Spring Festivals in East Tennessee

Once the warm weather starts, it’s officially festival season.

Now that spring is here, it’s time for one of the best parts of family life here in East Tennessee: the festivals! From car enthusiasts to artists, people around here love to get out for more than just hiking in the Smokies. Once the warm weather starts, it’s officially festival season. We’ve rounded up a few happening in the area. Read on to find out more:

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Morristown:

Annual Spring Thyme in the Garden

Located at the Rose Center

On Earth Day: April 22

Presented by the Garden Thyme Herb Society, this annual event is the perfect kickoff to the year’s gardening season! Buy your herbs, flowers and other plants, as well as yard art, signs, pottery and other art. There will be live music and food available, and more! Visit rosecenter.org for more information about this and other Rose Center events.

13th Annual Strawberry Festival

Located at 510 West Economy Road

This free community event features family friendly vendors, food and events, all geared toward celebrating the year’s strawberry harvest. Visit their website for more information.

Sevierville:

Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass

May 19 and 20

Do you enjoy live bluegrass music, world-class barbeque (seriously: this is a World Food Championship qualifier event!) and other fun festivities? Head to Sevierville this May! This year, Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder will be live on Saturday! Think you’ve got what it takes to win the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition? Then bring your pipes and your favorite Dolly Parton songs to sing. And don’t forget to try some amazing barbeque while you’re here. Click here for more information.

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Knoxville:

Dogwood Arts Festival

Located on Market Square

April 28-30

This one is a regional favorite, celebrating spring and the arts! It’s a beautiful combination. This festival has plenty to do for adults and children, with public art displays, cooking demonstrations, entertainment and activities for the family, and more! Check out the site for more information.

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Located at the old Candoro Marble Building in South Knoxville

Mother’s Day Weekend (May 13)

Music, art, food, hand-crafted goods and tons of history abound at this annual event. The Candoro Arts and Heritage Center was once central to the Tennessee Pink Marble industry—a fascinating subject all by itself! Whether you’re a mother or want to honor yours, this is a great event to share. Visit the website to find out more.

International Biscuit Festival

Market Square

May 20

You know you’re really in the south when you find a whole festival dedicated to biscuits. The $15 ticket pays for 5 separate biscuit samples, so come hungry and visit Biscuit Boulevard first thing! Visit the site to learn more.

Be sure to check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com if you’re looking to find (or sell!) your home in East Tennessee.

Arts in Morristown, Tennessee

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

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You might expect to find a wide array of art in tourist areas like Sevierville or Pigeon Forge, or in a bigger metropolitan area like Knoxville.  But if you’re new to the Morristown, Tennessee area, I’ll let you in on a great secret that locals know: Morristown is a major hub for the area’s thriving arts community. Artists from surrounding counties display fine art at the Rose Center, which boasts the newly refurbished  Edith Davis Gallery, as well as a Local Artist Gallery. Rose Center hosts bigger community events, too, such as the Mountain Makins Festival. Morristown also has a lively Art Association, which puts on Arts in the Park every September. Read on to find out more:

 

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Photo from tngenweb.org

Rose Center

This historic center was built in 1892 as the town’s first coeducational public high school. Today it’s a “Designated Agency of the Tennessee Arts Commission.” In this beautiful building you can take anything from  an art or yoga class (or enroll your kids in one!), to one of the Center’s courses on writing grant proposals for arts programs in our area. There’s even a Children’s Touch Museum and a Historical Classroom! The Center’s classrooms and reception areas are available to rent for community programs, weddings and baby showers.

According to RoseCenter.org: “Classes currently available may include guitar, acrylic painting, jewelry making, children’s art, drama, Zumba, tai chi, cake decorating, clogging, and more!”

If you have a skill and some time, Rose Center’s volunteer staff is happy to hear from you.

Rose Center is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. Visit RoseCenter.org for more information about the history and programs of Morristown’s cultural arts center.

Mountain Makins Festival

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Photo courtesy of visitmorristowntn.com

This is the 41st year for this acclaimed festival, hosted by the Rose Center Council for the Arts.

RoseCenter.org describes the festival: “The award-winning festival, started in 1976 as a way to raise funds to save historic Rose School, celebrates the very best of Appalachian culture, from crafts to music. The festival is a delightful combination of crafts, food, music, dancing and fun.”

This is one venue where you can get a ride on a pony, snack on some delicious fair food, stop by to check out  a banjo-strumming virtuoso in period garb and ogle local arts and crafts. Fall is incomplete without a good festival, and this one certainly fits the bill!

Visit Mountain Makins FaceBook page here.

Morristown Art Association

This thriving community of artists hosts a juried art show at the Rose Center, as well as gatherings and workshops throughout the year. In September they put on Arts in the Park, a family-friendly art show with live performances, food and local arts and crafts available for sale. They even include a tent where kids can make art with the help of a professional artist.

Visit their FaceBook page for information about upcoming events and membership.

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

Don’t forget to visit darlenereeves-kline.com/ for more information about listings in Morristown.

Jefferson City: Past and Present

Jefferson City, like many places in East Tennessee, is very proud of its storied history.

