April 24-26, 2015
The weekend of April 24-26 is the weekend of the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon, when an estimated 50,000 runners descend on the city to tackle what is described by many as a rigorous course with plenty of elevation changes. What really makes this event special (for the runners and spectators alike), is that our marathon features “Live Music Every Mile!” A quick review of the course map confirms this – there are 26 stations for live music set up along the course, where live bands will be performing a variety of music from alternative, classic and punk rock to blues, jazz and soul along each mile of the race course. If you aren’t running, the spectator experience is phenomenal and FREE! So pick out a good spectator spot (my favorites would be somewhere on the South loop of the course, along Belmont or 12th Ave. South), get there plenty early (be prepared to park and walk – streets are closed!), and show some friendly Nashville spirit to these determined athletes!
If that doesn’t Sound Like Fun to you, the best advice I can give you is to avoid planning anything close to the marathon route until at least Saturday night, when they’ll have all the stages taken down and the streets will reopen. In other words, this might be a good weekend to get out of town. And I have a wonderful suggestion for where you might go…
The weekend of April 24-26 also happens to be the weekend of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham. This beautiful, park-like setting features a 2.38-mile road course, which will see 11 races (along with numerous practice and qualifying sessions) over the three-day weekend. The “big event” is the IndyCar race held Sunday afternoon, but there’s plenty of action on Saturday, too, and general admission tickets are as low as $35. (The best seating is hillside – bring a folding chair or a blanket, and don’t forget the sunscreen – that Alabama sun is STRONG!) It takes about 3.5 hours to drive to the racetrack from Nashville – so this is even a completely do-able day trip.
If racing in general doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you’d be interested in getting your geek on at the Catan Con world festival, which will run April 24-26 at the Opryland Hotel & Conference Center. Catan is a strategic board game (now also available in videogame format) where players compete to build civilizations. (I’ve probably oversimplified, but honestly I’d never heard of the game before seeing that they were having this convention!) Anyway, the Opryland Hotel is safely away from the traffic snarl that will be downtown, and conveniently close to “ShOpryland” (aka Opry Mills Outlets Mall), so that should help while away the hours on Saturday.
There are a couple of events of interest happening Sunday, April 26 in Nashville that Sound Like Fun – the first is the annual Low Country Shrimp Boil on the grounds of historic Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum in Crieve Hall. For $40 admission ($45 at the door), you get all the shrimp and beer you can consume – until it runs out! The fun lasts from 1pm – 5pm.
Another unusual event on Sunday is Smoke on the Water – an annual fundraiser for the Hope Clinic for Women. Smoke on the Water brings together cigar enthusiasts from across Middle Tennessee to set sail down the Cumberland River on the General Jackson Showboat while enjoying the finest cigars, complimentary wine, a delicious meal and live auction – all to support the mission of Hope Clinic! Boarding begins at 5:30 – the event will last until 9:30pm, and tickets are $150 each.
I hope you get to enjoy one or more of these events – if you do, I’d love to hear from you!