Tennessee Tourism Round Up: April Events

Monday, April 1, 2019 - by Jill Kilgore
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville.
- photo by Journal Communications, Inc.

Spring has officially sprung. Soak up the sunshine and explore unique events across the state like the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, Slawburger Festival, Africa in April, Cheekwood in Bloom, the NFL Draft,Upper Cumberland Wine Festival, Mule Day, Cumberland Caverns’ Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt,Dogwood Arts Festival, Bristol Food City 500, Dollywood’s Festival of Nations, Smoky Mountain Winefest and the 69th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.

For a complete list of events across Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com/calendar

April 1-7

Nashville – Take a stroll through 150,000 bulbs blooming and participate in family fun events on the 55-acre estate of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens during Cheekwood in Bloom.

Columbia – Join in the fun at one of the world’s biggest mule celebrations. Mule Day events include a mule sale, mule pulling, mule shows, pancake breakfast, flea market and a parade.

Chattanooga – What if you could be a musician, rock climber or conductor for a day?  Grab your Spring Break Safari Guide at the Chattanooga Visitors Center or download it to explore 11 different local attractions like Rock City.

April 2-6

Nashville – Awesome April kicks off with Nashville Fashion Week. Each night offers a must-attend event with industry panels, parties, workshops and upcoming fashions.

April 4-7

Memphis – Laugh until you cry at the Memphis Comedy Festival, featuring four days of Stand Up comedy, improvisational theater, open-mics, information seminars and featured shows in Midtown.

Jackson – The Jackson Theatre Guild presents a stage adaptation of the iconic film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, at The Ned.

Shiloh – Shiloh National Military Park will hold living history events and hikes to commemorate the Battle of Shiloh’s 157th Anniversary.

April 5

Crossville – Knoxville singer-songwriter, Travis Bigwood, uses southern ideology and folklore to create arrangements. He takes the stage live for “In the House” 6-8 p.m. at Grinder House Coffee Shop.

Columbia – Stroll through Public Square and enjoy shopping, dining and live music 5-8 p.m. for First Fridays downtown.

April 5-6

Lawrenceburg – The TN Music n’ Food Festival features two days of carnival rides, food trucks, flea market vendors and lots of music 4-10 p.m. at Lawrenceburg Rotary Park.

April 5-7

Union City – Civil War reenactors will have an encampment set up on the lawn with tents, firing demonstrations and cannons during the Civil War and Military Living History Weekendat Discovery Park of America. The event is free with park admission.

April 5-14

Memphis – The Midtown Opera Festival at Playhouse on the Square features a new opera celebrating the stories of service men and women, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, aerial performers, panel discussions, cabaret and cocktails.

April 5-26

Knoxville – The Arts & Culture Alliance celebrates five new exhibits with an opening reception 5-9 p.m. April 5 at the Emporium Center. Exhibits include a quilt show, mosaic art and paintings celebrating women and strength.

April 6

Jackson – The Andrew Jackson Marathon, Tennessee’s oldest marathon starts and finishes in historic downtown. The race kicks off at 7 a.m. at the West Tennessee Farmers Market.

Sumner Co. – Historic sites partner to Celebrate History with special programming and discounts. Locations include Castalian SpringsHawthorn HillDouglass-Clark HouseHistoric Rose Mont and Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center.

Gallatin - Join Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail on picturesque Old Hickory Lake. Amateur fishermen, catfish anglers and pros can register online for the tournament. Kids can also fish for prizes.

Arrington – Bluegrass in the Barn and Jazz in the Pavilion kick off at Arrington Vineyards. The live concert series events are outside 4-8 p.m. Saturdays & 2-6 p.m. Sundays. through October. Wine tasting and seating are at a first-come, first-serve basis.

Lynchburg – Racers will lace up their shoes for Lynchburg’s 10th Annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon kicking off at 8 a.m. on Main Street. Jack Daniel’s will host the post-race festival with food at the finish line. No alcohol will be served.

Knoxville – Gather around the table for Bonnets and Blooms: A Spring Tea 2-4 p.m. at Historic Ramsey House. Prizes will be awarded for best hats. Tickets are $25 and proceeds go to the Living History Program. Reserve online at www.ramseyhouse.org or call 865-546-0745.

Chattanooga – Enjoy a family-friendly trek with botanist and ecologist Mark Pistrang to learn about wonderful wildflowers during the Wildflower Walk in the Cherokee National Forest starting at 10 a.m. at Outdoor Chattanooga Center.

Pulaski – Bring your baskets and search for candy treasure at the Hayride Easter Egg Hunt 1-4 p.m. at Milky Way Farm.

