History, Culture & Festivals

The historical Scopes Trial was held in 1925 in the Rhea County Courthouse. The original courthouse is still in operation and is on the National Historic Landmark Registry. Each year the community holds the Scopes Trial Festival with a play that re-enacts the famous original “trial of the century” that captivated the whole country.

Dayton’s MainStreet revitalization has resulted in many unique shops and dining facilities as well as renovated lofts for those who wish to reside in the historic district.

Spring City’s Railroad Depot, originally a train station, has been converted into a Museum, featuring exhibits on American Indians, Tennessee music, area railways, the local community history, and more.

Other cultural events and venues include the Tennessee Valley Theatre, in Spring City, featuring theatrical productions and concerts. Bryan College provides the community with plays, concerts, recitals, and a campus museum.

The Tennessee Strawberry Festival is held in Downtown Dayton every May since 1947. The Festival is a celebration of small-town life and showcases the community’s beauty, history, and commitment to family values. It features parades, pageants, music, crafts, food, and plenty of strawberries. The community also hosts many other seasonal festivals.