Events in Tennessee

Kristin Luna
| April 29, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
Illustration of landmarks in Tennessee Adam Grason

Check out our events calendar to find Tennessee summer events, exhibits and the best family-friendly festivals across the state.

Musicians play on stage at Graceland during Elvis Week celebrations. Courtesy Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Revelers flock to Graceland year-round in celebration of the King’s life. But for a week in August (Aug. 9–17 this year) commemorating Elvis Presley’s death, many fans gather at his former residence to honor his life and impact on music during Elvis Week. The festival features live performances, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and plenty of surprises.

Calendar of Events

Keep your calendar booked with these festivals and events in Tennessee.

Each weekend of May
Tennessee Renaissance Festival
Every weekend in May annually, professional thespians and novices alike don their Renaissance-era best and put on a show for festival goers. Experience jousts, magicians, jugglers, food from the period and more at this Castle Gwynn ren faire.

May 3–4
Annual Street Rod Nationals South
Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center becomes a hotbed for hotrods as the National Street Rod Association roars into Knoxville with customs, muscle cars, street machines and exhibitors galore.

May 3–4
Blooms, Bluegrass & BBQ Festival
The sweetest street in Tennessee is also the host of Sweetwater’s annual BBQ festival. This two-day event features live bluegrass performances by various musicians and bands, a kids’ zone with inflatables and, of course, plenty of barbeque, including a People’s Choice BBQ competition.

May 10–11
Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival
Few things scream summer like strawberries, and Portland has an entire weekend devoted to the fruit. Returning for its 83rd year, the festival features several pre-weekend activities, too, like a quilt show and golf tournament, culminating with the Strawberry Jam Concert & Fireworks on Friday and an all-day event on Saturday featuring live music, magic shows and a movie night.

May 15–18
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
Part of the month-long Memphis in May International Festival, this beloved barbecue fest is a competitive cooking event taking place at Liberty Park. Thousands of smoke masters, both amateurs and professionals organized into more than 250 teams, vie for the accolade of kings and queens of barbecue (not to mention, bragging rights and $100,000 in prizes).

May 16–17
St. Jude Corvette Drive
For the 13th year, this two-day charity event puts fundraisers in the driver’s seat in five different routes that all end in Memphis, headquarters of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Tennessee’s race covers 233 miles from Nashville to Memphis.

May 18–19
Iris Festival
Greeneville’s annual festival celebrates the state flower, the iris, and features food, regional artisans, a car show and other entertainment. There’s also a juried arts and crafts show.

May 30–June 2
Memphis Pride Fest
Thousands of participants walk the streets of Memphis’ Beale Street Entertainment District for the parade of this colorful weekend in honor of Pride Month. The weekend-long celebration also includes drag brunch, live music and a marketplace with myriad vendors.

June 6–9
CMA Fest
Nashville becomes country music heaven for four days each summer when A-list names and newcomers alike fill stages and venues throughout downtown for round-the-clock music. While many of the events of the festival, which has taken place since 1972, are free to attend, you’ll need tickets for access to the nighttime shows at Nissan Stadium.

June 13–16
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
One of the country’s top music festivals is back in Manchester for its 21st year with upward of 150 acts taking the stages and tents at The Farm, a camping experience like no other. (For AAA Member-exclusive discounts on concerts and more, visit

June 15
RC Cola-MoonPie Festival
Race through the countryside surrounding Bell Buckle in the 5K or 10-mile run, watch costumed pets parade through the square, test your coordination as you Hula-Hoop while sipping an RC Cola, or simply snag a taste of the World’s Largest MoonPie at Bell Buckle’s annual all-day festival that’s free to the public.

June 15–Aug. 11
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration
A favorite summer tradition among Tennesseans, Dollywood’s annual summer festival continues throughout July and into mid-August with the nightly Sweet Summer Nights drone and fireworks and the Gazillion Bubble Show, a kid-favorite attraction that takes place in Dolly Parton’s Celebrity Theater. (For AAA Member-exclusive discounts on theme parks and more, visit

June 19
Juneteenth Celebration
Commemorating the end of slavery and dating back to 1865, Knoxville’s annual Juneteenth spans exhibitions, educational talks and one epic parade.

July 3–4
Clarksville’s Independence Day Celebration
The city of Clarksville’s annual 4th of July extravaganza now takes place over two days: There’s the traditional July 3 evening event at Liberty Park with live music and fireworks over the Cumberland River and then a parade on July 4 in downtown Clarksville.

