Knoxville Summer Festivals and Events
Travelers seeking the ultimate getaway this summer should consider a visit to the happening and historical town of Knoxville, Tennessee. Located in the foothills of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains, this city with “old world” charm and good ole fashioned Southern hospitality has incredible artwork, amazing restaurants, spectacular entertainment throughout the year to keep both residents and visitors entertained throughout the season. The city sits on the banks of the Tennessee River which meanders through the downtown area that features a wide array of architectural styles reflecting the diversity of living in Knoxville. Art Deco, Neoclassical, Victorian and Greek Revival buildings adorn the region and with all the amenities of modern day living, there is a perfect marriage of the “old with the new” in this classic town.
With picturesque mountains and pristine fresh water lakes near Knoxville TN, this is the ideal vacation spot and a great place to enjoy lakeside retirement. An active and healthy lifesytle is why Baby Boomers and their families are relocating to Knoxville. There are a ton festivals and events planned annually. Now is the time to make plans to attend some of these upcoming festivities:
First Fridays (first Friday each month) – One of the best ways to imbibe the wide variety of artistic expressions in downtown Knoxville is “First Fridays”. Every month locals and tourists get the chance to meander through the multiple galleries interspersed throughout the city to appreciate the impressive works that are offered in this hip creative city. Live music and impressive eateries line the streets and provide the perfect complement to an evening out with friends.
MARKET SQUARE FARMERS’ MARKET-May 3rd through November 18 – Wednesday 11am to 2pm/Saturday 9am to 2pm. For the best of home grown produce and handmade goodies, the open air farmer’s market on Market Square has it all! Fresh veggies that vary by the season can be found along with eggs, honey, herbs, pasture-raised meat, bread, baked goods, salsas, coffee and other delicious regional dishes. Downtown comes alive weekly for this shopping extravaganza!
May 20th, 2017 – The International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN – Held in conjunction with the Southern Food Writing Conference (held May 18th and 19th), this popular event features biscuits that are truly one-of-a-kind. Drawing over 20,000 biscuit lovers from all over the world, this foodie gathering combines fluffy basics with a wide array of regional twists. Started in 2009 by a local group of baking enthusiasts, the event has become a nationally recognized food festival. In addition to awesome morsels, there will also be a Miss or Mister Biscuit Pageant; Biscuit Baking Contest; Biscuit Art; and Biscuit Songwriting competitions. Selected artists will perform their songs live!
May 20th, 2017 – Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival – World’s Fair Park, Knoxville, TN – VIP Session Noon-6pm $55/Regular Session 2pm -6pm $35 Folks wanting to sample some of the best bourbon in Tennessee with over 40 varieties to savor, 60 beers on tap and some of the best Southern barbecue should make plans to attend this spectacular soiree. Live music, seminars and local vendors round out the day. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and sausage booths with all the fixings will be on-site. There is unlimited bourbon and beer sampling so please drink responsibly.
Open Streets Knoxville (May & October) – May 21st, 2017 2pm to 6pm – Twice a year, Knoxville shuts down street traffic to encourage participants to enjoy walking, biking, or dancing in the streets. This street festival encourages residents to explore the community by getting out and being active with neighbors and visiting businesses in the area. This event will be at Magnolia Ave. from Randolph St. or North Chestnut in East Knoxville. The October event will be held in South Knoxville in the fall. The event is hosted by Bike Walk Knoxville, the Regional Transportation Planning Organization and the City of Knoxville.
Concerts on the Square – Free Concerts starting May 2nd through August 29th.
Jazz Tuesdays featuring Marble City Five - Market Square in downtown comes alive every Tuesday night from 8 to 10pm to enjoy this outstanding ensemble of musicians.
Variety Thursdays offers music ranging from Classical, Blues, Soft Rock to Country from local artists. The show runs from 7 to 9pm every Thursday at the stage in Market Square. Bring the kids, lawn chairs, ant pets to listen to live music, eat some tasty food, and have fun dancing under the starlit nights of downtown Knoxville.
Bike Boat Brew and Bark Saturday JUNE 3rd and 4th, 2017 – Outdoor adventurists, dog lovers, craft beer enthusiasts and speed boat thrill seekers will enjoy this fun-filled weekend that encourages attendees to explore the cities extensive greenways by bike. The event will feature some of the infamous local craft beers while watching the Knoxville Powerboat Classic that will take place on the Tennessee River. This family weekend offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery surrounding Knoxville and visit some of the waterfront retirement communities nearby while getting in some good exercise with friends and family on the 85 plus miles of paved greenways that connects the city with neighborhoods scattered throughout the region. Imagine living the healthy and happy lifestyle that Knoxville represents.