April 6-7

Gatlinburg – Anglers of all ages can cast their rods for the chance to win cash prizes during the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. More than 10,000 trout will be stocked in over 20 miles of streams across the Smokies.

April 6-8

Bristol – Race fans cheer their hearts out at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Bristol Food City 500, an annual 500-lap, 266.5 –mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Stop by the Fan Zone stage for driver appearances, a pre-race show and live music.

April 7

Collierville, Germantown & Laurelwood – Tour the candy kitchen, enjoy free samples and receive a 20% discount on all purchases during the Spring Open House noon to 4 p.m. atDinstuhl’s locations.

Chattanooga – Families can create folded works of art, investigate how natural forces like gravity can become an artistic collaborator, watch a live weaving demo and more duringFamily Fun Day 2-4 p.m. at Hunter Museum of American Art.

April 8-14

Nashville – The Nashville Comedy Festival, featuring some of the funniest comedians in the world, takes place at venues across Music City. This year’s lineup includes comedy icon Bob Newhart, Ali Wong, Jim Jeffries, Tom Segura, John Crist and many more.

April 10

Maryville – Rock of Ages, nominated for five Tony Awards, the Broadway musical captures the iconic era of 1980s Hollywood with hits from Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister and Whitesnake 7:30 p.m. at Clayton Center for the Arts.

April 11

Lawrenceburg – Robin Grant woos with her sultry sounds, sophisticated lyrics and acclaimed powerhouse voice 7 p.m. at Old Crockett Theatre.

Murfreesboro – Learn about the relationship between paper folding, math and engineering and fold something fun out of paper during Science on Tap: Origami 6:30-8 p.m. at Mayday Brewery. The event presented by Discovery Center is free.

Bristol – Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time live variety show 7-9 p.m. at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum presents special musical guests the Becky Buller Band, the Matchsellers and Chatham Rabbits.

April 11-13

Parsons – Watch dogs hunt, compete in contests such as water races in a timed swimming event; treeing contests and beauty contests for the various raccoon hunting breeds at theWorld’s Largest Raccoon Hunt at Parsons Fairgrounds. The event benefits St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Pigeon Forge – A must-do event for car enthusiasts, the Spring Pigeon Forge Rod Run at the LeConte Event Center includes a huge swap meet with hundreds of show cars and a car corral.

April 11-14

Anderson Co. – Reel in the fun during the Fishing League Worldwide Tour on Cherokee Lake. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Field of Dreams Activity Center in Dandridge. The weigh-in, expo and boat launch are at the TVA Dam in Jefferson City.

April 12

Jackson – Kellye Cash & the West Tennessee Strangers take the stage at The Ned. Tickets are $20.

Hendersonville – Songwriter Nights 7 p.m. at Someone’s in the Kitchen Café is a great way to discover amazing artists. The line-up for April includes Ava Paige, Kelli Johnson, Brenna Beatty and Lizzie Cates. The cover is $10 per person.

April 12-13

Jackson – Rev up your engines for custom cars, trucks and family fun activities at the Bunny Run Jackson Rod & Custom Show at the Fairgrounds Park. The annual car show benefits local charities. Camp sites are available at the fairgrounds.

Nashville – Each year, Vanderbilt University showcases a weekend full of live music from a wide range of genres during Rites of Spring. The event is not limited to students. Everyone is welcome. This year’s lineup includes 21 Savage, Moon Taxi and more.

Pulaski – Explore beautiful arts and crafts and find spring inspiration in your home during the Pulaski Lions Club Southern Lawn Garden & Home Show at Giles County Agri Park.

Gatlinburg – Sample delicious wines from more than a dozen wineries from around the state, paired with tasty bites from local restaurants. The Smoky Mountain Wine Festival atArrowmont School of Arts also includes wine talks and food pairings.

April 12-14

Monteagle – Celebrate the natural wonder of the South Cumberland Plateau during Trails and Trilliums with guided hikes on scenic trails, programs, workshops, native plants for sale and Art in the Park, featuring works of guest artists.

Townsend – Enhance your skills and creativity and learn through classes and demonstrations during the Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center at Townsend.

Gatlinburg – The Hands on Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Weekend provides arts and crafts lovers the chance to take home a beautifully-crafted piece of artwork made with their own hands in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community.

April 13

Denmark – Join an awesome evening of songs from the Red Back Church Hymnal 4:30 p.m. at Old Denmark Presbyterian Church.

Millington – Guests can enjoy live music, food, arts and craft vendors, wildlife and cultural exhibits, a cornhole tournament and fun activities at Shelby Forest Spring Fest 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old UA Moore Ballpark in Meeman Shelby Forest State Park.

