Tennessee Top 10: How To Have Your Best-Ever Labor Day Weekend In Tennessee This Year
Aerial view of Johnson City, Tennessee. More photos for media-use only here.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 7, 2023) – Labor Day Weekend is the perfect time to experience Tennessee in all its splendor. As summer begins to fade and temperatures start to cool, this annual three-day weekend marks a time of celebration, relaxation and exploration in the state. Known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich history and diverse cultural offerings, Tennessee welcomes travelers with an irresistible blend of outdoor adventures, music festivals and mouthwatering culinary delights. We’ve gathered a Tennessee Top 10 list of activities and experiences for Labor Day 2023 taking place throughout the state, both in big cities and small towns. Visit tnvacation.com/calendar for more.
1. Winging It: Big Kahuna Wing Festival
For its 10th anniversary in 2023, the Big Kahuna Wing Festival in Knoxville will celebrate the creation of the iconic “Buffalo Wing,” America's #1 appetizer. Last year over 20 billion wings were consumed by Americans — 1.25 billion on Super Bowl weekend alone! Held at the World’s Fair Park, this festival is one of the most beloved Labor Day Weekend events in Tennessee. It offers attendees more than 100 different sauces from 25 different teams representing restaurants, cooking teams, businesses and the University of Tennessee Culinary Institute. Bring your appetite!
2. Small Town, Big Celebration: Ripley’s 100th Labor Day Celebration
The small rural town of Ripley, TN (pop. 7,785) has been celebrating Labor Day in spectacular fashion for 100 years now — it’s believed to be among the longest-running Labor Day events in the southeastern U.S. In 2023, Ripley will commemorate this legacy with incredible festivities, beginning with the 100th Labor Day Celebration Kickoff Ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 2 and an amazing parade. Facilitated by the area’s Black community, the one-of-a-kind event sells out every hotel room in Lauderdale County due to so many families returning for the traditional homecoming.
3. Last Chance To Make A Splash: Dollywood’s Splash Country
Labor Day Weekend means the end of Dollywood’s Splash Country’s season is near. Head to Pigeon Forge for enjoy thrilling slides and attractions at the water park, voted a top 10 waterpark by USA Today readers. The park added more days to the calendar this year, so say goodbye to summer in style with 35 acres of aquatic fun, including twists and turns on the Raging River Rapids, the kid-friendly Little Creek Falls and massive Mountain Waves Wave Pool.
4. Whitewater Thrills: The Ocoee River Corridor
Looking for an adrenaline-filled and affordable way to spend your Labor Day weekend without being stuck in traffic for hours? The stunning Ocoee River corridor is a short drive from Chattanooga and attracts adventure lovers from far and wide. Whether you're a seasoned rafter or new to the sport, options are available for all skill levels aged 12+. While renowned for its whitewater rafting, the unspoiled countryside offers hiking, biking, fishing, paddle boarding and more for those looking for more laid-back adventure.
5. An Old School Celebration: Hooray For Harriman
Come celebrate Hooray for Harriman, an old-fashioned Labor Day festival held annually the first Monday in September. Located in Historic Downtown Harriman, it is one of Roane County's most beloved events, offering the area’s best food trucks, craft vendors, a Kid’s Alley and live music from some of the most talented acts in East Tennessee.
6. Outdoor Education: Mousetail Landing State Park
A 1,247-acre oasis nestled on the banks Tennessee River, Mousetail Landing State Park is one of the best places for fresh air fun in Tennessee. The Park is offering a wide array of special experiences over Labor Day Weekend that are both educational and exciting. Take the Historic Morning Hike to learn about how Mousetail got its unique name back in the Civil War days. Or discover the feathered friends who call the Park home during an informative/interactive Birds of Prey session. Or spend some time living in the shoes of our distant ancestors during a Foraging 101 activity. And you won’t want to miss the Sunset Cookout Cruise aboard a pontoon boat, featuring a beautiful sunset on Reelfoot Lake and a delicious meal on Caney Island.
7. Tranquil Tennessee: The Hermitage
Offering 1,120 acres full of history and tranquil beauty, The Hermitage in Nashville is perfect for enjoying a Labor Day Weekend in the great outdoors. The former home of President Andrew Jackson, the grounds include a historic garden, field quarters, historical markers, wildlife, a hiking trail and historic buildings.
· For Labor Day, The Hermitage is offering a half-off discount on Grounds Passes with the promo code HermHalfOff. Valid Sept. 1-4, the discount can be redeemed online or in-person for up to 4 adult tickets per transaction.
8. Memphis Music (And Much More): Delta Fair & Music Festival
The Delta Fair & Music Festival in Memphis hosts more than 150 acts on three stages Sept. 1-10. In addition to live music, daily events include a children’s parade, Masters of Chainsaw, the Royal Hanneford Circus, Lady Houdini, pig races, banana derby, a comedy magic show and aquatic acrobatic show. Be there for the special events like dance competitions, Star of the Fair, Delta 500 Derby, Disney meet and greets for little ones, lawn mower races and the waterless boat race. Enjoy a rock wall, mechanical bull rides and 4-H showcases.
9. Summertown Bluegrass Reunion
Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Bluegrass fans won’t want to miss Lawrence County’s Summertown Bluegrass, a multi-day celebration of music, dancing, dining and camping. Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy jamming sessions beneath the hardwood shade trees or bring your dancing shoes and learn how to two-step, waltz, square or line dance. Good to know: Thursday night is Family Night with free admission and an a la carte catfish supper.
10. Northeast Escape: Johnson City
Spend the weekend taking in the authentic local flavor of Johnson City where you’ll find a walkable historic downtown district, diverse cuisine and public art around every corner. You can also explore the outdoors by hiking to panoramic mountain views at Buffalo Mountain Park, walking on the historic Tweetsie Trail, or renting a bike and heading to Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park. While visiting the Tweetsie Trail, check out a new locally owned tap house, Cranky’s Pump-N-Pints, located at the trailhead.
ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at TNvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.