Tennessee Tourism’s Labor Day Travel Ideas Include Festivals, History, Culture And More

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - by Amanda Stravinsky

Labor Day is fast approaching and Tennessee has visitors covered for the long weekend. It’s the perfect opportunity to attend the nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks display; celebrate the greatness of the annual Southern Heritage Classic; and take in culture like a local at Nashville’s Shakespeare in the Park. Here are just a few ideas and for more information and events, visit www.tnvacation.com/calendar.


The nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks display can be found at Boomsday Labor Day, Sept. 1 in Knoxville. Named one of Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 events, Boomsday features delicious food, a Family Fun Zone with inflatables, contests and a huge fireworks display which will go off at 9:30 p.m. with a simulcast of music provided by Star 102.1. With live entertainment, food and games, Boomsday is an annual event that draws more than 400,000 people a year.

Arts, crafts, food and fun are on the schedule for the 18th annual Fall Funfest Sept. 6-7 in Cookeville. Musical acts perform a wide range of popular styles that appeal to every age group. Dancing: highly encouraged. Sample some of the finest barbeque at the Cookeville Cook Off as culinary artists compete. At least three dozen teams from across the country will compete for prize money, the Grand Champion title and the chance to compete in the Kansas City Barbeque Society National Invitation as well as being eligible for the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue.

Visitors can surround themselves with beautiful Middle Tennessee countryside when they attend the Semi-Annual Summertown Bluegrass Reunion Aug. 30-31 in Summertown, TN. Bluegrass fans from all over the United States make this event an annual stop. Bring lawn chairs and enjoy lively music and beautiful scenery. Learn to waltz, two-step, square or line dance as the dance floor is always open during the stage performances. Make it a camping trip as there are 125 sites available on a first come, first serve basis.

History & Culture

Head to Memphis for the Fort Pillow Labor Day Celebration Sept. 2 in Henning, TN. Outdoor activities and programs will be featured for all ages. Most of the interpretive programs serve to enhance the understanding of the American Civil War as well as the nature and recreational programs.

Take part in a summertime tradition by attending Shakespeare in the Park starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays and Labor Day Monday through Sept. 15 in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tenn. This year, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is performed with enough colorful costumes, drama and comedy to entertain all, including the Shakespearian novice. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnics. Benches and bleacher seating are available, along with food and cold drinks for purchase. The event has been free and open to the public for 20 years but a $10 donation is suggested.


Fill Labor Day travel days with music at the Riverfront Nights Music Series 7 p.m. each Saturday night now through Sept. 14 at Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga. The nights are free and filled with local bands and headliners like Ana Popovic, Seven Handle Circus and Alan Evans Trio. “Riverfront Nights” promotes local people and institutions that encourage healthy living and sustainable practices. Healthy living, food and drink choices line the venue’s borders to educate on the importance of health and wellness. An intense love of outdoor and adrenaline-producing recreation can also be found here.

“Live on the Green,” a free weekly concert takes place 6 p.m. every Thursday through Sept. 12 in Public Square Park in Nashville, Tenn. The concerts showcase Nashville musical talent with national acts that have roots in Music City. See artists like Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Local Natives and Moon Taxi. Live on the Green produces environmentally-friendly concerts and provides food and beverages from local restaurants. VIP access tickets are available for $55 and include complimentary beverages, exclusive stage access, private restrooms, unlimited access to the VIP Lightning Lounge Tent and more.

The iconic Loretta Lynn will make her way home to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in historic Hurricane Mills, Tenn. for a Labor Day Weekend Live Concert on Aug. 3. Entertainment legend Merle Haggard will perform on Sept. 1. Rising star Kasey Musgraves will also perform during the weekend. This is an event not to be missed. Tickets are available at 931 296-7700.


It’s football season and two Tennessee teams will face off as The University of Tennessee and Austin Peay State University meet for the season opener 6 p.m. ET Aug. 31 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Join thousands of sports fans as they make their pilgrimage to the 24th Southern Heritage Classic Cultural Celebration Sept. 12-14 in Memphis. Lively tailgate parties, musical entertainment like Charlie Wilson with special guest Fantasia, the Classic Parade, Battle of the Bands and more lead up to the epic game between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Tickets start at $18 and are on sale now.

To find your next vacation sweet spot explore tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

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