Big Kahuna Wing Festival -June 17, 2017 12-8 pm- WORLD'S FAIR PARK - KNOXVILLE, TN– Hungry folks wanting to sample some of the best wings of the South should attend this lively event fun for the entire family. Over 15,000 pounds of wings will be served along with a wide variety of contests including: wing eating, bobbing for wings, best wing cook off accompanied by live musical performances, a Kid’s Corner, vendors and silent auction. Lawn chairs are welcome but no backpacks or large bags are allowed. Tickets are available in advance for only $15. Entry allows patrons to sample wings from every team. No pets are allowed due to bones. This event is truly, “finger-licking” good!
The 7th Knoxville Brewfest - June 17, 2017-4:00 to 8:00 pm – Downtown Knoxville (700 Block of Gay St.) – Beer lovers flock to this seasonal gathering that offers craft and local beers from over 2 dozen breweries that call Knoxville home. Add some great samplings from a variety of food trucks and the day is complete! This is the perfect way to enjoy a warm summer afternoon while supporting this worthwhile benefit for “CureDuchenne” which is a not-for-profit that dedicates it efforts towards curing this muscular disease that affects children. Come raise the glass for this meaningful cause.
Knox Pride Festival 2017 – June 17th from 12pm to 8pm at the Mary Costa Plaza/Civic Coliseum lawn downtown. Considered the largest Pride Festival in the state, this venue provides an open celebration of music, entertainment and speakers focused on promoting Equality and Inclusion of ALL people. The Pride Parade is at 11am. This festive day draws folks from all over Tennessee.
The Kuumba Festival (KUUMBA) June 22nd through June 25th showcases local African American artists and is a tradition that dates back to 1989 by local Knoxville artists, musicians and community activists. This highly cultural display of talent, crafts and unique entertainment allows the African American Appalachian Arts Inc. (AAAA) the chance to expose their rich art forms to the community. This is considered the largest event in East Tennessee that celebrates African Culture.
Festival on the 4th - World's Fair Park 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. – Toe-tapping music, great food and family themed activities make this the ideal spot to celebrate the 4th. The event is free and offers live musical performances, a Kids Zone and a wide selection of food vendors. The festival begins at 4 p.m. with live music from local artists. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will close the event which ends at approximately 10 p.m. at the conclusion of the fireworks display. This event is RAIN OR SHINE. Fireworks start at 9:35 p.m. There are no pets or alcohol allowed.
Shakespeare on the Square July 13 – August 13, Thursday to Sunday, 7:00 PM nightly – Each year this highly anticipated cultural event offers two plays written by William Shakespeare presented outdoors on Market Square from mid-July to mid-August. Bring along a blanket or lawn chair to share the performances with friends, or enjoy VIP seating for just $15 per person which includes a bottle of water and goodie bag. While there is no admission fee, donations are appreciated at a suggested $10 offering. This year’s performance will include “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” (Abridged) Indoor matinee performances will be offered at 2pm at Scruffy City Hall and admission is $15 at the door.
4th Annual Knox Asian Festival August 27th, 2017 - 11am to 6pm – This colorful festival celebrates the traditions, cuisine, dance, costumes and martial arts demos signature to Asia. Representing the diversity that Knoxville radiates, this event aims to unify the wide variety of culture that abounds here. Market Square will debut the event with each participating country showcasing their unique music, food, fashion and handcrafted items for sale throughout the day. With a mission to spread peace, harmony and unity this event offers a spectacular fun-filled outing for the entire family.
HoLa Festival Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 7pm-10pm/Sunday, September 17, 2017 from 11am-6pm – Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated with this annual gathering that offers authentic dishes, upbeat Latin music and a variety of performances from the 2 dozen different Latino countries with ties to Knoxville. The Parade of Nations offers a fabulous display of ornate costumes and performers that represent the rich Latin culture found in the region and is “a must see!”
Knoxville offers the ultimate retirement destination with a cost of living 11% below the national average. It is the third largest city in Tennessee and home to the University of Tennessee. With an eclectic blend of retirees and students from the University, this Southeastern town is full of energy and exuberance which makes living here an adventure every day. Besides the wide variety of things to do downtown with fine dining, cultural events and festivals, the surrounding landscape of the region is truly awe-striking.
