It’s Time to Celebrate Spring in East Tennessee
With the rough winter we’ve had in East Tennessee, people are really ready to enjoy springtime fun. How convenient that we are coming upon festival time. The area is loaded with spring events honoring everything from cornbread to Italian opera.
The Dogwood Arts Festival runs April 2-27, 2014 in Knoxville and is a combination of festivals built around the blooming dogwood trees that make Tennessee the prettiest place on earth every April.
The Dogwood Arts Festival starts with A Very Special Arts Festival, an artistic endeavor of Knox County school children. People can enjoy the Rhythm ‘N Blooms music festival on April 4-6, an art studio tour called Dogwood Art De Tour on April 12-13, and Bikes and Blooms tour on April 26-27 among a host of events.
From April 9 through April 27 the famed Dogwood Trails will be in full bloom. Cars and buses follow the pink road lines along seven trails and five byways so sightseers can gaze and gawk at dogwood trees and gardens in full bloom. The Sequoyah Hills Trail along the Tennessee River is the featured trail this year. Some private gardens along the routes are open to the public. 2014 is the 60th anniversary of the Dogwood Trails and 54th anniversary of the festival.
Dogwood blooms and other examples of nature’s floral bounty are reason for celebration in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, set for April 15-19, includes motorcades, guided walks, and indoor presentations. The pilgrimage is part of Smoky Mountain Springfest, a three-month extravaganza in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Townsend offers the Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival April 11-12.
Knoxville can’t really get enough of spring festivals. On April 12, the heart of downtown is shut to cars for the Knox Opera Company’s Rossini Festival. In its 13th year, the festival highlights music of all types, with four outdoor stages hosting artists. The event can draw more than 100,000 people.
On May 15-18, the International Biscuit Festival rolls in. Customers can pay $10 and sample five biscuits of their choice along Biscuit Boulevard near downtown Knoxville’s historic Market Square. Along with eating biscuits, folks come back year after year for people watching, listening to music and enjoying the atmosphere.
South Pittsburg’s claim to fame is the National Cornbread Festival, featuring the National Championship Cornbread Cook-Off. A communitywide event on April 26-27, this salute to cornbread has the Cornbread Alley tasting booths, carnival rides, classic car show, and musical entertainment.
Chattanooga gets an early start on the festival season with Rock City’s seventh annual Irish celebration and festival, Shamrock City. It’s held the weekends of March 8-9 and 15-16. The high falls flow green. Irish dance and musical performances will have you smiling and toasting the folk of the Emerald Isle. Specialty beer and wine are served, along with Irish fare, such as Mulligan stew. Premier event pricing is $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children ages 3-12.
Chattanooga hosts 4 Bridges Art Festival on April 11-13 at the First Tennessee Pavilion by Finley Stadium. Works by local artists will be on view. Children’s art activities and musical entertainment liven up the festivities, including a performance by the Chattanooga Symphony’s woodwind and string quartet.
A few other events to get you outdoors for springtime fun are the Flower and Garden Show in Crossville, April 25-27; Tennessee Strawberry Festival in Dayton, May 9-10; Historic Rugby’s Spring Music and Arts Festival, May 16-17; and Greeneville Iris Festival, May 17-18.