STS Top 20 Events

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APRIL 2010

April 9 – 11 French Quarter Festival, New Orleans, La. 504-522-5730 ( )  "The Largest Free Music Fest in the South." More than 90 food and beverage booths make up the "World's Largest Brunch" featuring every genre of jazz.

April 9 - 18 Smokin' & Rockin' On The Mississippi Gulf Coast! Gulf Coast, Miss.  228-896-6699 (   Event features more than 30 of the biggest and fastest racing boats on the Mississippi Sound.  An air-show of helicopters hovers as close as 25 feet from boats!

April 9 -  30 Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville, Ky. 502-584-6383 ( Blast off with one of the largest fireworks extravaganzas in the nation. Features include just-for-kids activities, sports events and non-stop concerts.

April 10 Lewisburg Chocolate Festival, Lewisburg, W.V. 304-645-4498 (  Exciting line-up of events zeroed in on the chocolate theme; includes chocolate mousse eating contests for the kids. Sample regionally recognized chocolatiers as well as local favorites.

April 10 - 11 30th Annual Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda, Fla. 941-575-9007 (   The only all volunteer-run air show in the country featuring aerial stunts, interactive aviation exhibits and more. Performing aerobatic pilots of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds make regular appearances.

April 15 - 18 Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival, Blowing Rock, N.C. 877-295-7965 (   Wine tastings, food competitions, seminars and more. Taste over 100 wines from N.C. and beyond while we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

April 15 - May 30 Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia 757-282-2819 ( Ten cities host this recreation-rich event. Features "Swan Lake," Garth Fagan and the "Virginia International Tattoo." Also, acclaimed female artists and dancers highlighted in "Minds Wide Open."

April 17 - June 6 25th Anniversary of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn, Ga. 770-964-8575 (   Not just turkey legs! Be royally entertained with 10 stages of non-stop medieval fun. Thrill at the original extreme sport of "The Joust Tournament" performed by Hollywood stuntmen.

April 23 – 25 Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, Fayetteville, N.C. 910-323-1934 (  Three days filled with fun for all ages. Live music featuring street dances, arts and crafts vendors, a classic car show, midway rides and sports events.

April 23 - 25 Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, Ga. 912-538-8687 (   As featured on The Food Network, this five-day event offers a pageant, an onion-eating contest and a truck show. Sports fans will enjoy the Onion Scramble Golf tourney, Rodeo and Run.

April 24 – 25 Melbourne Art Festival, Melbourne, Fla. 321-722-1964 (   This two-day fête hosts 250 artists who compete for $25,000 in cash awards. Grammy-winning musicians perform along with local talent.

April 24 – 25 National Cornbread Festival, South Pittsburg, Tenn. 423-837-0022 (   South Pittsburg becomes an open-air shoppers' mall where the streets are filled with live entertainment, juried arts and crafts and mouth-watering foods to taste.

April 25 23rd Annual Town of Mount Pleasant Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. 843-884-8517 (  More than 11 local seafood restaurants  offer a variety of local seafood offerings. This unique event gives insight into the local shrimping industry.

April 27 - May 9 Contraband Days Pirate Festival, Lake Charles, La. 800-456-7952 (  Ah-Hoy Matey! Pirates sail into the heart of Lake Charles where they invoke 12-days of swashbuckling, rollicking times and music-filled nights. View all the ships along the seawall.

April 30 - May 1, Whistle Stop Festival & Rocket City BBQ Cook-Off, Huntsville, Ala. 256-564-8100 ( Over 100 BBQ cooking teams compete in these two-days of great food, live music and fantastic children's activities. Sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, this cook-off hosts over 35,000.

April 30 - May 2 Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering, Bridgeport, W.V. 304-842-3457 ( Kickoff your weekend with the traditional Ceilidh, an evening of Highland food, music and dance in Bridgeport. Enjoy the grace and pomp of the Grand Procession of flags and banners preceded by a bagpipe band.

April 30 - May 2 Macon Gardens, Mansions & Moonlight, Macon, Ga.  478-742-8155 (   Three-days and three tours. Each year the neighborhoods rotate, revealing new homes, gardens and areas of interest. Free seminars by garden-experts keep guests engaged and informed.

April 30 - May 2 47th  Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach, Fla. 866-426-3542 (   This annual delight features 50 antique booths, 20 Kids Korner booths and 25 food booths. Pirates "invade" the crowds before consuming shrimp ice cream.

April 30 - May 2 26th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, Pensacola, Fla. 850-433-6512 (   Largest crawfish boil in state. Listen to swamp pop, Cajun and zydeco music while feasting on crawfish, cajun and creole food. Watch the "NASCRAW" races and take part in the Crawfish eating contest.

April 30 - May 2 Beale Street Music Festival, Memphis, Tenn. 901-525-4611 (  Git down and boogie! The festival combines the talents of the top performers in the land with the latest and greatest contemporary acts. 65 acts from all music genres exposed.

