A look at the annual downtown street festival that kicks off summer for the city's natives

For a full view of Nashville, from the eclectic music that swings outside its country boundaries to food that leaves Southern-fried far behind, prepare for Fan Fair by heading to Summer Lights.

The downtown street festival, which runs May 29-June 1, has nine stages that feature 250 acts, ranging from blues, hip-hop, classical, and gospel to Celtic, Hispanic, African, and a panoply of other forms of music. Nibble on Cajun food while listening to opera, or down a funnel cake to the sounds of big band. Of course, there’s still plenty of country music. This year’s headliners include Lorrie Morgan, Tracy Lawrence, and Mark Chestnutt.

For Nashville natives, Summer Lights is the official start of summer, and they look forward to strolling down the several-block area around the War Memorial Plaza (last year it attracted more than 150,000 people). Locals like to boast that Nashville is Music City USA, not just Country Music City, and at least for one weekend a year, they’re right.