Late Summer and early Autumn are among the most popular times to be outdoors in Tennessee, particularly in the mountains, where the temperatures turn downright pleasant and the leaves start to change.
It’s also the best time to find a fair in Tennessee, and Tennessee fairs are huge fun! They’re typically full of funky food, quality live music (Memphis and Nashville are in TN, after all), and local competitions.
From August through October, myriad county fairs in Tennessee show off local 4-H livestock. Meanwhile the craft fairs in TN peddle handmade arts and crafts, and the Tennessee state fairgrounds are filled with family-friendly fun.
The Great TN State Fair and various Tennessee county fairs keep those Tennessee fairgrounds whirring for weeks with Ferris wheels, teacups, and other classic carnival rides.
As with agriculture fairs, they also teem with farm animals, and the old fashioned “fairest of the fair” beauty pageant is still very much a tradition.
The Gatlinburg crafts fair and the annual craft fairs at the Nashville Fairgrounds are perfect places for finding cool Christmas gifts, holiday decorations, and all sorts of unique stuff.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the best fairs in Tennessee, including details about dates, hours, parking, and other pertinent info to help make it a memorable experience for the whole family!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Places to See Fall in Tennessee
Fairs in TN Guide
- Appalachian Fair
- Cheatham County Fair
- Coffee County Fair
- Decatur County Fair
- Dickson County Fair
- Dyer County Fair
- Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
- Tennessee Craft Fair
- Tennessee Medieval Faire
- Tennessee State Fair/Wilson County Fair
Tennessee County Fairs, Craft Fairs & More
1. Appalachian Fair
Gray TN, August 21-26
Operating for nearly 100 years now, the Appalachian Fair is held in Gray TN, which is a suburb of Johnson City.
Gray is close to mountain towns like Bristol TN/VA, Jonesborough, Elizabethton, and Bluff City.
The fair in Gray TN takes place in late August, opening from 3-10 PM Monday through Friday, with a final bonanza on Saturday from 10 AM to 10 PM.
This fair has the unique feature of focusing on Appalachian culture, including livestock competitions, food contests, and pageants.
The Appalachian Fair also has live music every night, as well as special activities all day. Tickets are $10.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Bristol TN/VA
2. Cheatham County Fair
Ashland City TN, August 17-19
The 3-day Cheatham County Fair is held in Ashland City, which is close enough (half an hour) to consider it one of the fairs in Nashville TN.
This mid-August fair has a lot of car-based entertainment, including mud races, demolition derbies, and mud bogs. There’s also an annual chili cook-off.
Like any good fair, there are plenty of fun rides (including the Texas Twister) and game booths.
They also have competitions like “Fairest in the Fair” and square dancing, as well as 4-H agricultural contests and youth talent shows.
Entry into the fair is $15 at the gate. Note that there are no ATMs on site, so it’s important to bring small bills for having fun at the games and vendor booths.
3. Coffee County Fair
Manchester TN, September 1-9
This fair lasts for over a week (September 1-9 in 2023), and it’s filled with contests. In addition to typical TN fair pageants and competitions, the Coffee County Fair has pumpkin painting, coloring, and marble counting contests.
On the final weekend, the competitions include fun categories like ice cream eating, best beard and mullet, and rooster crowing.
The livestock barn is open to visitors all throughout the week, and Coffee County Central High School hosts the beauty pageants.
Tickets to enter the fair are either $5 or $10, depending on the day.
4. Decatur County Fair
Parsons TN, August 20-25
Close enough to be considered a Jackson TN fair, the Decatur County Fair in Parsons TN is about 90 minutes east of Nashville, and a couple of hours northwest of Memphis.
The Decatur County Fair takes place in late-August, opening at 5 PM on weekday evenings and 1 PM on the weekends.
This is a true agriculture fair, with livestock shows at 5 PM every night and cooking competitions that include casseroles, chocolate pie, and other baked goods.
As is Tennessee fair tradition, there are Miss, Junior Miss, and Little Miss pageants. There are also exhibits about Natchez Trace wildlife, wood carving traditions, and even a cow milking simulator.
Admission to the fair is free.
5. Dickson County Fair
Dickson TN, Aug 31 – Sept 4
Another long-standing institution in the Tennessee fair circuit, the Dickson County Fair has been operating since 1924 at the Dickson County Fairgrounds.
The 2023 Dickson TN fair takes place from August 31 through September 4, with the opening times changing depending on the day.
In addition to the typical fair offerings, Dickson’s fair has a lot of automotive-based activities, including a demolition derby, a truck pull, and a jump ‘n’ run.
Children ages 10 and under get in for free, while adults pay $10 each, and Sunday is a special “carload” day.
6. Dyer County Fair
Dyersburg TN, September 4-9
Dyersburg is located in the far western reaches of Tennessee (just north of Memphis), where the Dyer County Fair has been happening for over 75 years now.
The fair is open for 6 days, from September 4-9, and showcases agriculture, live music, and other aspects of Dyer County’s culture.
Some of the special events at the West TN fair include a demolition derby and a tractor pull, youth talent shows, and daily “music on the back porch.”
Their admission prices change nightly, including some great bracelet specials for those who are looking to make the most of the carnival rides and games.
7. Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
Gatlinburg TN, October
For a couple of weeks every October, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair features hundreds of booths with handmade products for sale.
Nearing its 50th anniversary, this annual Tennessee craft fair is one of the most popular events in the region, filling the 150,000-square-foot Gatlinburg Convention Center.
The Gatlinburg craft fair has live demonstrations of artisans building tables, baskets, carpets, and more. There’s live music daily, and the concerts are included with admission.
Ticket prices are $10 per adult, with those under age 17 get in for free with a paying adult!
8. Tennessee Craft Fair
Nashville TN, October 13-15
In our experience one of the best fairs in Nashville TN, the Tennessee Craft Fair has been celebrating the arts and crafts of this region for well over 50 years now.
Held at the Nashville TN fairgrounds in Centennial Park over a weekend in mid-October, this annual fair draws hundreds of vendors and thousands of eager shoppers.
Beyond booths of one-of-a-kind crafts for sale, the fair also has a kids’ tent, live demonstrations, and invited artists.
These artisans work in basketry, leather, wood, metal, paper, textiles, glass, paint, photography, and more. There are even workshops for budding crafts enthusiasts!
9. Tennessee Medieval Faire
Harriman TN, October
Ever since I was young, I’ve been a sucker for Renaissance fairs. The Tennessee Medieval Faire in Harriman TN has a very similar feeling.
The festival is held over the first three weekends in October, opening on Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM.
Their entire festival staff comes in period costumes, and attendees are encouraged to dress up as well. Even the grounds are staged to look as much like Medieval times as possible.
Guests can enjoy all sorts of medieval games, comedy shows, old-world crafts, fun foods, delicious adult beverages, and plenty of shenanigans and tomfoolery.
10. Tennessee State Fair/Wilson County Fair
Lebanon TN, August
This is the big Tennessee State Fair in Lebanon TN, which was formerly known as the Wilson County Fair.
It lasts for about a week in late August, and in my opinion it’s the crème de la crème of Tennessee fairs, featuring both Wilson County and Tennessee State competitions.
The fair also has live music on multiple stages, dozens of midway rides, and plenty of game booths.
Different days of the fair have different ticket specials, such as $1 rides on opening day, ride armbands on the weekends, and bargain nights on weekdays. –by Jonathon Engels; featured photo via Canva