Nashville is gearing up for the many July the Fourth celebrations around the city on Thursday including music, food, races and fireworks. To help you plan your day, we've prepared a quick guide describing each of the top events around town. Each one promises to deliver a fantastic time for you and the family. And since we think it's just too hard to choose just one, we recommend hitting them all! You can kick start your day with a race, then head over to the annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival and Nashville Dancin, and then enjoy the programs and fireworks displays at the Let Freedom Sing event downtown and Franklin on the 4th in downtown Franklin.
Maryland Farms; Race starts at 7:00am
Held early on the morning of the 4th, this annual classic is one of our favorite races. The course starts at the Maryland Farms YMCA and winds all through the streets of Brentwood. It's a super flat, fast and easy course and good for all level of racer. The event ends where it starts at the YMCA and there is even a pool party the evening of July 3 for all race participants. Additionally, make sure to dress up in your best patriotic costume as there is a costume contest at this race! At 8am, the kids fun run starts and each child gets a shirt and their very own dog tag necklace.
Nashville Striders Firecracker 5000
Opry Mills Shopping Center; Race starts at 7:00am
Another interesting twist on a 4th of July race, the Nashville Striders Firecracker 5000 takes racers on a loop around the Opry Mills Shopping Complex. Put on by the Nashville Striders ensures this event is done right. Make sure to stick around for the free 1mile Kids Fun Run that starts at 8:30. As usual, there will be refreshments, door prizes and an awards ceremony after the race. As with the Firecracker 5k, the Striders 5000 will also have a costume contest with awards going to the best patriotic running attire.
10 Public Square Park, Downtown Nashville; Races start at 7:30
Whether you're looking to get to downtown Nashville early for the entire day or you want to add a little length to your morning race, the Music City July 4th 5k/ 10k is your option. With two race options, a 5k and 10k, the races wind through the best parts of downtown Nashville and end right by Riverfront Park where you can enjoy the 4th festivities for the remainder of the day. Each race participant receives a shirt and a cool July 4th finisher medal. For those running the 10k option, you'll simply run the 5k course twice, keeping it pretty simple. There will be giveaways, prizes and just as the other races, a costume party with prizes for the best race costumes! Finally, the Salvation Army's Conservatory Summer Kids will be preforming at 8:30.
East Park Community Center 10:30am-3pm
The annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival celebrating an original Nashville culinary tradition - hot chicken! This free event is the perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July, featuring the unique southern flare of local restaurants, amateur cooking competition, inflatables for the children, the Yazoo Brewery beer garden, and of course, legendary Nashville music. The first 500 people will be treated to free hot chicken samples from Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, The Chicken Shack and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish. After the free bird is gone, you can head over to the food garden and purchase some tasty hot chicken.
New this year is the Hot Chicken Festival Parade, beginning at 10:30 at 8th and Woodland heading west and ending at East Park Community Center. The parade will feature former mayor and festival founder Bill Purcell, as well as antique fire trucks and tons of surprises.
Riverfront Park; Noon-6:00pm
Nashville Dancin, the free weekly summer concert series held on Thursdays at Riverfront Park, will open up the 4th of July festivities this year starting at noon. Live music will begin at noon, with artists alternating between the State Water Heaters afternoon stage at Riverfront Park and the Advance Financial 24/7 day stage at the Lawn at Riverfront Park. Large screens at each location will show all live acts to downtown visitors. There will be free parking at Lots A-D at LP Field, but no shuttle, so wear your walking shoes and take the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. Here's the schedule for both stages:
Afternoon Stage at Riverfront Park
12 p.m. – The Cultivation
1:35 p.m. – Molly Sue Gonzalez
3:25 p.m. – Phoenix Stone
5:20 p.m. Derek St Holmes Band
Day Stage at The Lawn at Riverfront Park
12:55 p.m. – The Willis Clan
2:30 p.m. – Joey DeGraw
4:20 p.m. – Chris Mulkey and Deluxe
The Lawn at Riverfront Park; 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Billed as one of the BEST 4th of July celebrations in the country, the Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing draws over 100,000 event goers every year. This year's lineup is not to be missed and the event culminates with the South's largest fireworks show performed in rhythm with the Nashville Symphony. Also, make sure you check out the free Family Fun Zone!
This year's lineup includes:
7 p.m. – Striking Matches
7:30 p.m. – Keb’Mo’
8:35 p.m. – The Band Perry
9:50 p.m. – July 4th Fireworks choreographed to performance by Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Downtown Franklin; 10:00am - 8:00pm
Franklin's annual Franklin on the 4th festivities are moving back to Downtown Franklin this year. As with all Franklin festivals, starting at 10am the downtown square will be filled with music, children's activities, food, crafts, and more. For the kids, the Kids Zone will have huge inflatables, slides, a rock climbing wall, a full petting zoo and more. At 5:00pm, the annual Childrens Parade will take place with all children present lining up and parading through the streets. Prizes will go to children with the best costumes, decorated bikes and wagons and even pets can get in on the action! The entire event culminates with a great fireworks display that can be seen right from the streets of downtown Franklin so bring your chairs and enjoy.
Last year's event drew 10,000 people and this year, with the return to Downtown Franklin, we should easily see that many again.
This year's lineup of festivities include:
10:00 a.m. Festival Opens, Band (Bluegrass) - The Hinckley Brothers
11:30 a.m. Tommy Jackson's "Rocky Top Revue"
1:00 p.m. Band - "The Boxtops"
2:30 p.m. Band (Bluegrass) - "HanaLena"
4:00 p.m. Children's Entertainment - "The Zinghopper's"
4:45 p.m. Line up for the Children's parade begins
5:00 p.m. Children’s parade begins - Zinghopper’s & Dixieland Band
5:15 p.m. Speech's, Recognitions, Pledge, Anthem, - Dixieland Band
6:30 p.m. Headlining Band - "The Devonshire's"
8:00 p.m. Festival Ends
While there is even more to see and do around the city, these are just our picks for the top ways to spend the 4th around the city. Let us know your favorites or anything we left off!