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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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"Sailing into the Future" - Float in 1999 Iris Festival Parade
Sailing Into the Future - Float in the Iris Festival Parade, May 1, 1999 Photo: Dieter Ullrich

Tennessee Iris Festival

The Tennessee Iris Festival in Dresden evolved from the annual Easter Parade, which began in 1979. After years of bad weather, the Dresden Business Association, which sponsored the parade, reorganized the event and held it later in the spring.

In 1985, the event became the Iris Festival to honor the state flower, and was held over the first weekend in May. More than a thousand people came to see 70 entries in the first grand parade. Over the years, the festival has continued to grow, attracting groups from across northwest Tennessee, and is now managed by an executive board of the City of Dresden.

Groups from Dyer, Crockett, Carroll, Henry, and Madison counties march in the parade, along with one hundred other entries. More than 5,000 people watch the parade, and participate in other festival activities that include a health fair, flower show, poster contest, quilt show, golf tournament, 5K run, art show, and barbecue cookoff.

Documentation includes festival brochures, photographs, a newspaper festival insert and articles.

Originally submitted by: John S. Tanner, Representative (8th 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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