Jackson – Kick off spring with Jackson Cotillion Club’s Hula Hustle, a Hawaiian-themed 5k, benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Jackson 8 a.m. at the West Tennessee Farmer’s Market. Registration is $25.

Wildersville –Rangers will share stories and work on  trail building and habitat improvement 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Natchez Trace State Park Ranger Day. Cost is $10 and covers lunch. Meet at the Park Headquarters.

Nashville – Hydrate, grab your pretzel necklace and get ready to sample some of the best brews of Music City’s craft beer community during East Nashville Beer Festival noon to 5 p.m. in East Park. Tickets are $60.

Nashville – Nashville’s Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off with a Cherry Blossom Walk, followed by festivities at Public Square Park that include demonstrations and exhibits of Japanese culture, a marketplace, Taste of Japan and live entertainment.

Nashville – Celebrate independent record stores and classic vinyl during Record Store Day. Stores like Grimey’s New & Preloved MusicVinyl Tap and Ernest Tubb Record Shop will offer special releases, concerts and special events. .

Nashville – Bang a drum; strum an autoharp and pick a banjo at Kidsville Honey Bunny Festival 10 a.m. at The Parthenon in Centennial Park. It’s part of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Community Pop-Up Musical Petting Zoo.

Goodlettsville – Spend the day watching skilled demonstrators or artists and shop for unique items during Heritage Day 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Goodlettsville Visitor’s Center & Historic Mansker’s Station.

Eagleville – Get hopping to Lucky Ladd Farms for Bunny & Brew: An Adult Easter Egg Hunt 6:30-9:30 p.m. with over $3,500 in cash & prizes, live entertainment, fun lawn games, light bites, brews and refreshments.

Granville – Put on groovy clothes for Historic Granville’s “Memories: Rockin’ thru the 1960s.” Activities include historic home tours, an antique car show, twist contest, costume contest,Upper Cumberland Wine Festival and Granville Genealogy Festival.

Chattanooga –Amateur grillers and smokers test their skills at Battle below the Clouds 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Ruby Falls. Test your skills or judge the best barbecue while enjoying bluegrass music, prizes and giveaways benefiting Lana’s Love Foundation.

April 13-14

McMinnville – Hunt for eggs filled with candy and prizes hidden 333 feet below during the overnight Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt inside Cumberland Caverns. Tickets are $47 per person and include a day tour, games & prizes and breakfast on the 14th.

Knoxville – The competition is fierce as the Knoxville Men’s and Women’s Rugby Clubs host the 2019 True South Rugby Union Championships at Tennessee Rugby Park.

Knoxville – The Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, brings hilarious music and lyrics to the Tennessee Theatre stage.

April 13, 27

Knoxville – Experience America’s game as it was played in 1864. Players at Vintage Base ball at Historic Ramsey House play by 1864 rules and wear period uniforms. Concessions will be available. Game times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

April 14

Memphis – Listen to some of the best and up-and-coming Memphis songwriters in the third annual Songwriter Showdown 5 p.m. at Orpheum Theatre’s Halloran Centre. Tickets are $20.

Jackson – The Jackson Symphony will present the Classic Trio music for clarinet, viola & piano from the Classical & Romantic eras with works by Mozart 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Coffee & pastries will be available.

April 16-20

Winchester – Join the High on the Hog Festival for a  week full of family fun with delicious barbecue, a carnival, live music, crafts and vendors, cornhole and horseshoe tournaments and a motorcycle poker run in Winchester City Park.

April 17 – Calling all teen poets: Do you like writing stories, poems or just playing with words? Take part in a fun, creative workshop, Wordloose: A Teen Poetry Experience 6:30-8 p.m. at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

April 17-20

Gatlinburg – Shoppers will find a myriad of wood crafts, paintings, pottery and gifts created by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community at the free Easter Show atGatlinburg Convention Center.

April 18-20

Clarksville – Put your competitive skills to the test for three days of intense gaming and fun at F2Con at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. All gaming will take place on CDE Lightband’s fast gigabit internet so there’s no lag as you battle to the stage.

April 19

Crossville – Known as the “Norah Jones of the South,” soul singer Melissa Ellis will leave concertgoers awestruck 6-8 p.m. during the “In the House” singer-songwriter show at Grinder House Coffee Shop.

April 19-20

Eagleville – The Spring Festival & Easter Egg Hunt 11 a.m. to 4p .m. at Lucky Ladd Farms features games, activities, crafts, baby farm animals, non-stop egg hunts, breakfast with the Easter Bunny and prize packs for kids.

Chattanooga – Families can enjoy animal enrichment activities, photos with costume characters and a golden egg scavenger hunt during Hug-a-Bunny Days 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at theChattanooga Zoo.

