The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) is dedicated to promoting and developing tourism in its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. In 1985, in recognition of the unique, diverse and unparalleled events in the region, STS began the Top 20 Events award program. A Top 20 Award seeks to bring more publicity and recognition to the best events in the Southeast, whether it be media, attendees or both! STS selects the Top 20 events, per month, and publishes them on a quarterly basis. Recent winners are listed below. Learn more about Southeast Tourism Society at www.SoutheastTourism.org
Current Top 20 Events
July 2017 STS
June 30-July 2, 42nd Annual 4th of July Powwow, Cherokee, NC, http://VisitCherokeeNC.com/events/detail/42nd-annual-powwow/
This event features fireworks of another kind, which means a three-day explosion of authentic American Indian music, dancing, food and festivities. Dance competitions kick off the excitement with over $60,0000 in prize money. Spectators travel cross-country to see a powwow as spectacular as this. Come see the ground erupt in a sea of twirling color at the height of tourist season. This action-packed weekend includes colorful regalia, jaw-dropping dances and music made to move you. Experience authentic tribal foods, browse traditional Indian crafts, and get an insider’s look at a rich and ancient culture. Cost is $12 daily (cash only) or just $10 when you bring and donate three cans of food.
July 1-July 5, 2017, 56th Annual Alderson 4th of July Celebration, Alderson, West Virginia, www.Alderson4th.com
The historic town of Alderson, West Virginia hosts a Fourth of July celebration that attracts upwards of 9,000 people each year. The five days are packed with activities for all. For the athlete, a 5K run, canoe races and track and field events. For the kids, an art contest, rides and a fishing derby. Music lovers will enjoy multiple live performances and a square dance. Foodies, make sure to pack an appetite because there is a hot dog eating contest, an ice cream social and a homecoming banquet. Everyone will enjoy the Grand Parade, West Virginia’s best fireworks display and the popular rubber ducky race.
July 1-14, 2017, Fantastic Fourth Celebration, Stone Mountain, GA, www.StoneMountainPark.com/Events/Fantastic-Fourth-Celebration
The Fantastic Fourth Celebration was voted the “Best Place to see Fireworks in Atlanta” by Atlanta Journal-Constitution readers, a “Must-See Fireworks Show” by USA Today and one of Reader’s Digest’s picks for “America’s Most Spectacular Fourth of July Fireworks.” Experience the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision, a not-to-be-missed Atlanta tradition that promises to wow your family with state-of-the-art digital graphics and awe-inspiring effects. The Lasershow also features a new Drone Wars segment with iconic music, epic fireworks and jaw-dropping fire effects. Three flame cannons add a punch to the show by sending a trio of flames nearly 100 feet into the air. Plus, special fireworks spray multi-colored bursts and dance on the water at the base of the mountain. The special patriotic fireworks finale will immediately follow the Lasershow every night July 1-4!
July 3-4, 2017, July 4th Midnight Parade, Gatlinburg, TN, www.Gatlinburg.com/events
Saluting the valiant men and women of our military services, this 42nd annual showcase is the first 4th of July Parade in the nation, starting at the stroke of midnight. This Gatlinburg celebration has garnered national attention for excellence in entertainment. National Geographic Traveler Magazine named the spectacle a “Top Ten Parade to see in the US” and Livability named the parade as one of the “Five Best Fourth of July Celebrations in Smaller Cities.” The parade attracts upwards of 80,000 people each year.
July 3-9, 2017, The Greenbrier Classic, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, www.GreenbrierClassic.com
With a field of 156 PGA Tour professionals competing for a $7.1 million purse, at one of the nation’s most historic and beautiful resorts and on America’s birthday, the Greenbrier Classic is one spectacular event. Danny Lee, 2015’s young champion, could return to play against tour veterans such as Bubba Watson and Stuart Appleby. Walk around to spot Shaquille O’Neal putting on the greens during the Pro-Am Tournament. Hang out to win $100 when a golfer gets a hole-in-one at the eighteenth green. Finally, indulge in the exquisite cuisine of The Greenbrier or just enjoy the event in the cradle of the beautiful Alleghany Mountains.
July 4, 2017, 4th of July Festival at Creekside Park, Archdale, NC, https://www.Archdale-NC.gov/special-events/
This event started with a few food vendors, a band and a fireworks display. Since its humble beginnings, the 4th of July Festival at Creekside Park has grown to include pony rides, carnival rides, local vendors, educational booths and a large selection of food trucks. Ever year guests rock out with the Part Time Party band and top the night off with the best fireworks display in the area sponsored by Visit the Heart of North Carolina. This year, weather permitting; expect tethered balloon rides and an increased music presence with opening band, Karolina Rose.
July 4, 2017, St Marys Independence Day Festival, St. Marys, GA, www.VisitStMarys.com/independence-day-festival.html
This hometown celebration of America’s independence is a fun-filled day offering a 5K run, patriotic parade, vendors and all day entertainment. You can watch the evening fireworks display from the waterfront park or from the river cruise on the St. Marys River. The St. Marys Kiwanis Club runs this annual event as one of many community involvement programs they participate in each year. All funds raised support local kids and senior programs.
