Spring 2015 Top 20 Events

April 2015

April 3 – April 24, Keeneland Race Course Spring Meet, Lexington, KY, keeneland.com One of the nation’s leading Thoroughbred race tracks hosts a three-week meet attracting visitors from around the world. Keeneland will also host the 2015 Breeder’s Cup at the end of October.

April 8 – April 12, North Carolina Azalea Festival at Wilmington, Inc., Wilmington, NC, ncazaleafestival.org Celebrating Spring and Southern Charm via its Street Fair, Parade and weekend Concert Series, in addition to a Southern Garden Party, Patron’s Gala, Circus and many additional events. Attendees can also opt for a VIP experience at the concerts and gala.

April 10 – April 12, Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, Ponchatoula, LA, lastrawberryfestival.com The largest “FREE” festival in Louisiana, attendees enjoy fresh strawberries, prepared in a variety of ways, as well as a parade, carnival rides, craft booths, and entertainment. Be sure to visit the unique boutiques and antique shops in the town known as “America’s Antique City”.

April 11, NatureFEST!, Jackson, MS, msnaturalscience.org Travel back in time to explore the “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice” exhibit at the 15th Annual NatureFEST! Hosted by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Foundation, the event is a nature outing and museum exhibit all in one. Families will enjoy live demonstrations of intriguing Mississippi reptiles and SCUBA divers feeding fish in the giant 100,000 gallon aquarium system. The museum also has a new dinosaur bone exhibit donated by the hosts of the “American Pickers” television series.

April 11, Chocolate Festival, Lewisburg, WV, lewisburgchocolatefestival.com This year’s event includes celebrity chefs who will display their chocolate creativity amidst festival attendees. Downtown merchants offer chocolate samples as you shop within their stores and festival proceeds benefit the United Way. Events include a chocolate bake-off, pastry demonstrations, a hands-free mousse eating contest as well as live music and entertainment.

April 11 – April 12, Florida Blueberry Festival, Brooksville, FL, floridablueberryfestival.org Celebrating the blueberry season, this annual festival has more than 150 vendors, including 75 artisans, and great food including: pie, wine, ice cream, shortcake, pancakes, muffins, jams, honey and more! Additional festival elements include live entertainment as well as a car and bike show.

April 11 – April 12, 27th Annual Dogwood Festival, Perry, GA, perrygachamber.com Enjoy browsing one-of-a-kind crafts, festival food, kid’s activities and dog diving competition on Saturday and Sunday. A Hot Air Balloon Rally is held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds with a balloon glow at dusk amidst music and delicious food.

April 16 – April 25, Come-See-Me Festival, Rock Hill, SC, comeseeme.org A ten-day festival, with more than 100 events, showcasing the City of Rock Hill and its gardens. Events include: Beach Bash, Parade, Moonlight Jazz & Blues, Glencairn Garden Entertainment, Gourmet Gardens, BBQ Cook-Off, Skydiving Exhibition, and a Tailgate Party and Fireworks Extravaganza. Children events include the Mayor’s Frog Jump, Teddy Bear Tea Party, Chalk on Main, Musical Mania, Sundaes with Glen (the festival mascot), Healthy Kids Zone and Everything Trucks. Visit their website for a complete listing of events and all that the city of Rock Hill has to offer.

April 16 – April 19, Crawfish Music Festival, Biloxi, MS, mscoastcoliseum.com/crawfish Additional weekend 4/23/2015-4/26/2015. Attendees enjoy fresh, local, seafood as they listen to top musical entertainment as well as rides and games from the largest traveling festival midway in the world.

April 16 – May 1, Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville, KY, kdf.org The 2015 Festival kicks off on April 18 with the Opening Ceremonies – Thunder Over Louisville, one of the nation’s largest annual fireworks extravaganzas. Basketball, golf, volleyball, concerts, hot-air balloons, bed and steamboat races as well as the Pegasus Parade on April 30. Visit their website for a full listing of events that help raise more than $500,000 for area charities each year.

April 18, Blue Ridge Marathon-America’s Toughest Road Marathon, Roanoke, VA, blueridgemarathon.com Featured on The Weather Channel World’s 15 Toughest Marathons, with 7,430 feet of elevation change over the course of three mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this marathon has rightfully earned its title. A half-marathon and 10K are also offered.

