ASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 2023) – From moonshine to MoonPies, from Steeplechase to strawberries, spring in Tennessee is all about getting together with friends and family at festivals that showcase the magic of the state’s culture and cuisine. Read below to discover just a small sampling of what’s in store for spring and early summer 2023 — and check out the Tennessee Events Calendar for even more.
Iroquois Steeplechase (May 13)
More than 25,000 spectators come to the beautiful Percy Warner Park in Nashville for the time-honored tradition of Iroquois Steeplechase, a world-class horse race that benefits Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and other local community nonprofits. Southern fashion, incredible food and thrilling horse races make this a crowd-pleasing event. Tailgating, furnished tents and family areas are available for guests to make the day a truly enjoyable experience.
WCRK/WMTN Radio Strawberry Festival (May 20)
Let your sweet tooth lead you to the WCRK/WMTN Radio studios on West Economy Road in Morristown for the annual Strawberry Festival. Live music, children’s games and entertainment, and close to 100 food and arts/craft vendors.
Bloomin BBQ Music & Food Festival (May 19-20)
Classic Tennessee BBQ is the main draw — but there’s so much more at this free, annual event in Sevierville. Each year, the Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival plays host to the biggest and brightest bluegrass and Americana stars. With three festival stages offering a variety of musical entertainment throughout the two-day event, it’s the ideal Tennessee weekend.
Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival (May 20)
Celebrate the gorgeous mountain laurel blooms in Wartburg during the Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival. The all-ages event features hikes along several trails to see the best of the blossoms, as well as fun activities and events including live music, beer tastings, a classic car show, children’s games, Irish Road Bowling demonstrations and much more.
Ole Smoky Shine Fest (June 1)
On National Moonshine Day, get into the East Tennessee spirit with Ole Smoky Distillery during the 2nd Annual Ole Smoky Shine Fest. Taking place at 120 Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, festivities kick off at 5 pm with a DJ, followed by live music from local favorites Julia Cole and Canaan Smith. As the night continues, attendees will enjoy delicious Tennessee cuisine, giveaways and an exclusive National Moonshine Day cocktail.
Riverbend Music Festival (June 2-4)
Riverbend Music Festival, Chattanooga’s longest-running, award-winning music festival brings music lovers together for performances on four stages at Ross’s Landing on Riverfront Parkway. Enjoy views of the Tennessee River while listening to Brothers Osborne, Blackberry Smoke, Ashley McBryde, Here Come The Mummies, Mavis Staples, Darius Rucker, The Cadillac Three and many more.
This Bell Buckle event is a wacky, fun-for-the-whole-family celebration of the South’s original fast food – an ice-cold RC Cola and a fresh MoonPie. (For the unfamiliar, a MoonPie consists of two round graham cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in a flavored coating. It’s delicious, obviously.) Attendees enjoy live music, clog dancing, MoonPie games and a colorful parade.
Kuumba Festival (June 24-26, 2022)
Celebrate African culture in Diaspora featuring food, music, performances and the popular African World Marketplace during the Kuumba Festival in Knoxville’s Market Square. At the largest cultural heritage and music festival in East Tennessee, you can expect to see traditional crafts, clothing and food and enjoy the West African Drum and Dance Community Circle where everyone in attendance is welcome to participate. A local talent show, Kuumba Watoto Dance and Drum Village extravaganza and live music and entertainment are also highlights. (Good to know: Kuumba festivities continue later in the summer, July 28-29, 2023 at Morningside Park.)
Knoxville Brewfest (June 24)
Knoxville has a flourishing brewery community and what better way to discover the city’s local craft beer than at Knoxville Brewfest? Featuring more than 20 local, regional and national breweries, Brewfest takes place at the city’s famed World’s Fair Park Lake. Tickets include event admission, a commemorative tasting glass and samples of the best made-in-Knoxville beers.
Tennessee Farmers’ Markets
For an even deeper dive into the world of Tennessee food, pay a visit to one or two of the state’s incredible farmers’ markets. These weekly events throughout Tennessee give you the chance to sample the freshest produce and enjoy artisanal eats, all in a fun and festive atmosphere. A few options include:
Nashville Farmers’ Market: Founded in the early 1800s, this year-round market features two covered open-air sheds, a 24,000 square-foot garden center, a culinary incubation center and an international food hall that includes some 20 restaurants and shops.
Franklin Farmers Market: From produce, fruit and dairy to baked goods and meats, you’ll find delicious fresh food at the Franklin Farmers Market, held every Saturday morning. Plus, there are always local makers at the market with unique and beautiful handmade goods.
Memphis Farmers Market: Since 2006, the Memphis Farmers Market brings farm fresh goods to the city’s downtown from April through October. While you explore, enjoy live music, weekly themed events and fun programs.
Chattanooga Market: At Chattanooga Market, each vendor has grown it, baked it or made it themselves; it’s the largest producer-only market in the region. Spring through fall, discover fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, as well as food trucks and local arts and crafts.
Market Square Farmers Market: Celebrating its 20th year in 2023, the open-air Market Square Farmers’ Market offers goods that are 100% grown, raised, and/or made by vendors within a 150-mile radius of Knoxville. Products vary by season and include fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, pasture-raised meats, edible and ornamental plants, cut flowers, bread and baked goods, jams and jellies, coffee, artisan crafts and more.
ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at TNvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.