See an art show, pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful spring weather at free music concert series across the state. The season is packed with unique festivals like Memphis in May, West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, Exit 56 Blues Fest, Cornbread & Moonshine Festival, Tennessee Craft Fair, Tennessee Renaissance Festival, Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival, Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival, Racks by the Tracks, Strolling on Main in downtown Jonesborough and the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games. For a complete list of events across Tennessee, visit tnvacation.com/calendar.
Elizabethton –Discover the secrets of Tennessee’s oldest frame house and learn the history of the family who built it 11 a.m. at the Carter Mansion Tour at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 7-17.
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.
Dunlap – Valley Fest is an outdoor spring festival with live music of all genres, kids’ activities, local food, fine crafts, a car exhibition and more in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley.
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.
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.
Union City – Enjoy music on the South Lawn or relax in the shade of the train depot overlooking the lake during Rhythm on the Rails Summer Music Series at Discovery Park of America. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $5.
Chattanooga – Artist Alyson Shotz will discuss her exhibit, Un/Folding, 5:45 p.m. with a musical introduction by the CGLA chorus at Hunter Museum of Art. Tickets are $5 and free to ages 17 and under.
Humboldt – Try various vinos, beer and handcrafted pizzas during Wine Down 6-10 p.m. at Crown Winery with live entertainment from Bullet Town Trio.
Murfreesboro – Sample some of the best craft brews in Murfreesboro while enjoying Shakespearean performances at Shakesbeer 7 p.m. outside at Discovery Center. Tickets are $35 and benefit the Discovery Center.
Knoxville – The Market Square Farmers Market returns downtown. Visit local shops, restaurants and stroll the open-air market for products grown or made by East Tennessee vendors.
Knoxville – The Arts & Culture Alliance presents five new exhibits at the Emporium Center downtown with an opening reception 5-9 p.m. as part of First Friday activities. Meet the artists and view the artwork. Exhibits are open through May 31.
Loudon – Dine by the banks of the Tennessee River in downtown Loudon at Riverside Park for Food Truck Friday held the first Friday of each month. www.loudonparks.com
Pigeon Forge – Join Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. as he leads the annual Music in the Mountains parade 6 p.m. along the parkway. The parade will showcase the rich musical heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains while spotlighting entertainment at theaters throughout the city.
Granville – Historic Granville has a weekend full of fun during the Cornbread & Moonshine Festival. The weekend begins Friday with an outdoor play, “Mayberry Darlings” at Pioneer Village. On Saturday, Pioneer Village will host a cornbread competition. Sample all entries and eat a great southern lunch of pinto beans, turnip greens, apples and cobbler.
Loudon – Catfish anglers from several states will travel to Watts Bar Lake for a King Kat Tournament Trail event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. The event includes daily weigh-in, a local celebrity tournament, and a street festival on Saturday.
Memphis – Kicking off Memphis in May, the three-day Beale Street Music Festival is recognized as one of the nation’s top music festival with nationally-known artists like The Killers, Dave Matthews Band, OneRepublic and Khalid performing on multiple stages.
Nashville – The Tennessee Craft Spring Fair draws nearly 45,000 people to Centennial Park with the best of fine art, highlighting both traditional and contemporary artists and their unique handcrafted items.
Knoxville – Nearly 2,500 street rods, muscle cars, custom cars, trucks and specialty vehicles from all over the Southeastern United States return to Knoxville for the Annual Street Rods Nationals South at Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center.
Knoxville – Guitar designs created by high school and middle school students in East Tennessee will be on display at Dogwood Arts. The guitars will be auctioned online to benefit Dogwood Arts and the Songbirds Foundation’s youth art programs.
Jackson – Witness crawfish races and crawfish cooking teams boiling Louisiana mud bugs during Crawfish 2019 3-10 p.m. at West Tennessee Farmers Market. Live music starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and benefit the Scarlet Rope Project.
Nashville – Celebrate the Kentucky Derby 3-6 p.m. at Frist Art Museum. The event will feature the exhibit, Sporting Vision, bluegrass music, delicious food from Martin’s Bar-B-Que and samples of mint juleps from Belle Meade Bourbon.
Nashville – Stroll through more than 20 art venues during the free First Saturday Art Crawl 6-9 p.m. at 5th Avenue of the Arts in the historic Arcade.
Hendersonville – Enjoy the day by the lake at Sumner Fest 4-9 p.m. at Sanders Ferry Park & Boat Ramp. There will be a kids’ zone, live music, local food vendors, hot air balloon glow and tethered hot air balloon rides.
