Mountain music, country fair, arts and crafts set Sept. 28-30
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
Townsend will offer a variety of events Sept. 28-30 ranging from bluegrass music, Old Timers Day, greased pig contests, Best Pie in the Cove, Railroad Days and Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival.
The 20th Annual Townsend in the Smokies Fall Festival and Old Timers Day will be Sept. 28-29 at Townsend Visitors Center.
A highlight of the event includes scheduled musical performances on stage, as well as numerous impromptu jamming sessions by traditional and contemporary bluegrass and mountain musicians on the porches, grounds and facilities of the visitors center.
There will also be Appalachian arts and crafts, and mountain dances, such as clogging and square dancing, old-fashioned kids’ games and Southern foods, such as barbecue and kettle corn.
“The festivals provide a glimpse into our regional heritage, which can be an entertaining experience for locals and visitors alike,” said Carolyn Roach, chair of the event. “It’s a special event that has shared Appalachian life, heritage and culture for two decades and it truly exudes the personality of the regional that makes the Smoky Mountains so special.”
This year’s festival will feature free Wi-Fi access on the festival grounds, as well as a free shuttle service to transport festival visitors to and from various places throughout Townsend. The shuttle will stop at Townsend Visitors Center, Trillium Cove, Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum and Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.
Visitors are encouraged to bring musical instruments and lawn chairs to enjoy the music all day.
A tradition of the festival is to highlight and showcase music with Appalachian roots. Bands will include Appalachian Bluegrass, Blue Streaks, Carolina Bluegrass, Chatooga Ridge, Jay Tipton Band, Larry Hobbs & Company, Lonesome Road Bluegrass, Mike Clemmer, Notchey Creek, Pleasant Valley Boys, South of the River Boys, Steve Jordan and L.B. and Thankful Heart.
Local artisians will be demonstrating their talents for visitors. Traditional Appalachian demonstrations will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Among the demonstrations will be cornmeal making and oak shingle making.
In addition, visitors will have the chance to walk through a replica of an old Appalachian church, which will be sponsored by Chilhowee Area Ministries.
There will be local storytellers and authors to educate visitors on the mountain past.
The heritage festival’s featured author will be Roy Oliver, who will hold a book signing for “Last Man from Tremont” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center will have its biggest event of the year — the 6th Annual Blue Ribbon Country Fair.
Last year the event drew 2,000 visitors to the center, which is located on East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend. Cost is $5 for nonmembers. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.
“The grounds will be totally packed,” said Heritage Center Director Bob Patterson. There will be a greased pig contest, women’s iron skillet toss, watermelon seed-spitting contest, cattle show, poultry judging, along with judging of canning and pastries.
The Best Pie in the Cove contest will be held, with last year’s winner Blount County General Sessions Judge and Townsend native Robert A. Headrick vying to be the first winner two years in a row.
“A super popular event that was started last year was Farmer in the Cove for the children. They get hands-on experience with farm chores. They love it,” Patterson said.
This includes work like washing clothing, sweeping floors, picking apples and tomatoes and gathering eggs.
The Little River Lumber Company and Museum, located on East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, will be having Railroad Days.
There will be a hand car available and possibly model railroads on hand.
At 10 a.m. Don Headrick will give a Walk the Old Town Tour. He will give out booklets that show pictures of what was located in Townsend in the past. The tour will take 60 to 90 minutes.
Then at 1 p.m. Ron Briggs will give a tour of Tremont. People will meet at the lumber company and go either by bus or private vehicles to Tremont where a booklet will again be given out showing what that section of the National Park looked like in the past.
The annual Arts and Crafts Festival at Nawger Nob, located at 7321 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, will be held Sept. 29 and 30.
The fair will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission cost is $1.50 per person and parking is free.