Spring has sprung and it’s time to head outdoors. Join the festivities and celebrate anything and everything, from the finest Southern seafood, to the perfect pickle! We Southerners love to a reason to gather our friends and party, and we think you should, too. Local festivals are a fantastic way for weekend travelers to get a regional dose of food, music and culture in any particular city. Always do your research before arriving at your destination, because you may never know what kind of hootenanny is scheduled to go down when you arrive - you don’t want to miss out.
February 28 - March 4
Charleston Wine + Food Festival
Charleston, South Carolina
It’s that time of year again for Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Various locations downtown and around Charleston will offer exclusive dinners, wine tastings, workshops, excursions, and seminars. Charleston Wine + Food is a celebration of Charleston’s culinary excellence and renowned culture. The heart of the festival is the Culinary Village located in Marion Square, a large historic park in the center of downtown Charleston. Additional festival events, from dinners to workshops to excursions and parties, happen all over Charleston and the surrounding areas, and the majority of festival events are in the downtown area, all walkable from Marion Square.
March 9 - 10
44th Annual State Tennessee Old-Time Fiddler’s Championships
The Annual State of Tennessee Old-Time Fiddler’s’ Championship will feature many of the best “old-time” musicians in the country, all converging for one great spectacle. Bring the family and join this culmination of fiddling talent for a good ol’ time! There is a $10,000.00 prize purse for the winning fiddler! Admission is $8 on Friday and $10 on Saturday, and children under 12 are free.
March 15 - April 21
Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens
Charleston, South Carolina
This annual tour is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to take a welcomed peek behind the garden gates and piazza doors of the peninsula’s most vaunted private residences, exceptional dwellings rarely viewed by the public. Set amid the historic ambience of the city’s Old & Historic District, this series of award-winning tours highlights Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, gardens and culture. These tours take you to America’s most beautiful historic residences, dating to the 18th century. Visit Charleston to see why it has been renowned for three centuries as “a city set in a garden.” The festival is set during the peak of the city’s blooming season. Tours feature seven to ten properties each day in one of eleven neighborhoods, dating from the American colonial period, through the antebellum and Victorian eras, to early 20th century.
March 24 - 25
Dahlonega Literary Festival
The Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of books. Situated in Historic Downtown Dahlonega, the festival continues to grow and become more and more entertaining as the years go on. It will delight anyone who is a lover of books and reading. All festival events are free and open to the public. Each year the festival presents a slate of invited authors representing a variety of genres sharing their ideas and experiences in various programs. In addition, a number of regional authors (ranging from local to other areas of the South) have the opportunity to purchase a table to both interact with festival attendees and sell their books.
April 6 - 8
Summerville, South Carolina
On one three-day weekend during this season, thousands of festival-goers descend upon this gracious Southern town to take in the flowers and hospitality and attend one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast - The YMCA Flowertown Festival. Every spring, the Town of Summerville is awash in color- from the hot pink azaleas, to the purple wisteria, to the delicate white dogwood. Consistently ranked one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, the three-day festival features over 200 jury-selected artists from throughout the country who display their work for sale.
Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival
The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a family-friendly celebration of spring and Japanese culture on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse at Nashville Public Square. The Cherry Blossom Walk, hosted by Sister Cities of Nashville will begin at 9 a.m. and Kaminari Taiko will open the festival. Festival highlights include Japanese music and dance, a roving “Candyman,” martial arts demonstrations, art, anime merchandise, children’s activities, sumo-suit wrestling, the Pups in Pink Parade, a Cosplay Contest, and a variety of Japanese cuisine featuring special menus from some of Nashville’s favorite food trucks. Festival proceeds benefit the mission of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Committee to plant 1,000 cherry trees – 100 each spring over 10 years – to help beautify Nashville’s landscape. 900 cherry blossom trees have planted so far in Nashville parks and neighborhoods.
April 14 - 15
The Festival of Legends
Optimist Farm Apex, NC
The Festival of Legends is a celebration of the mythic arts and the magic of life itself. It is a playground for the imagination – for children as well as adults – and an escape from the mundane world. It is a journey to the romantic by-gone eras that never were, and an exploration of the fantastical realms that have always been. The residents are magicians and musicians, acrobats and comedians, artists and crafters, proud knights and fairytale creatures. Step into the Festival of Legends, and step into a place of wonder.
