10 – Yes, 10! Festivals For You To Enjoy This Weekend in Nashville

Don’t let Friday the 13th get you down! This is your lucky weekend – there are 10 Festivals right here in Music City – and there truly is something for everyone! Pick and choose your favorites, or see how many you can enjoy.

1. Historic Rural Life Festival at Tennessee Agricultural Museum

May 12-13

This annual festival is a great one for your kids! It’s a wonderful opportunity for them – and you – to experience the rural past of Tennessee. You’ll enjoy old-time activities, see honey bees in an observation beehive, and touch farm animals!

Special hands-on activities will show you and the children the crafts and chores that were a routine part of farm life before the advent of electricity.

Historic Rural Life Festival at Tennessee Agricultural Museum. Image: tnagmuseum.org

Butter churning, spinning, blacksmithing, weaving, and pottery making are just a few of the activities. You can stop under shade trees for shingle making and wood-working activities with Tennessee State Foresters. Don’t miss the sheep shearing!

Located at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum, Ellington Agricultural Center, on Edmondson Pike

Thursday, May 12 – 9:00 am till Noon

Friday, May 13 – 9:00 am till Noon

Admission is $2 per person

2. Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender & Car Show

May 12-15, 2016

The Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender is a massive indoor music festival that celebrates Nashville’s musical past! Celebrate with performances from bands that specialize in country, hillbilly, boogie, rockabilly, and Western swing music.

Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender & Car Show. Image: eastof8thblog.wordpress.com

With over 50 live performances on 4 stages at the Nashville Palace, Opryland Hotel, and Grand Ole Opry House, you’ll be able to travel back in time to the 1940s and hear live performances of the sound that Nashville’s music scene was built on.

Miss Nashville Boogie 2015 Britty Leigh. Image: bodaciousbettyfl.com

There will be a HUGE vintage market with over 50 vendors from across the U.S., along with an indoor vintage car show in the Ryman Hall at Opryland Hotel, and multiple pool parties in the many pools of Opryland Hotel.

You also don’t want to miss the pin-up pageant, where Miss Nashville Boogie 2016 will be chosen, and enjoy a Western Roundup Fashion Show as well!

Don’t miss the grand finale performance by Chris Isaak at the Grand Ole Opry with Woody Pines on Sunday, May 15th!

Thursday, Friday, & Saturday: Weekend and Day Music Passes available online or at the ticket booth.  Nashville Palace & Opryland Hotel

Car Show: Friday & Saturday in Ryman Hall at Opryland Hotel. (Indoors)

Sunday: After party at the Grand Ole Opry House. Separate ticket needed.

Free parking next door at the mall.

Entry is FREE with a wristband, or just $5 to the public.

3. Nashville Scene Margarita Festival

May 13

At the 5th annual Nashville Scene Margarita Festival, you get to sample multiple margarita samples from the city’s best margarita makers, and vote on your favorite. A winner will be crowned at the end of the festival.

Nashville Scene Margarita Festival. Image: foodchannel.com

Your ticket gets you entry to the event and 15 margarita and food samples from your favorite Gulch restaurants, while DJs rock the block. Food will be available for purchase from Bar Louie, Texas De Brazil, and Chuy’s as well as a cash bar with full sized drinks. As always, this street festival held in the Gulch will be awesome squared, shaken, rimmed with salt and served up real chill. 21+

Friday, May 13, 2016, from 6:00PM – 9:00PM

Pine & 11th Parking Lot

11th Ave South & Pine Street in the Gulch

Tickets are $30

4. Goodguys 11th Nashville Nationals

May 13-15

Head on down to Nissan Stadium! The Goodguys 11th Nashville Nationals is a giant car show featuring more than 2,500 hot rods, customs, classics, muscle cars, and trick trucks from 30 states.

Vintage car at Goodguys Nashville Nationals. Image: good-guys.com
Vintage car at Goodguys Nashville Nationals. Image: good-guys.com

You can shop at hundreds of exhibitor booths, or take a trip to the Swap Meet and Cars for Sale Corral. You’ll also enjoy kids’ activities, make model cars, and listen to live musical entertainment. What an event!

There will be three days of Goodguys Street Challenge AutoCross competition, and an AutoCross for Kids fundraiser to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

Johnsonville Big Grill. Image: good-guys.com
Johnsonville Big Grill. Image: good-guys.com

And, on All American Sunday, you’re invited bring your late model American-made or American-powered car to show off to the masses.

There will also be plenty of food available for purchase, as the Johnsonville Big Grill will also be there. This is not your dad’s BBQ, as it’s 20’ tall, 65’ long and 6’ in diameter. It will be onsite all weekend cooking up some great Johnsonville brats and sausages!  All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

The event will be concluded with an awards ceremony beginning at 2:22 pm on the entertainment stage.

