Memorial Day Weekend Celebrations, Observations And Festivals In This Week’s Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - by Jill Kilgore

Nearly 42 million travelers are expected to travel nationwide during Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. Here are the festivals and celebrations going on across Tennessee this week to mark the unofficial kick-off to summer. For a complete list of events, visit tnvacation.


Honoring Heroes

Memphis –The Pink Palace Family of Museums salutes the military, offering free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Shiloh – Shiloh Military Park marks Memorial Day with activities to commemorate America’s service men and women.

Union City – Discovery Park of America marks Memorial Day weekend with Military Living History Weekend and weapon demonstrations. A special $10 admission applies to all guests. All military and dependents get in free on Memorial Day.

Nashville – War Memorial Auditorium is a tribute to Tennesseans who died during WWI. The plaza has two sculptures honoring those lost during the Vietnam War and Korean War. Inside is the Military History Branch of the Tennessee State Museum. Honor those fallen during the annual Memorial Day ceremony held by Gov. Haslam, First Lady Crissy Haslam, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee Military Department Adjutant General, Major General Terry “Max” Haston 10:30 a.m.May 25 on War Memorial Plaza. Pay tribute to veterans at the WWII memorial at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

Murfreesboro – Stones River Battlefield will host Memorial Day events and place American flags on more than 7,000 graves in Stones River National Cemetery. Roam the hallowed grounds and learn stories and sacrifices of the men and women interred there. A Memorial Day service the May 27 will include patriotic music, wreath laying and a reading of the names of veterans.

Chattanooga - Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Memorial Day with a series of special programs at Chickamauga Battlefield and at Lookout Mountain Battlefield.

Knoxville – The exhibit at East Tennessee History Center, In the Footsteps of Sergeant York, showcases groundbreaking research and allows visitors to retrace the steps of one of America’s best-known military heroes.

Pall Mall – Pack a picnic and pay tribute to one of the most decorated soldiers of WWI at Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park with a vintage store, York’s two-story house, a gristmill and the York Bible School.

May 24-28

Knoxville - "Sergeant York: The Play" at West Park Baptist Church Student HUB tells the story of Alvin C. York's WWI heroism, but also dramatizes what York accomplished in his Pall Mall community following the war.

May 24

Jackson – Welcome in the warm weather with The Farm at Casey Jones Village’s inaugural Planters Day. Find fun activities for all ages, including agricultural demonstrations, tractor displays, a petting zoo, face painting, live music and food.

Nashville – After undergoing a major renovation, the Martin ArtQuest Gallery reopens at Frist Art Museum. The updated gallery will feature enhanced activities and hands-on art-making space for families, children and school groups to explore art.

May 24-26

Adamsville – Honoring the famous “Walking Tall” sheriff, the Sheriff Buford Pusser Festival in Buford Pusser Memorial Park features a tour of the old jail, free live music, delicious fair food, a car and bike show, carnival and family fun.

May 24-27

Jackson – Head out to the ball park. The Jackson Generals face the Birmingham Barons. Promotions include dollar dogs and drinks on Thursday, Food Truck Friday and Superhero Nighton Saturday with fireworks after the game.

Crawford – Camp out at Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival. The fun music festival coincides with the taping of an episode of the Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Series on PBS. For directions and complete information, click here.

May 25

Memphis – Bring the kids for a Family Campfire Party 7-9 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden. Listen closely during the peak of frog-calling season and celebrate with crafts, activities and night hike. Hot dogs and s’mores provided. Tickets are $15.

Jackson – Bring a blanket for a date night under the stars for Reels at the Amp at the Jackson Amphitheater at West Tennessee Farmers Market. A showing of the classic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial begins at sundown. There will be food trucks.

Union City – Sing your heart out in the interactive “Science of Rock and Roll” exhibit at Discovery Park of America.

Adamsville – Grab a blanket and a picnic and jam out to a free concert 6-8 p.m. at Adamsville City Park.

Nashville – The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s new exhibit, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring 70s, explores the era of cultural and artistic exchange revealing untold stories and never-before-seen artifacts.

Nashville – Listen to bluegrass and roots pickers jam in circles under the trees 7-11 p.m. at the Full Moon Pickin’ Party at Percy Warner Park. Tickets are $25 and money raised protects Warner Parks, its education programs and special projects.

Nashville – Experience the Nashville Zoo after hours for a fun family night under the stars 6-10 p.m. Zoovie Nights include games, music, crafts and face painting. Pack a blanket and watch the film Moana while the sun goes down.

Hohenwald – Put on your dancing shoes for line dancing, clogging, two-stepping and live music for Stepping at the Strand 7 p.m. at Strand Theatre & Art Gallery. Concessions will be available. The series is the fourth Friday of every month.

Chattanooga – Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park offers a free 2.5 hour, family-friendly Canoe Tour on Lookout Creek. The tour starts at 9 a.m. Call 423-643-6888 to make a reservation.

