Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Chattanooga River Market will open the weekend of March 12-13 on the Tennessee Aquarium plaza, 1 Broad St. The market will be open Saturdays and Sundays through April 10, then revert to its usual Saturday-only schedule for the rest of the season.

With the launch of Rock the Riverfront this weekend, spring festival season has arrived.

Arts and craft shows, street fairs, heritage festivals and even a new-to-town carnival are among the 30 events listed in this festival guide. The list includes new additions such as Hot Slaw & Art Y'all in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as traditional favorites such as the Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Dayton, which is marking its 75th anniversary.

The Hot Slaw festival is a nod to that Southern side dish popular in Cleveland, but maybe not as well-known elsewhere. The new event is being organized by the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, city of Cleveland, MainStreet Cleveland and Art Is Here Partnership, and the planners are off to a good start. Melissa Woody, vice president of tourism development for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, says they have already booked 45 artist booths, six bands, pop-up dance mobs, art demonstrations, lawn games and, of course, will have a "slaw-off" for homemade hot slaw as well as a slaw dog eating contest.The day of fun will close with an outdoor movie in tribute to the Star Vue Drive-in, which was known for its hot slaw in its heyday.

"It's going to be a really eclectic day that focuses on the talented artists in our community," Woody says.

The Strawberry Festival marks its milestone anniversary with a return to a full week's berry-centric schedule of fun.

"In 2020, we didn't hold the festival. Last year, we had an abbreviated event without a carnival or parade," says April Curtis, festival coordinator. "This year, we're expecting to be back to full festival."

At least one event is scheduled each day between May 9 and 14, which includes family fun night, carnival, strawberry shortcake served in the park, Dayton Arts League fine arts show, baking contest, car show and a full-day festival on the 14th.

Local favorite 4 Bridges Arts Show, sponsored by the Association for Visual Arts, is offering a reduced admission ticket of $5 compared to $7 of previous years. Festival director Sarah Moore says that Splash Youth Art Workshop, led by Charlie Newton, will be on-site in First Horizon Pavilion, offering drop-in art activities for children both days of the festival.

Keep this guide handy during March, April and May for weekend planning. All events are within a two-hour (one way) drive from Chattanooga, making them great day-trip options. The list does not include music festivals. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19 surges, it is advisable to check your event's website before leaving home to ensure it is still happening.

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Spring festival guide



— Cottontail's Village: Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Blvd. N, Birmingham, Ala., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), $7 ages 13 and older.

— Knoxville ArtXtravaganza: Webb School of Knoxville, Lee Athletic Center, 9800 Webb School Lane, Knoxville, 2-7 p.m. Friday (with 20th anniversary reception 5-7 p.m.), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, free, 70 exhibitors.


— Rock the Riverfront: Chattanooga Green, 100 Chestnut St., free. Musical performances on the SoundCorps Sidewalk Stages offered Wednesdays and Thursdays, weekend themed events include family activities to coincide with Chattanooga Marathon on Sunday, St. Patrick's Party March 19, musical tribute to Women's History Month on March 25-26, artist weekend featuring Eastern band of Cherokee April 1-3. Art installation Impulse, featuring illuminated seesaws, open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


— Brew Skies Beer and Food Festival: Chattanooga Lookouts AT&T Field, Power Alley, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, $10-$75, must be 21 or older to attend; 70 beers, ciders, seltzers on tap.

MARCH 18-19

— Foothills Craft Guild Artisan Market: The Venue at Lenoir City, 7690 Creekwood Park Blvd., Lenoir City, Tenn., noon-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, $6.


— SipTN Chattanooga Wine Festival: First Horizon Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd., noon-6 p.m. Saturday, $45 per ticket, $10 designated driver, sample from 200 wines made in Tennessee, artists and vendors on-site.

APRIL 8-10

— 4 Bridges Arts Festival: First Horizon Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5 ages 18 and older, work of 145 fine art and craftspeople.

— Blooms & Bunnies Spring Market: Rotary Pavilion, 505 Williams Ave., Fort Payne, Ala., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. CDT Saturday, free.

— Cleveland Bacon Festival: Tri-State Exhibition Center, 200 Natures Trail, McDonald, Tenn., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, $5 ages 4 and up, food and craft vendors, contests, music.

— Hot Slaw & Art Y'all: Courthouse square and First Street, Cleveland, Tenn., noon-9 p.m. Saturday, free, vendors, music, slaw contests, outdoor movie.

— Taco & Tequila Crawl: Designated North Shore restaurants, check-in 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, crawl noon-5 p.m., $20-$38, must be 21 or older to attend.

