Information Revolution
Festival 01 Renaissance Festiva; Festival 02 Fan Fair Festival 03 Stroyteller McNair Festival 04 RC Cola Moon Pie Festival 05 Eating Contest Festival 06 National Storytellers Festival 07 Dogwood Arts Festival 08 Riverbend Festival 09 Memphis in May Festival 10 Strawberry Fest


Festivals and fairs celebrating local history and/or culture continued to be popular in this era. Large scale productions were featured in all the major cities. 
In 1982, Knoxville held a World’s Fair for six months around the theme of “Energy Turns the World.” Countries from around the world, including China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and West Germany participated . More than 11 million people attended the fair, making it one of the most popular world’s fairs ever held in the U.S.

The largest and most successful ongoing festival is Memphis in May, a month-long festival, featuring music, arts, international culture, and even a barbeque cooking contest. The festival is kicked off with the Beale Street Music Festival at the city’s Tom Lee Park next to the Mississippi River. The festival, which usually has attendance of more than 100,000, features blues, rock and roll, and R&B performers.
One of the most prestigious festivals in the state is the National Storytelling Festival held every year in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town. The festival, now in its 36th year, features well-known and not-so-well known storytellers. It has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America.
Knoxville celebrates the coming of spring with the annual Dogwood Arts Festival. This month-long celebration features art, dance, film, music, and theater performances. Chattanooga has the Riverbend Festival which sometimes brings in crowds of 80,000 people a night and the 4 Bridges Art Festival which are held every year to showcase local artists.
The CMA Music Festival, formerly Fan Fair, is held each year in Nashville. The festival, which began in 1972 draws nearly 200,000 fans to meet country music stars and listen to them sing.

Smaller cities and towns also have their own festivals. One of the oldest is Mule Day in Columbia.  Mule Day was first held in 1840 as a place where breeders could sell and buy mules.  Over the years it evolved into a multi-day festival celebrating all things mules, attracting thousands of visitors.

There are three major festivals celebrating strawberries. The oldest is the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Humboldt. Close behind are the Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Portland and the Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Dayton. All three are very popular and draw thousands each year.

Another older festival, Uncle Dave Macon Days, attracts thousands of people to Murfreesboro. The festival, named in honor of country music performer Uncle Dave Macon, features banjo, clogging, and buck dancing performances. It takes place in Cannonsburgh, a re-created pioneer village with 20 restored log structures.

Picture Credits:
  • Photograph showing a Renaissance Festival. This photo was taken in 2009 in Arrington, Tennessee and provided by “” It shows a two men dressed as knights, riding horses, and jousting. A group of spectators are also shown in the background.
  • Photograph of Ronnie Milsapat Fan Fair. This photo was taken in Nashville 1976 at the Municipal Auditorium. It shows Milsap signing autographs for his fans. Dan Loftin, The Tennessean
  • Photograph of storyteller Barbara McBride-Smith. This photo was taken in Jonesborough, Tennessee at the National Storytelling Festival. It shows McBride performing on stage. International Storytelling Center
  • Photograph taken at the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival. This photo was taken in 2006 in Bell Buckle, Tennessee by photographer “kerryvaughn.” It shows a little girl dressed as Minnie Pearl and riding a float designed to look like the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Photograph of an eating contest. This photo was taken in Humboldt, Tennessee in the 1980s at the Tennessee Strawberry Festival. It shows a group of people eating ice cream around a table as others watch. Tennessee Strawberry Festival
  • Photograph showing fans of the National Storytelling Festival. This photo was taken in Jonesborough, Tennessee in 2007 by photographer “mmeiser2.” It shows numerous participants at the town center.
  • Photograph showing the Dogwood Arts Festival. This photo was taken in Knoxville in 2008 by photographer Patrick Beeson. It shows a woman with two children who are practicing their violins for the festival. Several other fans of the festival can be seen in the background.

   Information Revolution >>  Everyday Life >>  Leisure Time >>  Festivals

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