Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Events Listing For January - March 2013

Monday, December 3, 2012 - by Suzanne Moon

Here is the Top 20 Events listing for January, February and March 2013 from the twelve southeastern states that make up the Southeast Tourism Society. The STS Top 20 Events program began in 1985 and is judged quarterly.

Please contact Suzanne Moon at top20@southeasttourism.org for more information.

Top 20

Winter 2013

January/February

Jan. 3-Feb. 12 Mardi Gras Southwest Louisiana Southwest Louisiana, La. 800-456-7952 jwharton@visitlakecharles.org www.visitlakecharles.org More than 50 krewes make sure the whole family has something to celebrate. The excitement kicks into full gear with parades, cook-offs, balls, galas, live music, gumbo and more!

Jan. 5 Mississippi Blues Marathon/Half Marathon Jackson, Miss. 601-624-7882 info@msbluesmarathon.com www.msbluesmarathon.com Amateur and professional runners alike celebrate musicians who have shaped the sound of the blues. Spectators are welcome to experience southern hospitality, various arts and crafts vendors and delicious food.

Jan. 6-Feb. 12 Mardi Gras Season Baton Rouge, La. 225-382-3577 christy@visitbatonrouge.com www.visitbatonrouge.com/visitorslocals/mardi_gras/ Celebrate the season with various krewes, each featuring decorated floats, marching bands, costumed canines and dancing.

Jan. 9-Feb. 13 Carnival on the Coast Gulf Coast, Miss. 228-896-6699 tourism@gulfcoast.org www.gulfcoast.org An exciting season for locals and visitors of all ages. Elaborately decorated floats throw “treasures” to eager bystanders as they enjoy 23 parades – each featuring 20 or more floats!

Jan. 11-12 55th Annual Louisiana Fur & Wildlife Festival Cameron, La. 800-456-7952 jwharton@visitlakecharles.org www.visitlakecharles.org Local natural industries are celebrated during the area's coldest and oldest fest. Experience the exhibits, trap setting contests, muskrat skinning, oyster shucking and dog trials. Enjoy parades, pageants, dances and Cajun music.

Jan. 17-21 Dream 365 MLK Celebration Columbus, Miss. 662-425-1234 dream365@dacollc.com www.dream365.info Honoring the legacy of MLK Jr. with numerous events including musical entertainment, student drawings and essays, step-shows, choir concerts, cultural exhibits, a breakfast banquet, jazz gala and much more.

Jan. 18-26 The Augusta Futurity Augusta, Ga. 706-823-3362 noell.inman@augustafuturity.com www.augustafuturity.com The largest and richest cutting-horse event east of the Mississippi is seasoned with Southern hospitality and features western dance, a quarter horse sale and an authentic cowboy parade.

Jan. 25-26 Kentucky Bluegrass Music Kickoff Lebanon, Ky. 270-402-3835 kyfellowshipofmusicians@hotmail.com www.visitlebanonky.com/kbmk.html People of all ages will enjoy a variety of events including live entertainment, dance, crafts, vendors and a dinner buffet. Partake in the many workshops designed for a range of musical abilities and instruments.

Jan. 26 Annual Kumquat Festival Dade City, Fla. 352-567-3769 info@dadecitychamber.org www.kumquatfestival.org Enjoy tasty recipes and treats, an arts and crafts show, antique car show, a quilt show, a farmer’s market and live music. Kids are sure to enjoy the rides and animals at the “Kiddie Koral”.

Jan. 26-27 Cape Fear Model Railroad Society's 16th Annual Model Railroad Show & Sale Wilmington, N.C. 910-270-2696 ben.jackson@charter.net www.capefearmodelrailroadsociety.org Indulge in the model railroading hobby. Vendors offer trains, scenic supplies and railroading memorabilia. Free modeling clinics, door prizes and raffles.

