NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An East Tennessee Representative is looking to add a new entry to the list of official state symbols. Earlier this month, Rep. Lowell Russell (R—Vonore) introduced legislation to make pumpkin pie a symbol of the State of Tennessee.
Russell’s bill cites the dessert as “an iconic American delicacy” and “a true American classic.”
“It is most appropriate that we select the delicious and wholesome pumpkin pie as a symbol of the Volunteer State,” Russell’s bill states in part.
If it passes, pumpkin pie would join the ranks of other state symbols that include flowers, birds, trees, and animals—as well as some of the more random “official” symbols.
State Beverage: Milk
When you think of Tennessee drinks, whiskey might be the first thing that comes to mind. But the official state beverage is actually milk. The dairy product was designated as a state symbol in 2009. According to the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the state’s dairy industry produced nearly 100 million pounds of milk in 2007, totaling more than $200 million in cash.
State Fruit: Tomato
The tomato became Tennessee’s official state fruit back in 2003. “While commonly considered, and commonly functioning as, a vegetable, the tomato is, botanically speaking, a fruit,” according to the state’s website.
Tennessee’s motto — “Agriculture and Commerce” — comes from the wording used on the state’s official seal. It was officially adopted in 1987.
Did you know Tennessee also has a slogan? “Tennessee—America at Its Best.”
The phrase was adopted as the official Tennessee slogan in 1965.
State Dog: Bluetick Coonhound
One of the state’s most recent state symbols, the Bluetick Coonhound was named the official state dog in 2019. The Bluetick Coonhounds were known for hunting and the protection they offered to early settlers in Tennessee. Today, these dogs are used for raccoon and even bear hunting, according to the state’s Blue Book.
Tennessee also has declared an official state pet. The General Assembly designated “any dog or cat adopted from a Tennessee animal shelter or rescue” as the official state pet in 2014.
State Rifle: Barrett Model M82/M107
The Barrett Model M82/M107 was designated as Tennessee’s official rifle in 2016. According to the Tennessee Blue Book, the rifle has been continuously manufactured in the state since its inception in 1982.
State Beef Festival: Here’s the Beef Festival
Yes, that’s right, Tennessee has an official beef festival. The “Here’s the Beef Festival” in Giles County was named the state’s official beef festival in 2018.
State Artifact: Sandy
The statue, known as “Sandy,” was discovered in 1939 on Sellers Farm in Wilson County. The artifact is a prehistoric Native American statue made of sandstone. It became Tennessee’s official state artifact in 2014.
State Folk Dance: Square Dance
In 1980, the General Assembly designated the square dance as the official state folk dance. Public Chapter 829 of the Acts of the 91st General Assembly called the dance, “a uniquely attractive art form that remains a vibrant and entertaining part of Tennessee folklore.”
To learn about even more symbols the Volunteer State has adopted, click here.