MAY 2010

May 1- 2 The Cotton Pickin' Fair, Gay, Ga. 706-538-6814 ( Supporting sustainable rural development, this is considered one of Georgia's premier AgriTourism events. Enjoy a select mix of artisans, antique specialists and craftsmen from across the U.S.

May 7- 8 Market Street Festival, Columbus, Miss. 662-328-6305 (  Twelve city blocks host the two-day gala featuring more than 200 arts, crafts and food vendors and dozens of special events.

May 7- 8 International Bar-B-Q Festival, Owensboro, Ky. 270-686-7707 ( Competition is fierce and the flavors rich as local teams produce the best their secret recipes have to offer in order to win the coveted "Governor's Cup." Work up an appetite with the 5K run/walk.

May 7- 9 International Dogwood Festival Winchester, Tenn. 866-967-2532 ( Nine blocks of downtown entertainment which is free to the public. This Caribbean flair theme means festive decorations throughout Winchester. Rugrats love the gigantic "Kidz Zone."

May 7- 9 Artisphere, Greenville, S.C. 864-271-9398 (  This is the centerpiece of Greenville's cultural calendar. Enjoy Brian Olsen's painting to music, the Culinary Arts Café and Artists of the Upstate.

May 7- 30 Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Fernandina Beach, Fla. 904-261-1779 ( Sixty world-class artists serenade with the classics in an intimate and historic setting.

May 13 – 15 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Memphis, Tenn. 901-525-4611 (   Are you a Grillmaster?  Compare your skills when over 200 BBQ cooking teams compete for the title of "World Champion."

May 13- 16 Multicultural Indian Event, Moulton, Ala. 256-905-2494 (  A free event featuring the oldest and largest manmade structure in Alabama. The only festival in the South that features Scotch Irish Indian cultural activities.

May 14 – 15 28th Annual Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo, Athens, Ala. 256-232-0111 (   Considered one of the top rodeos in the Southeast! Events include Queen & Cowboy contest, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and chuck wagon races.

May 14 – 15 Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass, Sevierville, Tenn. 865-453-6411 (   Partake in crafts, kids games and great food! Admission and concerts are free.

May 14 – 15 Crawdad Days Music Festival, Harrison, Ark. 870-741-2659 ( A "must-attend" party in Arkansas. Take part in a 5k race, a fishing derby, horseshoe tournament and, of course, a crawdad eating contest. Wander around the hundreds of vintage, one-of-a-kind vehicles.

May 14 – 16 MainStrasse Village Maifest, Covington, Ky. 859-491-0458 ( Toast the finest wines of Spring in an historic neighborhood. Take in the international food, artisans from across the land, four music stages and a "Kinderplatz" with rides for the lil' ones!

May  20 – 23 Chesapeake Jubilee,  Chesapeake, Va. 757-482-4848 ( A four-day marquee-event featuring 25 bands, food galore and family fun. Enjoy the largest 4-H Livestock Show along with hog calling, cloggers and free arts and crafts for the lil' ones.

May 21 – 23 Battle of Lewisburg Living History and Reenactment, Lewisburg, W.V. 800-833-2068 (   The "Un-Civil War" centers on aspects of the War Between the States rarely found in history books and not presented by other Civil War reenactments, and actions that, by today's standards, might be considered as "war crimes."

May 22 – 24 Trail of Honor, Jackson, Miss. 601-454-2824 ( Southeast Tourism Society's 2009 "Top 20 Event of the Year!" This trail honors our military in a three-day interactive and educational tribute from the French-Indian war onward.

May 27 – 29 Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, N.C. 704-455-5555 ( Bringing locals and NASCAR fans quality live entertainment for 16 years. Free admission includes 60 bands and a "Kid's Zone" within 12 Uptown blocks.

May 28 – 31 Freedom Weekend Aloft, Simpsonville, S.C. 864-399-9481 ( A relaxing, family-oriented, affordable, fun-filled weekend. 80 hot-air balloons compete daily alongside a Frisbee Dog National Qualifier, Wii Challenge and family walk.

May 28 – 31 Festival in the Park, Roanoke, Va. 540-342-2640 ( Celebrate life in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. Adults can relax in the beer tent while the Fireman's Foam Area is a guaranteed kid pleaser!

May 29 Sunset Symphony, Memphis, Tenn. 901-525-4611 ( Spread out a blanket and take in the dulcet tones of the Sunset Symphony. The skies light up at night with celebrated fireworks orchestrated in part with the symphony.

May 29 – 30 Decatur Arts Festival, Decatur, Ga. 404-371-9583 ( Memorial Day weekend has never looked better! 145 artists are featured from across the U.S. Children and teen activities abound in downtown Decatur.

Need a place to stay while visiting these events? Visit to help plan your weekend getaway.

