There is no better time to visit Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains than the springtime. Newly blooming plants, newly energized animals, and an abundance of sunshine define this season for eastern Tennessee, so it is no wonder the locals feel like celebrating! Plan your visit to include one of these wonderful festivals, and welcome one of the most beautiful times of the year the right way.
- Mountain Man March: April 17. Honor our men in uniform on this 26.2 mile march through the mountains, or just cheer on those who are walking. The hike begins in downtown Gatlinburg and continues up through the mountains, covering both highway and rugged terrain. Although the even is sponsored by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s ROTC, it is open to those without military experience. The $50 fee per entrant includes a breakfast, snacks and water as well as a t-shirt and barbeque lunch at the finish line.
- Wildflower Pilgrimage and Greener Living Expo: April 21 – 25. If botany is your thing, sign up to attend the seminars, walks and guided hiking tours that showcase the area’s finest plant life. Get unlimited access to a number of botany experts ready to answer your questions as part of the Pilgrimage’s all-day programming. Registration is $75.
- RibFest and Wings: April 22. Sample some of the region’s best-known foods at this local celebration of ribs and chicken wings. This street festival in the heart of Gatlinburg features chicken wing and ice cream eating contests, tons of food to sample, live entertainment and a great recipe competition. Purchase an armband for $12 to sample food until it runs out. Portions of the proceeds go towards Gatlinburg Hospitality Association’s Educational Scholarship fund.
- Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games: May 14 – 16. This celebration of the local Scottish heritage begins with a parade and gala reception and then continues with competition in a variety of Scottish sports. Amateurs and professionals alike are welcome to join in the games. Pipe and drum bands also compete in a series of individual and band contests, as well as numerous groups of Highland dancers. Vendors and Border Collie demonstrations round out this full-throttle festival. Ticket prices vary with events.
- Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival: May 15 – 16. A competitive art festival featuring artists selected by a jury in 16 categories, the art available at this street fair is unlike any you will find elsewhere. $10,000 in prizes and a number of purchase vouchers are at stake, so these artists will certainly bring their best work. Live music and children’s programming rounds out the weekend. The fair is free, and there is a special evening “Night with the Artist” party where donors can mingle with these talented artists. Tickets are $50, and the cost is returned to the buyer in the form of a voucher good for $50 towards the purchase of any art at the festival.
With so many festival options, all located in one of the most beautiful places to enjoy spring, your Gatlinburg cabin vacation is sure to help you shed your winter blues. What are you waiting for?