Southern Affairs | Festivals + Events + Things to Do
You just never know what you might stumble upon in the South. Most folks who have never experienced a good Southern celebration might just think they are nothing but Mason jar drinking around a game of cornhole, but they would be wrong. The South knows how to put on a shindig! Think Mardi Gras - a party that can last a month! A Japanese pop-music singalong and glittered wizards (just to name a few) will have you wishing you could experience every event on this list. Plan accordingly - just be sure to leave your preconceived ideas of the South at home.
Bridge Crossing Jubilee
Partake in a poignant gathering. During the whole weekend, the historic bridge crossing in Selma, which came to be known as “Bloody Sunday,” will be honored. Support and celebrate the struggle for the right to vote, by gathering alongside people from all walks of life and others who were there that fateful day. Activities include a pageant, a dance, women and youth conferences, a parade, festival, interfaith service, and National Voting Rights Hall of Fame induction.
What would the South be without Mardi Gras? Most folks don’t realize that Mobile was the location of the first American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703. So head to Mobile for one of the most family-friendly celebrations welcoming both the old and young. This magnificent celebration lasts over two-and-a-half weeks and concludes on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. The streets of downtown Mobile will fill with the sights and sounds of live marching bands, brilliantly colored floats, and of course, teeming crowds of colorfully dressed attendees. Mobile is the perfect place to experience the thrill of your first Mardi Gras, so go get those beads and MoonPies!
Annual Arts & Crafts Festival
The town of Fairhope should be on everyone’s list when visiting Alabama; it is a treasure trove for the arts. Each year in the mystically charming downtown of Fairhope, the city hosts an award-winning art show that attracts over 230 exhibitors and more than 250,000 visitors. It’s a long-standing - and free - three-day event filled with music, and mouth-watering food in a fascinating location.
90th ABC Kite Fest
A relaxed gathering can be found in Austin during the month of March at the ABC Kite Fest. This free event will bring out the kid in everyone when hundreds of kites take to the sky. Tame and enjoyable as it may be to attend, there are always the kite contests for the strongest, largest, smallest, and steadiest kite - only homemade kites are allowed to enter. This event intends to help foster the creativity of the young, and it certainly does that for all that attend.
Summerville, South Carolina
On one three-day weekend during the spring, thousands of festival-goers descend upon this gracious Southern town to take in the flowers and hospitality when attending one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. Every year, the town of Summerville is awash in color from the hot pink azaleas to the purple wisteria and 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.
8th Annual Festival of Legends
Apex, North Carolina
Think Renaissance fair meets “The Hobbit,” and you have what is considered by many attendees to be a smash hit event. You never know what you might see at this outdoor event: mermaids, fairies, a jousting knight, dragons, glittered bagpipers, or Gandalf himself. There is the special Children’s Glen where it is said fairies host tea parties! One lump or two? Plan to attend and don’t forget your spell wand and fairy wings.
Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival
We can hardly wait for this annual event! This free family-friendly festival is a celebration of the oncoming spring, and Japanese culture. Geisha, Harajuku, and anime fans converge in downtown Nashville to eat their weight in Japanese food, watch martial arts demonstrations, hear taiko drum groups, and partake in a traditional tea ceremony. This is a pet-friendly event and hopefully, a few pet adoptions will occur. We will see you there!
Dahlonega Literary Festival
Move over TV and internet, books are king at this event. The Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of the love of books. Situated in the attractive town known for wine, historic Dahlonega, this festival will make any book nerd shout with glee. Thankfully, this festival and all of its events around town 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 will have the opportunity to purchase a table or both to interact with festival attendees and sell their books.
Spring Fayetteville Dogwood Festival
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Not be confused with Fayetteville’s Dogwood Fall Festival - though that’s a fun event too - this springtime event is always held the fourth weekend in April. Join the festivities in the aptly named Festival Park and in Downtown Fayetteville. This is the city’s biggest party of the year. It’s just a great reason to get out and enjoy yourself. This three-day street festival complete with rides, carnival food stands galore, music concerts, and arts and crafts will rival any state fair.
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
This three-day event is not about Land Rovers, but an equestrian competition. Even though there is an option to “glamp” (like glamorous camping in a yurt) on site, there are events that the public can enjoy without that type of commitment. Check out the free cross-country horse race, or buy yourself a ticket to watch the impressive art of dressage, miniature horse demonstrations, jumping tests, and too many races to mention.