April 18 – April 19, 31st Annual Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair, Cullman, AL, bloominfestival.com A juried arts and crafts fair, where not only can one find unique, handmade, pieces of art, but also have the chance to see some created before their very eyes. Demonstrations include: Blacksmith, Glass Blower, Potter, Broom Maker, Portrait Artist and more. Delicious treats await, too, including Monk Break. The monks at Saint Bernard Abbey prepare their signature raisin bread each year and their candle maker also is onsite, making this a one-of-a-kind event!

April 18 – June 7, Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn, GA, garenfest.com Celebrating 30 years in 2015! This 8-weekend annual Spring Festival takes its guests on a journey back to 16th Century England on its 32 acre Kingdom complete with knights, faire maidens as well as the Queen and her Royal Court. A marketplace has unique treasures for one to shop, delicious foods to taste (turkey legs, meat pies and frothy ales) and ten stages of entertainment as well as a Royal Jousting Tournament.

April 21 – April 25, AQS Quiltweek-Paducah, Paducah, KY, quiltweek.com/locations/paducah Attendees not only come to see prizewinning quilts and learn from quilt masters but also enjoy workshops that center around color, design, embroidery, embellishment, software and technology. Paducah is only one of seven cities in the WORLD to be recognized as a City of Crafts and Folk Art as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

April 22 – April 26, Beaufort Wine and Food Weekend, Beaufort, NC, beaufortwineandfood.com Wine and culinary talent from around the world come together in the historic seaside town of Beaufort for a five-day festival with 20-plus events which include: intimate wine dinners and Vin de Mer (where guests are immersed in a culinary tour de force offering 300 wine labels and cuisine from dozens of local and regional restaurants paired together in perfect harmony).

April 23 – April 26, Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Lexington, KY, rk3de.org A qualifier for the Olympic Games and World Championship, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (RK3DE) delivers X-Game-Level thrills along with master horsemanship in a multiday competition of Olympic-level horses and riders.

April 23 – April 26, Virginia International Tattoo, Norfolk, VA, vafest.org/tattoo The term “tattoo” refers to a Scottish military last call, when pipes and drums called troops back to post for an evening ceremony. Featuring more than 800 military and civilian performers from eight nations, the Virginia International Tattoo has been long regarded as the most patriotic of the world’s tattoos.

April 24 – April 25, Double Decker Arts Festival 2015, Gardendale, AL, magnoliafestival.org Experience the best of southern culture in the heart of the deep-south. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary the two-day festival kicks off Friday night and Saturday includes 150 artists, southern food and music for all ages.

April 24 – April 25, Gardendale Magnolia Festival, Oxford, MS, doubledeckerfestival.com The event features free art classes, a talent search, pooch parade, 3 stages of live entertainment, carnival, car show, pageant, vendors, eating contests and more!

April 24 – April 25, Norfolk NATO Festival, Norfolk, VA, norfolknatofestival.org Recognizing the international influence of the NATO Command in Norfolk, Virginia, Friday night’s flag-raising ceremony honors each of the 28 NATO Member Nations. Saturday’s Parade of Nations, has more than 100 entries. Both are FREE to the public. The NATO village allows attendees a chance to greet a NATO representative and learn about that nation’s culture.

April 24 – April 26, Interstate Mullet Toss, Pensacola, FL, florabama.com Hosted by the Flora-Bama Lounge, on the Florida-Alabama state line, this wacky, fun-filled, tournament has participants compete in an actual mullet (fish) toss! Live music, food and drinks keep everyone entertained!

April 24 – April 27, 37th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, GA, vidaliaonionfestival.com Recognized by MSNBC as one of the Five Don’t Miss Festivals Across the U.S., The Vidalia community celebrates Georgia’s Official State Vegetable with a four-day festival. In addition to a children’s parade, street dance, pageant, baseball tournament and other events, the local airport hosts a carnival, aviation activities, concert and fireworks show. Don’t miss the professional chef competition and Vidalia Onion Recipe Contest and Public Tasting.

May 2015

May 1 – May 2, Market Street Festival, Columbus, MS, marketstreetfestival.com Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, this year’s festival, set in historic downtown Columbus, will host more than 225 arts and crafts vendors and a variety of food vendors. This two-day festival includes four entertainment stages, a car show, tractor display and a children’s area with two stages exclusively for them!

