From many of the Southeast's most time honored annual spring traditions to Mother's Day celebrations and the Memorial Day weekend transition from the spring into the summer travel season, May offers visitors to the Southeast U.S. an array of great festivals and spring happenings.
May 2014 Highlights - Celebrations
- Mother's Day
Celebrated in the United States on the second Sunday in May, Mother's Day weekend is a great time to plan a special day-trip, getaway or visit to enjoy a fun Mother's Day weekend festival.
- Memorial Day Weekend Ceremonies and Events
Find out about many wonderful commemorative events and other annual festivals, which take place during Memorial Day weekend throughout the Southeast U.S.
May 2014 - Festivals and Events
- Spring Food Festivals
Enjoy local specialties from fresh seafood to, smoked barbecue and local produce and more at one of these featured spring food-themed festivals, including several in May.
- May Arts Festivals
May is a wonderful month to enjoy visual, performing and cultural arts in the Southeast U.S. From Charleston's world famous Spoleto Festival to the Atlanta Jazz Festival or the Virginia Arts Festival, there are several excellent arts festivals held each year in May.
- Biltmore Blooms
Asheville, North Carolina
Welcome spring with a visit to Biltmore Estate during the Festival of Flowers, featuring brilliant displays of thousands of colorful flowers, spring-themed programs and activities, plus special events for Easter.
- Carthage Buggy Festival
Carthage, North Carolina
Each year, on the Saturday before Mother's Day, Carthage, North Carolina (located eight miles north of Pinehurst) celebrates its rich history and the famous Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory with a county community festival. The festival, offers gospel, country and rock music as well as food and craft vendors, children's entertainment and more.
- The Cotton Pickin’ Fair
Featuring antiques, an arts and crafts festival, country food and more, this annual community oriented fair offers a glimpse of farm life from days gone by.
- Coca Cola Speed Street 20 Festival
Charlotte, North Carolina
Known as the world’s largest race festival and celebrating NASCAR’s strong heritage in the Charlotte area, this annual event features cars, stars and guitars with past NASCAR Champions, NASCAR Pit Crews, exhibits for all ages and non-stop entertainment on three stages, plus more.
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Throughout Memorial Day weekend, this popular festival features beautiful hot-air balloons, concerts by the nation's top entertainers, amusement rides, games, displays, children's activities, great food and more.
- Georgia Renaissance Festival
Located just minutes south of Atlanta, Georgia near Exit 61 of I-85
The eagerly awaited Georgia Renaissance Festival features weekend spring fun (mid April - early June) including colorfully costumed performers and nonstop entertainment, a 32-acre Artisan Market, thrilling rides and games, parades, great food, jousting contests, period activities and more.
- The Gullah Festival of South Carolina
Beaufort, South Carolina
Held on the weekend before Memorial Day, the Gullah Festival of South Carolina celebrates the history, customs, cultures, and accomplishments of the African Americans of the Lowcountry.
- The Kentucky Derby - The Kentucky Oaks - The Kentucky Derby Festival
The time-honored Kentucky Derby is held each year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville and the Kentucky Oaks (Thoroughbred racing’s prestigious race for three-year-old fillies) takes place on the day before Derby Day. During the weeks leading up to the races, the Kentucky Derby Festival features more than 70 events including North America's largest annual fireworks extravaganza, concerts, competitions, culinary events and more.
- Lowcountry Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet
McClellanville, South Carolina
Surrounding the blessing of the fleet is a full day of entertainment for the whole family, including live music and entertainment, exhibits of interest, displays by area artists, a special children's area and plenty of food and refreshments.
- Mount Vernon Spring Festivals and Events
Mount Vernon, Virginia
Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate in Alexandria, Virginia presents several fun festivals and special events each year during the spring and summer. Popular May events include the Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour and a Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon.
- Plum Hollow Blue Grass Festival
Campobello, South Carolina
Always held the last Weekend in May, this festival is dedicated to the innovations made by creative artists breaking new ground with old music.
- Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
Each year the citizens of Winchester, located in the picturesque and historic Shenandoah Valley, welcome spring with one of the oldest civic celebrations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The city is draped in pink, white and green bunting for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which features more than thirty events including dances, band competitions, the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, one of the largest Firefighters' Parades in the world and much more.
- Spartanburg Spring Fling
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Spring Fling, Spartanburg's longest running festival, is an arts, crafts, culinary and music festival that celebrates the community and downtown Spartanburg offering something for everyone.
- Spoleto Festival USA
Charleston, South Carolina
Firmly established as one of the world's major arts festivals, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina's historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces each spring with over 120 performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in disciplines ranging from opera, theater, music theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music, as well as the visual arts. The Festival kicks off during Memorial Day weekend each year and continues for several days in June.
- Trail Days
Celebrating the Appalachian Trail and the hikers, this popular annual event features music, games, a parade, talent show, hikes, plenty of food, and many other family-friendly and hiker-friendly events.
- Virginia Arts Festival
Various Venues from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach
This annual Virginia festival features artists from around the world in classical music, dance, theater, world music, jazz, chamber music and more.
- Virginia Gold Cup
The Plains, Virginia
This grand spring Virginia tradition, held on the first Saturday in May, is one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the greater Washington metropolitan area. The event, run in Fauquier County since 1922, features six hurdle and timber horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, tent, tailgate and hat contests, and over 30 vendor booths.
- Virginia Wine and Craft Festival
Front Royal, Virginia
Enjoy wine tasting from Virginia wineries plus an array of East Coast artists and crafters showing handmade jewelry, hand painted wine glasses, hand crafted musical instruments, pottery, iron work and more. A children's area provides plenty of fun for kids.
More Southeast U.S. May Events from About.com's City and Travel Guides
- Atlanta Travel - May Events
- Charlotte, North Carolina - May Events
- Florida Travel - May Events
- Huntsville, Alabama - May Events
- Little Rock, Arkansas - May Events
- Louisville, Kentucky - Calendar of Events
- Miami Local - May Events
- Memphis, Tennessee - May Events
- Nashville, Tennessee - May Events
- New Orleans Travel - Calendar of Events
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina - Calendar of Events