The third annual “Grains and Grits Festival” is set for Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Townsend Visitor Center, 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway.

This year’s festival will include an elevated culinary component, with high-profile chefs from around the region offering tastings of their food, while maintaining the festival’s focus on allowing whiskey lovers to celebrate the culture of distilling in East Tennessee.

“The chefs participating in this year’s festival are passionate about the whiskey, our region and the culture, and their cuisine will be representative of this,” Shelly Cooper, executive chef of the Dancing Bear Lodge and organizer of the festival’s culinary component, said in a press release. “Whiskey is great for drinking, but the chefs will show how whiskey has broader applications and can also be used for cooking.”

The festival is spearheaded by the Tennessee Distillers Guild and the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority. Last year’s festival had more than 700 attendees, and organizers are hopeful that the large food selection will attract an even larger audience.

“We think both whiskey and culinary enthusiasts alike will enjoy the broader food selection this year,” Kim Mitchell, Blount Partnership Director of Tourism, said.

Grain and Grits tickets are $65 in advance and $75 the day of the festival. Guests can purchase an additional $10 food ticket to receive a dinner-sized portion of their favorite culinary fare.

Tickets and more information are available online at

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