Summer 2015 Top 20 Events
July 2 – July 5, 54th Annual Alderson 4th of July Celebration, Alderson, WV, http://www.alderson4th.com/ This four-day event in the historic town of Alderson, West Virginia, hosts a multitude of races, including: canoe, track and field, 5K, bike and even one for rubber duckies! For the children there is an art contest and fishing derby as well as rides. Live music and square dancing in addition to an ice cream social, Grand Parade and one of the best firework displays in West Virginia, make for this to be a can’t-miss-event for families.
July 2 – July 5, MS Gulf Coast Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Gulfport, MS, http://www.mississippideepseafishingrodeo.com/ Over 30 categories, including saltwater and freshwater, make this the largest family-friendly fishing rodeo in the world! Fireworks, fishing, fellowship and FUN! Recordbreaking shark, tuna and flounder have been discovered during this event off the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
July 3 – August 1, An Appalachian Summer Festival, Boone, NC, http://www.appsummer.org/ Opera, dance, theatre, independent film, contemporary visual art, symphonic music and more come to life in Western North Carolina. Recent performers include Sheryl Crow, Idina Menzel, Little Big Town, Kenny Loggins and Lyle Lovett. The festival has been included in the New York Times’ annual listing of the nation’s most interesting and unique summer arts festivals. This year’s event will include the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition, a national, juried visual arts competition, bringing contemporary sculptors to campus, in order to install their work and conduct public lectures and tours.
July 4, Red, White, Blue and You!, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ Celebrate the 4th of July with the star-spangled street parade through downtown Lake Charles. It is as American as Apple Pie. The Apple Pie Baking Contest that is! It is also takes place this day followed by a concert with stunning fireworks over magnficent Lake Charles.
July 4, Sertoma’s 4th of July Celebration, Pensacola, FL, http://www.visitpensacola.com/ The Largest 4th of July Celebration on the Gulf Coast! This Family-Friendly event features a children’s area, patriotic parade, arts & crafts, live entertainment and delicious food! The evening concludes with fantastic fireworks over the Pensacola Bay!
July 4, Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue, Greenville, SC, events.greenvillesc.gov Featuring one of the largest fireworks displays in South Carolina, downtown Greenville continues to host one of the premiere 4th of July events with a full evening of live musical entertainment on two stages, a children’s area and a tanatalizing array of food and beverage. Each year the fireworks are synchronized to patriotic music and simulcast live on the radio station.
July 4, St. Marys Independence Day Festival, St. Marys, GA, http://www.visitstmarys.com/ This Annual 4th of July Celebration offers hometown charm alongside a parade and fireworks illuminating the riverbank. Additional activities include a fun run, arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment and a river cruise!
July 5 – July 12, Jets Over Kentucky, Lebanon, KY, http://www.visitlebanonky.com/ Rolling, looping, spinning, diving and racing is all part of what makes Jets Over Kentucky the thoroughbred of radio-controlled jet shows. This event draws as many as 200 pilots from across the world due to Lebanon-Springfield Airport’s 5,000 foot runway and one of the largest concentrations of radio control jet pilots in the country. These radio-controlled planes range from $20,000-$200,000! Additional show components include a parade of lights, skydivers and fireworks display.
July 7 – July 12, Blue Marlin Grand Championship, Orange Beach, AL, Known as “The Greatest Show in Sportfishing”, the Blue Marlin Grand Championship brings the best, invitation only, anglers to Orange Beach as they compete for over a million dollars in prizes. Proceeds from the event also benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
July 10 – July 18, Kingsport Fun Fest, Kingsport, TN, http://www.funfest.net/ This year the city unveils its new carousel which originates from the 1950’s and has been restored to highlight handcarved and painted figures created by the community. Don’t miss the hot air balloons, big-name concerts, and additional events throughout the city.