Roan Mountain – The Celtic band Émigré blends the guitar, fiddle and vocals to take listeners on a musical journey 7:30 p.m. at Roan Mountain State Park’s Amphitheater. The concert is free.

Knoxville – Join The Muse Knoxville for free Family Fun Night 5-8 p.m. The exhibit floor will be open after hours free to the public! They will also show multiple planetarium shows at no extra cost.

Woodbury – Shake Rattle & Roll is a Memorial Day weekend tribute concert to Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash 7:30 p.m. at The Arts Center of Cannon County. Tickets are $15.

Townsend – Jodi & Tim Harbin perform simple, pure and honest Appalachian mountain music 7 p.m. during the Spring Concert Series at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

May 25-26

Big Sandy - The Big Sandy Spring Festival downtown features a parade, car show, centennial ceremony, live entertainment, food, kids' games and fireworks to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.

May 25-27

Lookout Mountain – Tap your toes to the music and see the Seven States View during Rock City’s Summer Music Weekends. Walk through the gardens, enjoy fresh-squeezed lemonade, dine at Café 7 and watch the Rock City Raptors Birds of Prey shows.

May 25-28

Union City – See reenactors and weapon demonstrations during Discovery Park of America’s Military Living History Weekend.

Chattanooga – Tennessee Aquarium hosts a special screening of “We the Marines” in IMAX 3D for Memorial Day weekend.

May 25 – June 10

Pigeon Forge – Dollywood’s Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival offers free concerts by popular artists like Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and the Grascals alongside a menu of the tasty barbecue.

May 26

Memphis – 901Fest in Tom Lee Park is the finale for Memphis in May with local performers on multiple stages, local food, a cornhole tournament and creative arts tent to make your own art. Nick Black, Marco Pave and Avon Dale will perform.

Memphis – The Pink Palace Family of Museums has the cure for summer boredom with its Endless Summer Adventures movie series with the premiere of the Journey to the South Pacific IMAX 3D movies. Show times vary.

Shiloh – Shiloh National Military Park kicks off its Shiloh Summer Concert Series with a free twilight concert on the lawn in front of the park’s visitors center with Civil War Era music. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic basket.

Samburg – Rev up your engines for the Samburg Memorial Day Celebration Car Show noon to 4 p.m. on East Lakeview Drive along beautiful Reelfoot Lake. There will be antiques, classics, original and modified cars, along with door prizes.

Adamsville – Experience Renaissance on Main with Paint the Town downtown. Watch artists paint outdoors in the “plein air” tradition on Main Street, the surrounding area and at the Buford Pusser Festival.

Nashville – Witness Tennessee’s best air guitarists battle it out for the 2018 U.S. Air Guitar Championships at The High Watt.

Nashville – Camp near snoozing animals for Zzzoofari Slumber at the Nashville Zoo. The overnight event includes hayrides, carousel and zipline rides, inflatables, an animal show, crafts dinner, marshmallow roast and full breakfast in the morning.

Nashville – Check out vintage beauties at the Hot Rod Boogie Outdoor Car Show 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. behind Nashville Palace.

East Nashville – The free East Nashville Crawfish Bash noon to 9 p.m. in East Park showcases unlimited crawfish, local food, art vendors, local breweries and live music. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Pets are also welcome.

Hermitage – Search for clues in the Scavenger Hunt at Long Hunter State Park. Meet Ranger Thurman at 1 p.m. at the kiosk in the Couchville Lake Area.

Crossville – The Memorial Day Bar-B-Q and Potluck 4-6 p.m. under the pavilion at Ballyhoo Family Campground will provide pork loin barbecue and ice cream. Guests can bring sides.

Clarksville – Bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic to enjoy a free movie under the stars for Movies in the Park at Heritage Park. The movie Wonder Woman will begin at sunset.

Clarksville – Clarksville’s Downtown Market opens offering fresh produce, baked goods, local honey, milk, home décor, seasonal flowers and entertainment.

Granville – The 20th Annual Granville Heritage Days features the theme “Flashback to the Fifties” with guided tours in venues across the historic downtown, crafts, bluegrass music, fiddle competition, antique car show and special museum exhibits.

Hampshire – Take a trip to the bayou here in Tennessee noon to 8 p.m. at Amber Falls Winery for Cajunfest with authentic food, music and award-winning wine. Money raised benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maury County.

Hampshire – Jam out while savoring slow-smoked barbecue and tasting wine during Swine and Wine at Natchez Hills Vineyard. Music starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include a souvenir Natchez Hills Wine Glass and wine tasting.

Jonesborough – Get ready to make a splash for the opening of the Wetlands Water Park. The family-friendly water park includes a zero depth area, two flume slides, a 200 ft. giant slide, lazy river and smaller children’s slides.