Jan. 29-Feb. 2 Southwest District Livestock Show and Rodeo Lake Charles, La. 800-456-7952 jwharton@visitlakecharles.org www.visitlakecharles.org Bring your fanciest spurs and enter the Miss Southwest District Livestock Show and Rodeo Queen’s pageant. Enjoy professional rodeo performances and the stick-horse rodeo events including barrel racing and bronc riding.

Feb. 1-12 Bayou Lafourche Mardi Gras Lafourche Parish, La. 877-537-5800 info@visitlafourche.com www.visitlafourche.com A Mardi Gras celebration like no other! More than 15 parades, carnival balls, parties and tableaus. Bring the family and dine on delicious bar-be-que or seafood boils along the parade route.

Feb. 7-9 The North Carolina Jazz Festival Wilmington, N.C. 910-793-1111 ncjazzfest@yahoo.com www.ncjazzfestival.com One of the largest traditional jazz festivals in the Southeast! Listen to the melodic sounds of Dr. Frank Bongiorno’s ensemble and tribute to “Charlie Parker with Strings,” featuring numerous violins.

Feb. 15-17 Dogwood Arts House & Garden Show Knoxville, Tenn. 865-637-4561 info@dogwoodarts.com www.dogwoodhouseandgarden.com The largest house and garden show in East Tennessee for gardening enthusiasts.  10,000 square-feet of fully landscaped gardens and blooming flowers, more than 200 exhibitors, flower markets, interior design RoomScapes and a lovely Wine & Cheese Garden.

Feb. 15-17 8th Annual Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival Punta Gorda, Fla. 941-639-3720 chamber@puntagorda-chamber.com www.puntagordachamber.com Enjoy the sounds of jazz and tastes of Punta Gorda in one of the most picturesque waterfront settings. This year’s celebration features renowned jazz entertainer Sergio Mendes.

Feb. 21-23 Georgia National Rodeo Perry, Ga. 478-987-3247 kimkeupe@gnfa.com www.gnfa.com Cowboys and cowgirls from all over compete in major rodeo events and specialty acts, such as, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding. Also features specialty acts, rodeo clown and bull fighters.

Feb. 21-24 Oxford Film Festival Oxford, Miss. 877-560-3456 info@oxfordfilmfest.com www.oxfordfilmfest.com Educates and entertains! Experience independent film and the culture and heritage of the city.

Feb. 23 7th Annual BBQ Throwdown & Festival D'Iberville, Miss. 228-392-9734 mmullins@diberville.ms.us www.diberville.ms.us/events/ Taste savory chicken, ribs and brisket as teams compete for more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. Live entertainment, face painting, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities and games and more.

Feb. 28-March 3 BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival Charleston, S.C. 843-727-9998 ashley@charlestonwineandfood.com  www.charlestonwineandfood.com Celebrate a local food culture rich in tradition. Infuses home-grown flavor with the most celebrated chefs, culinary professionals and winemakers in the world.

Feb. 28-March 10 Florida Strawberry Festival Plant City, Fla. 813-752-9194 paul@strawberryfestival.com www.flstrawberryfestival.com Enjoy ripe, luscious strawberry themed cuisine alongside the local berry farmers. Features a karaoke contest, rides, arts and crafts vendors and pageants.

March

March 1-3 2013 News Sentinel Women Today Knoxville, Tenn. 865-342-6855 womentoday@knoxnews.com www.womentoday.com With hundreds of exhibits, trendy fashion shows, cooking demonstrations and informative seminars, there’s something for every woman! New this year is Mother/Daughter Day, Senior Day and Family Fun Day.

March 1-3 Kentucky Crafted: The Market Lexington, Ky. 502-564-3757

artscouncil@ky.gov www.artscouncil.ky.gov Includes more than 150 artists offering jewelry, home décor, furniture, paintings, photographs and artisan foods as well as Kentucky-related books, CDs and DVDs. The whole family will enjoy performances and hands-on craft activities.

