February 2 – 5
Winter Heritage Festival in the Smokies
A celebration of the human history, natural beauty, and cultural traditions of Townsend, Cades Cove, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A variety of presentations, storytelling, music, walks, exhibits, and tours—at the Visitors Center, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, and other businesses and organizations around Townsend & Walland.
March 16 – 17
Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival
Hosted by the Townsend Artisan Guild, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, and the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. This interactive fiber arts event connects the community with fiber arts activities. The festival will include Border collie sheep-herding, sheep-shearing, classes and workshops, arts exhibitions, educational demonstrations of fiber processes, spinning, weaving, needlecrafts, dyeing, hands-on projects with children and adults, Fiber Arts Market and more.
April 7 (Sat)
Herb and Wildflower Day, 9:00am—3:00pm
A tribute to the beauty and fascination of wildflowers, ferns, trees, and herbs. Visit with expert botanists, photographers, and naturalists. Buy locally grown plants, delicious baked goods, and fine hand-made pottery. Take a short walk in the woods or a longer exploration of a special place.
April 25 – 28
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is an annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg, TN.
May 4 & 5
Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day
Bluegrass music, Young Pickers Talent Contest, arts and crafts, Appalachian skills, wildflower walks and garden tours, storytelling, BBQ and other good food.
May 18 – 20
A fly fishing exposition and fund-raiser for Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department. Sponsored by Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Fly fishing demonstrations and seminars by experts. Music, children’s activities, exhibits, and food.
May 18 – 20
Smoky Mountain Highland Games
A celebration of Scottish Heritage with traditional games, gathering of the clans, dance, music, and athletic contests.
June 2 (Sat)
Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival
Enjoy the work of skilled artisans and see pottery being made at this juried show with 40 booths. There will be hands-on demonstrations by the featured guest potter, plus special firings by JoeFrank McKee, hand building by Hugh Bailey, 30 potters booths, Children’s Tent with Carol Ware, music, and good food.
June 3 – 21 (varies)
Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. The peak date varies from June 3 to June 21. No personal vehicles are allowed during the 2 week peak. Access is by trolley, and these fill up quick. Check the website below for peak weeks and road closure. The week before & after peak is good as well.
September 28 & 29
Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day
Bluegrass music, clogging, arts and crafts, sorghum molasses making and other Appalachian skills, artisan demonstrations, family activities, good food.
October (early to mid)
Autumn leaf season lasts several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low. The timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables that the exact dates of “peak” season are impossible to predict in advance. Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.