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It's time to start planning for a spring and summer vacation. These Tennessee spring and summer city and local town festivals offer music, entertainment, food and more. Check out the unique festivals happening across the state.
Spring Festivals in Tennessee
Dollywood is your springtime destination as the award-winning, family-friendly attraction introduces a new event, Flower & Food Festival. Marvel at the topiary structures, crafted by horticultural artists, reaching up to 14 feet. Take a selfie underneath Umbrella Sky, a tapestry of colorful umbrellas suspended over Showstreet. Keep your calendar open for the in-the-kitchen demonstrations and special culinary events that highlight the fresh ingredients of spring.
Celebrate why Nashville is hailed as Music City as it hosts big-name songwriters and performers all April-long. The city promises a major event every weekend of the month like Nashville Fashion Week, Cherry Blossom Festival, Nashville Film Festival, and the Wild West Comedy Festival. Keep your calendar empty and your eyes sharp for event announcements.
A new family-friendly food and art festival celebrates hot slaw - a mustard, mayo and secret sauce concoction - in Cleveland, Tennessee. Mark your calendars for next year. The Hot Slaw and Art Y'all! festival takes place April 1, 2023 with live music, artist exhibitors, pop-up street performances, food vendors, contests and, of course, hot slaw smothered on burgers, hot dogs and more.
Yes, Tennessee has a "Mule Capital" of the world and it's in Columbia. Mule Day is each April and hosts dancing, music, food, competitions like log-loading and pony mule pulling, and parades of mules and their miniature counterparts. It's an adorable festival kids of all ages love to attend.
Africa in April is a cultural event that gives its audience a glimpse into Togo through arts and crafts, music, food, culture, history and even economics. The festival is at Robert R. Church Park in Memphis where you can enjoy authentic food, explore exhibitions, see performing arts and listen to music that will make you want to dance.
Thousands of people flock to the small town of Paris for the five tons of fried catfish that is served during the all-you-can-eat feast each April. Stay an extra day to enjoy the World's Biggest Fish Fry's Grand Parade, pageants, catfish races, and arts and crafts.
Find out what a ramp is and how to use it in meals at this unique culinary festival dedicated to the ramp in April at this 4-H Camp McCroy in Reliance, Tennessee. The Ramp Tramp Festival kicks off with bluegrass music and servings of white beans, cornbread and ramps. Saturday is a full day with a ramp meal featuring fried ramps in eggs, fried potatoes, streaked meat, white beans and cornbread. Music fills the air all day and local craftsmen have handmade items for sale. Buck dancing and clogging happen later on in the afternoon.
Let your sweet tooth lead you to downtown Humboldt for the annual West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, Tennessee largest and longest-running festival since 1934 each May. An art extravaganza, fireworks, a contest for the best strawberry recipe, shortcake in the park, the Strawberry Market, live music and entertainment, parades and pageants make this festival a must-attend for any traveler.
Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival - Portland
The annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival includes new offerings like magic show performances, a new music stage and Robocars in downtown Portland. Be sure to catch the Strawberry Slam Wrestling Event, story hour, pancake breakfast, more than 150 food, craft and information vendors, strawberry farmers and much more. Stay for the strawberry festival parade and fireworks that cap off the festival.
Memphis in May International Festival packs the month of May with unforgettable events like Beale Street Music Festival with performances by artists like Lil Wayne, The Avett Brothers, Three 6 Mafia, The Lumineers and more than 60 other top musical acts; the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, where barbecue teams from around the world compete for the title of World Champion and prize money. Thousands flock to watch and taste barbecue with a trip through BBQ Alley by Big Green Egg & Friends and more; and the Great American River Run which introduces an inaugural 10k run along with the half marathon and 5k routes. Take in Memphis as you run along the banks of the Mississippi River and through downtown Memphis. Post-race fun includes music, food and beverages.