July 4, 2017, Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue, Greenville, SC, events.greenvillesc.gov
The annual Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue Festival, which features one of the state’s largest fireworks displays, continues to be the premier July 4th event in the Upstate. This world-class celebration draws more than 50,000 festivalgoers each year. The free event features a full evening of entertainment, including live music performances on two stages, a children’s area and a variety of popular food and beverage vendors.
July 7-8, 2017, 40th Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival, Murfreesboro, TN, www.UncleDaveMaconDays.com
Uncle Dave Macon Days is an award-winning music festival with a 39-year tradition in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The event is both a contest and celebration of old-time music, dance and culture. The family-friendly event is held the second weekend of July on the historic grounds at Cannonsburgh Village, the only surviving part of Tennessee’s Bicentennial project. The festival entertains 25,000 people with on-stage performances, arts and crafts demonstrations and dozens of impromptu “shade-tree pickings,” one of the festival’s most prized attractions. Each year the festival honors a well-known bluegrass and old-time act with the Trailblazer and Heritage Awards. Past winners include names like Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White, Bill Monroe, Marty Stuart and Roy Acuff, just to name a few. Fans of the festival know that the recipients of these awards share their honor with the fans, drawing more people each and every year as the genre start to regain its popularity. The festival is consistently ranked as a top music event and top festival in the southeast. People travel from across the country and often times the globe to revel at this unique festival.
July 7-September 16, 2017, Ice Cream and a Moovie at Chaney’s Dairy Barn, www.ChaneysDairyBarn.com
Cool off on a hot summer’s day with fresh homemade ice cream at Chaney’s Dairy Barn—the number one ice cream parlor in the Bluegrass State according to USA Today. Every other weekend from July to September, Chaney’s projects family-friendly movies on the side of the barn for all to enjoy. Settle in with a blanket and lawn chairs at this free event. Attendance grows each year with 18,000 gallons of ice cream produced annually. Watch for a special event in August for the solar eclipse. Chaney’s also offers new self-guided barn tours that are the perfect way to introduce to kids how milk is produced.
July 8, 2017, Pensacola Beach Air Show- featuring the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, Pensacola Beach, FL www.BlueAngels.Navy.Mil
The roar of the engines, the streamers of smoke and every formation in perfect symmetry. With Pensacola as its main base, The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels put on a spectacular air show twice a year that cuts through the beautiful Pensacola skies. Venture down to Pensacola on July 8th for high-flying fun, where the Blue Angels will perform aerial acrobatics over the Gulf of Mexico. The show starts at noon and the Blue Angels fly at 2 p.m.
July 14- July 15, 2017, 38th Annual Natchitoches—NSU Folk Festival, Natchitoches, LA, https://LouisianaFolkLife.nsula.edu/
The 38th Annual Natchitoches/NSU Folk Festival held July 14-July 15 is an indoor multicultural celebration of heritage, folk art and music. Folk cultures are sustained when the torch of tradition is passed from one generation to the next. Communities are strengthened and lives are given greater meaning as masters of traditional arts share their inheritance with new tradition bearers. The 2017 Festival theme is “Keeping Tradition Alive!” celebrates the ways in which so many outstanding artists young and old are tapping into the artistry of the old ways, revitalizing and reimagining tradition, while making it their own. Enjoy regional music genres such as Cajun, French Creole, Zydeco, Blues and more. Browse regional crafts and wares like, wood carving, Czech Pysanky eggs, Spanish moss dolls, pine needle baskets and handmade furniture. Folk foods will include cracklin’, red beans and rice, gumbo, Indian tacos and of course, Natchitoches meat pies. The festival is also home to a kid station, narrative sessions and the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship. Celebrate Louisiana’s heritage, past and present at the 38th Annual Natchitoches Folk Festival.
July 14-15, 2017, Cajun Music and Food Festival, Lake Charles, LA, www.VisitLakeCharles.org
Can’t get enough gumbo, jambalaya or etouffee`? Head on over the 30th Annual Cajun Music and Food festival to fill up on these favorite Cajun specialties and more. Every year the festival aims to preserve Cajun culture through dancing, music and of course—food! This year, the Cracklin’ Cook-Off will be held on Saturday. Local musicians will fill the summer air with favorite Cajun tunes, while visitors enjoy craft booths, games, silent auction and a live auction. On Sunday, enjoy a Cajun French Catholic Mass, complete with a Cajun choir. The festival is held at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.
July 14-22, 2017, Kingsport Fun Fest, Kingsport, TN, www.FunFest.com
Kingsport, Tennessee is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2017. For 37 of the past 100 years, the city has celebrated each year with nine days of summertime fun. Fun Fest features over 100 different events for all ages. The festival is highly recognizable for its world famous Crazy 8’s road race, hot-air balloons, the Taste (a wide-sampling of local flavor), three nights of nationally acclaimed musicians taking the outdoor main stage and a huge fireworks finale. Each year, 120,000 people attend this highly anticipated festival.
July 14-16, 2017, Saddle Up for St. Jude, Tuscumbia, AL, www.SaddleUp4Kids.org
Since 1996, Gardiner Farms in Tuscumbia, AL has hosted the Saddle Up for St. Jude benefit trail ride, now the largest Saddle Up event in the nation. Coordinate by Circle 5 outfit, this is a fun, family-oriented, fundraising event that is based around horseback riding the third weekend in July. Come out for the day or the weekend and enjoy 3,000 acres of beautiful trails to ride on. Bring your lawn chairs to sit back and enjoy the music. Country music star Clay Walker and local musicians will take the stage Friday and Saturday nights. There will be lots of food and vendors for your pleasure as well as pony and wagon rides for the kids. Last but not least, there will be an auction with a wide variety of items ranging in value and style for your enjoyment. Bring your horse and donate $35 or bring a chair and donate $10. All proceeds benefit Children of St. Jude Research Hospital.
