Skip to content

The Celebration Lives Up To Its Name



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – You’ve gotta hand it to the gentlemen who got together back in 1939 and came up with an event to honor the Tennessee Walking Horse and named it “The Celebration.” There may never have been an event that reflected its name more than the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

            Each year, nearly a quarter-million fans will view eleven days and nights of competition among thousands of entries with the culmination coming on the Saturday night before Labor Day when the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse is crowned. It’s a “truly-Tennessee” spectacle like no other.

The Celebration is the term generally used to identify both the event and the organization that manages and presents it. The idea for a Walking Horse "festival" (later identified as the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration) is generally credited to the late Henry Davis of Wartrace, TN.

It began when Davis went to nearby Winchester one spring day in 1939 and observed the Crimson Clover Festival. He became very enthusiastic about what he saw and returned to Shelbyville with the idea that his home county should have a festival to celebrate their most important asset - the Tennessee Walking Horse.
            The idea was cultivated into the first Celebration on September 7, 8, and 9, 1939. It has been held every year, without interruption, since.

            The Celebration has garnered its fair share of notoriety from the tourism industry as well, being named a Top-20 Event by Southeast Tourism for 20 consecutive years. In addition, The Celebration has been featured in national publications such as Progressive Farmer and American Profile magazines and was listed this year in a new travel book, 1,000 Places in the USA and Canada To See Before You Die.

            Those RV’s and horse trailers also mean big bucks to Middle Tennessee. The most recent estimate is that the economic impact of The Celebration is approximately $38-million annually and many of those dollars come from exhibitors, owners, and fans who come from 40 states and several foreign countries to celebrate one of the most beautiful and graceful of all creatures.

            For the first time in its history, The Celebration did not crown a World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse in 2006.  Recently, Celebration officials announced a series of initiatives designed to help ensure the health and safety of horses and people at the event, the integrity of the event, and the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

            In addition to the horse show, visitors can enjoy the Celebration Trade Fair, Barbecue Cookout, Dog Show, The Tennessee Walking Horse Museum in nearby Lynchburg, and free clinics on care, training and horsemanship from the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association.

            Again in 2007, The Celebration can be viewed by anyone in the world with an internet connection.  Streaming video of each performance is being made available on a pay-per-view basis.

            Its great disposition along with a smooth and easy gate have made the Tennessee Walking Horse the undisputed showring champion.  So remember, it’s Celebration time.  Isn’t it about time you experienced what The Celebration is all about.  This year’s Celebration runs from August 22 through September 1.

            The 2007 Celebration features 190 total classes (including split classes) made up of 4,197 pre-entries.  Total entries are expected to climb well over 4,500 once championship entries are made.

            For more information on The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, click on their website at www.twhnc.com or give them a call at 931-684-5915.

 

           

More Stories

  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. The beautiful stallion was the 1994 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More
  • WHOA Versatility revises class schedule

    The Walking Horse Owners Association has added 5 classes to its June 16 show scheduled at Tennessee Tech, Hyder-Burk Facility in Cookeville, TN. The show starts at 10 am and is a casual dress show (boots, long pants, shirts with a collar) and "Youth 11 and Under" are required to wear a safety helmet. Read More
  • Putnam Co. Fair selects judge

    The Putnam County Fair and Upper Cumberland Walking Horse Association are pleased to announce that Newton Parks of Murfreesboro, Tennessee will judge this year’s event... Read More
  • Wartrace selects judge

    The 112th Anniversary Wartrace Horse Show has selected John Fikes of Hamilton, Alabama to judge this year's event and has released their class schedule... Read More