JUNE 2010

June 3 – 6 "Saints & Shrimp" Southern Style! Gulf Coast, Miss. 228-896-6699 ( Lavishly decorated boats help kick-off the shrimping season. "St. Paul's Seafood Festival," "Fais Do Do" and "Blessing of the Fleet" help round out this Biloxi tradition.

June 4 – 5 Lum & Abner Festival, Mena, Ark. 479-394-8355 ( Held at the historic Janssen Park, this family friendly weekend highlights live re-enactments of the "Lum & Abner" radio shows. The "Money Grabbing Machine" and "Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing" are crowd-pleasers!

June 4 – 26 The "Miracle Worker" Play, Tuscumbia, Ala. 800-344-0783 ( Acted on the grounds of the Helen Keller Home, this 49th production spellbinds audiences in this thoughtful re-enactment of the Helen Keller story.

June 4 – 6 Patriotic Festival, Virginia Beach, Va. 757-385-4700 ( This military fête honors service members and their families with military aircraft demonstrations, military displays and live musical acts by hot artists.

June 4 – 6 Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, Owensboro, Ky. 270-684-1631 ( The mountain dulcimer has been designated as Kentucky's official state instrument and this fest celebrates this mechanism, plus many more, offering free workshops and performances.

June 5 Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival, Mount Pleasant, S.C. 843-856-9732 ( ) This fest zeroes in on the rich Gullah Geechee cultural heritage and provides a showcase of sweetgrass baskets in the Lowcountry. Enjoy gospel songs, praise dance, storytelling, drummers and a waterslide.

June 11 – 12 June Summer Blues Out and Art Walk, Picayune, Miss. 601-799-3070 ( Carriage rides, train rides and local artisans displaying their works are all highlights of this local tradition. Take part in the rib eating, pie eating and crayfish eating contests.

June 10 – 12 19th Annual Smoky Mountains Storytelling Festival, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 800-251-9100 ( Professional storytellers perform in concerts and conduct educational workshops. This gala brings in young storytellers from across the nation, encouraging this timeless art.

June 10 – 12 Texas Pete Twin City RibFest, Winston-Salem, N.C. 336-707-9188 ( A four-day national BBQ and music festival featuring BBQ teams from across our great land. This event also has thematic music days with two stages.

June 11 – 13 North American Sand Soccer Championships, Virginia Beach, Va. 757-368-4600 ( Over 70 divisions compete in all skill levels. Spread over 20 blocks of oceanfront boardwalk, visitors can watch on-beach movies, sample the exciting foods, scale rock climbing walls and dance at night.

June 12 – 13 Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival, Natchitoches, La. 800-259-1714 ( More than 100 artisans come to demonstrate their works under 300 year-old oak trees.

June 12 – 13 Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Blairsville, Ga. 877.745.5789 ( Blairsville transforms into Scotland during this weekend event. Bagpipes, drums and festive smells permeate the air and rolling green mountainsides while the art of falconry is demonstrated.

June 13 "Sunday Mornin' Country" Celebration! Nashville, Tenn. ( More than a concert, more than a church service… it is a time of inspiration! Surprise guest artists perform with top-name singers giving suspense to the coveted line-up.

June 13 - July 12 SummerFest Sautee, Nacoochee, Ga. 706-878-3300 ( "Headwaters" is full of all new stories while the art gallery has doubled in size. This six-week cultural arts festival offers indoor and outdoor activities.

June 18 Decatur Beach Party, Decatur, Ga. 678-553-6573 ( Sixty tons of sand are spread on downtown Decatur to create a rollicking good time. "The Beach Party" holds a children's Boardwalk with live music, inflatables and games. Children under 6 attend free.

June 18 – 20 Harbor Fest, Charleston, S.C. 843-722-1030 ( A family-oriented festivity of land, air and sea in the heart of Charleston. View tall ships, deck tours, food and children's activities.

June 24 – 26 River of Music Party (ROMP), Owensboro, Ky. 270-926-7891 ( A celebration of all things bluegrass! This hidden treasure showcases non-stop performances by legendary bands from North America, Europe and the Far East.

June 25 – 27 SC Festival of Flowers, Greenwood, S.C. 864-223-8411 ( Enjoy Southern hospitality as you stroll through the Square and enjoy a Safari-themed topiary display of live flowers. This yearly tradition promotes tourism through a unique horticulture experience.

June 26 – 27 Francisco's Farm Arts Festival at Midway College, Midway, Ky. 859-846-4049 ( 15-foot tall banners line the street to greet visitors to this fine-arts festival. New artists with experimental arts are celebrated and encouraged.

June 30 - July 4 Summer Motion, Ashland, Ky. 606-833-3655 ( Free quality entertainment in this alcohol-free zone. Activities include a 10K race, parade, fireworks, games and magic show.

The deadline to apply to be a Fall (October, November, December) 2010 event is April 9, 2009. For an application, visit the STS Top 20 web page.

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