Summer Festivals Around The South

Liver Mush Festival – Marion, NC
June 3

I had liver mush once. It was in the general area this festival was taking place. I’d spent a couple days in Asheville, NC and was driving back home and stopped at a roadside diner to get some breakfast and liver mush was on the menu and, of course, I had to try it. The taste is nothing really out of the ordinary. It is rich and greasy and has a flavor not unlike regular ol’ patty sausage, which is common across The South. One could also say it has a flavor resembling blood sausage or, perhaps, even a light in texture meatloaf. It was pretty good.

This festival takes place in beautiful Marion, NC and celebrates the conglomeration of different pig parts and cornmeal with such events as Best Dressed Pig contest, a Liver much sandwich eating contest, a Pig Calling contest, live music and a corn hole tournament as well. The grand prize for the Best Dressed Pig contest is twenty-five dollars.

Mountains of Music Homecoming – Virginia

June 10-18th

Nine counties, four cities and over and fifty towns. Over an eight day period the hills and mountains of Virginia come alive with the sounds of a musical heritage that traces its roots back to the European and African settlers that arrived there hundreds of years ago. The Crooked Road that links these municipalities is the marker you’ll need as you travel from town to town to see acts such as The Crooked Road Ramblers and Flatt Lonesome, just to name a couple. But music isn’t the only draw to this eight day hoedown. In the Central Zone in Cedar Bluff, there is a Community Quilt Challenge, and in Haysi, in the West Zone, there is a folk art exhibit by painter Shawn Wallace. What I’ve mentioned here is just a tiny snippet of a truly vast experience and exhibition. Find out more here.  

AthFest – Athens, GA
June 22 – 26

AthFest is not only an excuse to saunter around one of the coolest college towns in all of the USA, drink beer, eat delicions food and watch some great local and regional musical talent, it is much more than that. It is an embrace of art in and of itself and an opportunity for parents to bring the entire family and get exposed to the idea of creating and to plant the seed of creativity of little ones as well via the KidFest.  Here you’ll find a block long area with kid friendly bands on the KidsFest stage, kid friendly arts and crafts, and much more. Oh, and once they’re over perusing the countless arts and crafts vendors, there is a bounce house for them to wear themselves out in.

Tomato Art Fest – Nashville, TN
August 12 & 13th

Now in its twelfth year, The Tomato Art Fest began in 2004 when East Nashville’s Art and Invention gallery hosted an even celebrating the tomato in late summer. The event proved so popular that it immediately turned into an annual event bringing larger and larger crowds every year. The festival has not only been mentioned in publications such as Oxford American, but Southern Living as well, and has been voted the best festival in Nashville by Nashville Scene nine years in a row.

Not only does the festival highlight tomato oriented art, but it also hosts a Beautiful Tomato contest where the idea is to dress up, or adorn, an ordinary tomato as if it were going out on the town for the evening.

Along with the Beautiful Tomato contest, there is an Ugliest Tomato, Biggest Tomato and Littlest Tomato contest, live music across five stages, and even a parade! And, frankly much, much more. Click here for more details.

Biloxi Seafood Festival – Biloxi, MS
September 10 & 11

It may be after Labor Day, but it is still technically summer. And what kind of post would this be if there weren’t a festival mentioned that is specifically dedicated to food, and SEAFOOD for that matter!? For over thirty-three years the Biloxi Seafood Festival has been celebrating their heritage not only by cooking up loads and loads of delicious locally caught fare, but also by providing continuous live music, activities for the kids, arts & crafts booths and much more. And did I mention humongous po’boy building, and the gumbo cook-off?

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