July 4
Sweetwater’s Independence Day Celebration
Tennessee’s sweetest Main Street bursts to life with music, vendors, a parade complete with the Firefighter Water Gun Fight, dancing in the streets and—the grand finale—a fireworks display by Pyro Shows, all in downtown Sweetwater.

July 5–6
Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree
The 53rd year of this beloved Smithville event gathers hundreds of fiddlers who compete across various music and dance categories. In addition, all weekend long, the Smithville Square brims with makers selling their handmade crafts, food booths, cloggers and more in this celebration of Appalachian heritage.

July 12–14
Sunflower Festival
Sunflowers brighten the Tennessee fields for a few weeks each summer, and Springfield’s Red River Farms capitalizes on the season by inviting visitors out for hayrides through 10 acres of blooming fields, opportunities to pick flowers and shopping among more than 60 vendors. Tickets are required.

Aug. 4 and 8
Eighth of August Jubilee
Knoxville’s citywide celebration at Beck Cultural Exchange Center recognizes Andrew Johnson’s Aug. 8, 1863, freeing of the people he enslaved, as well as the significance of emancipation in the history of Tennessee.

Aug. 9–10
Meet the Mountains Festival
For a sixth year, Meet the Mountains Festival returns to Johnson City, this time at Winged Deer Park’s lakefront. The free festival has three zones—air, water and earth—each capitalizing on a part of northeastern Tennessee’s outdoors scene. Activities include live music, a farmers market, zip lining, air dog shows, yoga, fly-fishing and rock climbing, with more than 100 vendors and exhibitors in attendance.

Revelers dressed in tomato costumes lead the parade during the Tomato Art Fest in Five Points. Solar Cabin

Aug. 9–10
Tomato Art Fest
For more than 20 years, Five Points has been seeing red for a weekend each year when the neighborhood’s biggest annual event brings music, makers and—yes—the tomato to this quirky, art-focused Nashville festival.

Aug. 15–24
Tennessee State Fair
The Tennessee State Fair consumes Wilson County and its county seat, Lebanon, for 10 days of agriculture, games, rides and family entertainment.

Sept. 7
Stillwell Festival
Downtown Sevierville invites food lovers to come out for this open-fire cooking event featuring some of the best chefs in the region.

Sept. 7–8
Middle Tennessee Highland Games & Celtic Festival
You can dive into Scottish and Celtic culture without ever leaving the country, thanks to Hendersonville’s Highland games, which take place at the end of each summer in Sanders Ferry Park. Festival attendees can enter the games in advance, sign up for an amateur athlete course on that Friday or simply show up for free to observe.

Sept. 9–Oct. 28
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival
Dolly Parton’s theme park knows how to turn up the excitement level with Great Pumpkin LumiNights’ 12,000 illuminated pumpkins; a 40-foot pumpkin tree; and Hoot Owl Hollow, a collection of owl-themed displays suspended in the trees. This year, the festival spans an additional two weeks to accommodate even more Dollywood fans and parkgoers. (For AAA Member-exclusive discounts on theme parks and more, visit

Sept. 14
Cooper-Young Festival
One of Memphis’ liveliest neighborhoods, Cooper-Young—known for its thriving small businesses and artsy vibes—becomes an all-out festival for one day each year with live music, food vendors, maker booths and other fun.

Sept. 14–21
Lincoln County Fair
This annual week-long event in Fayetteville epitomizes all the draws of a true Tennessee county fair—livestock, 4-H, tractor pulls, a rodeo, a food fair and a carnival—with a few unique touches like harness racing and a demolition derby.

Sept. 19-21
Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival
Not far from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dumplin Valley Farm RV Park brings back its four-day bluegrass festival that features both well-known names and rising stars at this ticketed event in Sevierville.

Three musicians perform in an open-air venue during the Bell Buckle Songwriters Festival. Odinn Media

Sept. 21
Bell Buckle Songwriters Festival
In its second year, this music-focused event in Bell Buckle puts both professional and novice musicians on the stage for songwriter rounds, including a competition where local performers are tasked with coming up with an original jingle about the town. There are also food and craft vendors on site at this all-day free gathering co-produced by Radio SoBro, Sweet Strings Music and the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce.

Sept. 27–28
Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival
One of Franklin’s banner events—and among Tennessee’s best music festivals—this two-day musical feast of Americana, country, rock and roots returns to the 200-acre Park at Harlinsdale Farm. Past headliners have included Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Zach Bryan, Dave Matthews Band, Keith Urban and Foo Fighters.

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