Go to These Tennessee Small Towns for Springtime Events

Go to These Tennessee Small Towns for Springtime Events

Tennessee’s small towns ring in spring with charm and outdoor adventures. It’s in the small towns you can gallivant the state’s countryside with easy access to parks, rivers, meadows and mountains. See Bell Buckle bloom yellow; eat your weight in catfish; and explore Tennessee's scenic beauty, made even prettier with springtime blooms.

Outdoor Celebrations

Daffodil Day

Bell Buckle

Bell Buckle celebrates its Daffodil Day in its downtown area. Richard Suter Photography

Bell Buckle celebrates its Daffodil Day in its downtown area. Mass plantings of the golden beauties were planted more than 100 years ago along the corridors to the scenic little town of Bell Buckle. The daffodils have multiplied and now grow in every direction throughout the tree-lined town and corridors leading to the charming little railroad town. Horticulture seminars, The Daffodil Flower Show, and a seed exchange round out the festival events.

Trails & Trilliums


Walk among the flowers with naturalists during Trails & Trilliums. Discovery Park of America

Construct fairy houses, take a hike through the South Cumberland Plateau with naturalist experts, browse the vendors and see beautiful artwork during the annual ART for the PARK event. Birds of prey programs and demonstrations on natural dye making are also on the calendar during Trails & Trilliums that supports South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee largest state park.

Mountain Laurel Festival


Hike designated trails to see the mountain laurel bloom in Wartburg. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

When the mountain laurel blooms, this festival shows attendees just how beautiful it is with a whole month of celebrations like the Climb with a Ranger event and the Mountain Laurel 5K race. It all culminates on Courthouse Square including 24 designated trails in Frozen Head State Park, Pickett State Park, Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail, and Obed Wild & Scenic River to name a few.

Artistic Festivals

Blooming Arts Festival


More than 150 regional and local artists come to Linden, Tennessee to show off their talents and artwork for the thousands of attendees who flock to this festival. Fine arts like glass art, woodwork and painting can be found displayed along Linden's Main Street. Demonstrations like chainsaw carving, live dance performances and food vendors can all be enjoyed. Stop in at the Commodore Hotel & Cafe for a made-from-scratch lunch that you'll remember well after your visit.

Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival


See the talent of fiber artists through classes and demonstrations. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Bridge stitching, creating rolags, peg loom-beg classes and demonstrations take place to teach attendees fiber arts. See displays of llamas, angora rabbits, sheep and goats. There are lots of activities for families and shopping opportunities in the Marketplace.

Iris Festival

May 18-19, 2019


Iris Festival in Greeneville, Tennessee. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

The juried festival, named to honor Tennessee’s state flower, welcomes local and regional entertainment talent, more than 160 crafters and merchants and food vendors for an event that draws thousands of spectators. See demonstrations like wheel-thrown pottery, woodworking and crocheting while noshing on Southern food favorites, stir fry and gyros while seeing entertainment ranging from clogging, square dancing and jazz music.

Food Festivals

Slawburger Festival


Sink your teeth into a delicious Slawburger in Fayetteville. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Celebrate the deliciousness of the famous slawburger with this festival that will either feed or start a craving for this unique burger found in Fayetteville. To date, 167,900 slawburgers have been sold at the festival. Enjoy this culinary masterpiece while listening to five bands perform throughout the day and exploring this quaint Tennessee town.

World’s Biggest Fish Fry

April 20-28, 2019


Head to Paris, Tennessee for endless amounts of fried catfish and festival fun. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Eat your weight in catfish at this spring festival where more than 12,500 lbs. of catfish is fried up and served with sides. Enjoy the two-hour grand parade, carnival, rodeos, and even catfish races all week-long.

National Cornbread Festival

South Pittsburg

- Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

The battle for who can cook the yummy Southern staple is on at this event as thousands flock to South Pittsburg to taste test some of the best cornbread creations. Mosey down Cornbread Alley and sample various cornbread recipes. Play games, ride carnival rides, enjoy live music and see the arts and crafts from area vendors. You can even tour the Lodge Cast Iron Foundry where the famous cast iron skillets are meticulously made.

Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival


Enjoy strawberry-infused dishes and music at the 78th annual Middle TN Strawberry Festival. Richard Suter Photography

The 78th annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival is May 4-11, 2019 in Portland, Tennessee. Festivities kick off with the crowning of the Miss Middle Tennessee Strawberry Queen May 4 and wrestling fans can cheer on their favorites at the Strawberry Slam Wrestling event with WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett. Pirates of the Caribbean will be shown Friday night in keeping with the festival's theme "Berried Treasure." Guests can discover Portland's treasure April 8-May 3 at locations throughout downtown. Collect all 15 stamps for a chance to win the grand prize of $500 and more. The festival, hosted throughout downtown Portland, features a carnival at Richland Park, a variety of food, including fresh strawberries, more than 100 vendors and live music from the Strawberry Jam main stage on Market Street. The Strawberry Festival Parade begins 4 p.m. May 11 followed by a free concert by Lee Gibson. Stick around for the closing fireworks show at 8:30 p.m.

Unique Celebrations

Mule Day


Visit with mules, then see them compete at Mule Day. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Celebrate everything related to mules. Learn how the mule has played a vital part in Columbia, Tennessee history. The festival is made complete with mule pull contests, lumberjack competitions, “best of breed” contest, working mule competition and so much more. Keep an eye out for the Wagon Train that kicks off festivities at Maury County Park.

Teapot Festival


The rare teapot collection on display in Trenton, Tennessee. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

The annual Trenton Teapot Festival is held annually to celebrate the very rare collection of porcelain veilleuses-theieres or teapots. Enjoy music, arts and crafts and learn the history of how the rare collection came to this small Tennessee town.

History Commemorations

Civil War Days

Union City

Peer into Civil War times at Discovery Park of America. Discovery Park of America

Experience a live reenactment of the Civil War to peer into what life was like from 1861-1865. See the tents soldiers slept in, period clothing and watch live firing demonstrations on the lawn of Discovery Park of America. Demonstrators are on-site to answer any Civil War curiosities. A special lantern walk is scheduled for April 5 that showcases the encampments by fire glow.

Siege at Fort Watauga


Reenactment of Siege at Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals State Park. Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

It is the summer of 1776 and the Watauga settlement is at war. Take in the 200 colonial and Native American reenactors present this dramatic retelling of the Cherokee attack brought onto the settlers of the Watauga valley. Visit the living history camps, shop with period vendors, and witness battle re-enactments both days. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke and see history come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga.

Written by Amanda Stravinsky for VMLY&R on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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