DATE : March 9, 2016
The Great Smoky Mountains come alive as winter gives way to spring and there is no better way to celebrate than attending Smoky Mountain Springfest! Gatlinburg, TN has an abundance of events where you can catch your spring fever this year Appalachian style during your Easter or early spring vacation.
So Just What Is Smoky Mountain Springfest?
With the sound of birdsong again echoing through the valleys and wildflowers blooming on the slopes its time to get out and celebrate. Smoky Mountain Springfest is a three-month festival from March until June that encompasses the towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Now in its thirteenth year, Springfest packs the days with a wide range of events that celebrate the area's unique culture and showcases the natural beauty of the land. There is no shortage of events to go to, and Gatlinburg is the best place to start your Springfest tour.
Great Smoky Easter Arts and Crafts Show- March 24-26
Several craftsmen and artisans call the Smoky Mountains home. Their contribution to Springfest is the Easter Arts and Crafts Show where they will display their creations for sale and offer demonstrations of their craft. From baskets to pottery to paintings this is the place to find that unique item that glows with Appalachian heritage. Art has always been a part of living in the Smokies and here you can meet the latest generation of artists who have been bringing their art and craft across time from pioneer days to the present.
Easter Sunrise Service at Ober- March 27
If you're spending Easter weekend in Gatlinburg then there is no better way to spend Easter morning than by attending the sunrise service held top Mount Harrison. Starting at 6 a.m. the service welcomes locals and visitors alike and is hosted by the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association. As the service commences nature will treat you to its own celebration as it lights up the sky and the mountainsides. Tram service to the top of the mountain is available. After the service you and your family can enjoy the Easter buffet at Ober Gatlinburg's Restaurant.
Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament- April 2-3, 2016
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 2,900 miles of flowing streams which makes it a great place to cast a line and hook some trout. The Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament is a great way to spend a spring weekend doing something you love with the chance to win cash and other great prizes. Streams in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are stocked with trout before the event and Gatlinburg boasts some great fishing areas downtown. The tournament is open to children as well and registration is required.
Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Fest- April 9, 1-6 p.m.
The mountains are home to several local wineries and 17 will be offering samples of their products at the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest. Patrons aged 21 and older can purchase a wristband that allows them to sample the different wines and buy a bottle of their favorite to take home. Food vendors will also be available from some of the best restaurants in the Smokies. For those who like to tour wineries there is a Gatlinburg Wine Tour available on April 8. The tour visits three local wineries with transportation provided.
Earth Week and Earth Day 5K- April 17-24
Celebrate Earth Day this year in the Great Smoky Mountains and the Earth Week festival held in Gatlinburg. Music, food and free activities for kids are a great way to learn about earth stewardship in this natural environment. Here you will find information on adopting green living activities as well as meet local green companies and organizations. On April 22 you can also participate in the Earth Day 5K, which benefits the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a local non-profit organization that donates funds to local education, scholarships and educational community events.
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage- April 19-23
It is no secret that the Great Smoky Mountains are home to some spectacular wildlife, animal and plant included. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage gives you a chance to see some of the flowers and creatures that call these mountains home as they come out of their winter slumber. Featuring both indoor and outdoor programs there is something here for naturalists of all stripes. For bird watchers there are plenty of birding programs and photographers can attend workshops on taking their best photos while on tour. Van service is available to trails with limited parking space.
Mountain Man Memorial March- April 22-23
The first Mountain Man Memorial March (MMMM) began as a personal tribute to a local fallen soldier when a group of cadets from the Rocky Top Battalion marched 26.2 miles while carrying a 35-pound rucksack and in full military uniform to honor his sacrifice for freedom. Over the last decade it has grown into one of the biggest events in the United States that honors the service and sacrifice of military heroes. Open to ROTC groups, veterans, Cub Scout packs, family and friends of fallen heroes the MMMM is not an event to miss.
Gatlinburg Beans and Cornbread Festival- May 12
Sampling the food of an area is the best way to get in touch with its culture and history and that is certainly the case at the Beans and Cornbread Festival! Beans and cornbread have been an Appalachian culinary staple and you and your family can enjoy all the fun this day has to offer. Beans and cornbread cook-offs, live music and plenty to do, this is a great way to spend a May afternoon in downtown Gatlinburg. If you've got a specialty bean or cornbread recipe feel free to enter the competition.
Remember that Smoky Mountain Springfest is a county-wide celebration that lasts all through the season. The events in Gatlinburg are but a small sampling of what you can find here! Wherever you find yourself during Springfest this year you and your family are sure to find something for everyone during your vacation.