July 14-15, 2017, Space Camp SummerFest, Hunstville, AL, https://www.RocketCenter.com/summerfest
Space Camp SummerFest at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a time for Space Camp alumni and friends to the Center to celebrate their shared connection as space geeks. Are you a Space Camp or Aviation Challenge alumnus looking for a good reason to come back and visit? The weekend features the Space Camp Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony, mini Space Camp sessions, an Alumni Town Hall Meeting and a finale concert open to alumni and community members alike. The Space Camp Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony will be held July 14, and the concert, “Party of the Year” by the producers of Black Jacket Symphony is scheduled for July 15. This is the ultimate concert experience—guests will be singing and dancing all night long to today’s hits and classics from the last five decades, while enjoying a mesmerizing video and light show. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the perfect location to get your geek on while dancing the night away.
July 15-16, 2017, 19th Annual Butternut Creek Festival, Blairsville, GA, www.ButternutCreekFestival.com
Come enjoy this family event nestled along the shady banks of the Butternut Creek in beautiful Meeks Park. This juried show of more than 70 of the Southeast’s finest craftsmen and artists offer a variety of unique original art and hand-crafted works. Peruse one-of-a-kind household and personal wares while live music and delicious food from vendors delight the senses. The festival offers free admission, free parking and free shuttle service. Festival hours are 10 a.m.-5p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.- 4p.m. on Sunday. Funds raised at this high-quality event are used to support the arts in local schools and other art related programs.
July 15, 2017, Lake Charles Symphony Summer Pops, Lake Charles, LA, www.VisitLakeCharles.org
Celebrate the classic songs of Sinatra, Davis and Martin; tunes like, That’s Amore, The Lady is a Tramp, Mr. Bojangles, My Way and of course, New York, New York with brand new orchestrations. Choreographed and scripted with original Rat Pack routines, you’ll think you’re swingin’ at the Sands Hotel in Vegas. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Summer Pops is a popular annual tradition in the Southwest Louisiana area. Each year brings a fun and exciting introduction to those experiencing orchestral music for the first time and to those who look forward to the Summer Pops year after year. It is the Lake Charles Symphony’s hope that this show will have everyone dancing in the aisles at this family-friendly event.
July 20-22, 2017, Virginia Lake Festival “Lakefest”, Clarksville, VA, www.ClarksvilleVa.com/festivals-celebrations/virginia-lake-festival/
The third full weekend of July brings tourists, an economic boost and highlights the causes of Virginia’s Only Lakeside Town—Clarksville. The Virginia Lake Festival, also known as “Lakefest,” begins with free tethered hot air balloon rides on Thursday evening for children 12 and younger. On Friday morning, the sand sculpture artist begins creating a larger-than-life art sculpture. Around noontime, the main stage and children’s entertainment arrives as well as the crowds. That evening, the sponsors are introduced and saluted at welcoming ceremonies and a live band hits the stage and performs until 10 p.m. Saturday begins at daybreak with 11 hot air balloons flying over the festival and dipping their baskets in the lake. Main Street comes alive with an all-day juried arts & crafts show, featuring 210 venders, children’s games, antique auto show, helicopter rides, blood pressure screenings and more live music. Sunset provides another hot-air balloon display and at 9:30 p.m., boats gather on the lake and more people line the shoreline to view the spectacular fireworks. On Sunday, the hot-air balloons make one final flight over the water at daybreak. This is the event’s 40th year, expect an even grander time at “Lakefest”!
July 28-29, 2017, Marshland Festival, Lake Charles, LA, www.VisitLakeCharles.org
Every year the small town of Hackberry comes out of the marshes and heads over to the Lake Charles Civic Center to celebrate the landscape that makes Southwest Louisiana unique. The festival helps raise funds for 14 schools and church organizations and features exhibits, games, arts and crafts booths, food, live entertainment and is a tribute to the marshes that are famous in Southwest Louisiana area and along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. The festival offers a great way to experience authentic Louisiana culture, food and music. Bring your dancing shoes because the crowd is always on their feet. With family-friendly activities, great food and even better music, the annual Marshland Festival is a must-do while visiting this beautiful part of Louisiana. Live music begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and ends at midnight. On Saturday, the music begins at noon and goes until midnight.
March 16-October, 2017, Biergarten at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL, https://www.RocketCenter.com/Biergarten
Join the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for their traditional Biergarten every Thursday from 4:30-7:30 p.m. beginning March 16, 2017, and each Thursday night through October. This family-friendly atmosphere is complete with music, dancing, beer and brats. More than 16,000 guests gather each season under the spectacular Saturn V rocket, the inviting Apollo Courtyard or the Apollo Terrace, which overlooks Huntsville’s “Spaceline.” This relaxing environment provides specialty craft beers and imported beers and wines from German regions, authentic German cuisine and musicians and dancers in traditional German costumes. Last year, Biergarten raised more than $17,000 for nonprofit organizations.
