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15 Family Friendly Tennessee Festivals to Welcome Spring

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Looking to get outside for a fun, inexpensive family adventure? These family-friendly Tennessee festivals ring in spring with celebrations of food, crafts and music.

East Tennessee

4/22 – 4/23 4 Bridges Arts Festival | Chattanooga

Named a PRIME 50 Fine Art Fair in the U.S. Art Fair Sourcebook, the 4 Bridges Arts Festival is a juried art show that spans a 50,000-square-foot pavilion and features more than 150 artists from around the country.

Rounding out the popular festival weekend are a children’s art tent, live music performances and delicious local food. Weekend passes are $10 and daily passes are $7.

4/28 – 4/30 National Cornbread Festival | South Pittsburg

Now in its 21st year, the National Cornbread Festival is jam-packed with food and live entertainment. Admission is just $5 per day (preschool-aged children get in free) and gives you access to four stages of dancing and music, kids activities, a classic car cruise-in, arts and crafts booths, cooking demonstrations and, of course, lots of cornbread!

4/28 – 4/30 Dogwood Arts Festival on Market Square | Knoxville

This Dogwood Arts Festival transforms several city blocks into a bustling street fair. Experience exhibits from over 60 artists, plus a large creative station for kids, arts and crafts booths, live bands, cooking demonstrations, wine and food pairings, and gorgeous flower markets.

5/8 – 5/13 Tennessee Strawberry Festival | Dayton

“Berry Happy Birthday, Celebrating 70 Years!” is the theme of this spring’s Strawberry Festival and parade. The week-long celebration includes a pageant, plenty of vendor booths, live music and carnival rides.

5/19 – 5/20 Annual Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival | Sevierville

Not only is the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival Sevierville’s largest event, it’s also a qualifying event for the World Food Championships. It’s everything a Smoky Mountain spring festival should be — world-class bluegrass, a barbecue cook-off and arts and crafts vendors. Free admission ices the cake on this family-oriented weekend.

Middle Tennessee

3/27 – 4/2 Mule Day | Columbia

Coined the “Mule Capital of the World,” the city of Columbia celebrates its heritage with an annual Mule Day festival. This event includes a horse show, mule pull, lumberjack contests and square dancing.

Enjoy homemade pie, funnel cakes and barbecue while watching the Mule Day Parade. Weekend passes are $18 each or daily passes range from $5 to $10. Kids ages 12 and under get in free.

4/8 Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival | Nashville

Start your day with a 2.5-mile cherry blossom walk, then celebrate spring and experience Japanese culture at this free festival. This festival is full of family-friendly activities, including a pet adoption parade, sumo-suit wrestling, a cosplay contest, music, dance, martial arts exhibitions and a Taste of Japan.

4/20 – 4/22 Rivers and Spires | Clarksville

This festival has won top honors at the Southeast Festivals and Events Association Conference, and for good reason! The Rivers and Spires festival is free and highlights Clarksville’s arts, architecture, culture and heritage. It’s chock full of family-friendly activities and has featured musical acts like Little Big Town, the Charlie Daniels Band and Diamond Rio.

4/29 – 4/30 Main Street Festival | Franklin

Touted as one of the largest events in the state, the Heritage Foundation’s Main Street Festival has been named a top 20 event by the Southeastern Tourism Society. In the large kids zone, children can bounce on inflatables, ride ponies or a train and stop by the petting zoo. Adults will enjoy two stages of live music, an arts-and-crafts show and a beer garden.

5/6 – 5/29 (weekends only) Tennessee Renaissance Festival | Arrington

If you love costumes and pageantry, this event is for you! The multi-weekend Tennessee Renaissance Festival is host to magicians, musicians, jousting tournaments, theatrical performances and castle tours. Each weekend has a different theme, ranging from a pirate invasion to a Celtic weekend.

West Tennessee

3/24 – 3/26 Carousel Fine Craft Show | Kingsport

The Carousel Fine Craft Show is a relative newcomer on the scene. Your $3 admission to this fine craft show includes rides on the hand-carved, hand-painted Kingsport Carousel.

If your family enjoys fine arts and crafts and a less hectic festival scene, this show may be the event for you. Artists will give live demonstrations, and you can peruse and purchase a wide array of jewelry, furniture and artwork.

4/22 – 4/29 World’s Biggest Fish Fry | Paris

Start with five tons of catfish and a two-hour parade, then throw in a hush puppy dash and junior fishing rodeo, and you’ve got the World’s Biggest Fish Fry! The week-long festival also includes pageants, arts and crafts booths and a carnival, so there’s something for everyone.

4/29 – 5/6 Tennessee Iris Festival | Dresden

The Tennessee Iris Festival is a classic small-town festival. Your family can enjoy live entertainment, a tractor pull, a 5k race, a quilt and needlework show, a pet show and princess and queen pageants. The festival culminates in a parade featuring nearly 100 colorful floats.

5/07 – 5/13 West Tennessee Strawberry Festival | Humboldt

Entering its 79th year, the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival is touted as “a classic West Tennessee homecoming.” The festival has grown to include contests, 5k and 10k runs, a horse show and a golf tournament. Fireworks will wow the family, and kids are sure to love the parade floats and festival food.

05/27 901Fest | Memphis

901Fest is a new addition to Memphis in May that showcases the best of the city. It’s a celebration of all things Memphis — live music, barbecue, merchandise and fun for everyone. Tickets are $9 in advance, and kids 6 and under get in free. Following food, music and fireworks, the celebration ends with an exciting air show!

Did we miss any of your favorite Tennessee festivals? Let us know about your favorite spring events in the comments.

Cynthia Fagan

Cynthia Fagan is a writer whose expertise and interests include health care, corporate wellness, professional development and diversity. Cynthia reads like a fiend, volunteers compulsively and especially values work that develops skills and confidence in others. She is a military spouse and mom who enjoys traveling and lives in Signal Mountain, TN.

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