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Annual Townsend Fall Festival 2017 showcasing Appalachian history, culture, mountain beauty

TOWNSEND, TN – Bluegrass music, arts and crafts, time honored traditions and Appalachian cooking will bring the Smoky Mountain foothills to life Sept. 29-30. The annual Smokies Fall Festival and Old Timers Day is held at the Smoky Mountains Visitors Center in Townsend.

This family friendly event provides an atmosphere where family and friends of all ages can enjoy Appalachian heritage. The event is free; parking is $8 per day with proceeds benefiting the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department.

townsend fall festival
Townsend Fall Festival.

A free shuttle service will provide 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 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 fall weather at the festival,” said Kim Mitchell, Blount Partnership Tourism Director.

The festival will center around traditional and contemporary bluegrass and mountain music along with clogging, 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 will be taking place at the Visitors Center, other sites throughout Townsend will host a variety of activities. The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is hosting the 11th annual Blue Ribbon Country Fair and a guided tour of Cades Cove.

Festival goers can 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. Jeepism is celebrating its store birthday with in-store specials.

Whether you’re 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 after 9 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.

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 Carolina Bluegrass, Harley and The Boys, Foothills Express, Blackberry Jam, Grandview Pickers, Highpoint Quartet, Tremont Express, Steve Jordan Band, Jones Brothers, Muleskinners, Bluestreaks, Mountainview Bluegrass, Old Tradition, Brushfire and Jay Tipton and Friends.

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, birds of prey, antique farm equipment, blacksmithing, cornmeal making as well as pottery sculptures, rug hooking, woodcarving and quilting.

In addition, visitors will have the chance to learn about the area’s natural history with the Cades Cove Preservation Association 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.

Storytelling and Local Authors
Local storytellers will educate and entertain visitors of all ages at this year’s spring festival, delighting them with mountain stories that will paint a picture of Appalachian heritage.

The spring festival’s featured author is Roy Oliver who wrote Last Man from Tremont. He will sign on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Townsend in the Smokies Fall Festival and Old Timers Day, Sept. 29-30, 2017, takes place on the grounds of the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway. The event is free and family oriented. Pets are no longer permitted on the festival grounds; this will be strictly enforced for the health and safety of both people and pets.

The festival is sponsored by Country Manor Acres, The Daily Times, Big Meadow Campground & RV, Cooper’s Cove at Heritage Park, Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, Smoky Mountain River Rat, Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ, Wild Laurel Golf Course, and Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center.

For more information on the Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day, including updates on the schedule, please call the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at (800) 525-6834 or (865) 448-6134 or visit

Blount County, Tennessee is located just south of Knoxville at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The communities that make up Blount County—Townsend, Maryville, Alcoa, Friendsville, Louisville and Rockford – provide visitors with an abundance of outdoor activities, attractions and regular celebrations of the region’s rich Appalachian heritage and culture. Blount County is also home to the nation’s most visited national park—the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For more information about Blount County, please contact the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at (800) 525-6834 or visit Follow the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at and

If you are in the area, please stop in to the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, or the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Maryville, located at 201 South Washington Street, for more information.

Published September 8, 2017

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