Experience History, Artistry, and Fun in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
By Jon Hoffman © 2012, All Rights Reserved

On the highest peaks around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, the leaves are just beginning to show their autumn colors. The days are still warm; the sun still shines from a deep blue sky. But preparations have already begun for the annual fall events that signal the end of summer and a festive start to the holiday season.   

Local Arts and Crafts on Display

The 37th annual Gatlinburg Craftsman's Fair kicks off October 11, 2012 and runs through October 28. More than 200 artisans gather together at the Gatlinburg Convention Center for this juried event. You'll find an amazing variety of handcrafted treasures such as beautiful quilts, intricate carvings, and life-like paintings. Many of the techniques date back to the early settlers of the area, and skills are handed down from generation to generation. One look around the Gatlinburg Craftsman's Fair and you'll have a much better understanding of what the past was like in Appalachia.

It's true that you can get an early start on your Christmas shopping when you pick up a few one-of-a-kind pieces at the Gatlinburg Craftsman's Fair, but you'll also enjoy seeing the artists at work. Spend a few minutes watching as Charles Adams painstakingly shapes tiny bits of colored glass to create one of his famous stained-glass angels, and you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the technique. Even the kids will be fascinated to see how these beautiful works of art are created. 

Live Entertainment and Activities for Everyone

For a real taste of southern hospitality, plan to spend October 12 – 14 in Maryville, TN. Each fall, the town hosts the Foothills Fall Festival, and it's quickly become one of the most anticipated events in the south. Fifteen top performers are scheduled to take the stage during this three-day event, and are sure to be a hit with everyone in your family. Meanwhile, Greenbelt Park has been transformed into Adventure Land, where games, rides, inflatables, and more await kids of all ages.

A Glimpse into the Past

The rich history of the Great Smoky Mountains is on display in Townsend, TN this October 6 and 7. With artifacts dating back nearly 5,000 years, the Smoky Mountain Woodcarver's Festival is one event history buffs won't want to miss. You'll learn about both Native American culture as well as how the early European settlers lived as you step back in time with a tour of authentic log cabins, a wheelwright shop, a sawmill, and more.

In addition to a walk through history, you'll want to take time to explore the intricate carvings on display throughout the weekend. Artists compete for cash prizes, demonstrate their skills, and offer their wares for sale to those looking for a unique gift. Treat yourself and your family to a show you won't find anywhere else.

Autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains is a special time. Lively festivals, incredible artistry, and amazing lessons in American history await you around every bend in the road. Why not make plans to spend a few days in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge this fall?


Jon Hoffman is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in Wears Valley cabins. Visit us today at www.volunteercabinrentals.com to book cabins for weddings, vacations, reunions and other special events.