More than 25,000 spectators come to the beautiful Percy Warner Park in Nashville for the time-honored tradition of Iroquois Steeplechase. Southern fashions, incredible food and thrilling horse races make this a crowd-pleasing event. Tailgating, furnished tents and family areas are available for guests to make the day a truly enjoyable experience.
Mill Spring Makers Market, a small business located in downtown Jonesborough, bi-annually hosts their next Makers Faire each May along Spring Street and throughout Mill Spring Park in downtown Jonesborough. The Mill Spring Makers Faire features 60 of the region's best artists, craftsmen and makers. Browse a great selection of handmade goods including pottery, fine art, furniture & wood crafts, jewelry, clothing and stained glass, as well as garden decor, flowers and plants. Art demonstrations, music and food also take place.
Riverbend Music Festival, Chattanooga's longest-running, award-winning music festival brings music lovers together for performances on four stages June 3-5, 2022 at Ross's Landing on Riverfront Parkway. Enjoy views of the Tennessee River while listening to Brothers Osborne, Blackberry Smoke, Ashley McBryde, Here Come The Mummies, Mavis Staples, Darius Rucker, The Cadillac Three and many more.
Summer Festivals in Tennessee
CMA Music Festival comes back bigger and better than ever for its 49th installment of the festival this year. Mark your calendar for June 9-12, 2022 where the brightest stars in country flock to Nashville for the biggest party in the city. Check out continued updates on CMA Fest including tickets, the star-studded lineup, stages and more.
Second Saturday & Main Street LIVE Concert Series - McMinnville
Visit McMinnville for local shopping and live music all summer long. Local businesses are open late and live music can be heard during Second Saturday events on June 11, 2022, July 9, 2022 and Aug. 13, 2022 5-8 p.m. Enjoy shopping at local shops like The Doodle Fish, The Vintage Market, Three Sisters Candle Co. and Southern Traditions. Main Street LIVE is an outdoor concert series in downtown McMinnville beginning June 10, 2022 with a variety of music throughout the summer from country to Motown & R&B to classic rock.
Artists like Gryffin, J. Cole, The Chicks, Illenium, Stevie Nicks, Machine Gun Kelly and more will play for music fans who will once again flock to the 700-acre farm for Bonnaroo June 16-19, 2022 in Manchester. The farm becomes a city with various events like yoga, Broo'ers Festival, sustainable fun at Planet Roo, the classic Ferris Wheel, Splash-A-Roo and a village market with curated crafts, art and experiences. Tickets and packages are on sale now.
Knoxville has a flourishing brewery community and what better way to local craft beer than at Knoxville Brewfest? Featuring more than 20 local, regional and national breweries, Brewfest takes place June 18, 2022 at World's Fair Park Lake. It is a celebration of beer and the city's community spirit. Tickets include event admission, a commemorative tasting glass and beer tasting.
The Bluff City Balloon Jamboree is a family-friendly event featuring more than 20 hot air balloons June 17-19, 2022 at Shelby Farms Park. Get there early to see the morning balloon launch and snag your spot for the afternoon tethered rides (tickets are $25 per person). In the evening, all balloons light up the night sky as part of the evening balloon glow. Carnival rides, balloon basket photo booth, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors and music round out the summer festivities.
Celebrate African culture in Diaspora featuring music, performances and the always-popular African World Marketplace during the Kuumba Festival June 24-26, 2022 in Knoxville. Festivities on June 24 take place on Market Square and events continue June 25-26 at Morningside Park. See traditional crafts, clothing and food from all over the world. Enjoy the West African Drum and Dance Community Circle where everyone in attendance is welcome to participate. A local talent show, Kuumba Watoto Dance and Drum Village extravaganza and live music and entertainment are also highlights.
Have a taste of summer at the Watermelon Festival (included with general admission) July 2 at Lucky Ladd Farm. Savor a free slice of watermelon and either participate for prizes or watch for fun the watermelon crawl and watermelon eating contests. When the temperatures get a bit high, cool off in the splash zone where you'll find a splash pad, bubble blast pool, inflatable water slides and more.
