Tennessee calendar of events: January – June 2015

tsj state news 4By Amanda Stravinsky

Jumpstart 2015 with huge celebrations like Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday in Memphis, Smoky Mountain Snow Down: A Winter Heritage Festival in Townsend, and the Rivers & Spires Festival in Clarksville. Welcome warmer months with music festivals like the Rock-a-billy Festival in Jackson, CMA Fest in Nashville, and the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga. The biggest Tennessee events are listed below. For even more events, visit www.tnvacation.com.


Jan. 7-10

Memphis – Elvis Presley’s 80th Birthday Celebration – Elvis Presley fans celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday, including enjoying a grand birthday cake. 800-238-2000, elvis.com

Jan. 17-18

Birchwood – Tennessee Sandhill Crane Viewing Festival – A celebration of the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that migrate through or spend the winter at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers near Birchwood, TN. Festival activities will be held at the Birchwood Elementary School, the Hiwassee Refuge, the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, and the Rhea County Welcome Center.

Jan. 19

Memphis – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Programs at the National Civil Rights Museum celebrate the birthday of Dr. King. 901-521-9699, civilrightsmuseum.org

Jan. 24-31

Pigeon Forge – Wilderness Wildlife Week – The ultimate Smoky Mountain experience is a series of activities sure to connect Pigeon Forge visitors with the great outdoors. Experts share their knowledge at seminars, lectures and hands-on workshops. 800-251-9100, mypigeonforge.com


Feb. 19-22

Townsend – Smoky Mountain Snow Down: A Winter Heritage Festival – Celebrates the history, natural beauty and cultural traditions of Townsend, Cades Cove and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 800-525-6834, smokymountains.org


March 5-8

Nashville – Nashville Lawn & Garden Show – The timeless appeal and importance of gardens will be celebrated at the 23rd annual Nashville Lawn & Garden Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com

March 21-April 20

Pigeon Forge – Dollywood’s Festival of the Nations – More than 200 performers from around the world celebrate music, dance and art. 800-DOLLYWOOD, dollywood.com

March 14

Erin – Wearin’ of the Green Irish Day Celebration – Enjoy a parade, food, entertainment and crafts at the largest Irish Day celebration and parade in this area. 931-289-5100, houstoncochamber.com



Knoxville – Dogwood Arts Festival – Miles of trails feature some of the most spectacular dogwood trees of all kinds. 865-637-4561, dogwoodarts.com

Nashville – Awesome April – A musical tribute to the city that promises a major event each weekend. 800-657-6910, visitmusiccity.com

April 4

Memphis – Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration – The National Civil Rights Museum offers a special program to commemorate the late Civil Rights leader. 901-521-9699, civilrightsmuseum.org

April 6-12

Columbia – Mule Day – One of the world’s biggest mule celebrations. Events include mule sale, mule pulling, mule shows, pancake breakfast, flea market and parade. 931-381-9557, muleday.com

April 9-11

Jackson – Rock-A-Billy Festival – The world’s largest gathering of Rock-A-Billy artists and musicians, featuring the pioneers of Rock-A-Billy music as well as new artists. 731-427-6262, rockabillyhall.org

April 10-12

Knoxville – Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival – The American roots music festival features performances from world-class bluegrass, indie, and jazz artists as well as storied songwriters. The event is part of the month-long Dogwood Arts Festival. 865-637-4561, rhythmnbloomsfest.com

April 16-18

Clarksville – Rivers & Spires Festival – A festival with more than 100 entertainers, kids area, car shows, food, jazz and more. 931-245-4344, riversandspires.com

April 16-25

Nashville – Nashville Film Festival – With genres from drama to comedy to foreign documentaries, this festival has something for everyone. 615-742-2500, nashvillefilmfestival.org

April 18-25

Paris – World’s Biggest Fish Fry – More than five tons of catfish are served to thousands of visitors, plus a rodeo, parade and catfish races. 731-642-3431, worldsbiggestfishfry.com

Apr 25-26

South Pittsburg – National Cornbread Festival – See the National Cornbread Cook-Off, plus art, music, and and shows. 423-837-0022, nationalcornbread.com

