Tennessee Iris Festival
2017 Tennessee Iris Festival
38th Annual Tennessee Iris Festival is scheduled for April 29th – May 6th 2017.
History of the festival
In January of 1980, the Dresden Business Association was discussing ways to promote business in the community. From that discussion came the idea of having an Easter Parade. Few citizens of Dresden had any experience with parades other than taking pleasure in watching them; however, by patterning their actions after the established parades in the area including the Strawberry Festival and Tatertown parades, Dresden’s first Easter parade was well on its way to being organized.
The first year’s event was a great success as Dresden native, Ned Ray McWherter, was honored as Grand Marshal. Prideful satisfaction was evident of all of the members of the Dresden Business Association. There was no delay in planning the next year’s parade. 1981’s Easter parade was made as equally memorable by Governor Lamar Alexander’s presence. Many churches joined the collection of featured floats from the previous year which included most local businesses and high school bands. In the following years, the parade continued to grow, and royalties from west Tennessee were represented in Dresden. The Prayer Breakfast was added to the events of the Easter Parade in 1982. Just a short time later, Dresden’s Easter Parade transformed into the Tennessee Iris Festival. 1985 was marked by a record-breaking number of parade entries. The Dresden Business Association, having become professional in the craft of float building, held a Float Building Workshop open to the public. That year the Iris Festival parade featured 100 entries. In the next few years, the Iris Festival grew as an Arts and Crafts Fair and Flower Show accompanied the Parade and Governor’s Luncheon.
The initial purpose of the Easter Parade and eventual Iris Festival was to bring people from outside of Dresden to visit our great town and to encourage their business here. Not only have businesses and industries shown their support over the years, but also have the citizens of west Tennessee. The Iris Festival has grown into an event anticipated and looked forward to by people of all ages. Festival time is perhaps the most special time of the year in Dresden.