Do you know where a mule comes from? It is the offspring of a donkey and a horse. Mules have strong muscles like horses but they eat less, can work longer, and are gentler, like donkeys. George Washington was the first person in the United States to own mules. He had heard that mules made good farm animals and he contacted the U.S. ambassador in Spain to ask about them. In 1785, King Charles III of Spain sent Washington a male donkey as a gift. That male donkey became the father of the mule industry in the U.S.
Every April, Maury County holds a Mule Day celebration. Held in Columbia, Tennessee, Mule Day had its beginnings as "Breeder's Day" in the 1840s. Farmers and livestock breeders would bring their animals to market every April to show, buy, and trade. This was an important business before the days of tractors, when many families made a living from farming and mules were used as work animals. Eventually, tractors began to replace mules, making them less in demand.
A parade was added to Mule Day in 1934 to attract more people. Over the years other activities have been added, and today more than 200,000 people show up each year to watch and participate. If you visit on Mule Day, you might see a mule-driving contest, a square dance, a crafts festival, or even a lumberjack competition.