5. Franklin Hot Air Balloon Festival at Westhaven

May 14

Located in the Westhaven community of beautiful Franklin, the Franklin Hot Air Balloon Festival is a top family-friendly event. It will include craft vendors, live music, food trucks, and KidZone. And the best part will be at the conclusion – a spectacular hot air balloon glow at dusk!

Franklin Hot Air Balloon Festival
Balloons Glowing Against the Evening Sky in Franklin, Tennessee. Image: franklinballoonfestival.com

This festival is an “Evening Glow” event. All the balloons remain on the ground, so you’ll be able to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. It’s a pretty awesome sight to see them all lit up against the evening sky.

The balloons begin to inflate at dusk and glow for around an hour. The festival will start at 3PM in the afternoon and will conclude at 9PM after the balloon glow.

6. Iroquois Steeplechase

May 14

Put on your best and fanciest hat and head on down to Percy Warner Park this Saturday. The Iroquois Steeplechase is the premier spring race meet in American steeplechasing, and it’s Music City’s traditional rite of spring. This event bears the name of the famous racehorse Iroquois, who lived at Belle Meade Plantation in the late 1800s. Read more about him here – 5 Interesting Facts About Nashville.

Iroquois Steeplechase. Image: iroquoissteeplechase.org
Iroquois Steeplechase. Image: iroquoissteeplechase.org

Seven races are held throughout the day. The event typically attracts more than 25,000 spectators, and most are decked out in their finest spring apparel, including the biggest and best hats in the South. Make sure your photo-worthy hat is among them!

Iroquois Steeplechase Hats. Image: iroquoissteeplechase.org
Iroquois Steeplechase Hats. Images: iroquoissteeplechase.org

7. Tennessee Renaissance Festival

May 14-15

Travel back to 16th Century England in the Village of Covington Glen, and experience the bustle of a Renaissance Marketplace. This is the second weekend of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, and we wrote about it last week here – 7 Festivals You’ll Love This Mother’s Day Weekend in Nashville.

Armored Jousting. Image: nashvillemusiccity.wordpress.com

Each weekend has its own theme. This weekend (May 14-15) is Artisan and Crafts Weekend. Travel through the marketplace for treasures and unique handcrafted items from around the globe. You’ll also get to see demonstrations by talented artisans as they craft their wares.

Faerie with her headpiece! Image: renaissancefairepictorial.com

There will be more than 70 skilled Artisans, whose wares will include everything from silks, gems and jewels, to swords other medieval weapons.

During the Renaissance era, it was customary and necessary to wear a headpiece. They were worn for protection, displays of virtue, or social status – head covering or hair adornments were a part of everyday life. So, come to the festival adorned in your most favorite piece of headwear or hair adornments – or visit an artisan booth for a unique find – and participate in the Hair Adornment Contest on Sunday, May 15th. Contest time and location will be posted at the Information booth (the first tent as you enter the festival).

Come join us at the 31st annual Tennessee Renaissance Festival!

May 14-15, May 21-22, and May 28-30 Memorial Day!

Hours: 10am – 6:00pm

Located off Highway 96 between Franklin and Murfreesboro, at 2124 New Castle Road, Arrington, TN, 37014

8. Musicians Corner

May 14-June 25

Here’s one you have no excuse to miss! You have over a month to get to it, and it’s free! Musicians Corner and Acoustic Friday Nights give you the opportunity to enjoy fabulous local live music on two stages in a beautiful outdoor setting on Centennial Park’s South West Lawn.

Musicians Corner
Musicians at Musicians Corner. Image: musicianscornernashville.com

You’ll be able to stroll among the booths of local artisans and shop for interesting arts and crafts. There will be plenty of food from a selection of some of Nashville’s favorite food trucks, along with your choice of libation from MC Pub. And, at Musicians Corner and Acoustic Friday Nights, your kids will enjoy Kidsville, and your pooch will enjoy Dogville.

Musicians Corner will be taking place every Saturday from May 14 through June 25, from 12-5pm.

Acoustic Friday Nights will be May 13, May 20, June 17, and June 24, from 5-9pm.

All events are free and open to the public.

9. Wild West Comedy Festival

May 16-22

Experience Nashville with a laugh! The third annual Wild West Comedy Festival, featuring some of the funniest comedians in the world, takes place in the city of Nashville May 16-22, 2016. The lineup includes Chris Tucker, Joe Rogan, Jeff Foxworthy, Trevor Noah, Russell Peters, and more.

T.J. Miller, Wild West Comedy Festival. Image: wildwestcomedyfestival.com

The comedians will perform throughout Nashville in historic venues like the Ryman Auditorium, War Memorial Auditorium, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Municipal Auditorium, Zanies, and Exit/In.

10. Ingram New Works Festival

May 4-14


And, last but not least, let’s not forget the Ingram New Works Festival, which started last week, and we talked about here – 7 Festivals You’ll Love This Mother’s Day Weekend in Nashville.

7:00 PM each evening

Nashville Public Television, Studio A

161 Rains Avenue, Nashville TN 37203

1 Pass, 5 Plays, Just $35!

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