April 20 - 22
Rivers and Spires Festival
This free three-day event is an awesome annual event held in Historic Downtown Clarksville. Rivers & Spires Festival is a three-day outdoor event, featuring five stages of entertainment, Festival of Nations, free children’s activities, car shows, parades, shopping and so much more. Last year an estimated 49,000 people enjoyed music, food, shopping and of course, people watching.
April 27 - 28
7th Annual BBQ Boogie & Blues
The 7th Annual BBQ Boogie & Blues is Friday, April 27 & Saturday, April 28 in Downtown Calhoun, Georgia. The event features K.C.B.S. (Kansas City Barbeque Society) sanctioned professional and backyard competitions (sample and vote for your favorite in the People’s Choice contest), live entertainment, food and arts & crafts vendors, kids zone, Georgia String Band Festival and more! The 2015 contest was highlighted on an episode of Destination America’s “BBQ Pit Wars.” Join the tasty fun!
32nd Annual NC Pickle Festival
Mount Olive, North Carolina
Join the Mount Olive community for the 32nd Annual N.C. Pickle Festival in historic downtown Mount Olive. Where else can you shake hands with an eight-foot tall pickle, eat all the pickles you want all day, and enjoy three stages of live music and entertainment, antique cars and tractors, carnival rides, and much, much more!
Main Street Festival
This free spring celebration is a fun-filled weekend known as downtown Franklin’s favorite community event! Attracting about 120,000 people, this festival includes over 150 arts & crafts vendors, dozens of food vendors, two stages of live entertainment, a kids zone and a carnival for all ages. Proceeds from the event benefit the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, and their missions is to protect and preserve the architectural, geographical and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County, and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of Downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.
Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival
Charleston, South Carolina
The 31st Annual Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year! The festival pays tribute to Mount Pleasant’s local shrimping and fishing industry, offering a boat parade, live music, craft show and lots of free activities with the picturesque Ravenel Bridge and Charleston Harbor for a backdrop. Participants are treated to a boat parade and ceremonial blessing of the shrimp/fishing fleet, savory seafood samplings sold by some of Mount Pleasant’s best restaurants, live music, a craft show, art exhibition, shag and shrimp-eating contests, and family-friendly activities. Admission and activities are free!
77th Iroquois Steeplechase
The Iroquois Steeplechase has been Nashville’s rite of spring since 1941, attracting more than 25,000 spectators annually to watch the best horses and riders in the world race over hurdles and timber on a manicured turf track. Held the second Saturday of each May at Percy Warner Park, this iconic sporting event is Music City’s annual celebration of time-honored traditions, Tennessee hospitality and Southern fashions. Guests enjoy areas for families, well-appointed tents and individually organized tailgates where the emphasis is on race day pickings, larger-than-life hats, Honey Jack Juleps and crowd-pleasing recipes.
More Southern Affairs
Charleston County Park & Recreation
Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission is celebrating 50 years and still shining. This year will be like no other year for visitors. Our 11,000-acre park system spans 100 miles and has so much to offer. Just relax, or experience exceptional recreational activities like hiking, fishing, boating, skateboarding, running, kayaking, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, birding, or simply walking on our trails. Find out more about our concerts, special events, and other offerings at CharlestonCountyParks.com
North Charleston Arts Fest
May 2-6 (Arts Fest Expo – May 5-6)
The annual celebration of arts and culture highlights national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, media arts, and literature. For 35 years, the festival has made quality arts programming affordable and accessible to the widest spectrum of the public, attracting more than 30,000 residents and visitors. The event has matured into one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state of South Carolina with a schedule that offers something for everyone, including concerts, theatre presentations, children’s programs, workshops and demonstrations, exhibitions, public art installations, and much more.
Just Plane Fun
Hendersonville, North Carolina
If you remember when flying was an event instead of a burden, then celebrate that excitement at the Just Plane Fun annual event at the Wester North Carolina Air Museum. Soar high with Airplane rides, stroll down memory lane with the Antique Car Show, and marvel at historic planes. This is a fantastic event to share with the whole family, young and old. Let the kids get up close and touch and ride in a plane, and chat with the pilots! Check their website for the June 2018 event dates!