August 1-5, 2017, Tontitown Grape Festival, Tontitown, AR, http://www.TontitownGrapeFestival.com/
Every August since 1899, the Tontitown Grape Festival has been the scene of fun for folks of all ages. One of the biggest festivals in Northwest Arkansas, the Grape Festival draws people from all over the United States and beyond. The Grape Festival celebrates the town’s Italian heritage with great live music, a carnival, arts & crafts fair, a used book sale, a “Run for the Grapes” and the annual coronation of the Queen of the festival. Perhaps the main attraction to this Italian themed event is the food. After enjoying all of the unique festivities, chow down on an authentic spaghetti dinner. After filling up on delicious Italian comforts, burn it off by participating in a grape stomp.
August 4-5, 2017, 21st Annual Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival, Dillard, GA, http://www.Dillardbbq.org/
The Dillard Bluegrass & Barbeque Festival started in 1997 and has grown to what it is today through hard work and the efforts of many volunteers and BBQ enthusiasts from around the country. Each year people come from around nation to compete, listen to authentic Bluegrass music and to savor mouthwatering smoking meats of all kinds. The cooking rigs are a sight to behold and the vendors serving the many delicacies are some of the best in the world. This event is a Georgia Barbeque Championship Qualifier and a World Food Championship Qualifier. All proceeds benefit local charities.
August 4-5, 2017, Lewisburg Literary Festival, Lewisburg, WV, www.LewisburgLiteraryFestival.com
The Lewisburg Literary Festival is a vibrant two-day event that features visiting authors, outdoor art and music and performance art, all inspired by literature. Lewisburg is transformed into a scene out of a play with outdoor book themed art installations which attendees enjoy as they stroll through downtown. Writers from as far away as Seattle join local and regional authors for book signings and readings, as well as writing workshops. Even the littlest of readers are included at children’s book breakfast and book readings by favorite children’s characters and authors. Former featured authors have included Kathryn Stockett, who penned “The Help” and Homer Hickam, Jr., who wrote “The Rocket Boys.”
August 4-5, 2017, Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, Burnsville, NC, www.YanceyChamber.com
The Annual Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair is held in the Town Square in Burnsville, North Carolina on the first Friday and Saturday of August. With approximately 200 juried crafts, this event more than qualifies as a craft shopper’s paradise. Over 20,000 people attend this event each year, searching for those special, one-of-a-kind items created by Blue Ridge area artisans. Shoppers browse a wide selection of treasures, including handmade quilts, jewelry, hand-turned wooden household goods, various types of pottery, art fabrics, rustic furniture, traditional mountain musical instruments, blacksmith creations, candles, soaps and all kinds of artwork. Have a seat and watch as the artisans produce their craft throughout the day. Enjoy a lunch of Southern favorites like barbeque and sweet tea on the square. Watch live performances, as musicians, cloggers and dancers take over the stage. Step back into the past as you enjoy an old-fashioned town square event that exhibits Southern Hospitality at its best.
August 10-12, 2017, 18th Annual Bargains Galore on 64, Arkansas, http://BargainsGaloreOn64.org/
The River Valley of Arkansas is proud to host another Bargains Galore on 64—a true yard sale extravaganza. This unique event includes 160 miles of yard sales. Peruse antiques, collectibles and flea markets from Fort Smith past Conway to Beebe, Arkansas. This annual event is held on Thursday through Saturday, the second weekend in August. Designated as a “Travel Treasure” by Southern Traveler magazine, the event draws family vacationers, dealers, buyers and sellers alike. Enjoy the bargains, friendly atmosphere and the beautiful vistas that prevail. Come and join in the fun of selling, buying, or both, along this antiques and “stuff” along this shop-a-holics highway.
August 10-19, 2017, State Fair of West Virginia, Fairlea, WV, www.StateFairofWV.com
The State Fair of West Virginia is the quintessential summer activity. The offerings run from the agricultural to the acrobatic, in the largest multi-day celebration in West Virginia. The State Fair of West Virginia constantly reinvents its successful formula with a new theme each year and new performances and exhibits. Each year features special ticketed performances by big name musical acts, which in past years have included the iconic country band, Alabama and popular Bluegrass singer, Allison Krauss. The free family entertainment also changes yearly with past popular acts featuring dare-devil motorcyclists, trained wolves, magic acts and wild tigers. Many aspects of the fair are tried and true and are considered tradition by attendees, such as the taste of a Ben Ellen Doughnut, a ride on the Ferris wheel, a walk through the barns and the spectacular fireworks. Everyone is sure to find something to love in the great variety of food, rides, exhibits and family entertainment.
August 10-13, 2017, The Richmond Jazz Festival, Richmond, VA, https://www.facebook.com/richmondjazzfestival/
As one of the largest music festivals on the East Coast, the Richmond Jazz Festival has quickly become one of the city’s biggest attractions. Every year, the festival boasts a lineup of top Grammy Award-winning, international and national artists representing a myriad of genres. Past artists have included: David Sanborn, Pat Martino, Kamasi Washington, Jill Scott, Dr. John, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, Natalie Cole, and many more. Along with unforgettable musical performances, weekend activities include wine tastings, chef demonstrations, a cigar lounge, artist meet & greets, exclusive access to the exotic gardens at Maymont and a huge marketplace of food and merchandise vendors.
