Spring is a time for new beginnings, new memories and a bevy of experiences uniquely Made in Tennessee. Music, film and cornbread festivals, the world’s biggest fish fry, a celebration of mules and more can be found in the Volunteer State.
Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Festival is a month-long celebration of spring that includes Rhythm N’ Blooms music festival April 8-10 in various locations around the city. The lineup so far includes The Black Cadillacs, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Mavericks and The Lone Bellow among others. Thousands flock to the city for the month to experience craftspeople and their Made in Tennessee products and art, live entertainment and to get active on the hundreds of trails that are flanked by blooming dogwood trees. Other events throughout the month include the House & Garden Show, April Celebration that brings fine arts and entertainment together, and Art in Public Places Knoxville.
Mule Day is one of the world’s biggest mule celebrations March 28-April 3 in Columbia. It has been a local tradition since the 1840s and celebrates the animal’s contributions to the area. Columbia is the mule capital of the world and attracts more than 200,000 people for this four-day event. A mule sale (one of the largest livestock markets in the world), mule pulling, mule shows, a pancake breakfast, flea market and parade are all included in the festivities.
Memphis In May International Festival is a month-long event that includes world-renowned events like the Beale Street Music Festival April 29-May 1, which has hosted headliners like Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, The Avett Brothers and The Flaming Lips, among others. The line-up is announced in the preceding months. The International Salute to Canada includes cuisine, performances and movies, and presentations pertaining to the country. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest May 12-14 brings together the top barbecue teams in the world to compete for the grand prize. Festivities conclude with the inaugural Great American River Run May 28 which has half marathon and 5K races.
Nashville – Nashville Lawn & Garden Show showcases the timeless appeal and importance of gardens, celebrated at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
Cookeville - The Hyder-Burks Pavilion will be transformed to showcase the Upper Cumberland Home & Garden Show plus Stay & Play Expo. Activities include vendor booths, a cooking stage, celebrity guest appearances, seminars, and a travel expo.
Erin – Wearin’ of the Green Irish Day Celebration has a parade, food, entertainment and crafts at the largest Irish Day celebration in this area.
March 19–April 18
Pigeon Forge – Dollywood’s Festival Of Nations has more than 200 performers from around the world celebrate music, dance and art.
Nashville – Awesome April produces a musical tribute to the city. Enjoy a major event each weekend.
Memphis – The National Civil Rights Museum offers a special program to commemorate the late Civil Rights leader during the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.
Clarksville – Rivers & Spires Festival is a festival with more than 100 entertainers, a kids' area, car shows, food, jazz and more.
Nashville – The Nashville Film Festival shows genres from drama to comedy to foreign documentaries.
Bristol – Race fans cheer their hearts out at Bristol Food City 500, an annual 500-lap, 266.5 mile NASCAR Spring Cup race.
South Pittsburg – The National Cornbread Festival features the National Cornbread Cook-Off, art and shows.
Paris – The World’s Biggest Fish Fry has more than five tons of catfish that are served to thousands of visitors, plus a rodeo, parade and catfish races.
Oneida - The Annual Spring Planting and Music Festival celebrates the skills and traditions of spring in the mountains with demonstrations of plowing and planting with mules, blacksmithing, basket making, woodcarving, garden herb lore, and soap making in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
Humboldt – West Tennessee Strawberry Festival includes parades, live entertainment, a barbecue cook-off, concerts, fireworks and more.
May 3–Oct. 29
Jonesborough – Storytelling Live! invites storytellers from across the United States to share stories and entertain guests Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Dayton – Tennessee Strawberry Festival includes crafts, food and cruise-in on Friday, expanding on Saturday to include a parade, food competition and entertainment.
Knoxville – International Biscuit Festival is one of the country’s top 10 food festivals and will rise again in downtown Knoxville at Market Square. Guests enjoy food, fun, music and more during the three-day festival.
Nashville – Running of the Iroquois Steeplechase is the nations’ oldest, continuously run, weight-for-age steeplechase.
Pigeon Forge – Wilderness Wildlife Week is the ultimate Smoky Mountain experience with a series of activities connecting Pigeon Forge visitors with the great outdoors. Experts share their knowledge at seminars, lectures and hands-on workshops.
Adamsville – Buford Pusser Festival honors the famous “Walking Tall” sheriff and features good music, food and family fun.
Sevierville – Sevierville’s Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass features the Tennessee State Championship Barbeque Cook- Off, bluegrass concerts from rising stars and bluegrass legends, kids’ games, great food and mountain crafts.
Greeneville – The Iris Festival is a juried arts/crafts festival plus food, entertainment and more surrounded by the history of President Andrew Johnson. The annual Woodcarving Show is held each year in conjunction with the festival.
Chattanooga – The Native Sounds Festival welcomes Cherokee dancers, traditional dancers and storytelling, bringing native peoples and participants from across the southeastern United States to this former Cherokee Council Grounds site.
Crawford – Americana Roots Music Festival is a camping and music festival that coincides with the taping of an episode of the “Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Roots Music Series” on PBS. A similar fall festival is held in September.