No Foolin’ – a Fun Way to Support the Ronald McDonald House

This fun event features food from some of Nashville’s eateries, live jazz performed by Nashville’s talented Denny Jiosa, an outstanding selection of silent auction items, and a selection of wine, beer and spirits tastings skillfully curated by Ed Fryer of Village Wines & Spirits in Hillsboro Village.

Some of the very best happenings in Nashville are those that benefit schools, philanthropic organizations or charities. One of my personal favorite happenings is scheduled for this Friday, April 1. Continue reading “No Foolin’ – a Fun Way to Support the Ronald McDonald House”

Where to Go in Nashville (When You’re Too Lazy to Change Clothes)

Slap on a hat and some glasses and go have fun!

Nashville is a casual place. One of the reasons we don’t fawn over celebrities in public is that, honestly, when they’re dressed as casually as we are, we simply don’t recognize them! Continue reading “Where to Go in Nashville (When You’re Too Lazy to Change Clothes)”

Get Your Happy Self to Downtown Nashville

Wouldn’t it be a waste to keep all that happy energy at home this weekend?

Yesterday, as I was driving through 12South at lunchtime, I watched a pickup truck pull into a lane occupied by a Porsche. Nobody was hurt, but some body shop will get a few thousand dollars’ worth of business. The really remarkable thing was that, as the drivers pulled off to a side street to exchange information, they didn’t look angry – they weren’t cussing – the driver of that dinged-up sportscar looked as peaceful and pleasant as can be.

That’s the effect this kind of weather can have on you. We’re all smiles in Nashville these days. Okay, granted, we’re all smiles in Nashville a lot of the time (it’s our thing), but when the summer heat and humidity finally break, and our morning walks are almost jacket-worthy, and the sky is refreshingly blue…and we know that Fall is just around the corner but we’re still busy celebrating Summer…well, it just makes us really happy. As the saying goes, “Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!?!”

Now, wouldn’t it be a waste to keep all that happy energy at home this weekend? Yes – yes, it would. So this weekend, you should get your happy self to downtown Nashville. You might not have tickets to any of the Americana Fest concerts, you may not want to pay to spend the day rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs at the Music City Food & Wine Festival, the German-themed Volksfest at the Nashville Farmers Market might not be your cup of bier (you see what I did there?), hanging out with emerging businesses at the SoBro Fest, Jazz on the Cumberland River might not Sound Like Fun to you, spending a couple of hours inside at the Home Decorating and Remodeling Show may not be of interest, and you may be bored with the idea of a Cornelia Fort Pickin’ Party.

What are you, nuts?!? The point is, ALL of these are special events going on – most of them outdoors, a few of them free! So how does this sound for a weekend plan…put on your walking shoes, catch a bus or rideshare downtown and just start enjoying yourself! Maybe you can stop into a souvenir shop and get a new Nashville t-shirt. Perhaps this will be your opportunity to try one of the downtown restaurants that get so crowded. If your timing’s good, you can pause on the narrow strip of lawn by the Gateway Bridge and listen in on Steve Earle’s set at Ascend Amphitheater. Or now is the time you can go check out Trisha Yearwood’s and Garth Brook’s new stars at the Music City Walk of Fame Park.

This is one weekend where the idea of heading downtown with no particular place to go Sounds Like Fun to me. Perhaps I’ll see you…and we’ll both be smiling!

Preserving Summer in Middle Tennessee

For those of us who are not quite ready to declare summer over, this weekend offers some good entertainment options.

Although daily temperatures are still topping 90 degrees here in Nashville, this wonderful summer is winding down fast. Kids are back in school, and college campuses will soon be bustling again. For those of us who are not quite ready to declare summer over, this weekend (August 15-16) offers some good entertainment options.

When it comes to county fairs, the Wilson County Fair is widely accepted as the biggest and best in Middle Tennessee. In

A proud moment for me - my homemade salsa won a blue ribbon in the Wilson County Fair!
My homemade salsa won a blue ribbon in the Wilson County Fair!

fact, in some important aspects (like attendance), it’s even bigger than the upcoming Tennessee State Fair. Whether you enjoy rides on the midway, or admiring the talents of local artisans and gardeners, or marveling at the variety of livestock and poultry – this is a county fair for you. The Wilson County Fair swings into full gear on Friday, August 14 and will continue through August 22 with a variety of activities and events each day. Gates open at 5pm on weeknights, at 10am on Saturdays, and at noon on Sundays. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children aged 6-12. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. If you don’t mind staying at the fair until 9pm, there is also a unique opportunity on Saturdays to ride the Music City Star train round trip from Nashville to the fairgrounds for $21 adults/$16 children 6-12.

Seeing all the lovely home canned goods at the fair may put you in the mood to do some preserving of your own. On Saturday afternoon (3-5pm) at the Nashville Farmers Market, you can sign up for a home canning “immersion workshop” to learn the basics of preserving fruits and vegetables. The class costs $45 – all supplies are provided, and you will go home with a couple of jars of canned goods.

Sunday, then, is the day to put your new canning and preservation skills to work. Head back to the Nashville Farmers Market, or your favorite local produce stand, to pick up the ingredients you’ll need to make delicious and lovely jars to enjoy or share through the seasons ahead. I’m thinking that pickled peaches (or possibly habanero pickled peaches) will be my focus this weekend!

“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!