July 10 – July 12, 38th Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days, Murfreesboro, TN, http://www.uncledavemacondays.com/ Held on the historic grounds of the Cannonsborough Village, this event is both a contest and a celebration of dance, culture and old-time music. One can also stop and listen to one of the spontaneous “shade tree pickings” that often takes place and is considered a highlight of the event. Arts and crafts demonstrations are also onsite.
July 11, Blue Angels Airshow, Pensacola Beach, FL, http://www.blueangels.navy.mil/ Home to the world-famous, Blue Angels, Pensacola Beach attendees enjoy Free Admission and a spectaculor airshow.
July 17 – July 18, Cajun French Music & Food Festival, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ Love Cajun Music? Can’t get enough gumbo, jambalaya or etouffee? Burton Coliseum hosts this annual event, touted as a “true celebration of the Cajun heritage and culture”. Additional components include a Sunday morning Cajun French Catholic Mass with a Cajun choir and more!
July 17 – July 18, Forum 35’s Art Melt, Baton Rouge, LA, www.forum35.org/?page=artmelt Step inside the Louisiana State Museum in downtown Baton Rouge and discover one of the largest multi-media, juried, art exhibits in Lousiana. Artists display their work within music, performing arts, painting, sculpting and culinary creations. Imagine. Inspire. Discover.
July 16 – July 18, Virginia Lake Festival, Clarksville, VA, http://www.clarksvilleva.com/ “LAKEFEST” includes tethered hot air balloon rides for children 12yrs and younger, a jaw-dropping sand sculpture creation (watch as the artist creates it!) live music, arts & crafts, as well as the hot air balloons flying over the festival and dipping their baskets into the lake! In the evening, fireworks illuminate the sky and water as folks enjoy the view from the shore and their boats.
July 16 – July 25, Folkmoot USA, Waynesville, NC, http://www.folkmootusa.org/ Set within the majestic Smoky Mountains, hosting more than 75,000 attendees, North Carolina’s International Festival returns for its 32nd year. Folkmoot USA invites more than 200 performers, from 8 countries, creating more than 55 costumed, live musical performances.
July 16 – July 19, Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, Lexington, KY, http://www.keenelandconcours.com/ Keeneland rolls out the red carpet for hundreds of rare and exotic automobiles, motocycles and trucks for the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance. Festivities also include a distillary tour, Bluegrass driving tour and a Hanger Bash at the Blue Grass Airport. Proceeds from this event do towards an endowment for neonatal research at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
July 17 – July 26, 60th Annual Beaufort Water Festival, Beaufort, SC, http://www.bftwaterfestival.com/ Celebrating 60 years in 2015! Opening weekend includes an air show, raft races, children’s road fishing, a Saturday evening concert, Children’s Day and teen dance on Sunday. The final weekend includes the Grand Parade, Dragon Boat race, musical concert, teh Commodore’s Ball, Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats. An Arts & Crafts Market is open daily during the festival. Tickets go on sale in March 2015.
July 18 – July 19, 17th Annual Butternut Creek Festival, Blairsville, GA, http://www.butternutcreekfestival.com/ Free admission and parking makes it all the more reason to visit this family-friendly event located within Meeks Park and nestled along the shady banks of Butternut Creek. With 65-70 juried artists, there is something for everyone including live demonstrations and music!
July 24 – July 25, Marshland Festival, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ The Unique landscape in Southwest Louisana, especially its marshes, is celebrated via this annual event. The festival helps raise funds for 14 local schools and church organizations. The event features exhibits, games, arts and crafts booths and regional cuisine and music.
July 29 – August 1, Sandy Lee Songwriters Festival, Henderson, KY, www.hendersonky.org/event Featuring intimate, acoustic performances by more than 30 of Nashville’s award winning singer/songwriters. Attendees can hear their favorite songs by the men and women who wrote them. New events this year include “Riders and Writers” workshop at Ellis Park Race Track and the “Singing and Swinging” golf scramble.
