Weekend festivals in Chattanooga area highlight gardening, music, authors

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd /  The rising sun highlights details under the Walnut Street Bridge on Aug. 9. The bridge will be the site of the Walnut Street Bridge Festival this weekend.
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / The rising sun highlights details under the Walnut Street Bridge on Aug. 9. The bridge will be the site of the Walnut Street Bridge Festival this weekend.

Warm weather is heating up spring festival season. Here's a look at eight festivals happening in the area this weekend.

Also this weekend, the Flame Festival, previously held at Cherokee Farms in LaFayette, Georgia, has moved to Skull Skoals Park and Campground in Washington, Georgia, about two hours east of Atlanta.

— SouthWord Literary Festival: Now in its 40th year, this Southern Lit Alliance event is a celebration of writers originally from the South or who now live and work in the South. In various sessions Friday and Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza, 22 visiting and local writers — Rick Bragg, Clyde Edgerton and Silas House among them — will speak about their current work individually, in interviews with other authors or as part of a panel discussion. Tickets are $45 for one day, $75 for two, with discounts for students and add-ons for tote bags and T-shirts. Registration is due by noon Friday. solitchatt.org/2023southword

(READ MORE: The SouthWord Literary Festival returns to Chattanooga)

— The Revival Music & Arts Festival: This first-time family festival takes place Friday through Sunday on a farm at 187 Old CC Road in Pikeville, Tenn. Eleven musical acts are scheduled, including the Chattanooga-based headliners: Chants in the Void, a Grateful Dead tribute band, and Randy Steele & High Cold Wind, a bluegrass band fronted by an award-winning banjo player. Art installations and community building are included during the weekend. Tickets are $150. Get more information at tinyurl.com/revivalpikeville.

— Zero Waste Festival: Sunrise Movement Chattanooga, with an assist from NewTerra Compost, is sponsoring this event as proof that, unlike traditional festival culture, "we can rest, relax and have a little fun while producing no waste at all," according to promo material. Art, food and music are scheduled 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at Stove Works, 1250 E. 13th St. Tickets are free. Reserve at eventbrite.com.

(READ MORE: NewTerra aims to make composting easy for Chattanooga-area residents and businesses)

— Anime Fest: This celebration of the Japanese style of animation and manga graphic novels is scheduled 1-7 p.m. Saturday at the Rossville Athletic Center, 301 William St. The festival includes a cosplay contest, "Mario Kart" and other tournaments, music, vendors and food trucks. Tickets start at $5. More information at eventbrite.com.

— Big 9 Roots Festival: Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd., will host this two-day music festival. Saturday's focus is on rhythm and blues, starting at 12:15 p.m. and ending with headliner Jeter Jones & The Perfect Blend Band set to take the stage at 9:15 p.m. On Sunday, the focus turns to gospel by seven local acts, starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free. See the lineup at bessiesmithcc.org/festival.

— Master Your Garden Expo: A tradition for the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County since 2013, the gardening expo includes live demonstrations on topics ranging from backyard chickens to hydroponics, talks by gardening experts, a question-and-answer table, an array of vendors and exhibitors, children's area, silent auction and door prizes. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway, East Ridge. The $10 ticket is good both days (free for children under 12). See the lineup at mghc.org/garden-expo.

— EarthDayz: Rock City will take the next two weekends to mark Earth Day (April 22). Highlights include Wings To Soar raptor shows, living plant characters, live music and make-and-take crafts. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and April 22-23. Tickets are $20-$30; timed entry is required. Learn more at seerockcity.com.

— Walnut Street Bridge Festival: Instead of a backdrop, Chattanooga's historic pedestrian bridge will be front and center for this first-time festival, presented by marketing firm Vonzara Inc. Attendees will find local business and food vendors, children's activities and local musicians. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at 1 Walnut St. Admission is free. Learn more at eventbrite.com.

Contact Lisa Denton at [email protected]  or 423-757-6281.

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Beate Hickman, right, helps East Ridge resident Emily Compton select plants at the Custom Landscape and Design booth during the Master Your Garden Expo in 2022 at Camp Jordan Arena in East Ridge. The two-day event returns to Camp Jordan this weekend.

Upcoming Events