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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Mule Show, April 1996
Mule Show, Maury County Park, April 1996 Photo: Louise Mills

Mule Day

Held in Columbia the first weekend in April (or, if that coincides with Easter, the second weekend in April), Mule Day attracts crowds of more than 200,000. In 1999 there were visitors from 38 states and several countries, and the economic impact for the area was estimated at $14 million annually. Mule Day profits are donated to local charities.

The Mule Day festival originated in 1934 and has been held continuously since 1974 under the sponsorship of the Maury County Bridle and Saddle Club. It has grown from a one-day event to a four-day spectacular. Its roots are found in Breeders Day, a yearly livestock show and market held since about 1840. Mules were once such big business in Maury County, Columbia Mule Day had the distinction of being one of the largest livestock markets in the world. Some of the events currently featured during Mule Day are mule pulls and shows, parades with more than 350 entries, horse shows, an arts and crafts flea market, a liars contest, square dance, a knife and coin show, clogging contest, musical shows, petting zoo and other children's activities, a pancake breakfast and the sale of local delicacies such as barbecue, homemade pies, roasted corn, and funnel cakes.

Project documentation includes an extensive report detailing the history of Mule Day in Columbia, the early history of the mule in America, a copy of a proclamation signed by the governor of Tennessee declaring Mule Day for 1987, eighteen 8 x 10 photographs, and a videotape of the 1999 Mule Day Parade and Donkey Softball game.

Originally submitted by: Ed Bryant, Representative (7th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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