The inaugural Casey Jones Village Festival takes place July 9, 2022 at Casey Jones Village in Jackson. Children's games, arts and crafts and a concert by Ellie Holcomb (tickets are $10 per person) at the Casey Jones Village Amphitheater are the highlights of the festival. Food trucks and local businesses will be in attendance, providing a one-stop shopping experience of local boutiques and shops. The event is free and will be from 10 am. to 3 p.m. CST.
Attend the Tri-State Outdoors Fest July 16, 2022 to learn about the numerous outdoor opportunities in and around Cumberland Gap like hiking, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, fishing, boating and more. Seminars and guided hikes led by world-renowned outdoor experts will take place. A children's area will include a kid-friendly obstacle course, archery, open-fire cooking demonstrations and more. Sample craft beer from Clinch River Brewing Company, enter drawings for prizes and enjoy live music. A large community clean up effort will happen on Sunday, July 17.
The annual Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival takes place July 23, 2022 on Fisk University's campus. The festival celebrates and highlights the rich music history of Jefferson Street, historically one of America's best-known jazz, blues and rhythm & blues districts. Famous African American musicians played in the clubs like Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles and Memphis Slim among others. Local businesses and culture are showcased during the festival with music performances happening all day. It is the largest annual public community music festival in North Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
Meet the makers of Northeast Tennessee during the Monteagle Mountain Market Arts & Crafts July 30-31, 2022 behind City Hall in downtown Monteagle. Featuring over 100 artisans and crafters, browse and purchase handmade creations including fine art, leather work, woodcrafts, jewelry, metal art, glass art, primitive furniture and more. When you're hungry, head to one of the food vendors offering barbecue, burgers, homemade ice cream, turkey legs, kettle corn and fresh lemonade.
The 127 Yard Sale, considered the world's largest yard sale, spreads across Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama for 690 miles and featuring thousands of vendors each year. Here in Tennessee, you can shop for antiques, handmade items and more at booths and stops in Pall Mall, Jamestown, Clarkrange, Crossville, Pikeville, Dunlap, Signal Mountain and Chattanooga among others. Celebrities have even been spotted hunting for treasured pieces. This year's event takes place Aug. 4-7, 2022.
Get acquainted with Northeast Tennessee's great outdoors during Meet the Mountains Festival Aug. 19-20, 2022 in Johnson City. Become an experiences outdoor enthusiast through numerous outdoor activities from paddling to hiking, mountain biking and fishing. The gear, people and resources are available to help you enjoy the vast landscape. Split into three zones - water zone, air zone and earth zone - the festival has activity stations like a zipline, rock wall, kayak demos, dock diving by Ultimate Air Dogs, mountain bike skills clinic, axe throwing and archery. Come out for two days of family-friendly outdoor fun.
Ten days of fair fun including music, competitions and exhibits will take place during the Wilson County Fair-Tennessee State Fair Aug. 18-27, 2022 at the Wilson County Exposition Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. Live music and entertainment by local and regional artists, cloggers and square dancers will take place on five stages. See live stock shows, antique car show, dog shows, a cat competition, food competitions, robotics challenge and so much more. Have a ride on one of the carnival rides like the classic Ferris wheel or swings.
The Delta Fair & Music Fest, happening Sept. 2-11, 2022, has live music with performances by Jason D Williams, Big Smo, Lathan Warlick and The Josephines. Festival food, helicopter rides, pig races, bike night, street performers and carnival rides for the kids make this “Everyone’s Fair.”
Cherokee Fall Festival – Vonore
The Cherokee Fall Festival Sept. 10-11, 2022 is full of demonstrations, Cherokee dances, arts and crafts wares, food, music and tours of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Tennessee’s only tribally-owned museum.
These festivals and so many more can be experienced during your vacation to Tennessee. Check out even more festival fun on the Events Page.
See first-hand travel recommendations from explorers on where to go in Tennessee.