July 31 – August 2, The Craftsmen’s Summer Classic Art & Craft Festival, Myrtle Beach, SC, http://www.craftshow.com/ Shop one-of-a-kind specialties ranging from traditional, functional, whimsical, decorative or funky to fun! With artists and craftsment displaying their original works, there is something for every sense of style and budget. Gifts, home décor, functional items, clothing and accessories provide an array within which to shop. This year’s admission will allow for a free return pass – thus one can shop for all 3 days!
August 1 – August 2, 36th Annual Revolutionary War Battle Reenactment, Sanford, NC, www.nchistoricsites.org/horsesho In addition to the rennactment, period crafts such as blacksmithing, gun engraving, weaving, children’s games and pottery will be on display. Competitions among the reenactors include, tomahawk throwing, skillet toss and skewering an apple with a bayonet. Militia demonstrations, includind firing of a replica 18th century canon also take place during the event
August 6 – August 8, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival, Henderson, KY, www.bluegrassinthepark.org One of the largest, free admission, bluegrass festivals in the nation, the event features not only live bluegrass music but also activities for children and sporting events that include: disc golf tournament, 5K, outdoor street pole vault tournament and tennis event. While bluegrass music is now embraced by the world, this event strives to educate and remind folks of the music’s humble beginnings in Western Kentucky.
August 7 – August 8, Lewisburg Literary Festival, Lewisburg, WV, www.lewisburgliteraryfestival.com A vibrant, two-day event that features visiting authors, outdoor art, musical events and performance art, all insprired by literature. The town is transformed into a scene, out of a play, with literature and art installations that attendees meander through as they walk from event to event. Additional components include book signings, writing workshops, a children’s book breakfast and readings by their favorite children’s characters.
August 14 – August 15, Classic City BBQ Festival , Athens, GA, www.ClassicCityBBQFest.com Deliciousness. One cannot leave this event hungry. With three barbecue contests and local barbecue restaurant vendors, there are plenty of options for one’s tastebuds. New this year, beer sampling! Additional event elements include the Classic Car Show, Tailgate Tradeshow and an outdoor music stage. Proceeds benefit the Northeast Georgia Food Bank which, due to the event’s success, was able to provide 51,000 meals to those in need.
August 14 – August 22, Wilson County Fair, Lebanon, TN, http://www.wilsoncountyfair.net/ New this year: “The Year of the Tree” is the featured agricultural commodity which will be used throughout the 2015 fair in exhibits, events and demonstrations. A new concert series will feature country, gospel and other music genres. What County Fair is complete without its Midway Ride and Games, in addition to tractor pulls, demolition derbies and a mule pull. Fiddlers Grove Historical Village, hosts costumed demonstrators and artisians showing techniques used by early settlers.
August 14 – August 23, State Fair of WV, Fairlea, WV, http://www.statefairofwv.com/ The iconic country band, Alabama, headlines this year’s fair, which is the largest multi-day celebration in the state. This family-friendly event include carnival rides, magic shows, circus-like performances, livestock shows, harness racing and live petting zoo.
August 14 – August 23, Staunton Music Festival, Staunton, VA, http://www.stauntonmusicfestival.com/ Travel and Leisure magazine described this event as “Virginia’s world-class music festival”. Attracting more than 60 of the world’s finest chamber music performers for 10 days of concerts each August for a total of 20 concerts. All events take place in venues of first-rate acoustics and historical significance. The Festival opens with a black-tie Midsummer Ball and ten days later, the festival concludes with a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion.
August 14 – August 15, Dirty Dancing Festival, Lake Lure, NC, http://www.dirtydancingfestival.com/ Celebrating the classic American film, the weekend begins with the FREE “Lakeside Film Screening” at Morse Park Meadows. On Saturday, the “Family Dance Festival” includes live music, watermelon games and the crowd-favorite, “Lake Lift Competition”. At the close of the festival, dancers perform “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” and audience members are encouraged to participate.
