Live music, grand tastings, blossom watching, horse races and pirate antics ...the Southern United States plays host to a full calendar of travel-worthy festivals.
After a panel of Southern travel experts nominated their 20 favorite events, we turned it over to our readers to vote for their top picks. After four weeks of daily voting, the top 10 list has been decided.
Winning the title of Best Southern Event is the Memphis in May International Festival, a month-long celebration comprising multiple big events: The Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Sunset Symphony evening of classical music.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, runner-up for Best Southern Event, takes place each spring with dancing, concerts, a carnival, cooking contests, a parade and plenty of apples.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Southern Event are as follows:
- Memphis in May International Festival
- Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
- Tupelo Elvis Festival
- Cruisin' The Coast
- Luling Watermelon Thump
- 30A Songwriters Festival
- State Fair of Texas
- National Cherry Blossom Festival
A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Larry Bleiberg (LarryBleiberg.com), Tanner Latham (AuthenticUsStories.com) and Lacy Morris (10Best Editor) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of travel in the American South.
Additional nominees for Best Southern Event included Charleston Wine + Food Festival, the French Quarter Festival, Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Hangout Music Festival, the Kentucky Derby, Mardi Gras, New Orleans JazzFest, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, South by Southwest and Spoleto Festival USA.
10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners. The contest was promoted on 10Best and USA TODAY.License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo