Plan Ahead for These Tennessee Festivals
The last month of summer and September’s lead-in to fall brings some of the best fairs and festivals in Tennessee. With the anticipation for cooler weather come small town and county fairs and specialty festivals. Whatever your interest, Tennessee is sure to have a festival or fair that will spark your interest. Be sure to jot down the following events in your travel calendar and check out the full list at www.tnvacation.com/calendar.
Check out a fair as early as this weekend by attending the Williamson County Fair Aug. 2-10 at the Williamson County Ag EXPO Park in Franklin, Tenn. “Rock Around the Fair” is this year’s theme and has new additions like “Party Animals,” a rock group dressed as loveable animals that sing and dance to the best kid songs ever written; the Ultimate Air Dogs show where dogs run down a dock over 30 mph and launch into the water at distances of over 25 feet; a family-friendly roller coaster and a Native American animal dance with singing, drums, flutes, rattles, bells and audience participation. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 6-12.
If you see a bluegrass competition, a rooster crowing contest, banana derby and fiddlers jamming, it’s likely you’re at the Wilson County Fair Aug. 16-24 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Animal shows, food, endless entertainment and music are on the schedule for this year’s event. The new Fiddler’s Grove Train Museum will have its grand opening with the dedication ceremony happening at 2 p.m. Aug. 17 as train enthusiasts can enjoy multiple model trains chugging around the tracks. The large exhibit is made possible by donated trains and railroad collections. Also, country music star John Michael Montgomery will perform a concert 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Wilson County Exhibition Center.
Get a taste of Tennessee and competition at the 107th Tennessee State Fair Sept. 6-15 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tenn. The fair emphasizes heritage, agriculture and the future of Tennessee with an educational and an entertaining flair. Have a grand time with competitions such as the Tennessee State Fair Cornhole Championships, Ice Cream Eating Contest and the Hula Hoop Contest, awesome rides like the Mega Drop, Fireball, Tornado, Yo Yo, a Merry-go-Round, the second annual Celebrity Milking Contest and more. The fair is always a hit with locals and visitors. Tickets are $6 in advance and $8 on site.
Enjoy a three-day music festival celebrating Rock-A-Billy music at the Rock-A-Billy Festival Aug. 8-10 at the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The festival is the world’s largest gathering of Rock-A-Billy artists, featuring the pioneers of Rock-A-Billy music and new artists. Performers this year include Stan Perkins with Ray Walker, Clyde Watson, Billy Burnette, Rockfolket Band from Sweden, Kim Mellius Larsen from Denmark and Ulf Nilsson and the Cadillac Band and many more. Tickets are $10 Thursday and Friday and $15 Saturday.
Visit the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, Tina Turner’s hometown as they celebrate her for all of her amazing musical accomplishments during Tina Turner Heritage Days Sept. 27-28 in Brownsville, Tenn. The two-day event begins with music and fun at Tina’s childhood school, Flagg Grove School which is located on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Tour Nutbush and learn about the small community where she grew up. Saturday night is filled with rocking music at College Hill Center and Dorothy Cole will perform a Tina Tribute Concert.
Reelfoot Lake is the perfect backdrop for a festival as the lake encompasses 25,000 acres and harbors lots of shore and wading birds, including golden and American bald eagles. Be sure to browse countless vendors and admire a variety of artistic works at the Reelfoot Arts & Crafts Festival Oct. 4-6 on the banks of Reelfoot Lake in Union City, Tenn. Music, delicious food and crafts are the centerpiece of this festival. With more than 350 exhibitors, this is a festival you’ll won’t want to miss.
One of the highly anticipated fairs of the season is the Tennessee Valley Fair Sept. 6-15 at Chilhowee Park in Knoxville, Tenn. which has showcased the heritage, agriculture and the arts of East Tennessee for over 90 years. The fair offers more than 3,200 contests including arm wrestling, woodcarving & wood sculpture, flour baking competition and a honey show among others. It also attracts approximately 140,000 guests annually. The fair features amusement rides, daily livestock shows, The Amazing Anastasini Circus, magicians, the Akima Planetarium, jugglers and more. Big names in music like Lee Brice, Randy Houser, The Charlie Daniels Band and Chase Rice will headline the daily concerts happening during the 10-day festival. Early admission tickets are $7 and $9 at the gate.
Take part in a little-known piece of history at the International Cowpea Festival Sept. 14 at Charleston City Park in historic Charleston, Tenn.; and learn the answer to the age-old question “What’s a cowpea?” Charleston was once known as the “Cowpea Capitol of the United States” and honors the true, authentic agri-heritage of the crop. The Cowpea Cook-off is one of the popular events as competitors cook one-bite appetizers, entrees and international flair that utilize a variety of pea in the cowpea family as the main ingredient. With other activities like music, crafts, art, produce and the Princess and the Cowpea Pageant, the festival is truly a unique experience.
See Rock City in all its German heritage glory at the 8th annual Rocktoberfest noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October at Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga, Tenn. Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 3-12 years old. Stroll along the Buddenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths) which will feature Fairyland Forest Makeovers, pumpkin painting and artisans at Lovers Leap, German food like delicious grilled bratwurst, roasted potatoes and homemade sauerkraut and the Big River Beer Garden on tap in the Pavilion and on the Rock Shop Patio. Polka dance lessons, live bands and costumed characters round out the activities.
Which festivals are you most excited about this season? Let me know in the comment box below!