The South heats up with so many amazing events in May. Here are some of our top selections that are worth checking out. Whether you make a day trip or plan to spend a weekend, explore the South and its fantastic springtime events.
Through June 1, 2019: A Million Blooms — Richmond, VA
Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is alive with beauty and a million blooms through the month of May. The display, which began in April, offers stunning displays of roses, daffodils, peonies and more. In May, specifically, visitors can expect to see peonies, iris, azaleas and pitcher plants. Learn more and plan your visit by visiting lewisginter.org.
May 1, 2019: Great Steamboat Race — Louisville, KY
Always held on the Wednesday before Derby, the Great Steamboat Race pits the venerated Belle of Louisville against the Belle of Cincinnati, racing on the Ohio River. For Louisvillians, this day is the last day you will “work” until the Monday after Derby. Some people get tickets for the boats; others watch from the Riverfront. No matter the winner, it’s always fun. Boarding starts at 4:30 p.m., and the race starts at 6 p.m. Belle of Louisville tickets are $150, and Belle of Cincinnati tickets are $60. For more info visit discover.kdf.org.
May 1-5, 2019: North Charleston Arts Festival – Charleston, SC
The annual North Charleston Arts Fest highlights national, regional and local artists and performers in the areas of dance, theater, music, film, media and visual and literary arts. Over the years the event has matured into one of the most comprehensive arts festivals across the South with a schedule that offers something for everyone, including concerts, theater presentations, children’s programs, workshop demonstrations, exhibitions, public art installations and more. For more information, schedule of events and tickets, visit northcharlestonartsfest.com.
May 2, 2019: Pegasus Parade — Louisville, KY
If there was a bucket list for all things Derby, this would certainly be on it. On Thursday, May 2, the annual free Republic Bank Pegasus Parade is held on Broadway starting at 5 p.m. This is a great event for the whole family, as well as a great way to see all the celebrities in town for the Derby. Fun fact: this parade is the oldest event of the Kentucky Derby Festival. Visit discover.kdf.org.
May 2, 2019: 27 Live at L27 Rooftop Lounge — Nashville, TN
Mark your calendar now because 27 Live is back this summer! On the first Thursday each month from May through October, head to L27 Rooftop Lounge at The Westin Nashville for this highly anticipated summer music series. A DJ will kick off each evening at 7 p.m., followed by a featured artist or band performing until 11 p.m. The series begins on May 2 so check the lineup of performances, pencil in the future concert dates and elevate your music experience this summer in Nashville! Entry is free but cabanas are available to rent. For more information visit l27nashville.com.
May 2-4, 2019: The 43rd Annual Harding Art Show — Nashville, TN
Celebrate a few of the South’s brightest artists at The 2019 Harding Art Show. For three days this May, the oldest school-sponsored fine art show in Middle Tennessee returns for a special week to celebrate beautiful pieces from talented artists around the country. This year’s featured artist is the incredible Chattanooga-based painter Vesela Baker. Held at Harding Academy, the event is open to the public and attracts more than 4,000 visitors from across the city each year! The Art Show kicks off Thursday, May 2 with a Cindi Earl Fine Jewelry Night, open to the public, complete with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails for those 21+. Saturday from 12 noon t0 5 p.m., the showcase is open to the public, followed by a CapWealth Advisors Night for those 21+ that evening. The events draw to a close on Saturday, May 4 with the Infinity Events & Catering Family Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as guests continue to explore the works and participate in fun family activities. Proceeds from this three-day art celebration benefit Harding Academy’s student programs, facilities and art education. Mark your calendar because you don’t want to miss the Harding Art Show 2019! Visit thehardingartshow.com for more info.
May 3-5, 2019: Blue Suede Cruise — Tupelo, MS
The 2019 Blue Suede Cruise is scheduled for May 3 – May 5 and has even more antique and classic cars. Drivers head back to the ’50s and ’60s with classic car shows and contests, exciting entertainment, and fun for the whole family! Visit bluesc.com.