Jefferson City, like many places in East Tennessee, is very proud of its storied history. The area served as a springboard for many prosperous businesses, and some local families can trace their lineages back to before this great country could even call itself a country! Union forces marched through during the Civil War, leaving marks in the destruction of buildings and legends passed down for generations since. Old Time Saturday is coming up, a festival dedicated to celebrating community. Come out if you can; it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the area’s history. While you’re here, swing by two of Jefferson City’s great landmarks: Carson-Newman College and Glenmore Mansion. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Old Time Saturday

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No town in Tennessee is complete without a fall festival! Jefferson City is no different; each year in October locals and visitors alike come out to celebrate Old Time Saturday. There are vendors selling crafts, food, curiosities and delights. There is people-watching aplenty as families come out to mingle and celebrate some of the last warm weather of the year. Maybe best of all is the live music, including fiddle-sawing kids and dancing in the street. Please visit the Jefferson County website for more information.

The Old Time Saturday Facebook page can be found here: www.facebook.com/OldTimeSat.

This fun festival is a great chance to wander around historic Mossy Creek, where old brick buildings and shady roads still speak of history.

Carson-Newman College

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Carson-Newman College is celebrating its 165th anniversary this year (2016). In 1851, the institution opened its doors as the Mossy Creek Baptist Seminary, but it only kept this name for five years; in 1856 it became Mossy Creek Baptist College. The college shut down during the Civil War, when it was overrun and damaged by Union soldiers. Eventually, the name of the college was changed to honor a local trustee (J.H. Carson) and when it merged with a nearby college for women (Newman College) the name finally morphed into the one we know and love today: Carson-Newman College. The college is active in the Jefferson City community, especially in the revitalization of the Mossy Creek area, which we discussed in an earlier blog. Please visit www.cn.edu for more information about the school, including community events.

Glenmore Mansion

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The historic Glenmore Mansion, in the Mossy Creek district, has graced the hill on what is now called North Chucky Pike since 1868. It was lived in by two families who were prominent in local business: the Branners and the Jarnagins. Saved from the auction block in 1970, the mansion has undergone several phases of restoration. It is a beautiful piece of preserved history. There are periodic community events at Glenmore,  as well as private parties and weddings available by appointment. Tours are available on weekends from May to October. Call (865) 475-5014 for more information or visit glenmoremansion.com.

Not everything in Jefferson City is about the past; revitalization efforts are helping the city to grow day by day. The new festival park being constructed in Mossy Creek is just one example of this. Visit The Citizen Tribune to learn more about it.

Visit darlenereeves.com for listings and information about Jefferson City.

Lifestyle in Grainger County

Grainger County is a rural paradise for those who want the peacefulness of country life, but also want to be close enough to cities like Morristown and Knoxville for big-town conveniences.

Bordered by Cherokee and Norris Lakes, with plenty of woods, creeks, and farmland in between, Grainger County is a rural paradise for those who want the peacefulness of country life, but also want to be close enough to cities like Morristown and Knoxville for big-town conveniences. Taxes are low here, as well as land and home prices. Agribusiness is making a big comeback in Grainger County, too. The land is bountiful, yet still close to consumers in more populated areas.

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The area is steeped in history; Tate Springs, in Bean Station, was once valued for its healing springs. Bean Station, founded by one of the area’s earliest settlers, is the site of the civil war battle named after the town. In Rutledge, the Grainger County seat, you can see a replica of Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop in front of the court house. He worked there briefly in the years before he became President of the United States. For more information about Grainger County, click here.

Wineries,  Vineyards and Local Farms

Tennessee has a long legacy of growing grapes and making wine. After Prohibition, and then the ebb and flow of farming economics, Tennessee wine fell by the wayside. Now, it’s making a comeback with small vineyards sprouting all over Northeast Tennessee. Here are two near the town of Blaine, in Grainger County:

Spout Spring Estates is a pleasantly surprising winery perched atop a ridge with commanding views 360 degrees around! They host free wine tastings during business hours, as well as weddings and other events. Visit spoutspringestates.com to find out more.

Richland Vineyards grows grapes for many local wineries. You can also visit the vineyard to pick your own fruit, and taste the wines made at different vineyards from grapes grown just steps away! Visit www.tennesseewines.com/richland_vineyards.htm to find out more.

Several family-operated farms in the area sell produce to local grocery stores and farmers markets.

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Red Barn Farms, located on Highway 11W, offers everything on site from fresh produce and eggs, to family events such as the corn maze. They even have a tractor tire jungle gym in front of the barn! Check their Facebook page for more information.

Grainger County Park

When you’re on your tour of local agribusiness, take a moment to stop in at the Grainger County Park. It’s surprisingly lovely, with play structures for kids, walking paths and the perfect picnic spot: high on a hill with a splendid view of Cherokee lake spread out below.

Grainger County Tomato Festival

Tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables in the country…did I say vegetable? I meant fruit, because, officially, that’s what a tomato is. Did you know that there are over 25,000 different kinds of tomatoes? You can learn these facts and so many more about the delicious, nutritious tomato at the Grainger County Tomato Festival! It’s held every summer in the last full weekend of July. The festival started in 1992 as a way to bring the community together and celebrate and promote Grainger County Tomatoes which, as locals know, are the best around.

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Admission is free. The festival features tomato wars, races, local artists and artisans, food, and even free music!   Visit www.graingercountytomatofestival.com for more information.

For Grainger County Listings, please visit www.darlenereeves-kline.com. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions!