Here’s a list of what to do this weekend: a big dam party, tomatoes, rockabilly, and more.
FRIDAY, JULY 29
Norris Dam 80th Birthday Celebration
Norris Dam State Park (Rocky Top) • Free
TVA is commemorating the 80th anniversary of Norris Dam—and “the dawn of a new, innovative plan that paved the way for the Tennessee Valley Authority to transform an entire region of the country and bring rural America out of the darkness”—with a weekend full of family-friendly events running today through Sunday, featuring tours, educational displays, family nature walks, and Knoxville Track Club’s Big Dam Race, an 8K competitive run on the trails in the state park surrounding the dam. Visit the TVA website or the Norris Dam State Park site for more information. It’s all free, except for the 8K. Visit ktc.org for info on the race.
Grainger County Tomato Festival
Downtown Rutledge • Free
Celebrate East Tennessee’s most famous tomato crop just a few miles northeast of Knoxville at the granddaddy of regional summer festivals, running through Sunday. There’s music, arts and crafts, kids’ entertainment, the Mater Madness 5K, a beauty pageant, and, on Saturday and Sunday, the famous tomato wars. Visit the festival website for a complete schedule.
Shakespeare on the Square
Market Square • 7 p.m. • Free
Brave the heat and humidity for free dramatic edification at the Tennessee Stage Company’s annual presentation of the best of the Bard on the Market Square outdoor stage. Tonight and Sunday, it’s Shakespeare’s crowning tragedy, King Lear; on Saturday, the fat knight Falstaff takes center stage in The Merry Wives of Windsor. (For $15, you can grab VIP seating.)
SATURDAY, JULY 30
Darrell Scott is Nashville royalty—a poet, songwriter, session player/sideman, and solo performer whose resume includes collaborations with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, and Steve Earle. He’s headlining this first-ever festival in the woods near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which also includes Jay Clark and the Tree Beavers and the Lonesome Coyotes and gourmet food prepared by Dancing Bear’s executive chef, Shelley Cooper.
Knoxville Girls Rock Camp Showcase
Scruffy City Hall • 4 p.m. • $10
The kids from Knoxville Girls Rock Camp (read S. Heather Duncan’s feature here) show off what they’ve learned about rock’n’ roll and empowerment this week. Every year, campers form their own bands and write original music for this girl-power extravaganza.
The Kentucky-based Shack Shakers deliver hell-raising hillbilly good times on Market Square. With Skunk Ruckus and the Banditos.
SUNDAY, JULY 31
Summer Movie Magic: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Tennessee Theatre • 2 p.m. • $9
The iconic 1961 All-American romantic comedy about a party girl and her novelist paramour, complete with the romantic standard “Moon River.” For some 21st-century insight into the movie, read this Vanity Fair Q&A with Sam Wasson about his book Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman—“the story of how a book about a gay man in love with a call girl turned into a beloved romance between a dreamboat and a style maven.”
Laid-back SoCal surfer/indie rock inspired by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Byrds, and Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. With Paperwork and Hard Feelings.
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