August 15, Arts & Crabs Festival, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ Crab and Beer Tastings! Need we say more? The annual event showcases the relationship between Louisiana seafood and culture via food, music and art. Some tasting elements include: Crab cakes, crab au gratin, ceviche and gazpacho.
August 15, Bright Lights, Belhaven Lights, Jackson, MS, http://www.greaterbelhaven.com/ A 2014 designee of America’s 10 Great Neighborhoods by the American Planning Association, this festival provides an outlet to showcase the visual arts and live music by Greater Belhaven residents. Five stages include blues, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, folk and indie rock music. Additional items include, artisan booths, dancers and a children’s area.
August 20 – August 30, Kentucky State Fair, Louisville, KY, http://www.kystatefair.org/ America’s largest indoor fair, held within 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, celebrates all things Kentucky including The World’s Championship Horse Show; the richest and most prestigious Saddlebred show. The Kentucky Proud Experience Tent gives visitors an opportunity to purchase farm fresh products and local beverages. While its roots are in agriculture, the Kentucky State Fair has grown into a trade and public education exposition as well as a major entertainment venue with free concerts on each day of the Fair.
August 21 – August 22, Great Southern Tailgate Classic, Amelia Island, FL, http://www.greatsoutherntailgateclassic.com/ “The Art of Tailgating” spotlights delicious food, lively music, arts, crafts and a children’s area. Attendees will also enjoy the tailgating games, food demonstrations, watermelon eating contest and more!
August 21 – August 24, Asheville Wine & Food Festival, Asheville, NC, http://www.ashevillewineandfood.com/ The New York Post named it as one of the best festival of its kind in the country, featuring a dazzling array of more than 300 wines and creations prepared by Asheville’s celebrated and internationally recognized chefs. Sample local artisan food products, craft beers and spirits Additional events include SWEET, which is a time of desserts, music, drink and fun and the GRAND TASTING presents the best in wine, food, spirits, beer and competitive entertainment. The year’s festival will be a veritable Culinary Circus of adventure and fun!
August 28, Fete Rouge – Food and Wine Fete, Baton Rouge, LA, http://www.feterougebr.com/ Fete Rouge has blossomed into an event that honors and celebrates the essence of Baton Rouge’s lifestyle: food, fun and creativity. Exquiste cuisine sampling, wine tastings, live music and more create this annual tradition.
August 28 – September 16, Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational, Watkinsville, GA, www.ocaf.com One of the largest pottery events in the southeast region, this nineteen-day invitational showcases the works of 50 select Georgia potters. There are three exhibitions as well as a sales venue offering more than 5,000 pieces of original, handmade pottery. Additional components include a pottery workshop instructed by a nationally known visiting artist, free pottery demonstrations, gallery talks and tours of local potters’ studios.
September 1 – October 4, Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, Virginia Beach, VA, http://www.neptunefestival.com/ King Neptune and his royal court are part of Grand Parade, which features over 100 entries! The “signature event” is an International Sandsculpting Championship featuring 32 sculptors from around the globe. Sandtastic! Additional elements include: Fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean, Surfing Competition, 4 stages of local, regional, national music acts and More!
September 4 – September 7, Matthews Alive! Festival, Matthews, NC, http://www.matthewsalive.org/ One of the Largest Labor Day Weekend Parades in the Southeast can be found in Matthews, North Carolina and it’s all part of the Matthews Alive Festival! Shop from more than 170 artists and grab a bite to eat (or two!) with selections from more than 30 food vendors. Additional festival elements include: a Midway (complete with games and rides for all ages) Three Stages of live entertainment, a children’s area , quilt show and more!
September 4 – October 23, Live After Five, Baton Rouge, LA, http://liveafterfive.downtownbr.org/ “Clock Out and Rock Out” every Friday after 5pm from September 4-October 23. Families and friends are entertained by lively music, at this free concert, while relaxing on their blankets or enjoying a picnic. After the show the party moves along to local restaurants and watering holes.