Mt. Juliet – Derby Days 2-8 p.m. at Circle P Ranch is family-friendly with food, shopping, games, a car show, derby viewing and live entertainment. Enjoy whole hog barbecue, local food trucks or bring your own tent and cooler to tailgate. Admission is free.
Cottontown – Enjoy a free open house with docent-led historic tours through The Bridal House, the original log house built in 1819. Author Brian Allison will be on site to sign copies of his book “Notorious Nashville: Scoundrels, Rogues & Outlaws.”
Lafollette – Sip mint juleps, savor traditional Derby fare and dance the night away during the 5th Annual Down & Derby Party at the historic home, ClaiHill Farm. Money raised benefits programs and services CHET provides. Tickets are $100.
Bristol – Kids get a chance to learn about and play a variety of stringed instruments, take part in story time and explore the special exhibit, “Reading Appalachia,” at the Free Family Fun Day noon to 2 p.m. at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Ripley – Dress in costume and join the Practically Perfect Tea Party with Mary Poppins at Carl Perkins Center. Tickets are $20. Call 731-635-7856 for your tickets and tea time.
May 4, 18
Jackson – Grab a blanket, picnic basket and buy a glass of wine while listening to free concerts 7-10 p.m. during Voices in the Vineyard at Century Farm Winery. The Dirt Pilgrims take the stage May 4. Stumpwater Band performs May 18.
Nashville – The Arts Company’s opening reception 6-9 p.m. during the First Saturday Art Crawl downtown at 5th Avenue of the Arts celebrates a two-part exhibition. “The Altered Image” features work by four gallery artists using found and/or vintage photography. “Giving up the Ghost” features “ghost photographs” by artist Angela Deane.
Gatlinburg – Get maracas and sombreros ready and celebrate Cinco de Mayo 6:30-9 p.m. at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Indulge in a delicious dinner buffet that includes a delectable dessert. Tickets are $44.99 for adults, $24.99 for kids.
Humboldt – The West Tennessee Strawberry Festival boasts crowds of more than 75,000 visitors. The fest features dozens of events, including a barbecue cook-off, carnival, fun, family activities and live music, all in a 9-block radius.
Nashville – On the 30th anniversary of Keith Whitley’s death, Whitley’s friends, family and fans will remember him at a memorial tribute concert 7 p.m. at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater. Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Trisha Yearwood, Lorrie Morgan and Whitley’s son Jesse will join the tribute.
Jackson – Kick off the weekend by enjoying artwork created by talented clients at Youth Town Eden 1-3 p.m. at the Art of Eden Gallery.
Hendersonville – Songwriter Nights 7-9 p.m. at Someone’s in the Kitchen Café is a great way to discover amazing artists who will also perform at this year’s Hendersonville Main Street Porch Fest. Songwriters and performers include Jess Jocoy, Jessica Nixon, Campbell Station, and Hayden Hodge.
Lenoir City – Dewey Frye is dead and the rest of his family is left to pick up the pieces, if they don’t kill each other first. The Last Call Theatre Group presents “Southern Fried Funeral” at the War Memorial Building.
Memphis – Enjoy live music and traditional dancing, browse Greek wares, sample delicious Greek cuisine and discover more about this fascinating culture at the Memphis Greek Festival at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
Dayton – Celebrate spring’s favorite fruit at the Tennessee Strawberry Festival featuring a strawberry baking contest, strawberry chase, carnival, parade, family fun night and the annual cruise-in at Rhea County Courthouse Square.
Memphis – Put on a tuxedo,suit or formal gown to party in style at the Old School Prom 9 p.m. at the Halloran Centre at Orpheum Theatre. The soundtrack will be provided by Memphis DJs DJ Tim Bachus, DJ Kane and Hershal B.
Jackson – The Jackson Symphony Orchestra finishes out its season in dramatic style, presenting the lyrical beauty & virtuosity of violist Sirena Huang 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church.
Nashville – The Iroquois Steeplechase horse race attracts more than 25,000 visitors to watch some of the world’s best riders race over hurdles, take part in tailgates, see larger-than-life hats and celebrate time-honored traditions at Percy Warner Park.
Portland – “Berried Treasure” is the theme for the 78th Annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival. Enjoy live music, 100+ food, craft & information vendors, contests, inflatables & activities for kids, a carnival and a 5K walk/run. The parade will be at 4 p.m. followed by a free concert at 6 p.m. featuring Lee Gibson. Fireworks will follow the concert downtown.
Knoxville – Treat the family to a free blast from the past with the Mother’s Day Rock ‘n’ Roll Car Show 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Historic Ramsey House. Vote for your favorite car, enjoy crafters, jewelry booths, delicious food vendors and live music.