March 2-3 Jerry Brown Arts Festival Hamilton, Ala. 205-921-3632

festivalinfo@jbaf.org www.jbaf.org Indulge in the art world as traditions of southern heritage, artistic legacies and local customs are honored.  Not only does this unique festival provide top-quality art in various forms, it also serves as a high-level art education opportunity for students.         

March 2-3 Amelia Island Garden Show Amelia Island, Fla. 904-491-4872

info@ameliagarden.com www.ameliagarden.com Take in nature’s brightest colors at Central Park in Fernandina Beach.  More than 50 vendors will provide an assortment of flowers, plants, fruit trees, shrubs and garden accessories, as well as brief presentations and expert advice.

March 4-9 Hilton Head International Piano Competition Hilton Head Island, S.C. 843-842-5880 pianocomp@hhipc.org www.hhipc.org Leave the rock n' roll at home and enjoy some real music! Come watch twenty talented young pianists, ages 13 through 17, compete for cash prizes and a coveted summer scholarship to a national music school.

March 4-9 Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival Hilton Head Island, S.C. 843-686-4944 info@hiltonheadwineandfood.com www.hiltonheadwineandfood.com A treat for wine lovers and gourmet foodies alike! Sample domestic and international wines as well as some of the Lowcountry’s best cuisine. Wine education, interactive displays, contests, grape stomping and healthy cooking demonstrations paired with wine will also be featured.

March 8-10 Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Independence, La. 800-542-7520 dana@tangittourism.com www.tangitourism.com Enjoy a variety of entertainment, cuisine and cultural experiences while helping to preserve the town of Independence’s Sicilian heritage.

March 9 Black Heritage Festival Lake Charles, La. 800-456-7952 jwharton@visitlakecharles.org www.visitlakecharles.org Celebrate the achievements of African-Americans through cultural and performing arts.  Activities include live music from legendary Jazz and Gospel performers, African art and clothing, delicious Louisiana cuisine, games, contests, pageants and more.

March 15-17 Amite Oyster Festival Amite, La. 800-617-4501

dana@tangittourism.com www.tangitourism.com Offers a weekend of family fun! Dine on fresh oysters prepared in various ways. Watch rodeo or listen to live entertainment from Cajun, country, rock and roll and reggae artists. Also offers carnival rides and various arts and crafts vendors.

March 15-17 Cape Fear Wildlife Expo Wilmington, N.C. 910-795-0292

wc@capefearwildlifeexpo.com www.capefearwildlifeexpo.com Learn about hunting, fishing and the great outdoors! Exhibitors display handcrafted duck and turkey calls, jewelry, decoys, wildlife paintings and taxidermy. Visit the displays of trucks, boats and ATVs.

March 15-17 61st Annual Arts & Crafts Festival Fairhope, Ala. 251-621-8222

gparnell@eschamber.com www.eschamber.com Behold the highest quality of arts and crafts from more than 200 national exhibitors. Visit the Festival Food Court for a taste of unique local cuisine while enjoying musical entertainment. 

March 15-17 Rappahannock River Waterfowl Show White Stone, Va. 804-435-6355

info@rrws.org www.rrws.org More than 80 exhibitors will offer unique wildfowl art in paintings, prints, decorative carvings and several other forms. Also featured are a carving competition, special demonstrations and hands-on activities for children.

March 16 7th Annual Grillin’ on the Green Biloxi, Miss. 228-435-6339

kmiller@biloxi.ms.us www.mainstreetbiloxi.com One of the Gulf Coast’s premier spring events! Enjoy grilling competitions, live entertainment, food, arts and crafts and children’s activities. The local St. Patrick’s Day parade passes in front of the festival, allowing everyone a chance to catch goodies from the floats.

March 16 Southwest Florida Reading Festival Fort Myers, Fla. 239-533-4826

readingfestival@leegov.com www.readfest.org Features presentations by two dozen bestselling authors, a marketplace with more than 80 vendors and programs and shows for kids and teens.