September 5 – September 7, Marietta Art in the Park, Marietta, GA, http://www.artparkmarietta.com/ Situated amidst downtown Marietta’s picturesque historic square and shopping the gorgeous work of 170 fine artists, one cannot help but think that they are in a scene from a movie. Only fitting that Hollywood has, actually, used this same location. In addition to the artists, downtown also features museums, theatres, art galleries and unique boutiques. Children attending the Art in the Park event will also enjoy the FREE “make and take” art station in the Children’s Interactive Art Gallery.
September 7, BooZoo’s Labor Day Festival, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ Named for Zydeco legend Wilson “BooZoo” Chavis, the festival celebrates Southwest Louisiana’s rich musical heritage and the Creole culture. Your tastebuds come alive as they savor the flavors of red beans and rice, crawfish étouffé and BBQ sandwiches. Cajun and Zydeco Music Masters keep everyone’s foot tapping as they celebrate the festival’s 31st year.
September 10 – September 13, Yellow Daisy Festival, Stone Mountain, GA, http://www.stonemountainpark.com/ Meander the wooded trails and shop amid more than 400 artisans tucked between the trees. This award-winning event is an annual tradition for legions of women comprised of girlfriends or multi-generational families.
September 11 – September 13, KY State BBQ Festival, Danville, KY, http://www.kybbqfestival.com/ Three Days of Barbeque!!! Purchase your eats directly from the Celebrity Pit Masters, themselves. Live music, demonstrations and door prizes keep you entertained throughout the day thus allowing for a second round of BBQ in the belly!
September 11 – September 13, MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest, Covington, KY, http://www.mainstrasse.org/ The German Village of MainStrasse hosts this annual event within its tree-lined streets and cobblestone pathways. A variety of mouth-watering foods and thirst-quenching beverages are available for sampling in addition to a variety of arts & crafts vendor to shop. Kinderplatz has rides for children and there is a Amusement Midway for those that are children at heart. The Bier Garten is host to German music, dancing and beer that reminds one of Munich though you are really adjacent to the Ohio River in Kentucky (near Cinncinnati). Perfekt!
September 11 – September 20, Tennessee Valley Fair, Knoxville, TN, http://www.tnvalleyfair.org/ “Rooted in Tradition” this year’s Fair will highlight the event’s unique history and heritage. Guests will be invited to #RememberWhen as they explore historica exhibits and assist in creating a time capsule while enjoying “old time” crafts, food and storytelling. This annual event will also have its can’t-miss, concert series, innovative exhibits, livestock shows, action sports, and exciting Midway.
September 11 – September 13, Roots and Heritage Festival, Lexington, KY, http://www.rootsfestky.com/ Historic Elm Tree Lane hosts this three-day street fair, honoring the powerful spirit of African-American culture and history via music, art exhibits, film presentations, food and a parade. There are also activities for children. This event also features two stages with internationally renowned artists performing live.
September 12 – September 13, Biloxi Seafood Festival, Biloxi, MS, biloxi.org/events/Biloxi_seafood_festival.html This year’s festival returns to Point Cadet, its original location, that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Celebrating Biloxi’s seafood heritage, via the Mississippi Gulf Coast, this two-day festival features a Gumbo Championship, live entertainment, arts, crafts and most importantly, SEAFOOD!
September 15 – September 20, Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Bardstown, KY, http://www.kybourbonfestival.com/ Celebrating all things Bourbon: Tastings, Cooking, Mixology, Talks, Cigars and Jazz. Additional events include a gala, balloon glow, golf tournament, auction and more! More than 50,000 visitors come to the Bourbon Capitol of the World® for this festival.
September 18 – September 21, euphoria – Food, Wine & Music Festival, Greenville, SC, http://www.euphoriagreenville.com/ Situated at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this four-day festival includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances. Domestic and International wines, celebrity chefs, master sommeliers and national recording artists make this a can’t-miss-event in award-winning downtown Greenville, SC.
