Festivals in Tupelo, MS

Tupelo, MS is home to several festivals, including the Elvis, Azalea, GumTree and Tupelo Film Festival.

Kevin Litwin
On Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 23:38
Tupelo, MS

You can hop into a classic car and attend the Blue Suede Cruise during the first weekend of May, then make a pig of yourself at the Tupelo Pig Roast on the second weekend of May.

Those are just two of many festival options that Tupelo offers its residents – and visitors – on an annual basis.

Tupelo Elvis Festival

One of the more well-known events is the Tupelo Elvis Festival that takes place during the first weekend of June.

“More than 10,000 people attend this hometown tribute each summer, with activities that include an Elvis Look-Alike Pet Parade and a 5K Running With the King race,” says Debbie Brangenberg, director of the Tupelo Elvis Festival and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association. “The celebration began in 1999 and has been going strong ever since.”

One highlight is an Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition that draws top impersonators and musicians influenced by Presley’s music and style. “In addition, there is a carnival, food and a Sunday gospel concert,” Brangenberg says. “The festival appeals to people of all ages.”

Cellular South GumTree Festival

Meanwhile, Mother’s Day weekend in Tupelo means more than lunch with Mom. For nearly 40 years, it has also meant heading downtown to the lawn of Lee County Courthouse for the Cellular South GumTree Festival. The two-day May event is orchestrated by the GumTree Museum of Art and includes a 5K run, songwriting contests and a juried competition for artists and craftspeople.

Azalea Festival

Tupelo is also home to an Azalea Festival each April at Veterans Park, and an All-America City Picnic in July at Ballard Park. There is also a Tupelo Film Festival that began in May 2005 to attract avid moviemakers and moviegoers into town, and nowadays the gathering provides an opportunity for independent moviemakers to network with one another.

Tupelo Film Festival

About 25 filmmakers and 450 movie watchers attend the Tupelo Film Festival, with all movies screened at the historic Lyric Theatre. Awards are presented in categories such as Best Feature, Best Feature Documentary and Best Short Documentary, and recognition is also given in the experimental, student, comedy and children’s film categories.

North Mississippi State Fair

Also in Tupelo, a North Mississippi State Fair is showcased every September at Lee County Agri-Center, and a Fall Chili Fest takes center stage in October along Broadway Street downtown. At the Oren Dunn Museum each May, a Dudie Burger Festival takes place to serve unique Dudie hamburgers that first became famous in Tupelo during World War II.

Taste of Tupelo

And for those who appreciate more good taste, dinner is served each January whenever Taste of Tupelo arrives in town. The Community Development Foundation sponsors the Taste as part of its annual Business-to-Business Connection Expo. CDF hosts the two-day expo for all its members, and the Taste of Tupelo on the first night is a popular way to begin the entire event. The Taste occurs at BancorpSouth Arena with more than 20 restaurants showcasing their trademark dishes.

Read more on fun festivals in Tupelo, MS.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.