Whether it’s summer or winter, Tennessee knows how to keep you entertained with wonderful festivals and events. Kick off summer by celebrating the United States’ independence at one of Tennessee’s many Independence Day parades and events. Continue to celebrate through the end of the year with festivals like the Boomsday Festival in Knoxville, Rock-a-billy Festival in Jackson and the 40th Annual National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. Shop and browse the world’s largest yard sale at the Highway 127 Corridor Sale. Sample the finest barbecue in the world at Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg. Learn about Tennessee’s rich Civil War history at the 2013 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event or the “Liberty! The Saga at Sycamore Shoals” in Elizabethton. Wrap up the year at one of the many holiday attractions across the state.
Additional 2013 Tennessee events are highlighted for your convenience below. For a complete list, go to tnvacation.com/calendar/
July 3 - 4
Gatlinburg, Tenn. – Midnight Independence Day Parade – The “First July Fourth Parade of the Nation!” kicks off at midnight July 3. Floats, balloons and marching bands pay tribute to our country. 865-436-4178, www.gatlinburg.com.
Nashville, Tenn. – Music City July 4th Spectacular – This annual event is Nashville’s largest one-day party and features live music, family activities, food and one of the nation’s best fireworks displays. 800-657-6910, www.visitmusiccity.com.
Knoxville, Tenn. – Festival on the Fourth – Featuring live entertainment, family fun and more beginning at 4:30 p.m. at World’s Fair Park. 865-215-4248, www.cityofknoxville.org.
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Independence Day Weekend Fireworks – Explosive fireworks, food, games and rides at Lake Winnepesaukah. 877-525-3946, www.lakewinnie.com.
Knoxville, Tenn. – Independence Day Parade – Floats, animals and antique cars will parade down Kingston Pike, Concord Road to Boring Road at 9:30 a.m. www.knoxville.org/events.
July 5 - 6
Smithville, Tenn. – Smithville’s Fiddler’s Jamboree & Crafts Festival, Smithville – Features various state and national championships, jam sessions and juried craft exhibitors. 615-597-4163, www.smithvillejamboree.com.
July 11 - 27
Elizabethton, Tenn. – “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” – Tennessee’s official outdoor drama continues for a three-weekend run – Thursdays through Saturdays – beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Watauga Amphitheater. www.sycamoreshoalstn.org.
July 12 - 14
Murfreesboro, Tenn. – 36th Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival – This festival honors the memory of Uncle Dave Macon, one of the first Grand Ole Opry superstars and features music, arts and crafts, food, storytelling and competitions. 800-716-7560, www.uncledavemacondays.com.
July 12 - 20
Kingsport, Tenn. – Kingsport Fun Fest – Live concerts, children’s activities and hot air balloons fill this family-friendly festival. 800-743-5282, www.funfest.net.
July 26 - 28
Rutledge, Tenn. – Grainger County Tomato Festival – Events include Civil War encampment, arts and cultural exposition, tomato wars, entertainment and more. 865-828-4222, www.graingercountytomatofestival.com.
Aug. 1 - 4
Jamestown, Tenn. – 127 Corridor Sale – The world’s longest yard sale stretches for 675 miles along U.S. Highway 127. 800-327-3945, www.127sale.com.
Aug. 3 – 4
Cleveland, Tenn. – Cherokee Days of Recognition – Living history, along with authentic crafts and food, are front and center during the 30th annual Cherokee Days of Recognition at Red Clay State Historic Park. www.tn.gov/environment/parks/RedClay.
Aug 9 - 10
Jackson, Tenn. – Rock-A-Billy Festival – The world’s largest gathering of Rock-A-Billy artists and musicians at the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame Museum. 731-427-6262, www.rockabillyhall.org.
Aug. 10 - 16
Memphis, Tenn. – Elvis Week – The 36th anniversary of the celebration of Elvis Presley’s music, movies and life. The event also includes a candlelight vigil. 800-238-2000, www.elvis.com.
Aug 21 - 31
Shelbyville, Tenn. – 75th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration –The world championship show of Tennessee’s native breed of show horse. Division champions will be crowned with the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse being named. 931-684-5915, www.twhnc.com.
Aug 30 - 31
Jackson, Tenn. – African Street Festival – This event promotes African culture awareness with entertainment, workshops, educational seminars and more. 731-267-3212, www.Saaca.com.
Knoxville, Tenn. – Boomsday Festival – Largest Labor Day weekend fireworks display in the nation includes games, children’s activities, food, beverages and live entertainment. 800-727-8045, www.boomsday.org.
Jackson, Tenn. – Casey Jones Village Old-Time Music Festival – Outdoor music festival dedicated to preserving old-time string, bluegrass and gospel music. 800-748-9588, www.caseyjones.com.
Sept. 12 - 14
Memphis, Tenn. – Southern Heritage Classic – A football match-up between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University preceded by fun events. 901-398-6655, www.southernheritageclassic.com.
Sept. 20 - 22
Bristol, Tenn. – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – Brings quality national, regional and local music to Bristol, the “Birthplace of Country Music,” in honor of its musical heritage and culture. 423-573-4898, www.bristolrhythm.com.