— Vintage Market Days: Mountain Cove Farm, 994 Dougherty Gap Road, Chickamauga, Ga., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, $10 ages 13 and older, upscale and recycled vintage art, furnishings, home decor.

APRIL 13-16

— Easter Arts & Crafts Show: Gatlinburg Convention Center, 234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, free, sponsored by Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. 865-412-1012

APRIL 15-17

— Artsapalooza: Century Spring West, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs, Ga., 10 a.m,-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free, 150 exhibitors, music.

— Grit & Grace Spring Outdoor Market: Grounds of the Old Woolen Mill, 445 Church St. SE, Cleveland, Tenn., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, free. 423-790-0503.

APRIL 22-24

— Chattanooga Market: First Horizon Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, free. Two-day opening weekend, just Sundays remainder of season except Oktoberfest on Oct. 8-9.

— Bear on the Square Festival: Downtown square, Dahlonega, Ga., Saturday-Sunday, hours to be announced, free, 80 artist booths around historic downtown square.

— Dogwood Arts Festival: World's Fair Park, 963 World's Fair Park Drive, Knoxville, Friday-Sunday, hours to be announced, free, street fair, fine art market, music.

— Franklin Main Street Festival: Main Street, Franklin, Tenn., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, free, 150 vendors, music, beer garden, mutt strut. https://events.

— National Cornbread Festival: South Cedar Avenue, South Pittsburg, Tenn., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), free admission with small fees for some activities, music, vendors, national cornbread cook-off.

— Sweet Tea and Sunshine Family Festival: Cleveland Greenway Park & Pavilion, 755 Raider Drive, Cleveland, Tenn., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, free, 150 vendors, train rides, food trucks, beauty pageant.


— Scenic City State Fair: Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway, East Ridge, 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, $10 general admission, ages under 5 and over 65 get free daily admission, $40 weekday admission and unlimited rides, $45 weekend admission and unlimited rides, youth must be accompanied by an adult, carnival with midway.

MAY 6-8

— Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ: 300 N. Main St., Sweetwater, Tenn., noon-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, free, juried craft show, carnival, music, barbecue competition.

— May Market: Rose Lawn Museum, 224 W. Cherokee Ave., Cartersville, Ga., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, free admission with small fee to tour museum, exhibitors booths set on grounds among 200 varieties of roses in bloom.

— Rail & Hops Brewers Festival: Miller Park, 950 Market St., 4-10 p.m. Saturday, $25-$65 must be 21 or older to attend.

— Roswell Spring Arts Festival: 38 Hill St., Roswell, Ga., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free, 125 fine arts and craftsmen, acoustic music performances.

— Southern Fried Food Truck Festival: Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swinyar Drive, Collegedale, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, free admission, varying prices on food purchases, 100 vendors, petting zoo.

— Tennessee Craft Fair: Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave., Nashville, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (all times Central), free, juried show of fine arts and crafts.

MAY 9-14

— Tennessee Strawberry Festival: Main and Washington streets, Dayton, Tenn., 75th annual festival with daily events (check online schedule), primary festival day on Saturday begins with 7 a.m. pancake breakfast continuing until 9:30 p.m.

May 14

— Hike Bike Brew Beer Festival: Lula Lake Land Trust, 5000 Lula Lake Road, Lookout Mountain, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, $35-$65, hike or bike the beer path loop with stops for beer tastings along the way.

MAY 20-22

— Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games: Townsend Visitor Center, 7906 Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, Tenn., Saturday-Sunday, hours to be announced, $35 two-day pass, $20 Saturday only, $15 Sunday only, children ages 15 and younger free; vendors, clans, games, caber toss, bagpipes, kilted mile run. 865-335-2407

— Tennessee Pirate Fest: 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, Tenn., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, free, pirate Olympics, costume contest, treasure maps and more. 865-376-0319

MAY 27-29

— 1890s Days Jamboree: Downtown square, Ringgold, Ga., 6-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, free, food and craft vendors, music, classic car show, fireworks finale.

— Alpharetta Arts Street Fest: The Grove at Wills Park, 175 Roswell St., Alpharetta, Ga., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, free, 100 exhibitors in outdoor market held rain or shine.

— Blue Ridge Spring Arts in the Park: Downtown City Park, Blue Ridge, Ga., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, free, more than 170 fine art and craftsmen hosted by Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association.

— Chattanooga Market Street Food Festival: First Horizon Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free admission, varying prices on food purchases.

— Freedom Fest: Outdoor event between Washington and East 17th streets in Chattanooga, noon-midnight Saturday, free, dog costume contest, vendors, car show, music.

— Tennessee Pirate Fest: 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, Tenn., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, free, pirate Olympics, costume contest, treasure maps. 865-376-0319