Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival on May 1-3, 2009

Upwards of 20,000 visitors are expected at the 17th annual Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival on May 1-3, 2009 at Townsend Visitors Center on East Lamar Alexander Parkway.The Townsend festival was established as an extension of Old Timer's Day held in Cades Cove inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The original festival consisted of bluegrass bands and musicians jammin' and pickin' on the porch. Today's festival has grown to include bands performing on stage and on the grounds.The festival will kick off Friday, May 1, with Great Smokies and Nature Celebration Day. The day will consist of special activities to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Park, which is being celebrated all year, and the beauty of nature.

Old Timer's Day will be held Saturday, May 2.The weekend will conclude Sunday, May 3, with an unofficial day of special activities designed to highlight the beauty and traditions of the mountain community on Tuckaleechee Cove Day.The vast majority of events are free and showcase mountain culture and Appalachian heritage.

May 1 events:9 to 11 a.m. -- Wildflower walk on Chestnut Top Trail in the Smokies with Tom Harrington, local naturalist and Park volunteer, walk will be limited to 25 people, meet at the visitors center, call 448-6134 to reserve a spot.10 a.m. --

Hedgewood Gardens Tour, meet at visitors center, $7 fee per person to benefit Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund.11 a.m. --

Clogging demonstration and instruction with Jack Patton on the stage at the visitors center.1 to 5 p.m. -- White Oak Sinks Hike (moderate difficulty) with Ann Froschauer, limit 15 people, meet at visitors center, call 448-6134 to reserve a spot.1 to 4 p.m. --

Featured author and book signing, Steve Cotham with historic photographs from the McClung collection at visitors center. Cotham's book, "Images of America: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park," tells the story of the Park through old photographs.2 p.m. --

Hedgewood Gardens Tour, meet at visitors center, $7 fee per person to benefit Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund.May 2 events:8:30 to 10:30 a.m. --

Young Pickers Talent Contest, bluegrass music contest for pickers 17 years of age and younger at visitors center stage.9 to 11 a.m. --

Young folks program in the storytelling tent, with games, music, stories and more.10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- Old fashioned kid's games in field behind visitors center.11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. --

Old Harp Sing, shape note music with the East Tennessee Old Harp Singers in storytelling tent.1 p.m. --

Dowsing demonstration with Charlie Monday, meet at storytelling tent.1 to 4 p.m. -- Storytelling with Lendel Abbott, Roy Harper, Robin Goddard and Richard Hilten.4 to 5 p.m. --

Old Time Music program with Carl and Betty Ross in storytelling tent.6 p.m. --

Smokin' in the Smokies BBQ Peoples Choice Awards.May 3 events:9 a.m. --

Wildflower Walk on Chestnut Top Trail with Dwight McCarter, limit 25 people, meet at visitors center, to register call 448-6134. McCarter is author of the book "Lost" and is a retired park ranger.1 to 3 p.m. --

Old Tremont Stroll with naturalist/historian Rebecca Vial, meet at visitors center.2 to 4 p.m. --

Porch Pickin' Gospel Signing and old time jam sessions on porch and around the grounds.2 p.m. -

Hedgewood Gardens Tour, meet at visitors center, $7 fee per person to benefit Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund. Other events available both days, including:Bluegrass music on the stage and pickin' on the porch and in the adjacent grove.7 p.m. concert by Steve Kaufman, three-time national flatpicking guitar champion.

Evening square dance with caller Don Tipton and the Carolina Bluegrass Boys in stage area.Arts and crafts booths along Townsend bike/walking trail.Smokin' in the Smokies BBQ and other foods. Blount County Chamber of Commerce will be selling hot dogs, drinks, popcorn and chips.Cake raffles and bake sale for Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund.Arts and crafts demonstrations in exhibit room of center.

Basketry by Bonny Kate Sugg.Woodcarving by Lendel Abbott.Quilting by Ila Mae Morton and Maetta Conrad.Rug hooking by Bonny Kate Sugg.Weaving by Effie Suttles.Spinning by Dale Liles.Charcoal/pencil art by Andy England.

Antique cars, Smoky Mountain Model A Club, in front of visitors center.Antique tractors and engines, Foothills Tractor Club, in field behind visitors center.

Appalachian demonstrations around the grounds.Mountain berry basket making and poetry by Bill Alexander.Lye soap making and other old time skills by Sallie Swor.

Pottery by Carol Ware.Beekeeping and bee hive observation by Tony Holt.

Blacksmithing by Hugh Bowie.Moonshine still by Bill Leistner.

Cornmeal making by Ronald Fowler.

Visitors can learn about the heritage of Cades Cove from the Cades Cove Preservation Association exhibits and about one of the Smokies' most renowned animals at the Appalachian Bear Center activity booth.The visitors center is located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend.

Townsend in the Smokies festival is a green event. Visitors are encouraged to dispose of their trash properly. Keep Blount Beautiful and Spectra Inc. will have recycling containers for plastic bottles and aluminum cans placed throughout the festival grounds. Proceeds will go to Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund

Info from the Maryville Daily Times