Memphis in May, Bonnaroo and the Independence Day fireworks display in Nashville are heavy-hitting summer events in Tennessee. But these lesser-known events are for the nontraditional who think they’ve already seen and done it all.
1. Kuumba Festival in Knoxville, June 25 – 28
The Kuumba Festival is a four-day showcase of local African-American artists in the Knoxville community. The festival is used as a platform for African-American Appalachian Arts Inc. to reach out to the Knoxville community through arts and activities.
The calendar of events is yet to be posted on their website, but live entertainment, a “world-class African Marketplace” and a wide array of art will be available for viewing and purchasing. There will be no admittance fee.
2. Smoke on the River: Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off and Arts Festival in Clifton, May 23
Located 106 miles from Clarksville is Clifton, home of the Smoke on the River Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off and Arts Festival. This is essentially Clifton’s answer to Memphis in May. This is the festival’s sixth year, and it promises to have a wide variety of vendors, entertainment and barbecue.
This event doesn’t have its own website or Facebook page, but updates will be posted on the City of Clifton’s Facebook page. Go to 142 Main Street, Clifton on Saturday, May 23, and see what happens. No matter what, patrons will have a story to tell.
3. Fun with Fido in Clarksville, May 16, June 13, Aug. 8 and Oct. 3
Fun with Fido is a series of dog-related events held at different locations and with a different theme. The event on May 16, will be held at Heritage Bark Park from 1 to 4 p.m. and will feature contests, prizes and “dog-related vendors” with free admission. Fun with Fido will continue in Clarksville’s Downtown Market on Public Square from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will host vendors and craft stations.
The third Fun with Fido day will be held on Aug. 8, at the Swan Lake Pool from 1 to 4 p.m. Dog owners can allow up to two dogs to swim in the pool during the Pooch Pool Party for a $3 fee. Owners can’t swim with the dogs, but they can browse the vendors from dog-related businesses and organizations at the event, participate in games and win prizes. The last day of Fun with Fido, Oct. 3, will be held in King’s Run Bark Park at Liberty Park from 1 to 4 p.m. and will feature vendors as well as a “Howl-a-ween costume contest.” Admission will be free.
4. Wine Down Wednesday – Nashville Improv, May 27
Nashville Improv at the Natchez Hills Winery at Fontanel will be hosting a monthly event called “Wine Down Wednesday” beginning in May. Wine Down Wednesdays will be held on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Wine will be 10 percent off by the bottle during these hours, and the Nashville Improv team will perform a show from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available through www.nashvilleimprov.com or by calling 615-544-5386.
5. Eleventh Annual Clarksville Writers Conference, June 4-5
For the eleventh year in a row, the Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council will partner with APSU for a two-day writers’ conference. APSU professor Barry Kitterman will be among the speakers, along with Amy Greene, E.W. Brooks and Nick Allen Brown.
The two-day conference will be packed with workshops, presentations, speakers and appointments with literary agent Ken Sherman. Registration for the two days, including the banquet and lunches, is $225.
Registration for the two days of workshops could be up to $190 to 200, one full day of workshops and presentations is $100 to $110 including lunch, and registration for the banquet, which includes dinner and the “Meet the Authors” reception and book signing, is $50 to $60. More information can be found at www.artsandheritage.us.
Other events worth mentioning are the Rally on the Cumberland Canoe and Kayak Race, Warrior Week Concert and Car, Truck and Bike Show, Run for C.O.P.S. 5k, Liberty Live Summer Concert Series, Yoga in the Park and Movies in the Park nights, all happening this summer in Clarksville. To find more information on events happening in Clarksville this summer, visit www.cityofclarksville.com. TAS