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10 Best Family Friendly Festivals in Middle Tennessee

Updated on February 6, 2017
Kim Bryan profile image

Tennessee-based freelance writer with a passion for true crime, a thirst for knowledge, and an obsession with lists.

Festivals were designed to bring people together by remembering through celebration their heritage, traditions, religions, historical events - to name just a few.

There are lots of festivals but not all are family friendly. This isn't always because they are of a taboo themes but simply because they are more focused on the adult visitors. When you're a family with young children, such defeats the purpose of a festival.

The following is a list of best middle Tennessee festivals for the whole family.

Columbia's Mule Day Parade
Columbia's Mule Day Parade | Source

1. Mule Day in Columbia

Of six mule celebrations held annually in the United States, Columbia's Mule Day is by far the largest of all.

Formed in 1840 and originally known as Breeder's Day, the event was a one day livestock show and mule market held annually on the first day of May. Over time it evolved to an almost week long event, attracting thousands of attendees from far and wide.

In 1933, the celebration was officially named the Mule Day Parade and Celebration. Today, the mule parade is the biggest attraction of the four day event, among other such things as arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, beauty pageants, dog shows, square dancing competitions, tough man competitions, and much more.

Mule Day 2017: March 27 - April 2

 
THINGS TO DO
 
ARTS & CRAFTS
FLEA MARKET
LIVE MUSIC
MULE SHOWS
PARADE
GAMES
Source: muleday.org

2. Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Portland

In 1865, a local farmer discovered Portland's soil was ideal for growing strawberries; thus this small town declared itself "The strawberry capital of middle Tennessee." Even today, Portland continues to produce a large strawberry crop each season.

In 1940, the city decided to capitalize on their niche and the Strawberry Festival was born. With the exception of years 1942-45 when the US was enmeshed in World War II, the festival has been popular with locals and visitors alike for many generations.

Events of the festival include the centerpiece parade, the crowing of a beauty queen, a 5k run, as well as numerous crafts and food vendors.

Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival 2017: May 13

 
THINGS TO DO
 
5K RUN
ARTS & CRAFTS
MARKET
INFLATABLES (KIDS)
EATING CONTEST
GAMES
LIVE MUSIC
PARADE
 
Source: facebook.com/middletennesseestrawberryfestival

3. RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle

Nestled between Interstates 24 and 40 is an adorable antiquing village frozen in the early twentieth century known as Bell Buckle. This hidden gem hosts many events every year but their most popular is the family friendly RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival.

Held every year on the third Saturday in June, visitors come from all over to see the world's largest Moon Pie, shop hundreds of craft vendors, sample a vast food varieties, and browse the shops in the business district.

RC & Moon Pie Festival 2017: June 17

 
THINGS TO DO
 
5K RUN
ARTS & CRAFTS
HAYRIDE
INFLATABLES (KIDS)
LIVE MUSIC
PARADE
Source: bellbucklechamber.com

4. Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree

Since 1979, Smithville has hosted millions of visitors from around the world to pay homage to it's Appalachian bluegrass roots with three days of live music, food, and intense competitions every year during the first weekend of July. Other activities include arts and crafts vendors, whose tents line the side streets of Courthouse Square and a variety of games for the young and young at heart.

Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree 2017: June 30 - July 1

 
THINGS TO DO
 
ARTS & CRAFTS
LIVE MUSIC
INFLATABLES (KIDS)
Source: smithvillejamboree.com

5. Oktoberfest in Nashville

Appropriately celebrated in the historic Germantown village of Nashville, Oktoberfest is one of the top rated celebrations of its kind in the nation. Visitors should expect authentic German food, three stages with live music, craft vendors, lots of beer, and many more German theme activities.

Oktoberfest 2017: October 7-9

 
THINGS TO DO
 
5K RUN
KIDS' ACTIVITIES
BEER SAMPLING (21+)
ARTS & CRAFTS
LIVE MUSIC
DOG SHOW/PARADE
Source: thenashvilleoktoberfest.com

6. Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester

Where once corn grew unnoticed along Interstate 24 on a Coffee County farm, the third weekend of June each year will find the 700 acres overflowing with people of all ages, hailing from places all around the world. Bonnaroo can only be described as a larger scale, modern day Woodstock.

Visitors can camp on site - tent or RV/camper and then set out to explore. Everything you need is within Great Stage Park so no need to leave the grounds and there's plenty of activities going on all night (away from the campground, of course).

Tickets are a bit pricey for many families but should you ever get the opportunity, don't pass it up. It's well worth the money spent on this festival that's fantastic for all family members.

