Columbia’s Mule Day Brings 180 Years of Tradition to Columbia

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photo from Mule Day Facebook

Mule Day 2023 will take place from March 27 until April 2, 2023 in Columbia, TN. It will feature lots of mule events, music, food, competitions, dancing and fine crafts.

The event has been a popular Columbia tradition for more than 180 years. It began as Breeder’s Day, a one-day livestock show and mule market held every year on the first Monday in April. Over time, Breeder’s Day evolved into a four-day Mule Day festival that celebrates “all things mule” and attracts more than 200,000 people to Columbia. The heavy involvement of Maury County in the mule industry caused the event to grow into “one of the largest livestock markets in the world.”

Contestants between the age of 15 and 21 will vie for the Mule Day Queen title. The winner is selected based on an essay and other criteria previous to the event so she may reign over all of the activities during the festival.

A wagon train that wanders throughout Middle Tennessee is their biggest promotional event, garnering a lot of attention. It will kick off the celebration on Monday, March 27 at 9:00 a.m. and arrive at Maury County Park, where the event will take place, on Wednesday, March 29.

Most activities get underway on Thursday, including the Art and Crafts/Flea Market; music; various competitions; races; demonstrations; and more.

Since 1934, the highlight of the festival has been the Mule Day Parade that runs through downtown Columbia. This year it will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1. A competition for the floats occurs every year with judging in multiple categories.

The full event schedule is below:

THURSDAY, MARCH 30th, 2023

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Flea Market

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Live Music – Main Stage

12:00 p.m…..Old Fashioned Log Pulling Competition – Main Arena

1:00  p.m…..Dog Show – Old Arena

2:00  p.m…..Feed Time Race – Main Arena

2:30  p.m…..The Quack Pack, Border Collie Sheep Herding Demonstration – Old Arena

4:00  p.m…..Jackpot Mule Races – Main Arena

4:00  p.m…..Miss MULE DAY Pageant – Old Arena

7:00   p.m…..Bluegrass Music Fest – Columbia Central High School

FRIDAY, MARCH 31st, 2023

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Flea Market

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Live Music – Main Stage

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Ham & White Bean Plates(Nell Wright Senior Center)

12:00 p.m…. Driving Mule Show – Old Arena

12:00 p.m….State Auctioneer Contest, United Producers, Inc. Livestock Sale Barn Columbia, TN

4:00   p.m…..Cart Barrel Races – Main Arena

6:00   p.m…..Gaited Mule Show – Old Arena

6:00   p.m…..Live Music – Ridley 4-H Center

7:00   p.m…..Liars’ Contest Mule Tales – Columbia Central High School

SATURDAY, APRIL 1st, 2023

8:00 a.m…..Maury Regional Mule Kick 5K Race

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Flea Market

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Live Music at Main Stage

11:00 a.m….Mule Day Parade – Downtown Columbia, TN

11:00 a.m…..Mule Pulling Contest – Main Arena

12:00 p.m…..Skillington Draft Mule Show – Old Arena

6:00 p.m…..Bluegrass Music, Line Dancing & Mule Town Stompers – Ridley 4-H Center

SUNDAY, APRIL 2nd, 2023

9:00 a.m…..Worship Service – Main Stage

9:00 a.m…..Riding Mule Show – Old Arena

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Flea Market

12:00 p.m…..Gospel Singing – Main Stage

12:00 p.m…..Mini Mania Mule Show – Old Arena

12:30 p.m…..Riding Mule Show – Main Arena

Food served at the event includes Italian sausage and peppers, roasted corn, pizza, philly cheese steaks, onion blossoms, kettle corn, hot apple fritters, funnel cakes, ice cream, nachos, lemonade, cotton candy, county ham and of course hamburgers and hot dogs. There will also be homemade desserts.

Admission to the park Thursday through Saturday is $10.00 for adults with kids under 12 free. Sunday admission is $5.00. Weekend passes are available for $20.00. All campers are required to have weekend passes no matter when they arrive. Price includes state amusement tax and is good for all in park activities, excluding rides.

For more information about the event, checkout their website at https://muleday.com/, contact the Mule Day office at 931-381-9557 or e-mail [email protected].

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