August 11-13, 2017, The 48 Hour Film Project, Paducah, KY, http://www.48hourfilm.com/paducah-ky
The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, and edit— in just 48 hours. On Friday night, teams draw a genre from a hat. They are then given a character, prop and line to include in their films. On Sunday night, in a wild dash to the drop off event, the film is turned in – and teams celebrate. The film is then screened at a local theater in front of an audience of filmmakers, friends and families. The festival is part of a larger international competition including more than 120 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas where over 60,000 people will make short films. Filmmakers from all over the Paducah, KY area will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world at Filmapalooza 2018 for a chance at the grand prize and an opportunity to screen at the Cannes Film Festival 2018, Court Métrage.
August 12, 2017, Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, Jackson, MS, www.GreaterBelhaven.com
Come enjoy this annual street festival promoting the Greater Belhaven historic neighborhood, one of the original and most unique neighborhoods of Jackson, Mississippi. The festival provides venues to showcase art forms including visual arts, live music performed by Belhaven residents and serves to attract people to this historic neighborhood. Activities include, shopping at artisan booths, children’s area, dancers and musical acts. There are three stages of music with a variety of styles including blues, jazz, brass band, acoustic singer-songwriters and indie rock. The children’s area offers various arts-based activities, space jumps, activities from local museums and live animals from the local Natural Science Museum. Food vendors come from the delicious neighborhood restaurants. Through community effort, the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood transforms Carlisle Street into New Stage Theatre and Kenwood Street into the twinkling and exciting street festival that is, Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights.
August 12-13, 2017, Bluegrass in the Park & Folklife Festival, Henderson, KY, www.BlueGrassInThePark.com
One of the oldest on-going free Bluegrass festivals in the United States, Bluegrass in the Park hosts two days of family fun activities. Enjoy bluegrass music, historic folk activities, pole vaulting and great food, all with a beautiful riverfront view. Last year’s new Thursday night kickoff featuring Hispanic Bluegrass and culture experience was a hit! Live mariachi music and authentic food from a local Mexican restaurant provided a diverse atmosphere. This year, expect a wide mix of Americana, Folk and Bluegrass to fill the summer air.
August 16-20, 2017, Smoky Mountain Songwriter’s Festival, Gatlinburg, TN, www.SMSWF.com
Join in “Celebrating Our Appalachian Musical Roots” at the 6th annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – The Gateway to The Great Smoky Mountains where bluegrass, country and ole time music originated! The mission of The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is to bring songwriters, music professionals and music lovers together for the enjoyment of learning, sharing, and preserving the craft of the song. Expect original performances from the songwriters themselves to fill venues for four days throughout Gatlinburg. You will recognize many of these songs from the “Hit” lists on the radio. The songwriter not only performs, but also tells you the story behind the song. The SMSWF proudly promotes songwriters—helping their songs to be discovered by publishers and producers. Bring your instruments and your songs or just yourself as one who appreciates good music. There will be open jam spots available for all musicians.
August 19, 2017, Girls Night Out, Charleston, WV, www.GNOWV.com
Girls Night Out is the season’s biggest party with a purpose: women helping women through power, passion and raising funds and awareness to eliminate domestic violence. Now attracting more than 1,000 women from the tri-state area, GNO is a party women don’t want to miss. Local restaurants prepare their tastiest bites and male volunteers wait on guests with signature cocktails, beer or wine from the open bar. Photo opportunities abound, as GNO is widely known for its stunning décor. This year’s theme: Be Boho Chic, Live Violence Free. Inside the event, guests can shop a beautifully staged silent auction of over 100 items and dance the night away to live DJ entertainment.
August 19, 2017, Arts & Crabs Fest, Lake Charles, LA, www.VisitLakeCharles.org
Each August, Arts & Crabs Fest features an extensive crab and beer tasting, an art walk and live music, which offer an interactive and educational experience of Southwest Louisiana’s seafood and culture. This popular event sells out every year. As one of Louisiana’s three crab festivals, the event aims to celebrate the ties between Louisiana seafood and culture. That’s why the festival offers a comprehensive experience of Southwest Louisiana’s best food, music and art. Tickets range from $30-$36 and festivalgoers can access an extensive crab and beer tasting which will feature ten restaurants each. Every restaurant offers a crab dish that is representative of their cuisine’s styles and personalities. Typical dishes will include crab cakes, crab au gratin, crab ceviche and crab gazpacho. Each crab dish is paired with a complementary beer sample. Similar to a wine pairing, each Louisiana beer will enhance each dish’s unique flavors and textures.
August 19, 2017, 30th Annual Dancin’ in the Streets, Stuart, FL, www.StuartDancinInTheStreets.com
Located in the “Happiest Seaside Town in America,” the 30th Annual Dancin’ in the Streets festival is the longest running and most popular music event in the Treasure Coast region. This street party and music festival will take place on five stages with over twenty bands and three national headliners (to be announced) from 3 p.m.- midnight. Every year, the streets of Downtown Stuart shut down and the community comes out for a day of live musical performances, food, drinks, vendors, kid activities and of course—dancin’ in the streets. This year expect a silent disco, upgraded seating along the RiverWalk and a d Kid’s festival.
