Soak up the last days of spring with festivals, fundraisers, and fun races galore. Here’s everything you need to put on your calendar this May.
Day Out With Thomas at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Catch the final day of this family-favorite event at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and his friend Percy, Day Out With Thomas will be filled with train-themed activities such as train play tables, temporary tattoos, live entertainment, appearances by Sir Topham Hatt, and more. Train rides behind Thomas depart every hour, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m.
Southern Blooms Festival
May 7-8, 14-15
April showers bring May flowers, and they’re all in bloom at Rock City on Lookout Mountain! From mischievous fairies in Gnome Valley and live harp music at Lover’s Leap to specialty butterfly pea tea at Café 7, the annual Southern Blooms Festival celebrates the beauty of springtime in style. Rock City is also offering a special Mother’s Day Tea, which includes tickets to the festival and a keepsake plant for Mom.
Southern Fried Food Truck Festival
Save the date for the Southern Fried Food Truck Festival at the Collegedale Commons. Featuring a variety of food vendors showcasing Southern cuisine at its best, the festival is for anyone with a hearty appetite. Also, a part of the festivities is live entertainment, pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatables, and over 150 vendors to shop from. With free admission and free parking, there’s really no excuse not to stop by!
Gran Fondo Hincapie
With 15-, 50-, and 80-mile routes that begin in the center of the Scenic City, Chattanooga’s Gran Fondo Hincapie has a race for every skill level. The premier cycling event features on-site viewing screens, course and segment timing, live tracking and streaming, and celebrity cyclists along for the ride. After the main event, participants can celebrate their race with loved ones at the family festival, which boasts free food, beer, and entertainment for all.
Bunny Hops! 2022
Chambliss Center for Children is hosting this family-friendly fundraiser at the First Horizon Pavilion from 6 until 8:30 p.m. While Mom and Dad enjoy the evening’s festivities – including dinner and a silent auction – the kiddos can participate in activities like arts and crafts, a petting station, inflatables, and more. Children will also receive a Peter Rabbit coloring book to take home. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend!
WanderLinger Music + Arts Festival
Three full days of music, beer, and art are coming to Chattanooga courtesy of WanderLinger Brewing Company. Funk You, Daniel Donato, Masseuse, and Oweda have been tapped to headline a stellar lineup of musicians, and food from Goodfellas Pizzeria will be available for purchase. This event is for ages 21 and up on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday is Family Day – and the kids (under 12) get in free! Both single-day and three-day passes can be found online.
Water Lantern Festival
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the family-friendly Water Lantern Festival in Hixson’s Chester Frost Park. Attendees have plenty of time to enjoy food trucks, music, and design their own lantern (floating lantern kit, LED candle, and marker provided) before the Lantern Launch at 8:30 – a beautiful sight you won’t soon forget. Get your ticket early for a discounted rate!
Hike Bike Brew: 2022 Lula Lake Beer Festival
For the seventh year, Lula Lake Land Trust will be throwing the ultimate beer festival that combines Chattanooga’s three greatest loves: hiking, biking, and brews. Beginning at 1 p.m., guests can travel the “Beer Path Loop” – featuring 10 participating brewers – that leads to famous Lula Lake and Lula Falls. Did we mention there will also be food from Frothy Monkey, Tremont Tavern, and Pie Slingers Pizzeria? All ticket proceeds will go toward Lula Lake’s trail work and conservation efforts.
Patrick Davis & Friends at McLemore
Kicking off the 2022 McLemore Songwriter Series – which offers exclusive performances from May through October – is Patrick Davis, a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with over a decade of experience in the industry. In addition to releasing four of his own full-length albums, Davis has had more than 50 songs recorded by artists such as Darius Rucker, Jewel, and Jimmy Buffett. Tickets to the performance are $55.
Spirits in the Wild
Join the Chattanooga Zoo for evening of cocktails, entertainment, and unique artwork – all while supporting the zoo and your favorite furry creatures. From 6 until 10 p.m., guests can sample wines, beers, and spirits from around the world along with tasty treats from the Scenic City’s best local restaurants. Animal encounters, live music from Peter Moon Band and Stringer’s Ridge Band, and live art demonstrations are also included in the admission price.
IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga
IRONMAN 70.3, presented by McKee – A Family Bakery, is returning to the Scenic City and provides the perfect opportunity to train for the September IRONMAN. The race includes a point-to-point swim, transitions into a bike course, and finishes with a two-loop run. The event offers qualifying slots for the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah.
Chattanooga Beer Fest
After a sold-out first year, the Chattanooga Beer Fest’s second year plans to be bigger and better with even more brewers. The event offers unlimited samples of craft beer and spirits to attendees for one ticketed price. Food trucks will be on-site, and the musical lineup features Troubadour Blue and Monday Night Social, all taking place at the First Horizon Pavilion from noon until 3 p.m.
Street Food Festival
The Chattanooga Market is bringing in the best food trucks our area has to offer for the annual Street Food Festival, set for Sunday, May 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Horizon Pavilion. Foodies, you’re going to want to wear your stretchy pants – expect everything from donuts and pizza to stir-fry, empanadas, and tacos. This is a fantastic event for the whole family to enjoy (and will surely please every palate).
Memorial Day Celebration
Another year, another Memorial Day Celebration at McCoy Farm & Gardens on Signal Mountain – an event that promises fun for the whole family! Highlights include a salute to the flag and veterans, the national anthem, picnic food for purchase, a children’s play area, and local musical entertainment. The celebration lasts from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
2022 Chattanooga Chase
For the 55th year, Chattanooga’s oldest active competitive road race will take over the historic and scenic Riverview neighborhood. This Memorial Day event features an 8K and one-mile race starting from Riverview Park at 1857 Riverview Road; the 8K begins at 8 a.m., and the one-mile begins at 10 a.m. The top 25 finishers in both the male and female categories will receive a special edition Chattanooga Chase t-shirt.
Hairspray at the Memorial Auditorium
May 31-June 2
This award-winning musical comedy phenomenon is back on tour and headed to Chattanooga’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium. Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad – a teen with big hair and an even bigger heart – following her dream of dancing on the Corny Collins Show TV program. With catchy songs including “Welcome to the 60s,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the show is sure to have audiences dancing in their seats. You have three nights to catch the 7:30 p.m. performance; tickets range from $38 to $83.