May 3-5, 2019: Beale Street Music Festival — Memphis, TN
We’ve been waiting for this one all year … The Beale Street Music Festival is back and better than ever! With headliners like Shinedown, Cardi B, The Killers, OneRepublic, Dave Matthews Band and more, this weekend-long festival is jam-packed with amazing performances that will kickstart your Memphis in May with a bang! Single-day passes are $55, three-day passes are $165, VIP single-day passes start at $249 and VIP three-day passes start at $595. Check out memphisinmay.org.
May 4, 2019: Cars & ‘Q for the Cause — Atlanta, GA
Car lovers, craft beer drinkers and barbecue fans, we have the event for you! Mark your calendar for May 4, 2019, and join Choate Construction and Metromont for the 10th annual Cars & ‘Q for the Cause. This event benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and features more than 120 spectacular cars, amazing food and beverage options, a silent auction and fabulous live music by The Jump Cut. Spend an evening checking out these rides — from hot rods to pick-ups and every cruiser and classic in between — as you enjoy Jim ‘n Nicks BBQ and continuous pours of your favorite craft brews from Lagunitas, Gate City Brewing, Pontoon and Eventide. Advance tickets are $20 to $40. This event takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. You won’t want to miss it! Visit carsnq.com for more information.
May 4, 2019: The Kentucky Derby — Louisville, KY
The first Saturday in May is sacred in Kentucky. The Derby is an experience like no other and nicknamed “the fastest two minutes in sports.” Don’t miss a chance to be a part of the action on Saturday, May 5, and be sure to wear your best frock and hat. Check out our What to Wear article to find out how to do Derby right. Go to churchilldowns.com for more info.
May 4 & 5, 2019: Tupelo Con — Tupelo, MS
Tupelo Con is a 4th-year multi-genre convention local to Tupelo, MS. The convention will be held May 4th and 5th at The Tupelo Furniture Market. Ticket prices vary, check the website for the full lineup. Check out tupelocon.org for more information.
May 8-12, 2019: Art by Design — Memphis, TN
More than a dozen designers create custom “vignettes” inside a chic gallery showroom. Attendees all across the Mid-South come to experience this unique collaboration by attending an event and/or touring the showroom at the Pipkin Building. The party begins on Wednesday, May 8, with Cocktails and Floral Arranging beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets for this are $75. On Thursday, May 9, enjoy a seated dinner exquisitely prepared by Chef Ryan Trimm and served in the center of our designer vignette gallery. Tickets for the private dinner are $250. Friday, May 10, attend Mingle at Mimosas starting at 9 a.m. with tickets costing $40. Friday night, there will be a Ferguson Cocktail party beginning at 7 p.m. with special cocktails and live entertainment. Tickets for the cocktail party are $100, but give you admission to all general admission days. The general admission sessions will be held on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. General admission pricing is $20. Learn more at artsmemphis.org.
May 8 through June 2, 2019: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens – Atlanta, GA
Where can you enjoy 20 breathtaking spaces designed by Atlanta’s A-List designers? Only at Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2019 Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens. Tour the gardens and relax by the lake on this historic Buckhead site—weekend retreat of the James Madison High (High Museum of Art) family and others in the 20s. It’s the perfect spot to bring family and out-of-town guests for Mother’s Day Weekend! Tickets start at $30 in advance, and this event takes place Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. You won’t want to miss it! Visit southeasternshowhouse.com for more info.
May 10 & 11, 2019: GumTree Arts Festival — Tupelo, MS
The GumTree Arts Festival is celebrating its 48th year in 2019! This day-long outdoor celebration of visual and performing arts is set for Saturday, May 11, in Tupelo and is a long-running tradition in northeast Mississippi. It has been selected as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival’s juried exhibition of quality fine art and fine crafts features more than 100 professional artists from across the country who produce, display and sell high-quality artwork in a wide variety of media. The GumTree Arts Festival is a community event for the entire family. The festival offers art demonstrations, children’s activities, food concessions and live entertainment by local musicians. For more information, visit tupelo.net.