August 25-26, 2017, FunkFest Beach Party- featuring Africana Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach, VA, http://www.BeachStreetUSA.com/festivals/funkfest-beach-party-featuring-africana-virginia-beach
The FunkFest Beach Party features music by influential legends such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton and The Ohio Players. Funk is an American musical style that originated in the mid-to-late 1960’s when African-American musicians blended soul music, soulful jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. This free event will take place on a beach stage at 24th Street. Food, merchandise and dance contests all contribute to a festive, funky vibe.
August 25-September 13, 2017, Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational, Watkinsville, GA, www.OCAF.com
The Oconee Cultural Arts foundations’ Annual Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational is one of the largest pottery events in the southeast region. Showcasing works of 50 invited Georgia potters, the twenty-day event begins with an evening gala and opening reception on Friday, August 25. Gala attendees will enjoy delicious food, live jazz and have the opportunity to preview and purchase from the many fine works available. Three exhibitions will be featured, as well as a sales venue offering over 7,000 pieces of original, hand-made pottery. Other facets of this annual event include a pottery workshop instructed by an internationally known Japanese artist Izumi Naoki, free pottery demonstrations, gallery talks and an entrepreneurial workshop on the business of being an artist.
August 26-28, 2017, Alabama Veterans Reunion, Tuscaloosa, AL, www.AlabamaVeteransReunion.com
The Alabama Veterans Reunion is the only statewide veterans and family reunion for the men and women who have proudly defended our nation. It is a weekend that showcases appreciation and gratitude for the many heroes in Alabama with dinners and festivities. Because of this event, leaders created a statewide initiative, My VA Alabama. Expect a mixer with great music and food, explore the grounds of one of the state’s finest VA facilities while munching on lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A, a ticketed dinner at NorthRiver Yacht Club and a self-guided tour of Tuscaloosa’s Civil War History and Veteran’s Memorial Park. Enjoy these unique events while connecting with other veterans and service members.
August 26, 2017, Summerfest, York, SC, https://www.YorkSummerfest.com/
Celebrating over 30 years, Summerfest is a one-day festival held on the fourth Saturday of August in York, South Carolina. Summerfest provides entertainment for the whole family and admission is free. Shop the craft fair, eat in the food court and enjoy the classic car shows. Athletes will love competing in the 10K, 5K, fun runs, and golf, softball and tennis tournaments. Enjoy children’s activities, train rides, waterball, zip lines, robotics demonstrations and a health fair. Take part in all of the fun while listening to live music from several stages, including a country music contest.
August 31-September 4, 2017, Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, Morgan City, LA, www.ShrimpAndPetroleum.org
Louisiana’s oldest chartered harvest festival is scheduled to celebrate 82 years of tradition and family fun this Labor Day Weekend. The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival will be held in Morgan City, only 90 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and LaFayette. Most festivities are held within the beautiful Downtown Historic District and are free to the general public. Great food, continuous live music, traditional events and children’s activities will highlight this five-day extravaganza. With more than 100,000 people in attendance, the festival continually wins regional awards.
September 1-October 31, 2017, Huntsville Botanical Garden Scarecrow Trail, Huntsville, AL, www.HSVBG.org
Every September through October, the Huntsville Botanical Garden becomes an autumn wonderland. The Huntsville community builds wonderful interpretations of scarecrows that are displayed throughout the botanical garden grounds. Every year, local businesses, groups, clubs and non-profits provide more and more creativity and entries exceed expectations. Children and families look forward to this garden festival all year long. Visitors stroll through the garden for the natural beauty and get the bonus of exploring the scarecrows as well. This year, expect a new pumpkin patch display along with some amazingly guiled gourds.
September 2-4, 2017, Marietta Art in the Park, Marietta, GA, www.ArtParkMarietta.com
The 31st Annual Art in the Park Festival is the largest and only fine art festival in Cobb County, Georgia. The festival features an Artist Market of 175 nationally ranked artists from around the country with fine arts and crafts available for purchase. Art in the Park offers visitors a unique opportunity to meet and talk with the artists and even see some of the work-in-progress. The family-friendly event also includes the Chalk Spot street art display, the Children’s Art Alley with plenty of free make-and-take art stations, the Monster Mural, Music Café and Food Truck Row. Located in historic downtown Marietta, Georgia, the area is rich with museums, theatres, art galleries, unique shops, boutiques and plenty of outdoor dining, all within walking distance of the festival.
September 7-10, 2017, Yellow Daisy Festival, Stone Mountain, GA, www.StoneMountainPark.com/events/yellow-daisy-festival
The Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain started out as a small arts and crafts show and has grown into a four-day extravaganza. Expect a big show with a small-town feel. The mission of re-connecting families and friends with fun, shopping, live entertainment and good food has remained a constant over the past 49 years. Multi-generations of mothers, daughters and grandmothers meander the wooded trails together in search of the perfect item. Peruse more than 400 artists and crafters booths from 33 states and two countries. Enjoy daily live entertainment, a children’s corner, fabulous festival foods and crafter demonstrations throughout the event. The event is free, parking is $15.
