“Everything is Awesome” – Nashville in mid-April

The Nashville Football Club will be hosting the Music City Invitational Soccer Tournament April 17-19, 2015 at fields across the city. Here are suggestions for “other” things to do in Nashville for visiting team members and their families.

The Nashville Football Club will be hosting the Music City Invitational Soccer Tournament April 17-19, 2015 at fields across the city. Today’s post has suggestions for “other” things to do in Nashville for visiting team members and their families.

At the Music City Center (Nashville’s still-new convention center), the LEGO KidsFest will running that weekend. This festival brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in one activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.Tickets are being sold for half-day “sessions,” with one session on Friday, and two sessions each on Saturday and Sunday. (Saturday’s sessions are almost sold out.) Tickets for children aged 3-17 and 65+ seniors are $19.50 each; adult tickets are $22.50 each. Children aged 2 and under are admitted free.

For those who prefer entertainment with more horsepower (and don’t mind the smell of burning rubber), check out the State of Drift grassroots drifting competition series on the racetrack at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 18. Information about this event is clearly written for participants – I couldn’t find spectator ticket prices, so perhaps it won’t cost a thing to go watch these cars slide around the track! (As with most motor sports events, you should be prepared to sign a waiver to gain entrance, however.)

On a much greener note, Nashville’s annual Earth Day celebration will be held in Centennial Park on Saturday, April 18 from 11 am to 6 pm. Nashville’s Earth Day Festival is a free, family friendly event with live entertainment through out the day celebrated each year in April. The event will feature exhibits and activities aimed at educating participants about protecting our environment. Live music will start at 11, and will culminate with a free performance by the Rebirth Brass Band at 4:30. The event also features a Green Market, a Beer Garden, and educational exhibits.

I find it particularly challenging to make restaurant suggestions that will appeal to family members of all ages. So, my suggestion would be to head down to the Nashville Farmers Market for midday meals on Saturday or Sunday – in addition to some of the best produce around, there’s a great variety of restaurants and food stands in the Market House, along with plentiful seating in the center of the action. While there, look for the Dirty Pages exhibit, highlighting the most-used (i.e. “dirty”) handed-down family recipes of Nashvillians from all backgrounds. (If you’re still in town on Sunday evening, there will be a Dirty Pages storytelling event from 5 – 7 pm, sponsored by The Porch writers’ collective.)

If the adults are able to sneak out for a night on Saturday April 18, I highly recommend making a visit to The Sutler Saloon in the Melrose/Berry Hill section of town. This recently-reintroduced music venue features a restaurant menu filled with tasty (if a bit indulgent) foods and beverages, a speakeasy-style downstairs lounge, and – starting at 9:00, the very talented up-and-coming pop musicians Daphne Willis and Jenna Scott. I caught Daphne Willis performing recently at City Winery and was just blown away by her talent. You can sample some of her sounds (and Jenna Scott’s) on ReverbNation. This show would appeal to all ages, but I’m thinking that, by 9 pm, the athletes should be in bed for the evening!

Whether you’re visiting Nashville for the soccer tournament, or just looking for some fun stuff to do, I hope that one of these suggestions will Sound Like Fun to you!

Let’s Get Ready to Roller!

There is nothing like an evening at the roller derby. Trust me!

I’ve been planning to tell y’all about the Nashville Rollergirls. This morning’s email featured a LivingSocial deal on roller derby tickets that is hard to pass up. If you already subscribe to LivingSocial, you got the email – if not, you should be able to access the deal for the next few days by following this link. LivingSocial Promo  If you miss the deal, don’t worry – even at full price, this is an entertainment bargain, and the 2015 season is just starting.

There is nothing like an evening at the roller derby. Trust me! The sport is not quite as glamorous as it looks in Raquel Welch’s 1972 movie Kansas City Bomber or Drew Barrymore’s 2009 classic Whip It (also starring Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig) but it’s also not quite as violent. And the rules are pretty easy for a casual spectator to understand. But I’m getting ahead of myself – here are some ways to maximize your fun while supporting the Nashville Rollergirls at one of their upcoming matches at Municipal Auditorium.

1.  Pick a roller derby name. There are several online name generators you can use to get started (here’s a link to one) – when I first used one of these I got the classic Peach Clobber which is just perfect for a Southern girl. My girlfriend initially chose White Thrash – but then she got creative and came up with her own – Bitter Honey! Well, that just got the ball rolling – I since have developed my own roller derby spin on a trade name – Lumbar Liquidator. Sounds dangerous, right?

2. Learn the rules. Or don’t. As mentioned above, it’s pretty easy to catch on to what’s supposed to happen, and pretty soon you’ll be able to tell when to cheer. But if you want to read up, you can find the rules here. You should know that the Nashville Rollergirls are part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), which means that the action happens on a flat, not banked surface. There currently are 301 full member leagues (teams) in the WFTDA, and the Nashville Rollergirls are ranked 31st, which means they are good!

3. Catch the half-time show. Frankly, it’s been a few years since I last attended a Nashville Rollergirls derby (I’m about to remedy that, thanks to LivingSocial), but one of the best parts of the whole evening was the half-time entertainment. A newly-married couple took a spin around the track together (proving that wedding gown trains and roller skates don’t mix well), and a fun-loving group of mostly middle-aged women performed a dance routine to Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It.” Love!

4. Appreciate your team. These women are athletes, and the souvenirs at the roller derby are great – get a team t-shirt, or a button with a funny slogan and display it proudly! And learn the skaters’ names – you never know when you might end up on a Southwest flight to Chicago and realize you’re sitting across the aisle from Union Jack-U-Up! You shouldn’t miss your opportunity to get a signed barf bag, even if you have to follow her into the ladies room at the Chicago airport! (It was a special moment – not stalker-y at all!)

For those who miss the LivingSocial promotion, tickets are available at the door, and at several retail locations in town. I look forward to seeing you at the roller derby!

Now, doesn’t that Sound Like Fun?