Here is a sampling of the festivals we attended this year! We hope to change it up next year and see what other fun happenings Tennessee has to offer. Festivals are the best-ival.
GATLINBURG SMOKY MOUNTAIN WINE FEST
Christopher and I made it a priority this summer to enjoy as many festivals nearby as possible. We kicked it off early with the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest in Gatlinburg for my birthday in April. I realize that April is in the spring but there are always good wine festivals to attend in later months so I feel like including it makes sense. Between wedding planning, starting a new job, and life in general I knew the fun distractions would have to be taken up a notch if I was going to survive this period without pharmaceuticals. Enter stage right: wine!
The Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Fest is held at Arrowmont which is an art school beautifully tucked away in the hills off the main road. You could drive through the strip in Gatlinburg and miss it altogether! Arrowmont is located across the street from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and it has held a special place in my heart since I attended classes there as a child. My parents always encouraged my sister Katie and I to be involved in the arts and my sister turned out to be the artist (literally- she’s a potter and a painter). Knowing that the festival was in Gatlinburg after the wildfire made it that much more sentimental to me. We wanted to get up there to see the progress they were making with the rebuild and stimulate the economy (aka spend money and drink wine). They gave us wine glasses on lanyards that redefined “strapping on the old feed bag”. We looked like very happy, wine-filled horses walking around the festival. Plus, my hands were free to eat the complimentary appetizers. BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.
KNOXVILLE BISCUIT FEST
At Biscuit Fest you pay $15 a person and get 5 tickets to try biscuits at 5 different vendor booths. If you’re even a smidgen southern then you will look forward to the Biscuit Fest when May rolls around. There were classics like sausage biscuits and biscuits and gravy but there were also many one of a kind creations to sample there. I distinctly remember a lady dressed as a banana peddling banana biscuits that were actually pretty tasty. Some lines took over half an hour or longer! That’s definitely risking it for the biscuit except on that particular day you were risking heat stroke. Drink vendors were so good about giving us ice or water for Joe Joe. He met other Corgis there and got free “lovins” as I call them from herds of UT girls. Mama’s baby is a lady’s man and he’s got good taste!
If you’re wanting to make the most out of your trip then you can stop by the Market Square Farmer’s Market as well. We stayed out as long as we could but eventually we ran out of energy and so did Joe Joe. He got tired from the heat and all the attention. His royal highness was carried part of the way to the car. I checked his foot pads and they were fine! I think we just wore those little legs out! Please look at that face… It looks like we are his peasants and he is our king.
P.s. No biscuits were harmed in the feeding of this Corgi. Even though he might look a little *ahem* healthy, we don’t feed him “people food”.
KINGSPORT FUN FEST
Fun Fest is held in Kingsport in July over two weekends and is famous for the hot air balloons that take flight during the festival. I was a little disappointed because when I looked at the schedule on the Fun Fest website it said that the hot air balloons would launch on Saturday morning and Saturday night. That turned out to be incorrect and we missed them altogether. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way and next year I’ll be there bright and early to see them! There is also a HUGE fireworks display and a great concert every year. If you can’t afford tickets to the concert you can just walk around and hear the band perfectly. Most people bring their kids on the last Saturday of Fun Fest for the fireworks show.
We decided to go to “The Taste” to grab dinner since we were already there. The Taste is a great way to try out different local food trucks all in one place. You know how it gets so hot outside you don’t feel like eating? Yeah, me neither. It was roughly the temperature of the sun but I somehow managed (wink wink) to eat my favorite sandwich from Feeding Frenzy aaaaaaand a dairy free ice pop. All that Pina Colada pop needed was some rum. Then I wouldn’t care about how hot I felt!
We’ve had an incredible summer so far packed with days spent sweating through our clothes at festivals and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hopefully we can add a few more festivals to visit next summer. At the very least, I’ll return to Fun Fest in hopes of seeing the illusive hot air balloons. Thanks to Chris for humoring me on those days when we felt that we might actually melt like the aforementioned Pina Colada popsicle. You’re a trooper, honey!
Until next time,