The Best Hot Chicken Festival In Nashville

Take heart, hot chicken fans – there is an alternative to the July 4 Nashville Hot Chicken Festival that is WAY MORE FUN

You may have checked out my previous article where I opined that the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival held each July 4 weekend in East Nashville is a colossal waste of time.

Take heart, hot chicken fans – there is an alternative event that is WAY MORE FUN – and as an added bonus, it’s a fundraiser for the Predators Foundation.

I’m referring to Hot Shots! Hot Chicken, Whiskey and Bourbon Festival scheduled for Friday evening, October 21 at Bridgestone Arena. When I tell you that, for $70 a ticket, you get unlimited samples from the most popular Nashville Hot Chicken joints in town, and unlimited tastings (well, limited only by your sense of propriety) from regional and national distilleries – well, I really shouldn’t have to tell you anything else. But I will! Because your ticket also gets you into the exclusive Viewing Party as the Nashville Predators play the Detroit Red Wings that evening. And, if all that wasn’t enough, your ticket also gets you to pick a future Preds game to attend at Bridgestone Arena. BOOM!

If you are into Nashville Hot Chicken and Predators hockey, but want to attend this with your kids or just don’t want alcohol, you should know that there is an option for that, and it’s just $50. (These prices are “early bird” rates that just last through tomorrow – not sure how much they’ll go up after that, but I would seriously consider attending this event even if you have to pay more.)

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Last year’s inaugural Hot Shots! Hot Chicken, Whiskey and Bourbon Festival was held the afternoon of August 1. Moving the event to an evening in October means that attendees will also get to participate in a watch party as the Predators take on the Red Wings in Detroit.

All for the Hall Concert (Y’all Better Act Right)

Last weekend, a friend and I compared notes about the deteriorating quality of concert audiences in Nashville.

I’m awfully excited to be attending my second All For the Hall tonight at the Bridgestone Arena. This concert, which benefits the Country Music Hall of Fame, is an annual snapshot of all that is current in country music. Or, at least all that is currently in town. Continue reading “All for the Hall Concert (Y’all Better Act Right)”

End-of-Summer Scramble

It’s the last weekend before college football season, and folks in Nashville are either scrambling to get one more weekend of summertime activities done.

It’s the last weekend before college football season, and folks in Nashville are either scrambling to get one more weekend of summertime activities done, or tending to yards/houses/chores/family members that need attention before Autumn. I confess that, due to televised NCAA football, I don’t get out much on Saturdays between the first of September and the end of November. (If I were a fan of a top-ranked team, I’d probably have to resign myself to doing all my holiday shopping online, because the NCAA division championships go right into mid-December!

As I mentioned recently, I’m getting ready to have a big yard sale with friends – and that’s going to eat up every bit of my time and energy on Friday evening and Saturday. On Sunday, however, I plan a nice, relaxing day, followed by an evening at the Carnton Plantation for the Sunset Concert. (This weekend’s band is an Eagles cover band, The 7 Bridges Band.)

But here are some good ideas for fun this weekend…

Friday night is a Full Moon Pickin’ Party at the Warner Park Equestrian Center on Old Hickory Blvd. These laid-back, family-friendly fundraisers allow musicians and music lovers alike to mingle under the light of the moon, while enjoying fine bluegrass and roots music. Adult admission is $25 at the gate, which includes complimentary beer &/or water. Youth 7-17 can enter for $10; Children 6 and under are admitted free. You can bring food, blankets, chairs, dogs (on 6’ leash), and if you bring an acoustic instrument to play in the jam circles, you’ll get a significant discount!

If I wasn’t planning a yard sale, I’d be planning to catch the Saturday matinee performance of Cirque du Soliel’s “Varekai” at Bridgestone Arena, followed by dinner at one of the Nashville Originals restaurants that’s participating in Nashville Restaurant Week.

As it happens, I’ve already told you something great to enjoy on Sunday. Hope to see you there!

I don’t plan to post suggestions for Labor Day weekend. Hope you have a splendid holiday! (I plan to resume my series about Nashville-area neighborhoods in September…stay tuned!)

A Pull-Out-All-The-Stops Weekend of Concerts and Fun in Nashville

This weekend, even the most cynical and tourist-weary Nashvillian would find something going on worth braving the heat and the crowds.

I think sometimes I give my readers the wrong impression. In this blog, I rarely talk about big concerts and haven’t yet mentioned having fun at the downtown honky-tonks. Well, that is about to change…because this weekend (July 30 – August 2) is crammed full of epic concerts and other stuff to do downtown. Even the most cynical and tourist-weary local would find something going on worth braving the heat and the crowds. (Truthfully, I spend a lot of time downtown attending concerts. But almost no time in the honky-tonks!)

Thursday night marks the last weekly concert of the 2015 Bluegrass at the Ryman series; Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder are sure to bring the season to a foot-stompin’ close. This is not new music, but these sweet songs require a level of technical prowess that transcends generations. If we’re lucky, songstress Sharon White (of The Whites, aka Mrs. Ricky Skaggs) will grace the stage for a song or three; she’s been seen flat-footing in the aisles when she’s not on stage, so she’s sure to entertain either way! Tickets are an unheard-of bargain at less than $30, thanks to sponsorship by Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. (Season tickets for next year typically go on sale immediately after the last concert of the season – plan ahead and you’ll be rewarded with six Thursday night concerts in 2016.)

