Appalachian History, Culture, Smoky Mountain Spring Beauty Showcased at Annual Townsend Spring Festival
TOWNSEND, Tenn. – The foothills of the Smoky Mountains come to life with bluegrass music, arts and crafts, time honored traditions and Appalachian cooking at the annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival sponsored by LeafFilter North of Tennessee, Renewal by Andersen, Big Meadow Campground, Great Smoky Mountains Association and the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.
Scheduled for May 3-4, 2019, at the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.) in Townsend, the festival provides an atmosphere where family and friends of all ages can partake in time-honored Appalachian traditions at the free community event. Parking is $10 per day with proceeds benefiting the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department. Two-day parking passes are available at the Visitors Center for $15.
Additionally, star of Animal Planet’s television reality show “Call of the Wildman,” Ernie Brown, Jr., aka “Turtleman,” will be on hand Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
For everyone’s convenience, a free shuttle service provides transportation to and from the different Townsend sites participating in the weekend’s festivities from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. both days.
“The spring festival provides an opportunity for our community to share the area’s history and heritage with families, friends and visitors. We all cherish our traditions, and there is no better way to celebrate them than to showcase them during the beautiful spring weather at the festival,” said Jim McBride, festival chair.
The festival centers around traditional and contemporary bluegrass and mountain music; along with clogging and square dancing; art and craft booths; numerous Appalachian demonstrations; old-fashioned kids’ games; and Southern food, such as fried pies and kettle corn.
In addition to all that is taking place at the visitors center, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center (123 Cromwell Dr.) is playing host to the Tennessee Pottery Festival on May 4.
Festival-goers can also take the opportunity to enjoy an interactive walking tour featuring a full-sized engine, coal and water tank at the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum, as well as a unique shopping experience at Townsend’s downtown – Trillium Cove.
Whether you are searching for an Appalachian piece of artwork for your home, hungry for some delicious barbeque or just looking to enjoy the many bluegrass performances, there is just about something for everyone to enjoy at this special two-day event.
Music and Dancing
On Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., musical performances are scheduled on stage inviting locals and visitors to bring lawn chairs from home and sit back, relax and enjoy the toe-tapping, mountain tunes. Bluegrass music will also resonate from impromptu jam sessions in all areas of the festival grounds. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to enjoy an evening square dance on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
A tradition of the annual spring festival is to highlight and showcase music with Appalachian roots. This year’s festival will present the unique sounds and musical talent of bands, including Muleskinner, Blue Streaks, Steve Jordan Band, Blackberry Jam, Grandview Pickers, Dinner Break, Rail Riders, Appalachian Grass, Brushfire, Foothills Express, Mike Clemmer, Bill Proffitt and Co., Jones Brothers Band, Wilson Family, Carolina Bluegrass, Wayne Wright Review, Harley and the Boys, Gravel Road and Raven Welch and Crew.
Arts, Crafts and Appalachian Demonstrations
The festival grounds will showcase numerous art and craft booths, and local artisans will be demonstrating their talents while visitors watch. Among the many unique demonstrations will be cornmeal making, antique farm equipment, white oak shingle making apple and peach butter making.
In addition, visitors will have the chance to experience the area’s natural history at the Cades Cove Preservation and walk through a replica of an old Appalachian church. The church replica at this year’s festival will be sponsored by CHilhowee Area Ministries (CHARM).
The spring festival’s featured author is Roy Oliver, author of Last Man from Tremont. He will hold signings on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About the Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival
The Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival, May 3-4, 2019, takes place on the grounds of the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center in Townsend, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway. The event is free and family-oriented. Pets are no longer permitted on the festival grounds; and this will be strictly enforced for the health and safety of both people and pets.
For more information on the Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival, including updates on the schedule, please call the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at (800) 525-6834 or (865) 448-6134 or visit smokymountains.org.