Sept. 27 - 29
Paris, Tenn. – Eye Full of Paris Weekend – This celebration of the arts includes three full days of visual and performing arts in a variety of venues. 731-642-9271, www.visitdowntownparis.com.
Oct. 4 - 5
Erwin, Tenn. – Unicoi County Apple Festival – Vendors, crafts, children’s area and entertainment. 423-743-3000, www.unicoicounty.org.
Oct. 4 - 6
Tiptonville, Tenn. – Reelfoot Arts & Crafts Festival – Features more than 300 exhibitors including artists, potters, carvers, jewelry makers, music, delicious barbecue, fried pies, ice cream and more. 731-885-7295, www.reelfootartsandcrafts.com.
Jonesborough, Tenn. – 40th Annual National Storytelling Festival – This three-day event features compelling performances by internationally-known professional tellers. 800-952-8392, www.storytellingcenter.net.
Centerville, Tenn. – National Banana Pudding Festival – This one-day event will include, in addition to a national cook-off for the best banana pudding in America, two entertainment stages, a children’s area, craft booths, lots of pudding samples and more. 931-994-6273, www.bananapuddinfest.org.
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Culture Fest – Celebrate diversity through performances, children’s events food and art. 800-267-4232, www.artsedcouncil.org.
Oct. 10 - 12
Chattanooga, Tenn. – 2013 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event – Join us as presenters discuss the battles, events and stories of the Civil War. The Symposium will be sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and Tennessee Historical Society. Patricia.Grey@tn.gov, www.tncivilwar150.com.
Sparta, Tenn. – 15th Annual Liberty Square Celebration & Lester Flatt Memorial Bluegrass Day – Features a full day of music, crafts, food, games, truck and car show and much more. Visitors from across the country come to pay tribute to bluegrass legend Lester. 931-836-3248, www.sparta-chamber.net.
Whitwell, Tenn. – Ketner's Mill Country Arts Fair – On the banks of the Big Sequatchie River in Marion County stands the only remaining water powered grist mill in the area. Visitors can buy quality crafts, paddle a canoe, enjoy good country cooking and listen to a variety of music. 423-267-5702, www.ketnersmill.org.
Lynchburg, Tenn. – Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue – This event has been called the most prestigious barbecue competition in the world. 931-759-6332, www.jackdaniels.com.
Oct. 17 - 27
Memphis, Tenn. – Zoo Boo – The Zoo’s most spooktacular event returns with more activities than ever! Enjoy old favorites like the Costume Contest and Dracula's Disco and take on the Rock Wall. Get your costume and get ready for the best Halloween event of the year. 901-333-6500, www.memphiszoo.org.
Oct. 26 - 27
Morristown, Tenn. – 36th Annual Mountain Makins Festival – The historic 1892 Rose Center is filled with juried fine arts and crafts, plus enjoy live music, dancing, storytelling, children’s activities, food and expert demonstrations of time-honored traditions. Named a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society. 423-581-4330, www.rosecenter.org.
Nov. 9 - Dec. 30
Pigeon Forge, Tenn. – Annual Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas – The Smoky Mountains’ family Christmas destination features more than four million lights, fun rides, tractions and award-winning holiday shows. 800-DOLLYWOOD, www.dollywood.com.
Nov. 12 – Feb. 28, 2014
Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge & Sevierville, Tenn. – Smoky Mountain Winterfest – The gateway towns to the Smokies turn into a winter wonderland with more than 5 million light displays and special events. 800-568-4748, www.gatlinburg.com; 800-251-9100, www.mypigeonforge.com; 888-766-5948, www.visitsevierville.com.
(November - January)
Memphis, Tenn. – Christmas at Graceland – See traditional lights and decorations, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and much more originally displayed by Elvis. 800-238-2000, www.elvis.com.
Nashville, Tenn. – Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” – Sensational decorations, entertainment and some of the most delectable food anywhere. Features the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, ICE! and more. 888-OPRY-872, www.gaylordopryland.com.
Bristol, Tenn. – Speedway in Lights – Tour this stunning display of more than 1 million lights and hundreds of displays by car. Or make a reservation to bring your group through by bus. 423-989-6933, www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.
Dec. 6 - 28
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Ruby Red Christmas – Celebrate the holidays 1,120 feet underground at Ruby Falls with holiday music, a light show and more festivities. 423-821-2544, www.rubyfalls.com.
Rugby, Tenn. – Christmas at Historic Rugby – Visit beautifully decorated historic homes to bring an old-fashioned Christmas holiday season to life. 888-214-3400, www.historicrugby.org.
Dec. 14 - 15
Franklin, Tenn. – Dickens of a Christmas – A Victorian-themed Christmas with more than 200 costumed characters reenacting the work of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” 615-591-8500, www.historicfranklin.com.
For more information on Tennessee happenings, visit us at tnvacation.com, facebook.com/tnvacation, tnvacation.com/triptales/, instagram.com/tnvacation, twitter.com/tnvacation/ or pinterest.com/tnvacation/.