May 11, 2019: Memory Gala — Charlotte, NC
Join the Alzheimer’s Association for its Third Annual Memory Gala. This black-tie event is $25o a person and features a cocktail hour, a seated dinner, dancing, music, wine, and silent and live auctions. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., support the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more at charlottememorygala.org.
May 11, 2019: Magic City Wine Festival — Birmingham, AL
Calling all wine lovers! Come join Cahaba Dermatology & Spa Cahaba at the Birmingham Zoo for the 3rd Annual Magic City Wine Fest this May 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m as they travel through several different regions spanning the globe. Drink wine and beer specific to a certain region, purchase bites from local restaurants and enjoy live music. A portion of every ticket benefits the Birmingham Zoo. Magic City Wine Fest is a rain or shine event. For more information, visit magiccitywinefest.com.
May 11, 2019: Iroquois Steeplechase — Nashville, TN
Though we’ve been thinking about it for a while now, you know it’s really May when Iroquois Steeplechase is on the horizon! Each year, on the second Saturday in May, thousands flock to Percy Warner Park for the spring racing event that is a true favorite among locals and visitors alike. Ticket options include box seats, tailgating, general admission, tents and skybox suites, available at varying price points. Dust off your hat, hope for sunny skies and get ready for another fun day at Iroquois Steeplechase! Check out iroquoissteeplec
May 11 & 12, 2019: Chastain Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival 2019 — Atlanta, GA
This Mother’s Day give Mom some “Arts from the Heart” from the Chastain Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can admire fine arts and crafts, acoustic performances and local food. Entry to the festival is free. Visit chastainparkartsfestival.com.
May 15-18, 2019: World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest — Memphis, TN
Head over to Tom Lee Park for America’s most prestigious barbecue competition! For the 42nd year, hundreds of teams from around the world will compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and bragging rights. Come see the elaborately decorated areas and some crazy-creative team names. Attendees will sample delicious barbecue options while enjoying the “Ms. Piggie Idol” competition, where grown men dress in tutus and snouts while showing off their vocal talents. This weekend-long, food-filled festival is one of the most highly anticipated events of Memphis in May. Tickets start at $5. See more info at memphisinmay.org.
May 16-19, 2019: Hangout Music Fest — Gulf Shores, AL
Arguably one of the best summer music festival lineups of 2019, Hangout Music Fest is back in Gulf Shores for another weekend of amazing music. Don’t forget your shades for this weekend on the beach, featuring a packed list of top-notch acts including Travis Scott, Cardi B, The Lumineers, Khalid and Vampire Weekend, just to name a few. Children 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult of 21 years or older for admission. A weekend wristband costs $319 and VIP and Super VIP options are also available. Visit hangoutmusicfest.com.
May 17, 2019: Full Moon Pickin’ Party — Nashville, TN
We know it’s never truly summer until it’s Full Moon Pickin’ Party season! Beginning May 17, the beloved bluegrass music series returns, drawing families, friends and dog lovers all over to enjoy a fun evening of outdoor music under the moon at Percy Warner Park. Mark your calendar for the summer 2019 dates, make your way to the Warner Park Equestrian Center and get ready to start the party at 7 p.m.! Tickets in advance are $20 for adults and $8 for kids and tickets at the gate are $25 for adults and $10 for kids. All funds raised by the event go towards protecting and preserving the Warner Parks and funding environmental education programs and special projects benefitting all Park visitors. Check out warnerparks.org.
May 17-18, 2019: Digital Graffiti —Alys Beach, FL
Alys Beach has plenty of bare canvas in the way of white walls, and during Digital Graffiti, artists of all kinds will project their original works of art on those canvases in this not-to-be-missed three-day festival. Digital artists, photographers, filmmakers, celebrities and art lovers, among others, descend upon this beautiful beach town to take in the unusual — and stunning — sites only found at this annual event. Find a complete schedule, ticket pricing and more at their website, digitalgraffiti.com.
