COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) — The first weekend in April will see a TV star head the annual Mule Day parade.

Mule Day, the annual Columbia celebration of the long-eared animal, will take place from March 30 to April 2 this year, organizers announced, with Mike Wolfe as the event’s parade Grand Marshal.

Wolfe is an expert forager of American history, according to organizers, and stars on the History Channel’s hit series “American Pickers.” He has “a real heart for preservation and a passion for the beauty and stories behind forgotten objects and places.”

Mike Wolfe to serve as grand marshal for Mule Day Parade (Photo provided by Louise Mills)

The parade is set for Saturday, April 1, right in the middle of the annual festival celebrating the mule and Mule Capital of the World. Other activities for the annual Mule Day festival include family-friendly entertainment, vendors, the Mule Pull competition, the Liar’s contest, many mule shows and rides, among other activities.

Columbia was recognized as the Mule Capital of the World many years ago, during the days before cars and tractors, when people came from miles around to buy, sell and trade mules in the Middle Tennessee town.

Mule Day traces its roots back to the 1840s, when Breeder’s Day was formed. It was a single-day livestock show and mule market that took place annually. Over time, the day evolved into a multi-day festival and the parade was added in 1934. The event was discontinued during World War II before being revived by the Maury County Bridle & Saddle Club in 1974. The event now draws thousands to the town.

Festivities kick off at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 30, at Maury County Park and conclude Saturday, April 2 The parade on Saturday is free and open to the public, while other activities require admission. Visitors can purchase admission to the activities Thursday through Saturday for $10 per person and Sunday for $5 per person. Children under 12 are free. Weekend passes are available for $20. The admission fee does not include rides, which carry a separate cost. Parking is free.

Schedule of Mule Day events

Thursday, March 30

  • Kickoff at 10 a.m.
  • Mule Pull competition at noon
  • Jackpot Mule Races at 4 p.m.
  • Craft vendors and Flea market, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Live bluegrass music at 7 p.m., Central High School

Friday, March 31

  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Craft vendors and Flea market, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Ham and White Bean plates, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Mule Day Auctioneers Championship, noon
  • Mule driving show, noon
  • Gaited Mule Tennessee State Championship, 6 p.m.
  • Liar’s contest at 7 p.m., Central High School

Saturday, April 1

  • Pool tournament 9 a.m.
  • Hand and Foot Canasta tournament, 9 a.m.
  • Ham and White Bean plates, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Mule Day Parade at 11 a.m.

Sunday, April 2

  • Riding Mule show, 9 a.m.
  • Craft vendors and Flea market, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Riding mule show, noon

For more information and the full schedule of events for Mule Day 2023, click HERE.