There is an event on Friday night that already has me star struck. I’m so excited that I can barely think of anything else. Because on Friday – at The Ryman – I am going to see one of the hugest songwriting talents, who is also an incredible singer, and funny, and gorgeous – Dolly Parton! I don’t have great seats or anything, but I don’t care. There are a couple of other big concerts in town Friday night (Eric Church in the inaugural concert at Ascend Amphitheater, and Shania Twain at the Bridgestone Arena), but I didn’t have a moment’s hesitation choosing.

I was ordering at Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish (as seen on Shark Tank) today when I picked up a flyer that looked interesting – advertising the inaugural Hot Shots 2015 Hot Chicken, Whiskey and Bourbon Festival on Saturday, August 1 at Bridgestone Arena. I was shocked that I hadn’t previously heard one thing about this fundraiser for the Nashville Predators Foundation. Never mind that I missed out on early bird pricing, I still think that $65 ($70 at the door) per person for unlimited whiskey & bourbon tasting, hot chicken provided by 12 different local vendors, a souvenir glass and a ticket voucher for a 2015-2106 Predators game represents a pretty good deal. For those who won’t be tasting whiskey, a chicken-only ticket costs $20 less. The festival runs from 1pm to 5pm.

How fortunate that I’ll already be downtown on Saturday evening – I can just take a leisurely stroll of about 4 blocks (perhaps stopping in for refreshment at Acme Feed & Seed – “the honky tonk for locals”) to attend the Chicago/Earth Wind & Fire concert at Ascend Amphitheater. For this tour, I’m told that both bands will share the stage at the end of the concert. I predict that may be the precise moment when my head explodes. Hopefully I can keep it together enough to catch my rideshare home.

I already know that Sunday is going to need to be a “chill” day, so fortunately I’ve got some low-energy options lined up. First, brunch at Le Peep Grille in Belle Meade (thanks to a Groupon I purchased several weeks ago). Then, I’ll prepare to “get my Zen on” at the Nashville Pond Society’s Parade of Ponds, featuring backyard ponds in East Nashville, Inglewood and Madison. Home again, to reflect on the awesomeness that is life in Nashville, rejoice that I live in this fine city, and begin planning another weekend that Sounds Like Fun.

Mules Rule! A Clash of Cultures Creates a Harmony of Fun

As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee.

April 6 – 12, 2015  As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee. Add to the mix a terrific assortment of concert offerings, and you have an entertaining week that encompasses Nashville’s past, present and future!

Nashville Fashion Week is a city-wide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and its vast array of creative talent. Featuring local, regional and national designers and industry professionals in an array of creative events throughout the week encourages both Nashvillians and visitors to explore the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces throughout the week with promotions, partnerships and educational workshops. Events begin on Tuesday, April 7 with a Designer Showcase event at Acme Feed & Seed, and feature a Ready-to-Wear Runway Show at the Musica roundabout on Friday, April 10, before wrapping up with a Nashville Fashion Forward Gala at The Rosewall on Saturday, April 11. Tickets to individual events vary in price; an all-access pass to ticketed events costs $300. Proceeds benefit the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Even if you don’t plan to attend any of the  events associated with Nashville Fashion Week, let’s make a pact here and now to refrain from wearing any of the following items in public that week: Cut-offs with cowboy boots, yoga pants, fleece, Uggs or anything “chickenflage.”

Fortunately, any or all of the above list would be on the list of acceptable attire at events surrounding the Mule Day celebration in nearby Columbia, Tennessee. This celebration has its roots in the farming traditions of our area, and hearken back to times when a man’s livelihood depended on the quality of his mule, and a man would seek to purchase aforesaid mule at an annual gathering. Mule Day has been a popular Columbia tradition for nearly 170 years, since the 1840s. It began as “Breeder’s Day”, a single day livestock show and mule market event held on the first Monday in April. Over time, Mule Day evolved from a single day event into a multi-day festival, attracting thousands of attendees, lasting almost a week. The actual mule auction will happen late afternoon on Wednesday, April 8. Thereafter, the mule-centered events deal with showing off the strength, grace and beauty of this donkey-horse hybrid. Even those unenlightened souls who don’t appreciate the mule will find plenty of other activities – an Arts & Crafts/Flea Market will run from Thursday morning until Sunday afternoon, and the Mule Day program promises “a variety of musical entertainment ranging from bluegrass to hillbilly.” (If you know what differentiates bluegrass music from hillbilly music, please clue me in!) There’s a Liars’ Contest at the Columbia High School on Friday night, a Mule Day parade downtown on Saturday, April 11 at 11 am, and a bluegrass concert at the high school that evening. These community festivals are casual, fun, and if the weather cooperates, definitely worth a day trip.

As if these two events didn’t already offer something for everyone – it just so happens that the week of April 6 – 12 is a great week for concerts in Nashville. That Monday, those who appreciate the indie-rock sounds of English band alt-J can catch them in concert at the Grand Ole Opry House. (Tickets sold out – check with your favorite ticket reseller.) Tuesday night features the legendary Stevie Wonder at Bridgestone Arena, in his “Songs in the Key of Life Performance” tour. (Tickets still available through TicketMaster.) Friday night, The Bangles will be bringing their 80’s Cali-Pop sound to City Winery. (Seats remain and can be purchased through the City Winery website. And the country superstar I’d most like to meet – Alan Jackson is performing on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. (A limited number of ticket remain through TicketMaster.)

So, whether you’ll be checking out the latest in slip-on footwear in Nashville, celebrating the farmer’s friend in Columbia, or kicking up your heels at a concert – have some fun in early April!