Dandridge – Venture to beautiful Dandridge and Douglas Lake for the Lakeside of the Smokies Triathlon. The event offers the 750 meter Swim/16-mile bike/3-mile run or sprint option, in addition to the Olympic distance (1.5k Swim?/40k Bike/10k Run) option.
Loudon – Bring your own lawn chair and cooler for 2nd Saturday Music at the Tate & Lyle Amphitheater.
Jonesborough – Join the region’s finest outdoor/indoor art show with over 40 art vendors, live music, storytelling and food at Art in the Park 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the International Storytelling Center.
Jonesborough – Sample over 20 varieties of small bites while enjoying wine selections throughout downtown Jonesborough 6-9 p.m. for Strolling on Main. For tickets, visit Jonesborough.com or call 423-753-1010.
Chattanooga – See Rock City in all its spring glory during the Southern Blooms Festival and Founder’s Day Celebration. Learn about the legacy and heritage of the gardens through tours, demonstrations, festivities and flower activities.
Memphis – Skip the crowds and celebrate with a Mother’s Day Picnic at Memphis Botanic Garden. Pre-order a picnic made by Fratelli’s or bring your own. Plant a special flower as a take home memento. Free admission for all moms.
Chattanooga, Knoxville, Lenoir City, Loudon & Bristol – Enjoy a weekend of treasure hunting on the annual Highway 11 Yard Sale as it makes its way through Loudon County. The 502-mile festive roadside sale will be held on U.S. Highway 11 from Mississippi through Alabama and Georgia, then Chattanooga, Knoxville, Lenoir City, Loudon and Bristol.
Nashville – Listen to bluegrass and roots pickers at the Full Moon Pickin’ Party 7-9 p.m. at Percy Warner Park. Tickets are $20. Money raised benefits preservation and educational programming at Warner Parks. Food trucks will be on site.
Middle Tennessee – Hunt for antique treasures on the 100-mile Hwy 42 Yard Sale with 800+ vendors, food and fun runs from Orlinda to just past Celina at the county line with stops in Portland, Westmoreland, Lafayette and Red Boiling Springs.
Kingsport – A barbecue cook-off, craft beer & wine tastings and live music are in store at Racks by the Tracks. The fest includes a full concert lineup, featuring Aaron Tippin on Friday night and The Breakfast Club on Saturday night.
Lexington – The 13th annual Henderson County Folk Festival 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Court House Square serves up bluegrass & folk music, arts & crafts and an antique car show. Admission is free.
Jackson – Listen to smooth jazz and taste local fare while helping a good cause at Jazz in the Garden 6 p.m. at The Cumberland House. Tickets are $75 and money raised benefits the Jackson Symphony League.
Smithville – Bring hiking boots for an introduction in backyard foraging during the Herb Walk 1-3 p.m. at Bright Hill Bed & Barn. The experience includes complimentary taste teas, light lunch, artisan cakes and gluten-free treats.
Chattanooga – Party with friends after hours at Spirits in the Wild 6-10 p.m. at Chattanooga Zoo. At the 21 and up event, guests can take a peek at animals, taste food and spirits from local restaurants and sample beer, wine and snacks.
Knoxville – Enjoy the grounds of the Historic Ramsey House 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Antique and Garden Show. Browse the wares of quality antique dealers, nursery owners and food vendors. Admission is $5 per person per day.
Loudon – Tennessee Valley Winery kicks off their summer concert series, “Music on the Mountain.” Bring your own lawn chair and picnic basket and enjoy a FREE concert at the winery.
Wartburg – Soak in the spring air at the 5th Annual Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live music, hikes, food, wine tasting, carriage rides, pet contest, dancing, crafts, and an antique car show.
Memphis – Hallmark Channel hosts a Fan Celebration Weekend at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, giving fans a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interacy with stars like Kellie Pickler and Wes Brown and take part in activities.
Maryville – The Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games draws close to 10,000 people each year. Guests experience entertainment, genealogy, sheep dog presentations, kid’s activities, authentic Celtic food and more at Maryville College.
Greeneville – Country music star Trace Adkins takes the stage 7:30 p.m. at Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $65.
Elizabethton – Listen to melodies with roots in Europe and Appalachia during Frontier Fiddlin’ 2-3 p.m. at historic Sabine Hill at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.
Loudon – The Tellico Village Farmers Market kicks off for the season with fresh, local produce and homemade crafts at Tugaloo Beach Pavilion.
Adamsville – The Buford Pusser Memorial Festival honors the memory of Sheriff Buford Pusser. The event kicks off May 23 at 5 p.m. and includes live music, arts and crafts, an antique car show, 5K run, softball, food and games.