September 18 – September 20, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Bristol, VA/TN, http://www.bristolrhythm.com/ Celebrating its 15th year and held in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, this three-day music festival spotlights over 150 roots music acts on more than twenty stages. The new Birthplace of Country Music Museum is partnering with the Music Maker Relief Foundation to create a special music exhibit during the festival, too.
September 19, Boom Days Heritage Celebration, Fort Payne, AL, http://www.boomdays.org/ Roving minstrels, clowns and other entertainers take to the streets, performing admist vintage cars while others shop among the artists in City Park. Local museums are open and entertainment is provided on several outdoor stages. Additional components include: pancake breakfast, pet parade, fire and police equipment demonstrations, children’s area, Star Wars reinactors.
September 19 – September 20, Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, Macon, GA, www.nps.gov/ocmu A 702-acre monument, the Ocmulgee Mounds welcome guests to discover music, dance, storytelling crafts and demonstrations by Native Americans at the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration. This year brings new Native Dance Groups, Children’s activities and Native Language Workshops.
September 25 – September 27, Pensacola Seafood Festival, Pensacola, FL, http://www.fiestaoffiveflags.org/ Are you hungry? Crab Cakes, Coconut Shrimp, Seafood Gumbo, Fish Tacos…how about now? This FREE three-day festival has more than 30 personally selected food vendors in addition to more than 150 artists displaying their gorgeous work for sale. New This Year: The Children’s area will include an interactive area, complete with living sea creatures, in which educators will be on-hand for families to learn about sea-life.
September 25 – November 2, Rock City’s Enchanted MAiZE featuring Blowing Springs Farm, Flintstone, GA, http://www.blowingspringsfarm.com/ An everchanging maze, that features a new design and thus a new challenge each year. This year’s will be in the form of a crop circle. If you find your way, celebrate by enjoying a hayride, homemade funnel cake or fried Oreo! Young and young-at-heart will enjoy the Critter Corral, that gives guests a chance to interact with the animals at no additional charge.
September 26 – November 1, Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern, Chattanooga, TN, http://www.hauntedcavern.com/ Descend 26 stories underground…where no one can hear you scream! The Haunted Cavern was described by one attendee as going “beyond the typical ‘Boo!’ tricks. It excels as a haunt that’s equal parts creepy, gory and terrifying: achieved with professional makeup, sets and actors.” Only fitting that this event was listed as #4 on BuzzFeed’s list of 19 Haunted Houses to Visit Before You Die! Have you?
September 26, WellsFest 2015, Jackson, MS, http://www.wellsfest.org/ Free admission and parking guarantees plenty of people will enjoy annual event, celebrating its 32nd year in 2015. Known as Jackson’s original music festival, WellsFest features non-stop music, pet parade, plant sale, arts and crafts, food vendors, children’s activities, a 5K run/walk and More!
September 26, A taste of Clarkesville, Clarkesville, GA, http://www.tasteofclarkesville.com/ Nestled in Clarkesville’s historic downtown district, the beautiful colors of autumn provide the backdrop to this feast of the senses, where the spotlight shines on all things local. This premier food, wine and beer festival showcases the diversity of downtown Clarkesville’s food scene. The main stage has also served as a local springboard for budding musicians.
September 27, Calca-Chew Food Festival, Lake Charles, LA, http://www.visitlakecharles.org/ For a true home-cooked meal, head no further than to the parishoners of the St. Margaret Catholic Church. A French Mass kicks off the festival. Children will enjoy the games, petting zoo, train rides and raffles. Cajun music compliments the shrimp étouffée, boudin, fried fish, gumbo and barbecue. Bring your appetite!
September 27, Chefs of the Coast, Biloxi, MS, chefsofthecoast.org Chefs of the Coast has become the premier food and wine event on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, generating tremendous energy and enthusiasm while promoting the restaurant and hospitality industry. Proceeds benefit the community by providing scholarships and aiding local charities.