Tennessee in the Spotlight:
From Memphis Blues to Mountain Bluegrass,
We’ve Got Your Music

Tennessee, the Volunteer State, invites Sunbelt Expo guests to experience “The Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee” at this year’s Spotlight State Exhibit. We will showcase Tennessee’s cultural diversity, agricultural history and the many wonderful places and experiences the state offers to residents and visitors alike.

Visitors to the exhibit will walk through the three grand divisions of the state and discover some of the authentic sounds, experiences and places that are original to Tennessee.

From the home of the Blues and the King of Rock and Roll in West Tennessee’s Memphis, to the sounds of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in Middle Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains, Bristol Motor Speedway and Chattanooga Choo Choo in East Tennessee, visitors will truly hear the soundtrack of America and explore the sights, history and traditions of this major American agricultural state.

The Spotlight State Exhibit will include interactive engagements for guests looking to have some fun, learn something new, experience something old, and even sit a spell in a rocking chair. There will be opportunities to win Tennessee vacation package prizes and opportunities to taste and see many of the products made by Tennessee’s farmers, craftsmen and industries.

  • Hungry? The iconic Moon Pie, which is made in Tennessee, turned 100 in this year! Come to the Welcome Center to taste this Tennessee delicacy.
  • Interested in history? Tennessee’s Civil War Trail has more than 400 markers across the state as well as memorials and parks, for example the Shiloh National Military Park and the Stones River National Battlefield. The state also features segments of the Trail of Tears and the Natchez Trace. Pick up a map and locate a place you’d like to visit.
  • Need vistas or natural beauty? Tennessee is full of waterfalls and mountains to see and lakes, rivers and streams perfect for fishing and boating. The exhibit will highlight a few of the more famous.
  • With 56 award-winning state parks, Tennessee provides many recreational opportunities from hiking, picnicking, fishing, boating, biking and camping as well as interpretive programs. Come learn more about our natural treasures.
  • Feeling lucky? We’ll have daily drawings for unique Tennessee-made products from rocking chairs to gourmet food baskets.
  • Got your dancing shoes? Boots or sneakers will do. Music will fill the air throughout our state’s exhibit.
  • Like eagles? Tennessee has many resident bald eagles. One serves as an ambassador for birds of prey as well as our state park system. He plans to visit the Sunbelt Expo courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
  • Want to ‘shine? Well, we won’t be offering any well-known libations, but the recently unveiled Tennessee Whiskey Trail will feature an exhibit on how some well-known agricultural products are distilled into world-famous products.

Two special features on display will be Tennessee State University’s Mobile Ag Classroom, which is designed to build agricultural literacy among populations unfamiliar with the industry, and The AgSimulator sponsored by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. These displays will be located across from the main exhibit building.

Regardless of your interests, you’re sure to find something to see and do at the Spotlight State Exhibit.

Tennessee is an American crossroad. More than two-thirds of the nation’s population lives within a day’s drive to someplace in the state, and travel to Tennessee recently topped 109 million overnight stays.

“Tennessee is a wonderful destination. We truly are blessed with incredible history, scenic beauty, culture, and of course music and food. Our top two industries are agriculture and tourism and we are proud of that. We appreciate the opportunity to showcase it at the Sunbelt Ag Expo,” said Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development.

Like the state’s tourism opportunities, Tennessee’ agricultural industries are many and diverse. From the soybean, corn and cotton fields in West Tennessee, to the nursery crops in Middle Tennessee and the cattle and poultry operations in the eastern part of the state, agricultural and forestry production in Tennessee impacts the state’s economy to the tune of $74.8 billion annually, including food and wood products industries. The state boasts of 67,300 farming operations, and more than 1,800 of those have achieved Century Farm status. Many are open as agritourism destinations.

Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton invites all visitors to the Sunbelt Ag Expo to be our guests. “We are proud of Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history,” Commissioner Templeton said. “But you don’t have to come from a farming background to appreciate what our state has to offer. Come visit the Spotlight State Exhibit for an experience that will have you planning your next trip to Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Spotlight State Exhibit is a partnership of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Service; Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, Tourist Development and Environment and Conservation; Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service; and USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service in Tennessee. UT Extension Dean Robert Burns served as the chair of the Spotlight State Planning Committee.

Each of these organizations invites you to experience Tennessee: the Soundtrack of America. Come visit the Spotlight State Exhibit. Then visit us in person in Tennessee.


Download a Word Doc of this press release here.