Appalachian History, Culture, Smoky Mountain Spring Beauty, May 3-4, 2013

Showcased at Annual Townsend Spring Festival

The foothills of the Smoky Mountains will come to life with bluegrass music, arts and crafts, time honored traditions and Appalachian cooking at the annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day. Scheduled for May 3-4, at the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend, the 21st Annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day will provide an atmosphere where family and friends of all ages can partake in time-honored Appalachian traditions at the free community event.

“The spring festival provides an opportunity 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 Carolyn Roach, Festival Chair.

An event for all ages, the spring festival will center 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 will be taking place at the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center at Townsend, other sites throughout Townsend will host a variety of activities for locals and visitors to enjoy over the weekend. The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center will be host to the 7th Annual Quilters Road Show and the Pistol Creek Catch OfThe Day concert. 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. For everyone’s convenience, a free shuttle service will provide transportation to and from the different Townsend sites participating in the weekend’s festivities.

Roach said 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 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. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to participate in clogging lessons starting at 11 a.m. on Friday. They will also have the chance to enjoy an evening square dance on Saturday being at 8:10 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 Pleasant Valley Boys, Blackberry Jam, Notchey Creek, Carolina Bluegrass, Jay Tipton Band, Rocky River, Larry Hobbs and Company, Appalachian Bluegrass, Carolina Back Roads, Steve Jordan Band, Mike Clemmer Dulcimer, South of the River Boys, Walking in Tradition, Blue Streaks, the Wilson Family, Thankful Heart, Catoosa Canyon and the Ingram Family.

The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center will host a concert featuring bluegrass band, Pistol Creek Catch of the Day, on Friday at 7 p.m. With a unique sound of Americana meets Rockabilly meets Western Swing, the band will entertain all who come. Admission to the concert $5 per person but is free for all Heritage Center members.

A performance featuring the Old Harp Singers showcasing their harmonious sounds will take place in front of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center on Saturday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

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 blacksmithing, cornmeal making, beekeeping, weaving, rug hooking, woodcarving, sorghum molasses-making and quilting.

In addition, visitors will have the chance to learn about an animal unique to the area at the Black Bear Education Center, 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.

The Heritage Center will host the Seventh Annual Quilters Road Show on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Presented by Smoky Mountain Quilters of Tennessee, the show will give visitors the opportunity to watch demonstrations on paper piecing and antique sewing machines, help piece quilts for the Ronald McDonald House, view quilts displayed by the Foothills Quilters Guild, and even bring their very own heirloom quilts to be evaluated. Visitors can also bring their quilts to be appraised by American Quilter’s Society Certified Quilt Appraiser Candace St. Lawrence. A fee is required for appraisal, but admission to the quilt show and for evaluations is free.

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 authors are Dr. Lin Stepp and Roy Oliver. Stepp, author of Second Hand Rose, fifth book in the Smoky Mountain Series, and Oliver, author of Last Man from Tremont, will hold signings on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

About the 21st Annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day

The Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day, May 3-4, 2013, 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; and this will be strictly enforced for the health and safety of both people and pets.

Festival sponsors include Premier Sponsors: Laurel Valley Resort, WIVK-FM, Knoxville Coca-Cola and The Daily Times; Silver Sponsor: Great Smoky Mountains Association; Friends Sponsors: Townsend Great Smokies KOA, Bearly Rustic Cabin Rentals, Big Meadow Family Campground, Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, Pioneer Cabins and Guest Farm, Carriage House Restaurant, Misty River Cabins & RV Resort, Townsend Shopping Center and Keep Blount Beautiful; and Jammer’s Tent Sponsor: BB&T Townsend.

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 or

About Blount County, Tennessee

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.