knoxville news
knoxville news knoxville daily sun lifestyle business knoxville sports travel knoxville classifieds knoxville jobs knoxville legal notices knoxville yellow pages smoky mountains contact facebook twitter linkedin rss entertainment knoxville advertising

Mountain fun at GSMA’s Membership Appreciation Weekend in September

GATLINBURG, TN -- Moonshine tasting, live and silent auctions, hikes, talks, hunts, BBQ, dancing and star gazing are just a few of the activities planned for Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Membership Appreciation Weekend September 13-15 in Townsend, TN.

“Our theme this year is ‘Celebrating 60 Years of Support’ of Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said GSMA’s marketing and membership director Lisa Duff. “Our membership, which is more than 19,000 strong, is invited to attend a full weekend of activities, entertainment, education and great food.”

GSMA members are invited to reserve your spot at this year's Membership Appreciation Weekend now, she said. “We've updated our website at with all the registration and event details, including an extended live and silent auction listing, and a volunteer breakfast briefing on Sunday morning.”

Members will want to arrive early for Friday night's activities, which include check-in, followed by a BBQ dinner and birthday cake. Voting on the membership program’s new design contest voting begins Friday, as well as a cakewalk featuring the string sounds of Michael Searcy and Darrell Acuff. What goes better with cake than moonshine samples offered by Ole' Smoky Distillery of Gatlinburg. The evening comes to a close following a performance by Sam Venable, storyteller, humorist and columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel, who promises to have the audience in stitches.

On Saturday, participants can choose from an entire smorgasbord of indoor and outdoor activities from hikes in the national park, Civil War and black bear educational talks, mountain crafts making and geocaching in the Townsend area. “Children-specific activities are being offered by the Heritage Center staff and are new this year on Saturday in the hopes that more members will decide to make this a family weekend,” said Duff. “We want to extend a special invitation to children and grandchildren because we understand the future of this national park will one day pass to them to nurture.”

Saturday night's activities move to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont, where the official GSMA 60th anniversary meeting will be held, followed by dinner, live and silent auctions and a 1950s-style sock hop and a star gazing party.

​Before events wind down on Sunday, those members interested in volunteer roles within GSMA are invited to attend an informal breakfast presentation where Duff will outline the program and signup volunteers in areas of interest. “We are grateful to the many volunteers who have stepped up to help organize this event, and we want to encourage more people to get involved in volunteering,” said Duff. Additional outdoor activities on Sunday include a bike ride around Townsend, another national park hiking opportunity and a driving tour of Cades Cove.

​Registration for the Annual Appreciation Weekend is now open. Members are invited to use the e-registration form found on the website, send an email, or call 865-436-7318, Ext. 222 or 254. Deadline to register is August 31.

GSMA supports the national park through funds raised primarily from sales of publications designed to enhance greater understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of the national park and from its membership program. A national park partner and non-profit located inside the park’s Gatlinburg, Tenn., entrance, GSMA has provided more than $30 million to support the park’s educational, scientific and historical programs since its inception 60 years ago.

Those who wish to enrich their national park experience are encouraged to become GSMA members. For more information about GSMA’s membership and volunteer opportunities, visit or call 888-898-9102, Ext. 222 or 254.

Annual Meeting Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 13
Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend
3 p.m. – Registration, T-shirt logo voting begins
5:30 p.m. – BBQ Dinner with birthday cake dessert
6:15 p.m. – Cakewalk with String Band of Darrell Acuff and Michael Searcy,
Ole Smoky Moonshine Tasting and “Corn from a Jar” book signing by author Daniel Pierce
7:30 p.m. - Sam Venable takes the stage

Saturday, Sept. 14
Heritage Center, Townsend
8 a.m. – Birds of the Cove
9 a.m. – Hike West Prong Trail with Christine Hoyer
9 a.m. – Lori Anderson’s Cornhusk Dolls
9:30 a.m. – Depart for Cades Cove Driving Tours
10 a.m. – Kathy Sherrard’s Appalachian Bear Rescue Program
11 a.m. – Wanda DeWaard’s Butterfly Tagging
11 a.m. – Robin Goddard’s Walker Sister talk, hike
Noon – Carey Jones’ Lead Cove Hike
1 p.m. – Butch McDade’s Elkmont History Hike
1 p.m. – Depart for Cades Cove Driving Tours
1 p.m. – Geocaching Hunt
1 p.m. - Lori Anderson’s Cornhusk Dolls
2 p.m. – Andrea Wilson’s Nature Sketching
2:30-3:30 p.m. – Steve Rolfe’s Civil War in the Smokies

Saturday Evening, Sept. 14
Great Smoky Mountains Insitute Tremont, GSMNP
4:30 p.m. – Annual Membership Meeting, Tremont Pavilion
5:30 p.m. – Dinner by Tremont, Live/Silent Auction Opens
8-10 p.m. – 1950s Sock Hop and Ice Cream Social
8:30 p.m. – Star Party with Knoxville Observatory Club

Sunday, Sept. 15, Heritage Center, Townsend
8:30 a.m. – Volunteer Orientation Breakfast
9:30 a.m. – Depart for Cades Cove Driving Tours
9:30 a.m. – Biking Townsend
10 a.m. – Liz Domingue’s Hike to White Oak Sinks

Published August 12, 2013

Share |

knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2013 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy