Easily plan your Tennessee vacation around some of the unique and world-famous festivals happening in Tennessee in 2024. From storytelling and music festivals to the world’s largest MoonPie and fun food festivals, your calendar will be brimming with fun.
You can still have plenty of fun in Tennessee during the winter. Bundle up to experience a natural phenomena during the Sandhill Crane Festival. View thousands of migrating cranes at the Hiwassee River Wildlife Refuge with spotting scopes for up-close viewing. Then, enjoy educational sessions, raptor shows and Crane Tales – a session of storytelling and sharing of rich lore around sandhill cranes. Music and children’s activities are also planned. The festival takes place Jan. 12-14, 2024 and is free.
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Celebrate the craft that put Tennessee on the map – music. Our state is home to seven genres of music, making it not only a vital part of our culture and heritage, but arguable our biggest export to the world. With this in mind, Tennessee Songwriters Week is a month-long celebration of the songwriters who travel near and far to Tennessee to make their mark on the music industry. Leading up to Tennessee Songwriters Week, up and coming songwriters can register to participate in a contest that includes performing an original work at a Qualifying Round hosted at one of the 70 music venues across the state. Winners of Qualifying Rounds will move on to Tennessee Songwriters Week Showcases in venues in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Franklin, Gallatin, Gatlinburg and Johnson City. Seven Showcase winners will then get the opportunity to perform at The Bluebird Cafe in March 2024.
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When you start seeing buds on trees and the sun setting a little later, you’ll want to attend Big Ears Festival March 21-24, 2024. The event brings together music lovers and artists from all over the world for four days of music, inspiration, discovery and fun. Nearly 200 performances are held at restored historic theaters, warehouse spaces, museums, galleries, clubs and churches with pop-up events and performances, films, literary readings, workshops and markets all over the city. Get ready for four days of surprises. You may just walk away with a few new favorite artists. The 2024 lineup includes Herbie Hancock, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Henry Threadgill, Digable Planets, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway and many more.
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Hot Slaw & Art, Y’all is a food and art celebration of the mustard, mayo, secret sauce concoction famous in Cleveland, Tennessee. Try it on burgers, hotdogs or on its own during the festival April 6, 2024 in downtown Cleveland. Live music, art exhibits, pop-up street performances, lots of hot slaw including a Slaw-Off Competition, contests and family games are planned.
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Salute the businesses and experiences that make Memphis great during Memphis in May, a month-long celebration of the city. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is not to be missed May 15-18, 2024 at Liberty Park. The four-day competition welcomes pitmasters from around the world to compete for the title of World Champion and a share of the more than $150,000 prize. Championship pork categories of ribs, shoulder and whole hog as well as hot wings, sauce and “anything but pork” are featured. Purchase a ticket in advance for the Kingsford Tour of Champions to taste and judge barbecue from the competing teams as well as championship teams.
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Summers in Tennessee can’t be beat, especially with so many music festivals, food events and unique celebrations happening. One of the best Southern combinations – a Moon Pie and R.C. Cola – gets its own festival, the annual R.C. Cola & Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle June 15, 2024. The wacky, family-friendly event is a day full of music, cloggers, fun contests, Moon Pie games, colorful parade with the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival and the cutting of the world’s largest Moon Pie – free dessert for all in attendance.
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Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th is one of the nation’s largest Independence Day parties. Music, family-friendly games and one of the largest fireworks shows in the country with pyrotechnics synchronized to a live performance by the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony make this event a must for anyone’s 2024 travel plans. The lineup will be announced soon. Past performers include Brad Paisley, The War And Treaty, Ben Rector and more.
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Fans of the History’s ‘American Pickers’ can hunt for their own treasures each August during The 127 Yard Sale, the world’s longest yard sale spanning four days, six states and 690 miles. From Addison Michigan, through Middle and East Tennessee and ending in Gadsden, Alabama, you can shop among more than 2,000 vendors. Enjoy delicious local restaurants, unique lodging and other attractions along the way. The 127 Yard Sale takes place Aug. 1-4, 2024 in Clarkrange, Crossville, Pikeville, Dunlap, Signal Mountain and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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Part of the Vinfast IRONMAN North America Series, the Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga Triathlon includes swimming 2.4 miles in the Tennessee River, running and biking 116 miles of the rolling hills of Tennessee’s Scenic City. The athletes experience more than 1144.6 miles of beautiful scenery, can celebrate with local beer and enjoy the many attractions the city offers pre- or post-race. Watch all the action and soak up the excitement by watching the swimming along the Chattanooga Riverwalk, Ross’s Landing, Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, Frazier Avenue and Barton Avenue.
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With the changing leaves and the start of the lower temperatures, Tennessee is rich in festivals from food festivals, live music concerts and family-friendly events at farms and attractions decorated with festive harvest décor. One of the standout festivals you’ll want to attend is the unique National Storytelling Festival Oct. 4-6, 2024 in Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough. Historic Jonesborough is considered the Storytelling Capitol of the World as storytellers and listeners gather to share and learn the art of storytelling. Hear world-renowned storytellers tell tales passed down through generations, funny stories, heartbreaking stories and even ghost stories told in the crisp night air. The event is hosted by the International Storytelling Center, the first facility devoted exclusively to the ancient storytelling tradition.
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Herald in the holiday season at Discovery Park of America in Union City. The Let It Glow! walk-thru and drive-thru experiences will ignite your holiday spirit with more than 1 million lights and decorations. It’s a Christmas adventure for the whole family. You can even visit Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
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Smoky Mountain Winterfest takes place in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville featuring millions of Christmas light displays, events and performances starting in November through February 2025. Events include the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights, Polar Express Train Ride along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, the award-winning Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas considered being the best Christmas festival in America, Enchanted Christmas at Anakeesta, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales and the annual, award-winning Fantasy of Lights Gatlinburg Christmas Parade featuring large balloons, lighted floats, dancers, marching bands and more.
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