Weighing in... Photo courtesy of Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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FIREWORKS, FISHING, & BLUEGRASS THIS JULY 4TH IN West Tennessee

I just returned from a weekend of boating and camping on the Tennessee River. Note I didn’t mention fishing…that’s because my skill lies in eating fish – not angling for it. But I did see several others casting, and landing, sizeable catfish.

Down in Savannah, Tennessee (the “Catfish Capital of the World”), you can weigh in any catfish you catch weekly through July 5 – as long as you catch it on the town’s iconic Tennessee River. This “National Catfish Derby” culminates in the July 6 World Championship of Catfishing. Following the championship, the one-day winner, as well as weekly derby winners, will be announced and awarded cash and prizes.

Weighing in... Photo courtesy of Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Weighing in… Photo courtesy of Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Chatting with Hardin County Tourism Director Rachel Baker made me feel better about my lack of skill. “One week of the derby, you might win with a four-pounder. Another week, someone might win with a 40-pounder,” she explained, recalling that 40 pounds is the biggest catch she’s seen so far during this year’s derby, which began June 1. If you decide to take a shot, weigh in at Savannah’s Historic Botel or the BP gas station at Main and Wayne.

If you’d rather skip straight to the party, head to Pickwick Landing State Park July 6 at 3 p.m., where you can witness the final weigh-in and proclamation of winners. The Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau will even provide free catfish and live music. Call Rachel at 731-925-8181 for more info on entering the derby or the championship, or getting to the party on the 6th.

If I were you, I’d roll into town a few days prior. July 4 at 9 p.m., Pickwick Landing State Park will put on one heck-of-a fireworks show over the water (Pickwick Lake and the Tennessee River define the park). The show is free and open to the public. Make a weekend of it by overnighting in the park: The state’s new online reservation system lets you reserve campsites or rooms at the park inn – even tee times on Pickwick’s golf course.

July 5 at 6 p.m., the 35th Annual Savannah Bluegrass Festival sounds off in Wayne Jerrolds Park on the banks of the Tennessee. Jerrolds, a Grand Ole Opry fiddler and “Bluegrass Boy” with the Bill Monroe Band, lives nearby and founded the festival. Concerts continue Saturday at 1 p.m. on Court Square in downtown Savannah. Admission both days is free and concessions will be available – just bring a lawn chair or blanket. Bonus: Saturday morning (July 6), Savannah Main Street will host “Bluegrass, Breakfast and Art” downtown – browse the art vendors and grab a free Savannah sausage dog until the bluegrass resumes.

The Wayne Jerrolds Band at the Savannah Bluegrass Festival Photo courtesy of Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Wayne Jerrolds Band plays the Savannah Bluegrass Festival. Photo courtesy of Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Where’s your favorite spot in Tennessee to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July? Tell me in the comments section below!

Hi! I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I...Read on

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  1. Pingback: Tennessee State Parks Feature Food, Fun, and Fireworks This Fourth of July | Tennessee Triptales

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    Mary Ann Holt

    I like watching Fireworks at Reelfoot Lake from a Pontoon Boat that the State Park provides.

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    Carol

    We love the fireworks at Pickwick State Park!! We watch them from the lodge. We are very curious to know about how much does a show like that cost?

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