September 8-17, 2017, Tennessee Valley Fair, Knoxville, TN, www.TNValleyFair.org
The Tennessee Valley Fair is one of the state’s largest multi-day events attracting approximately 150,000 guests each year. Known for its innovative exhibits, livestock shows, concert series, action sports, exciting midway and a variety of unique fun foods, the Tennessee Valley Fair has offered tremendous family entertainment for 98 years. This year the fair will celebrate everything that makes the Tennessee Valley—“Ag-Mazing”. From livestock shows, educational activities for children, interactive petting zoo and barnyard animal exhibit, organizers will highlight East Tennessee’s unique agricultural history throughout the 10-day event.
September 9, 2017, 25th Annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival, Pascagoula, MS, http://MSGulfCoastBluesFest.com/index.html
Strap on your dancing shoes and enjoy one of the top music festivals on the Gulf Coast—the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues & Heritage Festival. Top named blues entertainers include Nikki DeMarks, Simone De, Kent Burnside band, Yazoo Bayou Band, Mark Muleman Massey Band, Eddie Cotton Jr. and Lil Jimmie. Visitors will have an excellent opportunity to hear their favorite songs, eat delicious food and refreshments, see culture exhibits and share in this fun outing with the entire family.
September 9-10, 2017, 36th Annual Biloxi Seafood Festival, Biloxi, MS, https://www.GulfCoast.org/event/36th-annual-biloxi-seafood-festival/4483/
The Biloxi Seafood Festival is a celebration of the seafood heritage of the City of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This two-day celebration features live entertainment, activities for kids, arts and craft vendors and plenty of fresh seafood. A Gumbo Cook-Off will take place Sunday, where attendees can sample and vote for the best bowl.
September 13-17, 2017, Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, Clayton, NC, www.ClaytonChamber.com/pages/Harvest-festival
The 27th Clayton Harvest & Music Festival of 2017 promises 5 days of fun. Nearly 25,000 people will fill Downtown Clayton for this annual event. Don’t miss the great tastes of the Squealin’ on the Square BBQ Cook Off, a North Carolina Pork Council sanctioned event. Stroll through over 200 local and regional craft vendor booths with live art demonstrations. The festival will also include carnival rides, concerts from local artists, karaoke, a dance party, food trucks and a classic car show. It’s fun for the entire family. New this year is the Clayton’s Next Big Thing contest. Locals with a variety of talents will compete in front of an audience and a panel of judges.
September 15-17, 2017, Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival, Augusta, GA, www.ArtsInTheHeart.com
Arts in the Heart of Augusta is two-and-a-half-day celebration in beautiful downtown Augusta, Georgia. The festival, now in its 37th year, honors arts and community and draws over 8,000 visitors each year. The festival spans three city blocks and includes the Downtown Augusta Common. In addition to a Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Market with over 130 booths filled with mesmerizing works, the festival boasts five stages stacked with live entertainment, a Global Village filled with authentic international food from 25 countries, an outstanding Family Area and a Young Artist Market. Patrons can buy tickets in advance, online for $5 or $10 at the gate. Children under ten are free. This year, expect the children’s area to come alive with performances by professional fire dancers and musicians.
September 15, 2017, Taste of Autumn, Gatlinburg, TN, www.Gatlinburg.com/events
Gatlinburg kicks off the fall season with a celebrity filled night packed with delicious food from area restaurants and hilarious comedy at the 20th Annual Taste of Autumn. The entertainment this year is Jimmy Travis. Travis is a multitalented performer who constantly proves that you can be funny, informative and entertaining without being offensive. Tickets are $25 and children 5 and under are free. Proceeds benefit the United Way of Sevier County.
September 18-20, 2017, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Bristol, VA/TN, www.BristolRhythm.com
Nashville may be country music’s capitol, but Bristol—a city split in half by the state line of Virginia and Tennessee—is its birthplace. Bristol is home to the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is a celebration of those historic recordings. Featuring more than 100 of the finest roots music performances on 20 stages on and around State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, more than 40,000 people gather to honor the region’s authentic music history. The three-day music festival is amped to the beat of Appalachia’s past, present, and future. In 2016 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion achieved the Bronze Grand Pinnacle from the International Festivals & Events Association. The festival was also listed among Rolling Stone Magazine’s “2016’s 31 Hottest Country Tours & Festivals.”
September 21-October 22, 2017, Bridging The Blues, Memphis & towns throughout the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta, www.BridgingTheBlues.com
The purpose of Bridging The Blues is to give travelers, especially international visitors, an avenue for hearing live music at a wide variety of venues, from large festivals to intimate club settings. The signature bookend events are the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival and King Biscuit Blues Festival. In addition to connecting areas that have the Mississippi River in common, BTB also refers to different types of music that have their origins in the blues and these include almost every genre of popular music. The variety of artists playing at both the festivals and smaller venues is a testament to how far the roots of the blues have spread.
September 21-24, 2017, Mayberry Days, Mount Airy, NC, www.MayberryDays.org
Mayberry Days is a family-friendly festival that celebrates the anniversary date of the Andy Griffith Show. Fans enjoy concerts, games, movies, a parade and opportunities to meet actors from The Andy Griffith Show. Fun contests range from a Barbeque Cook-Off to checkers, an apple peel-off, trivia competitions for all ages, Mayberry Days Corn Hole competitions and a “Goober Says Hay” Bale Toss. During this festival, the streets are not blocked off and guests are welcomed all over town. The festival is centered at the Andy Griffith Playhouse and the Andy Griffith Museum. This year the concerts will have nationally known groups including The Malpass Brothers, James Gregory and Balsam Range. This year will also include first time guests from The Andy Griffith Show. There will also be a comedian and thee outdoor concerts preceding the official kick-off.
