Event-Worthy Eating
Explore the tastes of Middle Tennessee at these favorite annual festivals. Hot chicken. Barbeque. Moon pies. Goo Goo Clusters. Yes, those foods are all synonymous with Middle Tennessee. And theyâ€TMre all delicious. But they are just some of the flavors of the region, and only a handful of those that are celebrated year-round. A whopping 44 percent of the state is covered in farmland, meaning local restaurants, festivals and culinary signatures are ripe with fresh specialties. Pack an appetite and head out to explore some of Middle Tennesseeâ€TMs favorite festivals. June
RC and Moon Pie Festival: A parade, a 10K run and the crowning of a Moon Pie King and Queen are part of the kitsch that draws people to tiny Bell Buckle each year. This is a funny annual homage to one of the Southâ€TMs favorite culinary combos. You can also witness the cutting of the worldâ€TMs largest Moon Pie. If you are willing to join the mob, you can taste it, too. Where: Bell Buckle
For more information: http://bellbucklechamber.com/bell-buckle-rc-moonpie-festival-general-info/ July
Music City Hot Chicken Festival: July 4th in Nashville is H-O-T. And so is hot chicken, the spicy deliciousness that has become Nashvilleâ€TMs signature dish. Head to East Nashville for a fire truck parade, beer and vendors selling lots of different recipes of hot chicken. Because hot chicken is made individually, the lines are long. But music, cooking contests and other activities help pass the time. Where: Nashville
July 29, 2017
MAFIAoZAâ€TMs Music City Brewerâ€TMs Festival: This is a one-day event, and given the number of beers from local, regional and international brewers, thatâ€TMs probably a good thing! One can only sample so many beers. The event is held in July at the Music City Walk of Fame downtown and also includes live music. A portion of the ticket price benefits local charities. It typically sells out, so plan ahead. Where: Nashville
August
East Nashville Tomato Art Festival: The food is in the name! The East Nashville Tomato Art Festival started as a tongue-in-cheek celebration of tomatoes at the time of the year they are ready to eat. The hip, funky neighborhood of East Nashville turned the fruit into a major event. Festivities include a parade of tomatoes, the “Most Beautiful Tomato Pageant,” biggest and smallest tomato contests, a tomato haiku contest, tomato toss and a Bloody Mary taste-off. If you want to fit in, come dressed as a tomato, or at least all in red. Many of the events this weekend are free. Where: Nashville
September
Tennessee Soybean Festival: As much a state fair-type event as a food festival, this weeklong party is a celebration of one of Tennesseeâ€TMs largest crops. Show up for parades, tractor pulls, the Tennessee Soybean Pageant and lots of food made with the local ingredient. Where: Martin
October
National Banana Pudding Festival: You might not think that there was that much different territory to cover when it comes to a simple dessert like banana pudding…but youâ€TMd be wrong. This event includes a “Puddinâ€TM Path” (a garden path) where you can taste 10 different banana puddings made by local non-profit groups, plus a pudding-eating contest and the National Banana Pudding Cook-offs (both amateur and chefs). Where: Centerville
For more information: www.bananapuddingfest.org Nashville Beer Festival: This annual event keeps getting bigger: More than 150 beers, spirits and wines are on tap for 2017, which means a new venue as the event expands. This is a quirky, popular event where people tend to wear costumes, and it is an event that limits the number of folks it lets in, to control crowds, so it tends to sell out quickly. Multitaskers love this festival, because there are TVs on which you can watch college football and DJs playing dance music. Where: Nashville
For more information: www.nashvillebeerfestival.com Moonshine Daze: The festival is a celebration of rural roots, and all who can laugh at pop cultureâ€TMs portrayal of Tennesseeâ€TMs hill folk and lifestyle. Clay Countyâ€TMs own legendary moonshiner Arno Hatcher will be on hand. The festival is about much more than mountain dew, including musical performances; and exhibit booths will be clustered around Celinaâ€TMs square, surrounding Clay Countyâ€TMs historic courthouse. Where: Celina
For more information: http://www.dalehollowlake.org/stay-and-play/events/icalrepeat.detail/2017/10/20/215/-/moonshine-daze.html Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitation Barbecue: Participate in the event kickoff 7K run, because youâ€TMll want to have burned off some calories before you feast on all this barbeque made by the best pitmasters in the country. Organizers invite chefs to participate in a variety of cook-off categories, including beef brisket, chicken, pork and even dessert (go with the pie). “Butt Bowling” involves throwing a frozen cut of meat down a bowling lane. Where: Lynchburg