May 1 – May 2, Main Street JazzFest 2015, Murfreesboro, TN, mainstreetjazzfest.net This free festival features local, regional and internationally known jazz artists. Families can enjoy some contemporary tunes while the little ones enjoy the children’s area and parents can shop and eat among the various vendors. The historic Rutherford County Courthouse is the perfect backdrop for this annual event.

May 1 – May 3, Pensacola Crawfish Festival, Pensacola, FL, fiestaoffiveflags.org The 2015 festival will feature 16,000 pounds of boiled crawfish. Cajun dishes such as red beans and rice, boudin balls, seafood gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, and Cajun Pasta will also be available. Live entertainment and activities for all ages, will make it a day that all can enjoy! This year’s event will also include a Sunday morning gospel performance.

May 1 – May 3, Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach, FL, shrimpfestival.com Pirate Invasions, watercraft parade, Best Decorated Shrimp Boat contest, Blessing of the Fleet, Fireworks, Pageant, arts and crafts and more await you on Amelia Island. Come and enjoy all things…Shrimp! More than 25 local organizations offer up a variety of shrimp and other seafood delicacies in the food court.

May 2, 8th Annual National Beaufort BoatBuilding Challenge, Beaufort, NC, beaufortchallenge.com The North Carolina Boatbuilding Heritage Foundation organizes this annual challenge in hopes of maintaining an interest in wooden boatbuilding. Contestants have four hours to craft their boat before testing it in the water. Some of the proceeds of this event also go towards college scholarships for young adults to be trained in both traditional and modern boat building techniques.

May 2, 41st Annual Wooden Boat Show, Beaufort, NC, ncmaritimemuseums.com/beaufort/annual-wooden-boat-show This free event features a variety of small wooden boats, historic vessels, nautical crafts, educational activities, boat models, traditional skills demonstrations and displays. Model Boats, which range from 25” to 40”, are also a big draw with anywhere from 30-60 on display. The Beaufort waterfront serves as the perfect setting for this event with the North Carolina Maritime Museum and the Museum’s Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center located directly across the street.

May 2 – May 3, The Cotton Pickin’ Fair, Gay, GA, cpfair.org Nestled in and around historic farm buildings and tree-lined grounds of the 185 year old Gay Family farmstead, are 350 juried artisans featuring pottery, weaving, basket making, blacksmithing, sculpture, woodcarving, folk art, and jewelry. Festival guests can also enjoy a complimentary shuttle ride to the Historic Red Oak Covered Bridge, built in 1840 by famous Master Builder, Horace King. It is his sole surviving bridge and has remained in continuous service for more than 175 years.

May 7, Taste of Alpharetta, Alpharetta, GA, awesomealpharetta.com Set in historic downtown Alpharetta, the event features more than 60 local restaurants. Attendees enjoy samples of appetizers, entrees and decadent desserts while enjoying live music, culinary competitions and family fun zones. Chefs from Alpharetta will also compete in six different categories some of which include “Best Dessert”, “Best Presentation” and “Best Booth”.

May 8 – May 9, Virginia International Pan Fest, Virginia Beach, VA, vafest.org/pan Set to the captivating sounds of steel pan music, PAN Fest takes one on a musical adventure with its unique songs and styles of the Caribbean. All performances are free to the public.

May 8 – May 9, International Bar-B-Q Festival, Owensboro, KY, bbqfest.com Barbeque Heaven awaits you along the riverfront with hickory smoked beef, pork, mutton, chicken and 1,500 gallons of burgoo (a spicy stew).

May 8 – May 10, Artisphere, Greenville, SC, artisphere.us Celebrating the visual and performing arts, Artisphere is comprised of 120 visual artists selling their works, an art demonstration stage that will include bookmaking, pottery, weaving and more, as well as local and regional singer/songwriters and craft activities for the kids. A full listing is available online.

May 9 – May 31, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Fernandina Beach, FL, aicmf.com World-class artists perform their classical music in intimate and historic settings on Amelia Island. This year’s finale will feature a Chamber Pops with everything from Bach to The Beatles.

May 14 – May 17, Chesapeake Jubilee, Chesapeake, VA, chesapeakejubilee.org This four-day event includes local and national music artists performing on one of the three stages, fireworks, an arts and crafts show, one of the largest 4-H Livestock Show and Auctions on the East Coast as well as carnival rides, cloggers, free arts and crafts for children and the world famous Chesapeake Jubilee-Kansas City Barbeque Society BBQ Cook-off. New this year is a Silent Disco (where guests dance to the same concert quality music via their own personal headphones).

