Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules and is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the “Mule Capital” of the world. Begun in 1840 as “Breeder’s Day”, a meeting for mule breeders, it now attracts over 200,000 people and takes place over four days. In addition to mules, traditional Appalachian food, music, dancing, and crafts are featured. This year’s event will be March 31-April 6, 2014.
Mule Day History
“Mule Day” has been a popular Columbia tradition for nearly 170 years, since the 1840s. It began as “Breeder’s Day”, a single day livestock show and mule market event held on the first Monday in April. Over time, “Mule Day” evolved from a single day event into a multi-day festival, attracting thousands of attendees, lasting almost a week. The heavy involvement of Maury County in the mule industry has caused the event to grow over time into “one of the largest livestock markets in the world.”
Mule Day Events
If you visit during Mule Day celebrations, you might see a square dance, a mule-driving contest, a horse show, a crafts festival, or attend a flea market. Other events include “working mule”, “best of breed”, or even lumberjack competitions. Food served at the event includes barbecue, roasted corn, home-made pies and funnel cakes.
Since 1934, the festival has been highlighted by a “Mule Day Parade” held on Saturday during the celebration. Floats in the parade compete, with winners in each judged category receiving awards such as ribbons or money.
The contest for the Mule Day Queen is also held on Saturday. The competition is open to contestants age 15 to 21. The winner is selected based on an essay and other criteria.
The annual mule pull contest requires a pair of mules to pull a sled loaded with cinder blocks 10 feet. Each pair is given 3 tries to make it the full 10 feet. The team that pulls the most weight wins.