Bonnaroo 2017: June 8-11

 
THINGS TO DO
 
LIVE MUSIC
ARTS & CRAFTS
CAMPING
GAMES
INFLATABLES
 
Franklin, Tennessee Main Street Festival
Franklin, Tennessee Main Street Festival | Source

7. Main Street Festival in Franklin

More than 100,000 thousand men, women, and children will walk the streets of Franklin's restored downtown Main Street during it's namesake festival every year.

Hosted by Franklin's Heritage Society, proceeds collected from the festival are used for restoration and maintenance of its downtown. which has been the society's sole purpose since its organization in 1967.

Main Street Festival 2017: April 29-30

 
THINGS TO DO
 
ARTS & CRAFTS
LIVE MUSIC
KIDS' ACTIVITIES
Source: historicfranklin.com

8. Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro

This popular festival got its start in 1978 when two men decided to have a banjo picking contest. One of those men was the grandson of a man known widely as Uncle Dave Macon.

The men thought of the idea when they were brainstorming ways to bring more business to the then-small city nestled between Chattanooga and Nashville along Interstate 24. Over a sandwich lunch, they discussed fun, family-friendly activities that would bring people to Murfreesboro's court square. A music festival seemed to be the perfect idea.

And so it was. The festival crowds grew too great for the original location on court square. In 1984 the event was moved to the pioneer village Cannonsburgh, built just a few blocks away as a US Bicentennial celebration project, a perfect setting for a festival focusing on folk, bluegrass, and rockabilly music. Other attractions include a multitude of truly handcrafted items from a variety of vendors, children's activities, and delicious food.

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2017: July 7-8

 
THINGS TO DO
 
LIVE MUSIC
ARTS & CRAFTS
VILLAGE TOUR
Source: uncledavemacondays.com
Lynchburg, Tennessee
Lynchburg, Tennessee | Source

9. Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational BBQ in Lynchburg

For one weekend every June, some of the world's best BBQ'ers flock to the quaint southern town of Lynchburg to compete for the Jack Daniel's World Championship Barbecue title. Visitors can take tours in the Jack Daniel's distillery, shop Lynchburg's historical downtown, play original games such as the Country Dog Contest, Butt Bowling, and Bung Toss competitions along with cooking and grilling demos, live music /entertainment, pie auction, and a petting zoo.

Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational BBQ 2017: October 28-29

 
THINGS TO DO
 
BBQ SAMPLING
ARTS & CRAFTS
DISTILLERY TOURS
GAMES
KIDS' ACTIVITIES
LIVE MUSIC
Source: jackdaniels.com

10. Tennessee Renaissance Festival

I cannot describe it any better than the festival's website:

Travel back to 16th Century England. Our Village of Covington Glen comes alive with the bustle of a Renaissance Marketplace..skilled Artisans from all over the country display their wares from silks to swords; from gems to jewels. Flavors, aromas and tastes of specialty foods and drinks...Hear the sounds of Renaissance...as they echo through the trees. Color, movement, and peals of laughter welcome those who thrill to the challenges of Games of Skill and Man-Powered Rides.

Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2017: Weekends in May

 
THINGS TO DO
 
SHOWS
LIVE MUSIC
ARTS & CRAFTS
CASTLE TOURS
KIDS' ACTIVITIES
 
Source: tnrenfest.com

Tennesseans love celebrations and these are but a few of our many festivals throughout the year. For a statewide listing of festivals and similar events, visit www.tnvacation.com.

show route and directions
A markerMule Day -
1018 Maury County Park Dr, Columbia, TN 38401, USA
get directions

B markerMiddle Tennessee Strawberry Festival -
106 Main St, Portland, TN 37148, USA
get directions

C markerRC Moon Pie Festival -
16 Railroad Sq E, Bell Buckle, TN 37020, USA
get directions

D markerSmithville Fiddlers Jamboree -
1 Public Square, Smithville, TN 37166, USA
get directions

E markerOktoberfest Nashville -
1226 7th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
get directions

F markerBonnaroo -
Great Stage Park, Ext 111 & Ext 114 I-24, Manchester, TN 37349, USA
get directions

G markerMain Street Festival -
Main St, Franklin, TN 37064, USA
get directions

H markerUncle Dave Macon Days -
312 S Front St, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, USA
get directions

I markerJack Daniel's World Championship Invitational BBQ -
133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352, USA
get directions

J markerTennessee Renaissance Festival -
2124 Newcastle Rd, Arrington, TN 37014, USA
get directions

© 2017 Kim Bryan

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