September 22-October 1, 2017, Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, Captiva, Downtown Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, FL, www.IslandHopperFest.com
The fourth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest returns with dozens of chart-topping songwriters set to play against the backdrop of this tropical island destination. The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau collaborates with Broadcast Music Inc., IHeart Media and local station Cat Country 107.1 to bring approximately 60 accomplished songwriters and several hall of fame musicians to give guests an immersive experience and businesses a boost during a slow time of year. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to listen to their favorite songs and hear the back-stories behind the lyrics in intimate settings such as beach bars, restaurants and resort homes. Past performers have written for George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Celine Dion, Rascal Flatts, Aerosmith and Tim McGraw. Performances take place just steps from the Gulf of Mexico or the beautiful back bay estuaries. This year, look out for some exclusive experiences with songwriters, including sunset cruises, wine parings, house parties and fishing excursions.
September 23-30, 2017, EVA Frontier Days, Eva, AL, http://evafrontierdays.weebly.com/
Eva Frontier Days offers old-fashioned fun for the entire family. Kicking off its 28th year, enjoy the Hayride that attracted 1,400 people in 2016. On September 28th, warm up the pipes for community singing at one of the local churches. September 29th brings Singing on the Square and Talent Contest. The Big finale is September 30th which includes an antique tractor show, car show, parade, craft show, music under the big tent, frog jumping contest, greased pig chase, food vendors and games for all ages.
September 28, 2017, Art Walk Downtown, Columbus, MS
For the past four years, Art Walk Downtown, has been held annually on the last Thursday of September in Columbus, Mississippi. The public is invited for a festive evening where the work of area artists is showcased throughout historic Downtown Columbus, including inside of businesses, in the downtown plaza and on the sidewalks. Visitors can purchase fine art, meet the artists, take advantage of in-store discounts and promotions and enjoy music in the streets. There is a kid’s booth where children can create sand art bottle creations to take home. This year expect even more activities for the kids.
September 29-30, 2017, Athens’ Grease Festival, Athens, AL, www.AthenseGreaseFestival.com
Four many Southerners, fried food is their Achilles Heel. Athens, Alabama has embraced the loved of fried foods and the Greek origin of their city name by hosting the annual Athens Grease Festival in downtown Athens. Eating healthy is important, but this day is set aside to enjoy culinary creations we love to dip, batter and fry. Organizers like to say, you should eat responsibly the other 364 days of the year! The festival names an Athena-Grease Goddess every year who is chosen by her willingness to give back to her community…she earns extra points if she is known for her good cooking skills. For a dash of eccentricity and a greasy good time, enjoy the local music, outrageous food contest, toga competition and many more family-friendly activities
September 29-October 1, 2017, Pensacola Seafood Festival, Pensacola, FL, www.FiestaOfFiveFlags.org
The Fiesta of Five Flags Association invites one and all to the Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival held in historic Seville Square in Downtown Pensacola. You and your family can enjoy delicious fruits of the sea and a variety of local entertainment located in Fountain Park and at the Gazebo in Seville Square. Enjoy the live music while perusing the 130 arts and crafts booths. This year expect even more delicious seafood, both traditional and gourmet recipes. Savor dishes like: fried mullet, crab meat puffs with Monterey sauce, crawfish etouffe’ or a seafood pita.
September 29-October 29, 2017, Rock City’s Blowing Springs Farm—featuring the Enchanted MAiZE, Flintstone, GA, www.BlowingSpringsFarm.com
Blowing Springs Farm is celebrating 16 years of 10 acres of fall family fun. Rock City’s fall attraction in the valley below Lover’s Leap is a cornfield maze that will intrigue adventurers. Get lost in an all new design this year and when you’re done, take your tokens and enjoy a number of exciting kid’s activities. Go on a hayride or a cow train ride, take aim with a corn slingshot, pet some animals at the Critter Corral and more.
September 30, 2017, Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival, Cove Lake State Park in Caryville, TN, www.LouieBluie.org
The 11th annual Louie Bluie Music & Arts Festival is a free, day-long family-friendly event featuring four stages of live music, a juried Craft Village, a judged Art & Quilt Show, Kids Fun Zone, the Children’s Parade, food vendors and more. Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong is the legendary musician and artist who grew up in LaFollette, showing an early skill and passion for both art and music. Armstrong was in the African American string band Tennessee Chocolate Drops, whose tunes were recorded for the historic Knoxville Sessions in 1929. The Campbell Culture Coalition founded the festival in 2007 to promote Howard’s legacy and support youth arts in rural East Tennessee.
September 30, 2017, Mountain Heritage Day, Cullowhee, NC, www.MountainHeritageDay.com
The 43rd annual Mountain Heritage Day festival is what old-fashioned mountain fairs are made of. Expect Southern Appalachian music, arts and crafts, dance and song, with the atmosphere of a big family reunion. Visitors will find three stages of traditional old-time gospel and bluegrass music. Kick up your feet and dance to the sounds of fiddles and banjos and watch the cloggers take the stage. Festival goers are invited to watch demos including a Cherokee stickball game, black powder demo and shape note singing—one of the mountains’ sacred traditions.