10 Franklin Experiences You’ll Want to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

From the solar eclipse to the Northern Lights—plus the kind of perfect weather that makes everything bloom just right—it’s been a spring for the record books in Franklin, Tennessee. The summer promises to be just as amazing, with bucket-list events and happenings throughout the season.

Summer means our area farmers markets are at their peak, with fruits, vegetables, meats, plants and artisanal goodies overflowing in multiple locations throughout the week. The granddaddy of them all is the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon under the pavilion at The Factory at Franklin. But the Factory is introducing a new Wednesday evening market,from 4 to 8 p.m. under the Water Tower that’s also worth checking out. And on Tuesdays, farmers are set up at Five Points in Downtown Franklin from 4 to 8 p.m., with everything from soap to cheeses, fresh flowers, and more.

If you’re looking to get out and explore, take a road trip on the Masters & Makers Trail through Williamson County. Covering more than 70 scenic miles through hills and hamlets, you’ll visit two distilleries, two breweries, and a celebrated winery while on it. From Leiper’s Fork Distillery on the south side of the county to Company Distilling in Thompson’s Station, Curio Brewing in Franklin and Mill Creek Brewing Company in Nolensville, and Arrington Vineyards to the east, you’ll find sips and stories that are true to the craft.

Opening June 13 for the summer, Morning Glory Orchard in Nolensville allows guests to get lost among 850+ apple and peach trees before sampling fresh juices, hard cider, and other delights from their farm store. Events throughout the season offer something for everyone, from craft classes and picnics to Tea in the Trees, a traditional English tea service between the rows. And through June and July, Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary in Brentwood is offering Firefly Hikes on the 300-acre property. Bring a picnic, watch the night fall, and get ready for a nocturnal adventure the whole family can enjoy!

If you’re looking for the perfect date night, head out to Leiper’s Fork and the ca. 1900 Parham Schoolhouse for Dinner in the Creek, where you’ll enjoy a social hour before being treated to a multi-course dinner hosted by BAM Foods that’s, yes, IN the shallow-water shoals of Leiper’s Creek. It’s an experience like no other, but remember: It is a 21+ event.

There’s plenty of live music to be had as well, such as the 21st Annual Blackberry Jam Music Festival on June 29, which will be held this year at the newly restored Hayes House in the 200-acre Park at Harlinsdale Farm. From the porch of the old Victorian farmhouse, an eclectic set of local musicians will play for the benefit of the Hard Bargain Association, while guests tickle their toes on the event lawn. 

On July 26 and 27, the Bluegrass Along the Harpeth Fiddlers Jamboree takes over Franklin’s town square with two days of incredible bluegrass pickers and players, all in support of the Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission.

When it comes to Independence Day, Franklin on the Fourth puts on a show of small-town Americana like no other. During the day, Public Square is full of arts, crafts, food and entertainment. Then, when the sun starts to set, everyone heads to The Park at Harlinsdale Farm for more fun and fireworks. The festival kicks off with the much-anticipated Patriotic Pet Parade at 10:30 a.m. and the Kids Parade is at 5 p.m. Gates open at the Tractor Supply Co. Arena at Harlinsdale just after, and the fireworks start around 9 p.m.

Then it’s the Tennessee Sunflower Festival July 6 and 7 at Lucky Ladd Farms. This farm-focused playground-themed park for kids of all ages was devastated by a tornado earlier this spring, but they’ve cleaned up and plan to reopen in time for the sunflower bloom. Walk among the blossoms, enjoy live music and great food, and experience the rides and exhibits that make this farm in Eagleville a local favorite. Don’t miss the Butterfly Observatory!

Finally, the 20th Anniversary of the Williamson County Fair promises nine days of fun from August 2-10 at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin. Recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive fairs in the South, our fair offers an incredible midway, national-level exhibits and shows, and traditional food and music that showcases the best of Middle Tennessee. New features this year include the Amazing Wonderland Circus, the interactive Wild Science Exhibit, and electrifying magic, juggling, stilt walking, balloon artists, and more. Check the website for details on themed days and specials throughout the Fair. 

There’s no shortage of summer fun to be had in and around Franklin, with unique experiences found nowhere else. This is the year to check them off the bucket list!