Folks who choose to retire here keep active and healthy which are prime reasons to settle in a city with a heartbeat that has mountains and lakes on the perimeter. Affordability is another prime reason for shopping here, homes average less than $200,000 and Tennessee has no state income tax. Forbes Magazine ranked Knoxville on the list of “Top 25 Best Bang for the Buck Cities”
Downtown, the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center offers boat, stand-up paddleboard and bike rentals year round to enjoy time spent with nature. The Knoxville Greenway System, considered one of the most sophisticated in the country, interconnects the city with 86 miles of paved greenway and nature trails for both hiking and biking. The Knoxville Urban Wilderness Center has over 1,000 acres of green space with 10 parks and 40 miles of recreational multi-use trails along downtown waterfront. The Ijams Nature Center is pretty spectacular and houses a wildlife sanctuary on more than 300 acres of protected woodlands and 12 miles of trails for viewing the exotic birds that are native to the region.
There are plenty of things to keep seniors moving outdoors while taking in the beautiful scenery that adorns the region. If boating, fishing and golfing are favorite past-times, many of the waterfront retirement communities offer a bevy of amenities that can embellish lakeside retirement. There two lakes near Knoxville (only 30 minutes from downtown), that are worth checking out, Tellico Lake and Norris Lake. There are some incredible properties found on the real estate that surrounds the lakes providing the perfect place for building or buying a dream home.
Tellico Lake features 15,000 acres of beauty surrounded by 357 miles of pristine preserved shoreline. It connects to the Tennessee River and is considered one of the best boating lakes in the US. The lake lies at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains and is only an hour from The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cherokee National Forest is also nearby and both places offer a plethora of outdoor activities ranging from hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, fishing and hunting. While in Knoxville, take the time to visit the tremendous and affordable waterfront retirement communities offered at Tellico Lake.
Norris Lake Tennessee offers 800 miles of crystal blue water with mirrored reflections of the Cumberland Mountain and the Great Smoky Mountains. Considered a sportsman mecca, Norris Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in the Southeast embraced with tree-lined shoreline and tiny coves situated between woody slopes that represent the terrain of the region. Blue Waters of Norris Lake cover nearly 35,000 acres at normal elevation and attract thousands of visitors for boating, fishing, swimming and imbibing the pristine scenery that abounds here. There are 3 parks, over 20 marinas, year-round fishing, campgrounds, hiking trails along with lots of dining options both on and off the lake. An abundance of wildlife can be spotted including deer, turkey, great blue herons and eagles who nest here. This piece of paradise provides an exceptional location for choosing the ideal lakeside retirement home.
Besides the austere surroundings, cultural enrichment, shopping, exquisite dining and year round festivals here are a few more things to do in the wonderful city of Knoxville:
- The Knoxville Opera which has been led by Don Townsend for over 20 years
- The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra which is the oldest continuing orchestra in the southeast established in 1935
- The Children’s Theatre of Knoxville which offers 10 productions annually for children and families.
- The Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee produces eight plays a year from September through May and ranges from musicals to drama.
- Botanical Gardens and Arboretum which is a 200 year old 47-acre garden that boasts walking trails and “secret” garden paths throughout the property
- Knoxville World Fair Park houses the infamous 26-story bronze glass “Sunsphere” which decorates the skyline.
- Knoxville Zoological Gardens offers events throughout the year including the Giraffe Encounter and Budgie Landing in the spring and summer months. Meet Khakesi, the infamous female Komodo dragon at the zoo which is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 10am to 4:30pm.
- Knoxville Food Tours located on Gay Street in Market Square is an innovative culinary tour designed by regional food expert Paula Johnson who will guide guests to some of the best “hidden” local eateries offered in Knoxville.
- Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street is a century old and is called the “South’s most beautiful theatre. Performances are held here year round and a visit to this majestic venue should definitely be on the “to do” list.
- Turkey Creek Shopping Mall offers over 200 brand stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues on 800,000 square feet of retail space and is the perfect place to get some quality exercise and enjoy the day.
There is never a dull moment as the possibilities are endless in Knoxville. With the beauty of the region exploring the great outdoors is a daily adventure, not to mention the water activities enjoyed at the lakes near Knoxville TN. Imagine living in one of the spectacular waterfront retirement communities that are strategically built just outside the city to blend with the natural elements of the majestic mountains that reflect in the pristine fresh water lakes. It's no wonder folks are relocating to Tennessee. With a low cost of living, great history and non-stop entertainment, Knoxville and the suburbs are truly the best places for lakeside retirement in Tennessee.
If you're exploring the area for the first time, ask for our complimentary Knoxville relocation information.