East Tennessee Spring Festivals Feature Good Eats, Art, Music and More
Music, food, wine, crafts and mountain heritage move to the forefront in the springtime when festivals large and small sprinkle the calendar. There’s great opportunities for Spring Breakers looking for fun as well as locals looking to celebrate the season.
4 Bridges Arts Festival, April 13-14
Chattanooga’s 4 Bridges Arts Festival keeps getting better and more people are finding out. It is ranked as one of the top 100 fine arts festivals in the country and attracts 15,000 attendees. Paintings, glasswork, jewelry, textiles, furniture and sculpture created by more than 130 artists are available for purchase. The festival also features local and regional entertainers, artisan foods and children’s activities. 4 Bridges Arts Festival will take place April 13-14 at the First Tennessee Pavilion.
Dogwood Arts Festival, April 3-21
When dogwood trees display their flowery finery, Knoxville shows appreciation by hosting the Dogwood Arts Festival, April 3-21. Gardens abloom with dogwoods, tulips, daffodils and azaleas remain the focus. Sixty miles of trails, open gardens and camera sites lure people to enjoy the beauty of spring. At this premier festival, music lovers celebrate the state’s musical heritage at the Rhythm N’Blooms Fest, April 5-7; and art patrons browse the booths at the Market Square Art Fair, April 12-14. The festival also coordinates quirky events, such as Bikes & Blooms, self-guided bicycle rides, April 20-21; and Dogwood Art Detour, artists’ studio trails, April 20-21.
Rossini Festival, April 27
Musicians and dancers will cross the boards of four outdoor stages during the Rossini Festival on April 27 in Knoxville. Local and regional artisans will sell their wares along downtown streets. Performances of Rossini’s “Cinderella” will be held at the Tennessee Theatre April 26 and April 28.
Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival, April 19-20
Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival on April 19-20 will include classes, demonstrations and vendor booths. It will take place at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend.
Dunlap, a small town near Chattanooga, is holding a big music festival, April 20-21. It’s a simple setup – bring your lawn chair and sit where you like. Multiple stages will have entertainment. Also, Valley Fest will have children’s activities, beauty pageant, art exhibition and fun run.
Smoky Mountain Springfest, March 13-June 7
Smoky Mountain Springfest, a wide-ranging celebration in Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, features great entertainment March 13-June 7. Special events are the Spring Grand Rod Run, Dolly Parade featuring Dolly Parton as Grand Marshal, Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, and Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass event.
The National Cornbread Cook-Off is the center point of the National Cornbread Festival on April 27-28 in South Pittsburg. People have many opportunities to sample other foods besides cornbread, but really they come to chow down on the southern favorite. Yes, there’s more to do besides eat – live music and a juried arts and crafts show.
Foodies will want to attend the International Biscuit Festival on May 15-18 in Knoxville. It celebrates the heritage of biscuits. The Cajun Tater Biscuit was last year’s winning entry in the Biscuit Bake Off, so it’s clear biscuits keep reinventing themselves. It’s a day of fun with live entertainment, giveaways from biscuit vendors, and lots of good eatin’.
The Greeneville Annual Iris Festival pays tribute to another flowering favorite. Set for May 18-19, the celebration features craftsmen, international food court, and children’s activities. Gospel, bluegrass, country and blues performers will hit the stage, as well as dancers and cloggers.
Dayton is preparing to host the 66th annual Tennessee Strawberry Festival, beginning May 4 with a beauty pageant and ending with a parade on May 11. Promoted as a “celebration of small town life,” events on the schedule include a children’s day at Pendergrass Park, May 9; block party, May 10; and crafts and food booths, May 10-11.
Spring Break Ideas
The Tennessee Aquarium will offer a special Spring Break “Keeper Kids” package March 15-April 15. Designed for children age 6 and older, they can select from 17 activities in the River Journey and Ocean Journey programs. The Hands On! Regional Museum in Johnson City has plans for Spring Break Mini Workshops, March 12-15. Activity topics include Luminosity Lab, Fizz Factor, Fire and Ice, and Think Ink.
What spring festival are you most looking forward to in 2013?