Bring your group to these top events across America’s Southeast.
Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival is the largest fine arts festival in the state. Founded 43 years ago, this two-day event in early November features exhibitions by more than 400 artists and crafters and draws more than 150,000 people to the town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
The event was first organized to honor Peter Anderson, a local master potter credited with pioneering the area’s arts scene in the 1920s. Organizers envisioned an event that would create public awareness of local artists and businesses in the area. Today, the festival has grown to showcase the creative work of people from all across the Southeast.
Groups that visit the festival can browse the arts and crafts booths for handmade goods to take home. There’s also food available from vendor booths. The festival is a street fair, with booths set up beneath the live oaks lining downtown Ocean Springs.
Wilson County Fair
About 30 miles east of Nashville, the town of Lebanon, Tennessee, is usually quieter than its famous neighbor. But for nine days each August, Lebanon turns up the volume for the Wilson County Fair, which has grown to become the largest county fair in the state.
Like all great fairs, the Wilson County Fair features a wide variety of attractions and experiences designed to appeal to a diverse crowd of attendees. More than 100 musical artists, including nationally known headliners each night, typically perform across eight stages. In addition to the music, visitors enjoy about 50 rides and games, as well as lots of fair food and other concessions.
The Wilson County Fair also shines a spotlight on the area’s agricultural heritage. The fair serves as the umbrella organization for a number of livestock shows where children and adult farmers exhibit cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and more.
Crush Wine and Food Festival
Huntsville, Alabama, is known as Rocket City, but each year in September, it becomes a destination for wine lovers during the five-day Crush Wine and Food Festival. Launched in 2014, this event is Alabama’s first state winery competition.
During this festival in Big Spring International Park, participants can sample more than 150 varieties of wine — ranging from dark red cabernets to bright and sweet chardonnays — produced by vineyards around the state. An information tent on site allows them to place orders for new favorite bottles they discover at the festival.
To go along with the wine, there’s a grape stomping, as well as chocolate- and cheese-pairing samples. In between flights of wine, visitors can listen to live music from local artists and order food from one of the city’s plentiful food trucks.
Oglebay Resort Festival of Lights
Wheeling, West Virginia
For more than 90 years, the 2,000-acre Oglebay Resort has been a favorite of families and groups traveling in the Appalachian foothills of northern West Virginia. The property is impressive at any time of year, but it comes alive with brilliant color for the holiday season during the Festival of Lights.
Beginning in early November and extending into mid-January, the Festival of Lights is one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows. More than 1 million people attend the festival each year. Guests drive through a 300-acre portion of the grounds to see dozens of large-scale light displays depicting a variety of festive holiday scenes.
The resort offers a number of packages for groups during the Festival of Lights. Options include day tours or overnight plans that can be customized to include step-on guides, behind-the-scenes tours of the holiday lights and tours of other historic attractions at Oglebay Park.