SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The 70th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration®  has been named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.  It marks the 20th time in the last 21 years that The Celebration® has been listed as a Top 20 Event.

            “We appreciate this honor very much,” said Celebration Interim CEO Virgil Johnson.  “We were put on the list for the very first time in 1988 and it has been our goal to continue to work extremely hard to earn that honor again each and every year.”

            Since 1985 the Southeast Tourism Society has published the Top 20 Events.  Each month, twenty of the best events across the Southeast compete to be named a Top 20 Event.  Southeast Tourism Society publishes the list of winners quarterly and sends the list to over 300 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations and others, as well as 125 AAA publications.  The combined circulation runs into the millions.  STS Top 20 Events are also published on the Southeast Tourism Society web sites at and on

            "The Southeast Tourism Society is again honored to have the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration on the list of Top 20 Events in the Southeast,” announced Bill Hardman, President and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.  “Given the number of events competing for a spot on the Top 20 Events list, for The Celebration® to have been named to our Top 20 list so many times means the judges consider it an especially outstanding and unique event."

            The Celebration began in 1939 and has grown to an event that draws nearly a quarter-million fans annually.  The 2007 Celebration featured nearly 5,000 entries and distributed over $700,000 in prize money.  The Celebration is the oldest continuously running event in the state of Tennessee.

            “This is a wonderful honor for The Celebration®, our community, and our industry,” said Celebration Chairman David L. Howard.  “I’m extremely proud of our staff and the hundreds of volunteers working through the civic organizations that help make this a truly world-class event.”

To be nominated for Top 20 Event status, an event must be at least in its 3rd year and must have a minimum attendance of 1,000. Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to the promotion & development of tourism to its member states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention & visitors bureaus, airlines, bus companies, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel related organizations.

            The 70th annual Celebration is scheduled for August 20-30, 2008 at the Historic Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville.  Ticket information can be obtained through the Celebration ticket office at (931) 684-5915 or by logging onto