Annual Festivals/Fairs » Nashville, TN

Annual Festivals/Fairs in Nashville, TN

From juicy August tomatoes to rich bourbons, from artisan ice cream to high-end cuisine, and from great literature to a thriving music scene, there's bound to be an annual event to strike your fancy.
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Tennessee State Fair

Most of us have childhood memories of a day out at the fair—the games, the rides, the distinctly unhealthy food options. While you've changed a lot, you might be reassured to know that the fair hasn't. This one has been going strong since 1906 (with just four years off during WWII). And it's just as fun as ever. Ride cool rides like the ferris wheel, take your chance at tossing rings or knocking over bottles to win a stuffed animal, and indulge in some amazing funnel cake. Get your fix of down-home entertainment with livestock shows and country music performancesl. the fair also features fun play areas for kids and awesome acts like racing pigs, trapeze artists and canine stunts.

Miss Martha's Ice Cream Crankin'

At this yearly ice cream crank, you can sample the work of ice cream auteurs who take summertime treats very seriously. The event is an ice cream lover's dream, letting you sample dozens of flavors to your heart's content. The area's best pro and amateur crankers bring their best ice cream—everything from basic chocolate and vanilla-based confections to unusual flavors like tequila vanilla and pistachio honey, and sorbets that distill fresh summer fruit. The concoction the judges like best will be turned into an official Purity flavor. And proceeds go to benefit the Martha O'Brien Center, which provides food and housing for the underprivileged.

Tomato Art Fest

The best of seasonal produce deserves to be celebrated in fine cuisine. This East Nashville food fest takes that principle one step farther, giving locals the chance to elevate the tomato to the status of art. Check out submissions of tomato-themed paintings and sculpture, take in live music, and buy local crafts and food. There are plenty of fun activities, like bloody mary contests, dog costume contests and fashion shows. The Five Points is blocked off from traffic for the event, and every kind of local vendor you could imagine has a booth set up (often handing out free samples). Held in August, at the peak of tomato season.

East Nashville Beer Festival

If you haven't picked a new favorite beer since your college Corona days, it might be time for an upgrade. This beer rest lets you sample almost a hundred brews, including ones by Blue Pants Brewery, Brasserie St-Feuillien, Calfkiller, Crispin Cider Company, Magic Hat, Jackalope, Nashvillian, Schmalz, and much more. If you haven't heard of those, that's a good sign – many of them are small companies, dedicated to making unique and interesting brews. Nashville's favorite food trucks will provide snacks, and cheap tickets are available for designated drivers. (While West Nashville has its own beerfest, this one is in spring, when weather is mild--and it's held at the zoo.)

Iron Fork

For local Chefs, Iron Fork is a chance to show off their prowess and compete for the title of champion. But for humbler local food fans, it's an opportunity to sample delicacies from the area's best restaurants—Porta Via, Mirko, Stonehouse Q, Jeni's Ice Cream, Cupcake Collection, Tazza, Drinkhaus and much more. Whether you're a fan of southern barbecue, Asian fusion, vegetarian delights or decadent desserts, you'll find more than you can eat at this event. Enter their silent auction for a chance to get your own plates of the master chefs' creations. Or just try sublime local fare from eateries you never knew existed. The event is usually held in April; check Nashville Scene listings for date and location.