April 19-21

Chattanooga – Go green and learn how to use recycled materials to make-and-take a fun activity and meet live raptors during Birds of Prey Shows. It’s all part of Rock City’s 11th year of the fun, outdoor event, EarthDayz.

April 20

Memphis – Families and kids can enjoy spring at the Family Egg Hunt 1-4 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden with age-friendly areas, crafts and magic. Bring the little ones ages 2 and under to the Bunny Hop area for a more mellow hunt.

Holladay – The Old Time Bluegrass and Fiddler’s Jamboree at Holladay Elementary School kicks off with a parade at 10:30 a.m., followed by festivities like a variety show, games, barbecue dinners, clogging contest, bluegrass and fiddler’s contest.

Selmer – Kids can hunt for Easter eggs, play games and enjoy rides during Kids Fest 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Park. The Easter egg hunt kicks off the activities at 10 a.m.

Clarksville – Grab a basket and take part in the Easter egg hunt, children’s games, guided tours, live music and other activities 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Historic Collinsville’s Spring Opening.

Nashville – Hop into spring at Eggstravaganzoo 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Nashville Zoo. The annual spring celebration is back with egg hunts, activities, spring-themed games, bounce houses and face painting.

Fayetteville – The Slawburger Festival is centered around the town’s famous slawburger, featuring an eating contest, live music, street food, shopping, a kids’ zone and vendors.

Maynardville – The Union County Opry Show pays tribute to legends from Union County like Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kenny Chesney and Carl Smith 7 p.m. at Union County High School.

Maynardville – Hike with a state park ranger along the trails in search of wildflowers of Tennessee during the Earth Day Celebration & Wildflower Hike 1-3 p.m. at Big Ridge State Park. Meet at the park office.

Gatlinburg – Soak up the Easter Sunday Sunrise from the top of Mt. Harrison at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area during the service sponsored by the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association.

April 20-28

Paris - The World’s Biggest Fish Fry serves more than 12,500 pounds of catfish with all the trimmings to thousands of visitors, plus a rodeo, parade, arts and crafts, Hushpuppy dash and catfish races.

April 21

Pulaski – Get competitive at the Warrior Dash on the hills of Milky Way Farm with live music, multiple obstacle courses, competitive racing and various race lengths including a 5K and 10K.

April 22

Memphis – Celebrate Earth Day with free children’s admission all day at Memphis Botanic Garden. Visit activity stations around My Big Backyard that will celebrate the planet. Make mudpies, go on a nature scavenger hunt and play eco instruments.

April 24-27

Gatlinburg – Outdoor enthusiasts can discover wildflowers through guided tours, history walks, seminars and photography classes during the 69th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimagein Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

April 25

Memphis – Take time to stop and “sip” the roses. Enjoy a relaxed evening in the beauty of the Rose Garden as you sip a ‘Sparkling Rose’,’ ‘Rose’-rita’ during Stop and Sip the Roses 6-8:30 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden. Tickets are $40.

April 25-27

Nashville – The 2019 NFL Draft comes to downtown with the NFL Draft Experience at Nissan Stadium featuring immersive games, interactive exhibits, a virtual reality experience and free autograph sessions. The Main Stage at First and Broadway will host Draft Theater and A-list concerts. To find out complete details about plans for the week, click here.

April 26

Nashville – Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw will perform a free outdoor concert on Lower Broadway as part of the 2019 NFL Draft Celebration at the Draft Main Stage. His performance will begin at conclusion of Draft selection activities. 

April 26-27

Jackson – Jacob Barker Music Fest at The Amp West Tennessee Farmers Market is an annual fundraiser benefitting a child with cancer and helps make their wish come true.

Cross Plains – Don’t miss the lively Kilgore Station Bluegrass Festival, featuring national and local bands in a beautiful venue with a stage built on the side of an old tobacco barn. This year’s line-up includes Kings Highway and Ridgetop Ramblers.

Reliance – The Polk County Ramp Tramp Festival at the Polk County 4-H Camp celebrates the ramp, or wild onion, with fellowship, fun and a tasty ramp meal. The fest kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday the 26th with Bluegrass and Beans.

April 26-28

Knoxville – Celebrate art, culture and natural beauty on Market SquareDogwood Arts Festival features trail hikes filled with spectacular dogwood trees, fine art market, live music, artist demonstrations and hands-on activities.

April 27

Memphis – Let loose at the Beale Street Caravan Blowout 7-10 p.m. in the East Atrium of Crosstown Concourse. There will be live music, a silent auction, a silent disco, food and drink specials.