May 18, 2019: Nashville Rosé Festival — Nashville, TN
Grab your glass and cheers to the return of the Nashville Rosé Festival for its second year! The festival features tastings of over 70 different rosé wines and also includes specialty one-off beers, food trucks and vendors, for an afternoon in East Park that you don’t want to miss. General Admission tickets are $20 per person and proceeds benefit the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition. Gather your pals and make your plans to celebrate with the summer’s hottest drink! Go to nashvillerosefestival.
May 19, 2019: Clip for Kids at Fourth Street LIVE! — Louisville, KY
Participants raise funds in return for clipping, trimming or shaving their hair in solidarity with kids fighting cancer at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville. Registration is FREE with a $25 fundraising minimum! Head to clipforkids.org for more info.
May 19 & 20, 2019: Atlanta Funk Fest Presented by Pepsi — Atlanta, GA
Take a trip to Funkytown at the Atlanta Funk Fest! This two-day event features some of your favorite performing artists from back in the day and now, including Lil’ Kim, Nas, Charlie Wilson and many more. The fun(k) happens at Wolf Creek Amphitheater, but check the website to get the specific performance schedule for each day, ticket prices and other details. Check out atlanta.funkfesttour.com.
May 23-27, 2019: Abbey Road on the River — Louisville, KY
Celebrate the ’60s at the WAVE 3 News Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival. The five-day event will be held at the Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, IN over Memorial Day Weekend starring The Cowsills, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, Peter Asher & Jeremy Clyde, and 50 more amazing bands. Tickets start at $25 for one-day general admission. Head to arotr.com.
May 24 & 25, 2019: Oxford Bourbon Festival & Auction — Oxford, MS
The Oxford Bourbon Festival & Auction is a two-day celebration of all things bourbon, with dinners, tastings, live music and an auction where you can bid to own rare bourbons by the bottle and perhaps a custom-bottled barrel of your own. Proceeds from the weekend benefit Move on Up Mississippi in their efforts to teach children about health, well being and physical activity to combat obesity. Tickets run from $25 to $250. Visit moveonupms.org.
May 24-26, 2019: Decatur Arts Festival — Decatur, GA
Decatur knows how to throw a festival and this pedestrian-friendly city does it up right when it comes to May’s Arts Festival. Besides the lovely art, food and music at this free event, some other highlights include the Theater and Literary Arts Tent, the Comedy Tent and dance performances and one-hour classes at nearby Decatur Recreation Center. Check the website for the specific days and times of the various event. Check out decaturartsfestival.com.
May 25, 2019: 901Fest — Memphis, TN
Enjoying energetic sounds and beautiful weather at Memphis’ 901Fest. Serving as the celebratory “feather in the cap” in the city’s most festive month, the 901Fest will feature wonderful food, music, merchandise and artists. There will even be an air show and a 901-themed fireworks finale! Tickets start at just $9. For more info visit memphisinmay.org.
May 30 through June 2, 2019: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival — Atlanta, GA
The much anticipated 9th Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns to Midtown Atlanta on May 30 through June 2 for a weekend filled with more than 150 of the South’s best chefs, sommeliers, mixologists, and pit masters. The festival is centrally located at the Loews Atlanta Hotel with Tasting Tents at Piedmont Park and events around the city. Atlanta Food & Wine Festival provides guests with endless ways to know the South through immersive learning experiences, all-you-can-indulge Tasting Tents, and unique dinners and parties. Whether attending Atlanta Food & Wine Festival to learn or to indulge, there isn’t a more delicious way to experience the South! Tickets start at $55. Visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com for more info.
May 31, 2019: Tails in the Trails — Birmingham, AL
The Birmingham Zoo’s Tails in the Trails event is back for its 9th annual celebration! This fabulous event will take place on Friday, May 31 from 6:30 p.m. 10:00 p.m. in the Birmingham Zoo’s signature Trails of Africa area. Enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres and a variety of craft beers from local staples, signature cocktails, an online auction, plus so much more! Tails in the Trails is a 21+ event. For more information, visit birminghamzoo.com.
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