Nashville – The Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender and Car Show at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center includes a large outdoor car show, a western fashion show, vintage vendor market, pinup contest and record convention. The B-52s take the stage Sunday at 9 p.m.
Memphis – Bring a picnic basket, lawn chair and cooler and enjoy the music of Styx featuring the Memphis Symphony Orchestra 7:30 p.m. at Summer Symphony Live at the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Nashville – Pack a blanket and watch “Ralph Breaks the Internet” at sunset at the Nashville Zoo. Zoovie Nights include games, inflatables, music and after-hours access to the carousel and zipline. Tickets are $6 per person or included with day-of admission.
Big Sandy – The Big Sandy Spring Festival downtown is packed with fun events like a parade, car show, carnival, live entertainment, vendors, food and activities.
Memphis – Memphis in May wraps up its month-long salute in honor of the city’s bicentennial featuring five stages throughout Tom Lee Park with performances by Lucero, Al Capone, Garry Goin & Friends and more.
Tiptonville – Salute veterans at the Samburg Memorial Day Celebration kicking off at noon at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Events include a veterans’ salute, live music, pontoon firework cruises, car show and eagle presentation.
Lenoir City – The first Rockin’ the Docks festival of the year is the official kick-off to summer. Held at Lenoir City Park on the banks of Fort Loudoun Lake, the festival features live bands, food vendors and fireworks.
Jonesborough – Families can celebrate the Opening of Wetlands Water Park with a zero-depth area, two flume slides, a 200 ft. giant slide, a lazy river and smaller children’s slides. Season passes and private party opportunities are available.
Brownsville – The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center invites fans from around the world to the Exit 56 Blues Fest, presented from the porch of the last home of blues legend Sleepy John Estes with two full days of performances, including a “Women in Blues” line-up May 26.
May 25-27, June 1-2, 8-9
Harriman – The Sheriff of Nottingham will throw a grand Tennessee Medieval Faire to impress Prince John and Lady Marian with the hopes of luring in Robin Hood for capture. The outdoor, interactive fest 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. celebrates its 5th year with interactive entertainment, “time travel” for cosplay and steampunk fans, knights on horseback and jousting tournaments.
Castalian Springs – Author and historical consultant, Brian Allison, will discuss the etiquette and rules of the 19th century duel at If These Logs Could Talk 2 p.m. on the grounds of Historic Wynnewood. Guests will witness a dueling pistols demonstration.
Memphis – Bring your light-up toys for a dance party or get glowing at the Illumination Station to discover nature under backlight during the Firefly Glow Party 7-9:30 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden. Tickets are $15.
Nashville – Nashville Zoo welcomes all species of beer lovers to 6:30-10:30 p.m. during Brew at the Zoo. Animals, local food trucks and more than 100 craft beers are on tap in this event voted best beer event by Nashville Scene readers.
Memphis – Take a stroll through Memphis Botanic Garden during Twilight Thursdays. Each week May-September will have a different highlight from plants to pets.
Memphis – The Levitt Shell Free Concert Series hosts free annual concerts and events to help build community through music and education in the outdoor performing arts pavilion.
Jackson – The West Tennessee Farmers Market kicks off the free AMP music series May 3 with a performance by Rev. Jessie & The Holy Smokes. Music on the Main Stage begins at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through Sept. 20.
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 Collierville’s Historic Town Square Bluegrass Jam.
Crossville – Bluegrass and gospel take center stage as Cumberland County Playhouse presents the musical, Bright Star, a moving story from Grammy, Emmy and Academy Award-winner Steve Martin and Grammy Award-winner Edie Brickell.
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.
Arrington – Travel back to 16th-century England at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival every weekend in May. Artisans display their skills from silks to swords. Savor specialty food and drinks, watch the jousting competition and tour the castle.
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 the MathRox 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.
Crossville – Take a trip down memory lane as the Cumberland County Playhouse presents “Forever Plaid,” the jukebox musical comedy about a clean-cut, all-male singing group who return from the Great Beyond to perform the ultimate show.
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 new Island Life gallery at Tennessee Aquarium.
Knoxville – Free concerts on Market Square begin with Jazz Tuesdays and Variety Thursdays. Kicking off the season of Variety Thursdays will be Karns Middle School and High School Jazz Bands, followed by Symphony on the Square May 9.
About the 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.” Tennessee’s tourism industry generates $20.7 billion in economic impact, more than $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenue and more than 184,300 tourism-related jobs.
Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “tnvacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube or “Tennessee” on Snapchat.