Memphis – The Southern Hot Wing Festival 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Tiger Lane celebrates the wing, drummie, flap and everything in between with live music and a wing eating contest. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis.

Memphis – Sip mimosas and bloody Mary’s, tour the famed backstage murals and enjoy delicious brunch at Bubbles and Broadway 10:30 a.m. at Orpheum Theatre. Tickets are $75.

Nashville – More than 30,000 runners, walkers and spectators will take part in the annual St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & ½ Marathon through the streets of downtown lined with 28 stages as live bands perform.

Clarksville – Explore booths offering antiques, furniture, handmade goods and more at the Clarksville Vintage Fair 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Beachaven Winery. There will also be live music and local food. Tickets are $3 for adults. Kids 16 and under get in free.

Gallatin – Entertainment,arts & crafts, food and fun are in store 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Downtown Gallatin Square Fest & Classic Car Show. The event is free, but reservations are required here.

Bristol – Join the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for a special Radio Bristol Show 7 p.m. featuring Merle Monroe and the release of their self-titled album.

Sevierville – Show off your true colors at the fourth annual Color Me Mutt 5K 8 a.m. at NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains, followed by a 1-mile Color Fun Run/Walk and Pet Parade. All proceeds will help Wilderwood Service Dogs.

Oneida – Crafters demonstrate blacksmithing, basket making, hand spinning, weaving, woodcarving, chair caning, soap making and more during the Spring Planting and Music Festivalat Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

April 27-28

Chapel Hill – The Horton 100, hosted by Henry Horton State Park, is the perfect ride to kick off the season. The ride includes 25 or 50 mile daily options, 3 meals and activities, including ranger-led hikes, music and fitness classes.

South Pittsburg – Decide who has the best dish at the National Cornbread Festival with a cornbread cook-off, Lodge Foundry plant tours, live bluegrass music and craft and food vendors.

Kingsport – Soak in spring at the Spring Garden Fair at Exchange Place with demonstrations on a 19th-century farmstead, sales of plants and garden accessories, old-fashioned foods, children’s activities, animals and educational activities.

April 28

Memphis – The Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Memphis features amazing food, live Cajun and Zydeco music, a crawfish-eating contest and crawfish races.

April 28-May 5

Dresden – Festivalgoers can enjoy a citywide yard sale, iris festival art tour, baking contest, quilt show, golf tournament and fun activities during the Tennessee Iris Festival.

Ongoing

Memphis – The cultural festival Africa in April highlights a different country in Africa every year, featuring arts, crafts, authentic cuisine and live music in venues across the city.

Memphis – Learn about the history of Morris Brown College at the photo exhibition Without Regard to Sex, Race or Color: The Past, Present and Future of One Historically Black Collegeon display through April 19 at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Collierville – If you’re up for a good time that doesn’t cost a penny, come down and bring your guitar, banjo, mandolin or just your hands to clap 6:30 p.m. Fridays starting in mid-April for the Collierville’s Historic Town Square Bluegrass Jam.

Nashville – Look for the stories quilts tell and the crafting behind the art at the exhibit, Between the Layers: Art and Story in Tennessee Quilts, on display through July 7 at the Tennessee State Museum.

Murfreesboro – The Discovery Center has a new formula for fun. Conquer a range of life-size games, puzzles and a building challenge designed to multiply your math skills with theMathRox exhibit open through May 27.

Linden – Songwriters belt out their stories. Enjoy live music every Friday night 6-9 p.m. at the Commodore Music Café at Commodore Hotel.

Chattanooga – Speed up or slow down video of a chameleon’s tongue in mid-flight, do your best clownfish impression, visit flashlight fish and snap turtle-y awesome selfies in the newIsland Life gallery at Tennessee Aquarium.

Chattanooga – Toboggan down a hill, explore a cranberry bog, learn about life at a tribal school, design jewelry and assemble a clambake with the exhibit Native Voices: New England Tribal Families, on display until May 12 at Creative Discovery Museum.

Chattanooga – Outdoor Chattanooga hosts Fireside, a free family-friendly outdoor concert series, 7-9 p.m. on Thursday nights in April at Tatum Park in the historic Highland Park neighborhood. Gather around the campfire and listen.

Knoxville – The new exhibition, Many Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India, highlights traditional art styles from four distinct regions of India open through May 9 at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Bristol – Fuel the imagination with Family Story Time 10:30 a.m. Thursdays at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The free event through June 27 features selections fromReading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature.

Bristol – The new exhibit, I Have a Voice, gives a snapshot of African-American Tennesseans’ important contribution to American music. Hear the voices and stories of musicians through April 30 at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. 


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Breaking News

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Opinion

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