Sevierville – The Diner hosts a Memorial Day Weekend Cruise In noon to 5 p.m. with music by Gary’s Sound Machine, drawings and prizes. A $10 donation puts you in for cash drawings.

May 26-27

Brownsville – Exit 56 Blues Fest from the porch of blues legend Sleepy John Estes’ home at West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center includes live music, a car and motorcycle cruise in/corvette car show and deep-fried barbecue eating competition.


Tullahoma - The Tullahoma Art Center hosts Art Alive. The juried arts and craft fair features works of acrylic, oil, watercolor, mixed media, crafts, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry, weaving, quilting, wood, glass, pottery and more.

Chattanooga – The Chattanooga Street Food Festival at First Tennessee Pavilion boasts a weekend-long gathering of the best food trucks all over Tennessee to celebrate a diversity of culinary cuisine.

Land Between the Lakes – Woodlands Nature Station hosts Born to be Wild Weekend during Memorial Day Weekend. Visitors can mingle with Smokey the Bear, gobble with turkeys and have up-close encounters with native wildlife.

May 26-Sep. 9

Chattanooga – In the new exhibit at Creative Discovery Museum, sing, explore and pretend with friends and family in favorite places from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, based on the award-winning PBS Kids television series.

May 28

Pinson – Discover the history of Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park with a History Hike. Bring water and comfortable shoes for the mile hike. A 125-stair climb to the top of Sauls Mound is optional. Meet at 9:45 a.m. at Pinson Mounds Museum.

Columbia – Foster Party of 8 headlines Columbia Park’s Summerstock Concert for Memorial Day 7:30-10 p.m. The concert is free and will honor fallen military members during the finale.

Livingston – The Memorial Day program on Livingston’s Town Square honors those who died while serving our country. There will be various speakers and presentations during the event. A light lunch will be provided after the program.

Monterey – Whitaker Park hosts a Memorial Day Celebration with an all-day flea market, food, vendors and live music.

Jonesborough - The original storytelling radio hour, The Jonesborough Yarn Exchange, salutes veterans live 7 p.m. at the International Storytelling Center. Freddie Vanderford will perform.

May 30

Old Hickory – The Old Hickory library branch works to digitize, preserve and present the WWI memorabilia of Tennessee families. Residents can bring WWI era photographs, documents and artifacts to be scanned and returned within an hour.

May 31

Nashville – Watch a movie under the stars with the family as Nashville Scene kicks off Movies in the Park at Elmington Park. This free event starts at 5 p.m. and includes food trucks, vendors and games. The movie Coco begins at sundown.

Nashville – Beat the early summer heat at the Frist Art Museum 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Family Monday. Enjoy storytime in the galleries, an exhibition tour, café and gift shop discounts and Martin ArtQuest Studios-reserved just for families.

East Nashville – Sample bites from East Nashville restaurants, chefs, food artisans and specialty purveyors at Yum! East. The festival runs 6-9 p.m. at Pavilion East and also includes live music, craft beer and wine.

Chattanooga – Revitalize your spirits and drink them too at Yoga & Whiskey 6 p.m. at Chattanooga Whiskey Distillery. Yogis will start with an invigorating yoga class, a behind-the-scenes lesson on making Chattanooga Whiskey, followed by a tasting.

May 31-June 2

Memphis – The Memphis Italian Festival in Marquette Park demonstrates the values of family, faith and fellowship in the Italian American tradition. Visitors can experience authentic music, food, events, games, arts and crafts and more.

Spring Hill – Rippavilla Plantation’s Swanky Plank Vintage Marketplace features vintage, antiques, repurposed items and handmade goods. The event will have food trucks and live music by Music City Strings, Elvis Shrugged and Spur of the Moment.

June 1

Nashville – Beer lovers are in for a treat at Brew at the Zoo 6:30-11 p.m. at Nashville ZooNashville Scene voted this unique after-hours event with animals, live music, food trucks and more than 100 craft beers the best beer event in Nashville.

Nashville – Join the Tennessee Statehood Day Celebration 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The free event includes living history reenactments, a 222ndbirthday cake cutting, Lunch & Learn Program, tours and more.

Chattanooga – Get hog wild at First Tennessee Pavilion for the Bacon & Barrel Festival. The event 6-9 p.m. brings together 15 of Chattanooga’s best restaurants, a vast array of spirits, bacon, barbecue and live music.

June 2

Memphis – Find out how dugout canoes affected life and travel in the Americas. The new exhibit at Pink Palace Family of Museums features more than 100 unique objects, including a dugout canoe you can climb into and an ancient Florida canoe.

Eagleville – Put your hard hats on, get ready to dig and climb on a bulldozer, play a life-size Jenga game and play with the giant Lincoln log building sets for Kid’s Construction Day atLucky Ladd Farms.

June 1-3

Nashville – The home of the 7th president marks its centennial at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage June 1-3 with historic tours, music, food and more. 

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