August kind of sucks.
Enjoying the kids’ misery as they march back to school is dampened by hiding inside from the scorching heat. That is, if you don’t work outside or away from air conditioning 40 or more hours per week.
However, August is never a total bust. Annual events worth a day trip or staycation, depending on where you live, dot the calendar. This year, there are added attractions that quite literally are about as unusual as the sun getting blotted out on a hot summer afternoon.
Here are some noteworthy upcoming events across the South and Southwest held in the summer’s hottest month.
Elvis Week in Memphis, Aug. 11-19
This August marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Pomp and circumstance befitting a king, sprinkled with the sort of earnest campiness that makes the whole impersonator scene charming, mark this week-long event hosted by Graceland. The Aug. 12 gospel concert featuring members of the late J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet is incentive enough to catch the next train to Memphis.
Wildwood Revival near Athens, Ga., Aug. 18-20
If hulking, corporate-sponsored festivals aren’t your scene or you’ve had too much of a good thing by mid-August, check out this quaint little weekender. Conveniently located on a farm between Atlanta and Athens, this festival strives to stay small to maximize the fan experience. Around 1,500 people join for music—past headliners include Gillian Welch and Margo Price—and stay for camping, locally-grown foods, regional craft beers and what has to be a special live band karaoke experience.
The Eclipse, visible everywhere in the states on Aug. 21
For once, the whole country seems to be talking about something that’s not the least bit polarizing. A once in a generation eclipse is expected on Aug. 21. It’ll be visible throughout the country, although there are spots where a total eclipse is more likely to be seen, as shown on this map of the best Waffle Houses to visit that day. Looking directly at the sun will still be ill-advised, so try to pick up those special eclipse sunglasses. They look like 3-D glasses and should be available at supermarkets and other retail locations.
North Texas State Fair and Rodeo in Denton, Aug. 18-26
Around 100,000 people pass through the gates every year during this nine-day celebration of Texas culture. The musical acts alone should please country music fans, with headliners ranging from veteran traditionalist Travis Tritt to like-minded upstart Cody Johnson. Other attractions include livestock shows, carnival games and, better yet, the Swifty Swine Swimming and Racing Pigs. Finally, there are daily rodeo events capturing the real-life glory and heartbreak of “Amarillo By Morning.”