After months of the forests sleepily resting under blankets of snow, black bears hibernating, streams trickling down frozen cascades, and temperatures keeping us near the hearth of the cabin fireplace, the Smoky Mountains burst forth in life during the springtime! The melting rivers rush down the mountainsides, plants begin to flourish and bloom, and the people come out to celebrate nature’s awakening beauty.
Just as rich as the scenery is the culture of the Appalachian area! Join the locals for Springfest, the culmination of all the concerts, events, and festivals happening across the Smoky Mountain cities from March to May. So much wonder to be discovered awaits your next family vacation, romantic getaway, or group retreat! Kick back in your budget-friendly cabin or large group lodge in between adventures through the forests and submerging yourselves into the local culture. No matter who you bring, a cabin trip during the Smoky Mountain Springfest is an all-in-one experience: relaxing, educational, and fun!
5 springtime events to experience – together:
Great Smoky Easter Arts and Crafts Show
When: March 29- March 31, 2018
Where: Gatlinburg Convention Center
234 Historic Nature Trail
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The nation’s largest group of independent artisans and craftsmen invite you to the annual springtime showcase of their skills, finished works, and, of course, themselves! It’s a communal experience of big-hearted and talented local artists ready to share their passion and the personality behind the intricate handmade gifts that grace many of the cabins and shops in the area.
Watch as talented hands put their processes on display, breathing more meaning into the souvenirs brought home from the Smokies! From elaborate woodcarving and intricate candle making to fine paintings, every art of the Smokies in on full display. This free event is rich in cultural heritage and a perfect introduction to a visit to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community just 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg.
Hands On Gatlinburg
When: April 13- April 15, 2018
Where: Cliff Dwellers Gallery
668 Glades Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Cost: Ranges from $25-$70 (depending on which class)
Join the local artists to get your hands a little dirty as they teach you their trades! Numerous classes ranging from glass blowing and woodcarving to basket weaving and painting are offered during this 3-day hands-on extravaganza. Learn by doing, and then take your handmade creation home to put on display.
Take a pottery class with your husband or wife during your Smoky Mountain getaway, or watch the kids create their own masterpiece with the help of a passionate teacher. Surrounded by the inspirational beauty of nature, you may be surprised what you can create!
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
When: April 24- April 28, 2018
Where: W.L. Mills Conference Center and various locations
Cost: $50/1-day pass, $75/2+day pass, $15/student 1+ day pass
The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is a fantastic event for a student trip, a family adventure, or nature-loving couples! In its 68th year and ever-growing (2017 hosted over 700 pilgrims from all over the world and over 30 states), this event brings together exploration, experience, learning, and community with enlightening guided hikes, captivating educational lectures, and nature-inspired art classes!
Students have a rare opportunity to learn all about the conservation efforts and wildlife preservation that takes place in the Smoky Mountains. Learn writing and journaling strategies from published local writers and photography techniques in some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the country. With one pass, you are granted access to over 150 classes, hikes, and lectures for the outdoor experience of a lifetime!
Earth Week and Earth Day Festival
Go green this year for the Earth Day festivities that take place over the course of an entire week, usually in conjunction with the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg! The Earth Day Festival in Mynatt Park is free and offers families a chance to craft and play while surrounded by educational booths, food trucks, and live music! Participate in the Annual Earth Day 5K Run/Walk and bring home a souvenir shirt after your scenic exercise to raise funds for area conservation efforts.
The Spur Clean-Up is encouraged as a team effort, so bring your students or the whole family out to compete for who can pick up the most trash. Last year’s prize was a pizza party at the mouthwatering Big Daddy’s Pizzeria! What better way to appreciate the Smokies and all her beauty than by cleaning and doing your part while having tons of fun?!
Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass
When: May 18-May 19, 2018
Where: Downtown Sevierville, TN
Savory barbeque, mountain arts and crafts, and live bluegrass music usher in the summer as spring comes to an end in Sevierville, Tennessee, at the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrassd festival! Teams of the best local barbeque chefs come to compete for the Best Barbeque Cookers Award; you can apply to be an official judge or simply enjoy licking your fingers and savoring the tastes!
Younger event goers will have a blast in the Kids’ Zone, where they can pluck on their own string instruments, make crafts like the local artisans, jump in the bounce house, and work their way through the Public Works obstacle course. Tap your toes as you are serenaded by contestants in the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honoring Tennessee native, Dolly Parton and jam out with the crowd during free concerts headlined by world-class bluegrass bands!