March 16-17 Shamrock City Lookout Mountain, Ga. 706-820-2531

frontdesk@seerockcity.com www.seerockcity.com/pages/Shamrock-City Looking for the luck of the Irish? Come to Rock City's fantastic celebration of music, specialty beer, Irish food and Rock City’s famous fudge. Don’t miss the green waterfall!

March 17 First Ever Tenth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade Hot Springs National Park, Ark. 501-321-2027cegleston@hotsprings.org www.shorteststpats.com A Grand Marshall will lead this parade of extravagant floats, celebrity look-a-likes, costumed dogs and Irish belly dancers. Held on the shortest street in the world, as declared by Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Also included is the popular Arkansas Blarney Stone kissing contest.

March 21-24 Festival of Flowers Mobile, Ala. 251-639-2050 coneil@providencehospital.org www.festivalofflowers.com Visit more than 300,000 sq. feet of enchanting exhibits dedicated to the promotion of gardening and horticultural excellence while encouraging the preservation of the environment and conservation of natural resources. 

March 23-24 Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival Thibodaux, La. 985-448-4965

swamp.stomp@nicholls.edu www.nicholls.edu/swamp-stomp Experience toe-tapping music of the bayou, an arts and crafts fair and cultural demonstrations. Feast on the best in Louisiana cuisine!

March 23-24 Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival Conyers, Ga. 770-860-4190

Rebecca.hill@conyersga.com www.conyerscherryblossomfest.com Celebrate fun, family and tradition during the blooming of the cherry trees! Shop among hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, play in the 30,000 sq. foot children’s area, dine in the international food court and enjoy two stages of cultural performances.

March 31-April 13 Annual Spring Pilgrimage Columbus, Miss. 662-329-1191

ccvb@columbus-ms.org www.columbus-ms.org This award-winning event is considered

one of the most authentic collections of historic home and garden tours in the South. Enjoy recreated activities of the 1800s complete with period attire.


Caroling With The Fishes Is This Sunday

Caroling with the Fishes will be held on Sunday from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Aquarium – One Broad St.   The event is appropriate for all ages. Admission fees are: adults $14.50 and children (three-12) $9.50. "The sounds of the season will fill the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Journey building during Caroling with the Fishes. Our galleries will be decked with the sounds ... (click for more)

Historic Rugby Sets “Christmas At Rugby” For First 2 Saturdays In December

On the first two Saturdays in December, the historic settlement of Rugby, Tn., will come alive with Christmas spirit and celebrate the holidays as if it were still 1880, the year the town was settled. The living Victorian-era village will bustle with caroling, holiday shopping and much more on two Saturdays, Dec. 3 and 10, for “Christmas at Historic Rugby.” Highlights ... (click for more)

Valerie Bray Pleads Guilty In Death Of Well-Known Runner Cameron Bean

A long-time Moccasin Bend Hospital employee pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning in connection with the death of well-known runner Cameron Bean. Ms. Bray pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality involved. Defense attorney Bill Speek said she faces one-two years on each charge at a sentencing hearing on Feb. 1 at 1:30 ... (click for more)

Officer Who Was Shot Returned Fire; Is Recovering Well; Shooter Still On Loose

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday morning that the officer who was shot three times on Thursday is recovering well.   Chief Fletcher said the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest and one bullet hit the vest, which protected him during the shooting.  The officer was able to return fire, although Chief Fletcher would not comment on how many bullets ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennessee Electors Of The President - And Response (2)

This an open letter to the following people who are Tennessee's presidential electors this year: Joey Jacobs (Brentwood), Beth Scott Clayton Amos (Nashville), Jason Mumpower (Bristol), Susan Mills (Maryville), Liz Holiway (Harriman), Lynne Davis (Lascassas), Tom Lawless (Nashville), Mike Callahan (Monterey), Pat Allen (Clarksville), Shannon Haynes (Alamo), and Drew Daniel (Memphis).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)