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Blount County is Showcasing Appalachian History, Culture, and Traditions in 2013

By Knoxville Daily Sun Staff

Blount County, Tennessee, located between Knoxville and Gatlinburg, is home to a rich history of traditional Native American and Appalachian culture, heritage, and traditions dating back thousands of years. With an abundance of outdoor activities, accommodations, shops, restaurants and seasonal festivals, the community hosts numerous events that draw thousands of visitors every year, entertaining and educating locals and visitors alike.

Winter Heritage Festival in the Smokies: February 1-2, 2013
Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Designated a "Top 20" event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the 7th Annual Winter Heritage Festival in the Smokies is a celebration of East Tennessee history, Appalachian traditions, and the natural beauty of Townsend, Tn., Cades Cove, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The winter festival offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy and learn about the area's heritage and traditions through a variety of presentations, storytelling, music, exhibits, nature walks and tours. The event will take place at several locations in the Townsend and Maryville area.


Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival: April 19-20, 2013
Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend, Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, and other locations
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882

The Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival highlights one of the unique crafts native to the Appalachian region, providing an interactive, educational community event to learn about the one-of-a-kind fiber arts activities. The festival will include Border collie sheep-herding, sheep-shearing, classes, workshops, marketplace of vendors, and art exhibits. Hands-on, educational demonstrations of fiber arts processes, such as spinning, weaving, needlecrafts and dyeing will take place for all ages to enjoy.


2013 Arts and Crafts Demonstrations and Exhibits: April-December, 2013
Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend Exhibit Room
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
Various dates and times

For those interested in learning a new skill, developing a hobby or simply learning about a craft and creating a unique work of art, the Townsend Visitors Center showcases talented artisans and local exhibitors from early spring to mid winter. Guests can visit and buy from many of the exhibits while enjoying and learning about timeless, Appalachian arts and crafts.


Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day: May 3-4, 2013
Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend Exhibit Room
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. daily

Celebrate the natural beauty of the Smokies in springtime at the 21st Annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day, where visitors can learn about the enduring heritage of Townsend, Blount County and the Great Smoky Mountains. The festival celebrates Appalachian history, culture, and traditions through a variety of activities and events. Appalachian music is featured through Bluegrass concerts and jam sessions as well as clogging performances and the highly-anticipated annual Young Pickers Talent Contest. To give festival-goers an authentic feel of traditional Appalachian life, the festival offers guided wildflower walks, storytelling, arts and craft demonstrations such as cast iron cooking, and a taste of savory Southern barbeque.

The Townsend festival was created to celebrate the heritage of the Smoky Mountains, and to keep Appalachian culture alive while giving visitors a hands-on look into the unique traditions. The festival began with bluegrass bands and musicians jammin' and has since grown into a family event, with many activities attracting thousands of people from across the country.


Smoky Mountain Highland Games: May 17-19, 2013
Maryville College
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804

East Tennessee honors its Scottish heritage with the 2013 Smoky Mountain Highland Games—a three-day event where attendees can experience a "Gathering of the Scottish Clans," one big family reunion with excitement, education and entertainment. The Games are centered around a field of athletic competition, where each clan can gather to cheer on their favorites and guests who can find their last name along the clan's tent can learn about their family history. Alongside the intense field competition, attendees can be entertained through piper's and drummer's competitions, country dancing, bands, balladeers, comedians, a dog show, and a kid's playground. The jolly festivities will become merrier by learning about and tasting different types of Scotch. Visitors will leave the Smoky Mountain Highland Games with a fun, educational experience and a sense of what it means to be Scottish. For more information, please visit www.SmokyMountainGames.org.


Tennessee HOG Rally: May 28-June 1, 2013
Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson
1820 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville, TN 37801

More than 2,500 riders are expected to come together in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains for food, fun and entertainment, and to enjoy some of the areas challenging and fun motorcycle routes. Registration Deadline: April 10, 2013 For more information, please visit www.tnstatehogrally.com.


Townsend Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day: September 27-28, 2013
Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend Exhibit Room
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. daily

Voted several times as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast, the 21th Annual Townsend Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day is a celebration of our mountain heritage, including a wide array of East Tennessee traditions and experiences. Guests can enjoy bluegrass and mountain music, clogging, storytelling, children's activities, crafts by local artisans, mouth-watering Southern food and demonstrations of a variety of Appalachian skills, such as basketry, spinning, weaving, woodcarving, sorghum molasses and apple butter making, beekeeping and blacksmithing. The two-day festival is free for all ages, and it celebrates Southern Appalachian Mountain culture and heritage.


Foothills Fall Festival: October 11-13, 2013
Maryville, Tennessee

Nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the City of Maryville, Tennessee hosts three days of amazing world class concerts, juried arts and crafts, 16 acres of adventures, inflatable attractions and much more for the whole family. For more information, please visit www.foothillsfallfestival.com.


Clayton Center for the Arts: 2013 Events
Clayton Center for the Arts
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, Tennessee

February 2, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.: Travis Tritt with Lyndsey Highlander in Concert
February 22, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.: 3 Redneck Tenors: Big City Music and Down home Laughs
March 2, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.: Leahy: 8 siblings bring an eclectic mix of song and dance. Think Celtic with a twist
April 6, 2012 Dinner at 6:00 p.m., Performance at 8:00 p.m.

Broadway's Next Hit Musical: A dinner theatre where the audience suggests the songs and the Musical is improved. Opened in 2010 as a partnership between Maryville College and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville, the Clayton Center for the Arts is East Tennessee's newest venue for Arts and Entertainment. With a 1,200 seat theatre, a 250 seat recital hall/theatre, a 200 seat black box theatre, two art galleries and the Fulmer Special Events room; the Clayton Center has seen professional touring acts, local and regional talent, has hosted conferences and business meetings and is a gathering place for the community. The Clayton Center for the Arts brings the Arts to all of us. For more information, please visit www.claytonartscenter.com.

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 visit www.SmokyMountains.org. Follow the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at www.Facebook.com/PeacefulSide and Twitter.com/PeacefulSmokies.

Published January 9, 2013

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