May 15 – May 16, SoulStock, Decatur, AL, soulstock.com A free Christian Music Festival which also includes guest speakers. All ages enjoy a wonderful evening of contemporary Christian music making it a positive, family-friendly event for everyone.

May 15 – May 16, 33rd Annual Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo, Athens, AL, limestonesheriffrodeo.com “The Biggest Outdoor Rodeo East of the Mississippi River”, this annual event includes more than 400 competitors from across the nation and helps raise funds for local law enforcement to purchase much needed equipment, including patrol cars, vests, training and more. The “Special Needs Rodeo” is held on Friday morning with over 450 participants with each receiving a t-shirt, sheriff’s star, meal and drinks. This outdoor rodeo also includes a parade, pageant and street dance for folks to enjoy all the while supporting the local community.

May 15 – May 16, Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-off, Hartselle, AL, http://bit.ly/cotton-pickin-bbq-cook-off A BBQ Cook-Off for Professional and Backyard teams it is also a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) event. Awards are also given for best dessert, sauce as well as the People Choice Award thus giving attendees an opportunity to sample!

May 15 – May 17, MainStrasse Village Maifest, Covington, KY, mainstrasse.org Maifest brings the excitement of a street festival and mixes it with the historic neighborhood shops and restaurants in the village. Saturday has an exhilarating sidewalk chalk art contest. Additional elements include live music, arts and crafts, delicious food and dancing!

May 16, Catfish Festival, Scottsboro, AL, Catfish Plates for all and fishing for children up to age 12. Live entertainment as well as Car, Truck, Motorcycle and Tractor Show. Additional food includes: Homemade ice cream, Snow Cones, Funnel Cakes, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.

May 16 – May 17, Trail of Honor, Jackson, MS, trailofhonor.org A living history tribute to America’s Veterans, visitors enjoy historically accurate demonstrations of military life as well as reenactments beginning from the French and Indian War to today. Living historians also display uniforms, weapons, ammunition, rations and equipment from the era they represent. The event is free to attend.

May 16 – May 17, Poke Salat Festival, Arab, AL, downtownarab.com This FREE annual event has been held in historic Arab for more than 30 years. Live music, artists and a variety of food, including, Poke Salat, are available for all to enjoy!

May 21 – May 24, Sumter Iris Festival, Sumter, SC, irisfestival.org Celebrating its 75th Anniversary, the Sumpter Iris Festival is held at the Swan Lake Iris Gardens, featuring the famous Japanese Iris and all eight, known, species of swan in the world. The gardens also feature a variety of birds, waterfowl, and species of flowers and trees. New this year, the event’s parade will take place at night.

May 22 – May 24, Florida Folk Festival, White Springs, FL, floridafolkfestival.com Pay tribute to Florida’s land, people and diverse cultural heritage on the banks of the historic Suwannee River. One of the oldest state folk festivals in America, this event features more than 300 performances by Florida’s greatest folk and roots artists including musicians of: swing, folk, blues, gospel, country, Latin, jazz, bluegrass, Caribbean and zydeco music.

May 23 – May 24, Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Decatur, AL, alabamajubilee.net FREE to the public, this annual event features more than 55 hot air balloons from across the country. Together they compete in four races over a two day period. In between races an arts and crafts show, antique and classic car show, tractor show and live music, keep attendees entertained.

June 2015

June 4 – June 7, Great American Brass Band Festival, Danville, KY, gabbf.org In its 25th year, brass bands from around the world take over the town of Danville for a weekend of continuous concerts. Visitors enjoy a Chautauqua Tea, brass symposium, downtown gallery hope, Bayou & Brass Street party, hot air balloon race as well as a Main Street Parade. This year’s theme is “Horns Aplenty: Brass Greats of American Jazz”.

June 4 – June 14, Coliseum Summer Fair, Biloxi, MS, mscoastcoliseum.com/summerfair A family-friendly event that offers rides, live music, shows, contests and headline entertainment. Latin Fest is also held in conjunction with the Fair, honoring the Hispanic heritage of the Mississippi Coast.

June 4 – July 23, Sounds of Summer, Columbus, MS, columbusmainstreet.com This is a free concert series held on the banks of the Tennessee Tombigbee River at the Columbus Riverwalk Park. It is held on Thursdays during the months of June and July.

June 5 – June 7, 22nd “McDonald’s North American Sand Soccer Championships”, Virginia Beach, VA, sandsoccer.com Sun, surf and sand provide all that is needed for “beach soccer”. Competitions are available for youth ages 9-19, adult amateur, and professional players with approximately 950 teams participating. Additional events include a pro/am U.S. Open, Beach Wrestling, Beach Field Hockey, Beach Tennis, Beach Lacrosse and Coed Beach Football.

June 11 – June 13, Genealogy Jamboree and Pioneer Day, Cumberland Gap, TN, genealogyjamboree.us This event combines genealogy/history lectures with period reenactors, storytelling, authors and traditional crafters. Attendees can help make apple butter and see live demonstrations on pioneer crafts.

June 12 – June 14, Capitol City Biker Bash, Charleston , WV, capitolcitybikerbash Showcasing the winding roads of West Virginia as well as the Kanawha River, this all-bike rally attracts more than 10,000 people to the state capitol. A family-friendly event, there is a bike show, bike games, poker runs and vendors. This year’s event will host two national acts for each night there is a concert.

June 12 – June 14, Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Blairsville, GA, blairsvillescottishfestival.com This three day event includes the Kilted Golf Classic and Ceilidh Block Party on Friday and a Kilted Mile Race on Saturday morning. Opening Ceremonies include 30 Scottish Clans, 5 Societies, Pipe and Drum Bands and the Parade of Tartans. Additional elements include Scottish animals, athletic competitions, a music tent and bag pipe lessons. Activities for children are also available.

June 13, Beer Cheese Festival, Winchester, KY, beercheesefestival.com Winchester’s historic, downtown, main street becomes Beer Cheese Boulevard during the second weekend in June as attendees sample Beer Cheese, listen to live music and shop from more than 70 arts and crafts vendors. Awards are also given for best Beer Cheese including a people’s choice award.

June 13 – June 20, W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival, Henderson, KY, handyblues.org This festival celebrates “Father of the Blues”, William Christopher Handy, by bringing some of the best national and local blues talent each year. Other events during the week include a Mardi Gras-style Street Strut, lectures, dance classes and more. New this year will be “Handy Happy Hours” and the “Handy After Party”.

June 19 – June 27, Dazzling Daylilies Festival & Balloons over the Garden, Owensboro, KY, wkbg.org Have a bloomin’ good time at the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, enjoying flower sculptures, a nighttime Lantern Launch, Hot Air Balloon Glow and Balloon Rides during “Balloons Over the Garden”. Daylilies are also on sale.

June 20 – June 21, PlottFest, Maggie Valley, NC, plottfest.org PlottFest celebrates the Plott Hound, the official North Carolina State Dog, via its two-day music and heritage event. Amidst the bluegrass music, some of the finest Plott Hounds will compete in sanctioned dog shows. Also onsite is a Plott Hound rescue group should anyone want to make a Plott Hound part of their family.

June 20 – June 29, FestivALL, Charleston , WV, festivallcharleston.com The city of Charleston is transformed into a work of art during this ten-day “FestivaALL”. Throughout the city and various venues, 130 events center around 360 musical, visual and performing arts groups. Main events include productions by the Charleston Light Opera Guild, Mountain Stage (as heard on NPR), Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff, riverboat rides, dance gala, Mayor’s Concert, major theatre productions and more!

June 24 – June 27, ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival, Owensboro, KY, rompfest.com Music lovers from around the world come to hear headliner acts at outdoor concerts, jam sessions and nightly after parties. New this year, the International Bluegrass Music Museum will promote an international flavor by offering a showcase of bluegrass bands via music major programs from universities around the world.

June 26 – June 27, White Lightning Trail Festival, Cumberland Gap, TN, claibornecounty.com This festival celebrates the White Lightening Trail which passes through nine East Tennessee Counties. The event is comprised of Appalachian culture demonstrations, historic displays and reenactments, arts and crafts, car show, bike run and more! New this year is the Appalachian Quilt Show.

June 26 – June 28, 55th Annual Beaufort Old Homes & Gardens Tour & Antiques Show & Sale, Beaufort, NC, beauforthistoricsite.org This colonial seaport town hosts one of the state’s longest running tours of private historic homes, gardens, local churches, inns, art studios and meeting halls. In honor of its 55th Anniversary there will also be a Summer Party held on July 11.