April 30-May 1

Knoxville – 2015 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event – Join us as presenters discuss the battles, events and stories of the Civil War. The American Bus Association’s Top 100 Selection Committee named the Sesquicentennial, Blue & Gray Reunion and Jubilee as one of the best events to experience in 2015. 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, tncivilwar150.com


May 1-23

Memphis – Memphis in May International Festival – Monthlong events include Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. 901-525-4611, memphisinmay.org

May 3-9

Humboldt – West Tennessee Strawberry Festival – In its 75th year, this festival includes parades, live entertainment, barbecue cook-off, concerts, fireworks and more. 731-784-1842, wtsf.org

May 5-Oct. 31

Jonesborough – Storytelling Live! – Storytellers from across the United States will share stories and entertain guests. 800-952-8392, storytellingcenter.net

May 9

Nashville – Running of the Iroquois Steeplechase – This is the nations’ oldest continuously run, weight-for-age steeplechase. 866-207-2391, iroquoissteeplechase.org

May 14-16

Knoxville – International Biscuit Festival – Named one of the country’s top 10 food festivals, this popular event will rise again in downtown Knoxville at Market Square. Guests enjoy food, fun, music and more throughout the three days of the Festival. biscuitfest.com

May 14-16

Adamsville – Buford Pusser Festival – This annual festival honors the famous “Walking Tall” sheriff and features good music, food and family fun. 731-632-4080, bufordpussermuseum.com

May 15-16

Sevierville – Sevierville’s Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass – This event features the Tennessee State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off, bluegrass concerts from rising stars and bluegrass legends, kids games, great food and authentic mountain crafts. visitsevierville.com/vsevents.aspx

May 16-17

Greeneville – Iris Festival – 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.

May 17

Chattanooga – Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga – The race will lead athletes through a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run on nearly the same course as IRONMAN Chattanooga. ironman.com/chattanooga70.3

May 29-31

Memphis – Memphis Italian Festival – This community celebration demonstrates the values of family, faith and fellowship in the Italian-American tradition. Music, food, events, games, arts and crafts and more. 901-219-1674, memphisitalianfestival.com


June 2-6

Memphis – Germantown Charity Horse Show – An exciting all-breed event with more than 800 horses including hunter/jumpers, American Saddlebreds, Roaster and Hackney ponies and Tennessee Walking Horses. 901-754-0009, gchs.org

June 5-7

Johnson City – Blue Plum Art & Music Festival – Outdoor music and arts festival in downtown Johnson City features children’s entertainment, music and more. Blueplum.org

June 6-13

Chattanooga – Riverbend Festival – Multiple stages of diverse music, plus fireworks, 5K and 10K runs and a children’s village. 423-756-2211, riverbendfestival.com

June 11-14

Nashville – CMA Music Festival – “Country Music’s Biggest Party” brings country fans and artists together for four days and nights of live music. 800-CMA-FEST, cmafest.com


Manchester – Bonnaroo Music Festival – A 100-acre village brings together the best performers in rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica and more. 931-728-7635, bonnaroo.com

June 12-13

Oak Ridge – Secret City Festival – This 10th annual citywide celebration commemorates the ending of WWII and features the largest multi-battle WWII reenactment in the South, as well as tours of Manhattan Project sites, children’s festival, arts and crafts and exhibitors. 865-425-3610, secretcityfestival.com

June 12-Aug. 8

Gatlinburg – Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales – The 9th annual celebration has expanded with music Friday and Saturday nights April and May in downtown Gatlinburg. Starting June 12, music every night through Aug. 8 will feature storytellers, musicians and cloggers at different locations along the Parkway. 865-436-0500, gatlinburg.com

June 18-21

Knoxville – Kuumba Festival – This event showcases local African American art and artists, featuring entertainers performing on three stages, live demonstrations, and crafts people and food vendors. kuumbafesttn.com

June 20

Nashville – Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival – Great music, food and family fun. Local jazz and blues musicians perform. 615-726-5867, jumpnashville.com

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