org OCT. 28 LYNCHBURG JACK DANIEL’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP INVITATIONAL BARBECUE This event has been touted as the most prestigious barbecue competition in the world. 931-759-6332, jackdaniels.com OCT. 28–29 MORRISTOWN MOUNTAIN MAKINS FESTIVAL Named a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the historic 1892 Rose Center is filled with juried fine arts and crafts, live music, dancing, storytelling, children’s activities, food and expert demonstrations of time-honored traditions. 423-581-4330, rosecenter.org MEMPHIS MEMPHIS ZOO BOO The zoo’s most spooktacular event returns with more activities than ever! Get your costume, and prepare for the best Halloween event of the year, with a costume contest, straw maze and more. 901-333-6500, memphiszoo.org November NOV. 4–JAN. 1 PIGEON FORGE DOLLYWOOD’S SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS The Smoky Mountains’ family Christmas destination features more than 4 million lights, fun rides and attractions, plus award-winning holiday shows. 800-DOLLYWOOD, dollywood.com MEMPHIS CHRISTMAS AT GRACELAND See traditional lights and decorations, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and much more originally displayed by Elvis. 800-238-2000, elvis.com NASHVILLE GAYLORD OPRYLAND’S “A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS” Marvel at sensational decorations, entertainment and delectable food at this extravagant holiday production at the Grand Ole Opry House. 888-OPRY-872, gaylordopryland.com Winterfest, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge & Sevierville GATLINBURG, PIGEON FORGE & SEVIERVILLE SMOKY MOUNTAIN WINTERFEST The gateway towns to the Smokies turn into a winter wonderland with a dazzling display of more than 5 million light displays and special events. 800-568-4748, gatlinburg.com 800-251-9100, mypigeonforge.com 888-766-5948, visitsevierville.com BRISTOL SPEEDWAY IN LIGHTS Tour this stunning display of more than 1 million lights and hundreds of displays by car. Make a reservation to bring your group through by bus. 423-989-6933, speedwayinlights.org December DEC. 1–23 CHATTANOOGA RUBY FALLS CHRISTMAS UNDERGROUND Thursdays through Sundays, visit the Ruby Falls gem mines and discover Joystone, a rare gemstone that helps spread the spirit of Christmas. Go on an adventure to see Santa that leads to an ice cave. Watch gemstone miners play, catch a view of the Northern Lights and journey through the Sugar Plum Fairy Village. 423-821-2544, rubyfalls.com/christmas DEC. 2 AND DEC. 9 RUGBY CHRISTMAS AT HISTORIC RUGBY Visit beautifully decorated historic homes to bring an old-fashioned Christmas holiday season to life. 888-214-3400, historicrugby.org DEC. 9–10 FRANKLIN DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS A Victorian-themed Christmas with more than 200 costumed characters reenacting the work of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” 615-591-8500, historicfranklin.com Did You Know? 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of Chattanooga Bakery’s MoonPie.
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