Dollywoods Splash Country RiverRush 2013

Make your Facebook friends envious of your Tennessee summer vacation

The temperatures are climbing and summer travel thoughts are mounting. Fulfill your wanderlust with a trip to Tennessee as festivals, larger-than-life exhibits and music fill the air and regions. Get your feet tapping, your heart skipping and tastebuds watering at the Dollywood Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival and Memphis in May International Festival. Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art will be overrun with large bugs, courtesy of David Rogers. Bird enthusiasts can flock to the Hatchie BirdFest at the end of the month. Check out an extended list of events below and for even more Tennessee summer ideas, check out


Welcome summer in all its family fun glory at Dollywood Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival May 24-June 8 at Dollywood. Hear Bluegrass performers like The Time Jumpers, Moore Brothers Band, Breaking Glass, The Lackey Family, and Riders in the Sky. More than 50,000 lbs. of barbecue smothered in a variety of sauces will be served up. Whether you’re craving roasted pork or chicken, follow the scent to Market Square where some of the best grilling and barbecuing happen.Bluegrass

Hear the chugging of trains as they roll into Oneida during the BSF Vintage Train Fest May 31-June 1 at Oneida City Park. Live entertainment provided by Great Day In The Morning bluegrass band and the Highlander Bluegrass Band, vendors, arts and crafts, food, and a vintage car cruise-in will be part of the festivities. The train is scheduled to arrive between noon and 12:30 p.m. each day.


Jam out as more than 50 acts will perform for 10 music-filled days during the Americana Experience May 22-June 1 throughout the Franklin area. Puckett’s Grocery, the Lawnchair Theatre, the Franklin Theatre, Music City Roots, The Factory, Grays on Main and Kimbro’s are just some of the venues the music of Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, Brandy Clark, Parker Millsap, The Jake Leg Stompers, The Blues Explosion and others can be heard. The entire community is invited for an unplugged, gospel sing-a-long near a creek in Leiper’s Fork.

Spider_E_Lisa_Mattei_2smDavid Rogers’ Big Bugs are taking over May 23-Aug. 31 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. This enchanting outdoor art installation features 10 gigantic insect sculptures made from wood, twigs, raw branches, twine, bark and other natural materials. A praying mantis, ants, and dragonfly are part of the exhibit. Participate in the “Bug Hunt,” an adventure brochure which gives clues to visitors as they discover surprises hiding throughout the gardens.


May is a big month in Memphis as the Memphis in May International Festival celebrations run through May 24. The city’s largest events happen during this festive time. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will take place at Tom Lee Park. It welcomes hundreds of teams who compete for more than $110,000 in prizes and bragging rights. The festivities wrap up with the AutoZone Sunset Symphony that features the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Music, fireworks and an airshow make it “a perfect way to end a perfect May.”

Memphis in May, provided by MIM (1)See all kinds of birds from swallows to falcons at the Hatchie BirdFest May 30-June 1 at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. With more than 200 birds, an outdoor adventure awaits. Special speakers, demonstrations, hikes and vendors will also be scheduled for this event that’s perfect for beginners to expert birders.

What are your Tennessee summer travel plans? Comment below!

Hey! I’m Amanda Stravinsky, a born-and-raised Jersey girl who now makes her home in the awesome, musically-inclined city of...Read on

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